Virginia Ironside

Virginia Ironside is an agony aunt, columnist and author. She writes the weekly Dilemmas column for The Independent.

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Reader dilemma: 'My friend confided a secret, and then stopped speaking to me'

"They see their emotional breakdown as a weakness rather than simply a sign of perfectly normal humanity. They’re ashamed of themselves."

Reader dilemma: 'My 10 year-old child made a bad joke on Twitter, and the reaction has left her unable to cope'

"The first thing is to encourage her to stop using Twitter temporarily. When I’ve received a cruel letter, I haven’t kept it to mull over. Every time you reread cruel remarks aimed at you, you are traumatising yourself once again."

Reader dilemma: 'I'm too hard on myself'

"It’s a good idea to ask yourself what you get out of listening to this unpleasant voice. Does it confirm a low opinion you have of yourself? Or is it a voice that guards you against disappointment?"

Reader dilemma: My new boss is picking on me

"He could be making a deliberate effort to freeze you out. He’s a new broom, who wants to sweep the place clean"

Depression Awareness Week: 'My life feels bleak, but should I dig up a painful past with counselling?'

"While some memories are successfully buried so deep that they can never rise to the surface, others demand attention"

Reader dilemma: what should you say to someone who brags about money and holidays all the time?

'This tedious boasting is almost certainly the result of deep insecurity'

Reader dilemma: My friend has invited someone I don't particularly like on our holiday

"You may realise that it wouldn’t be too bad after all"

Reader dilemma: How can I help my unhappy 90 year-old friend?

"Dissatisfaction is her natural setting. It’s her comfort zone, and where she feels safest."

A helping hand? A change in the law would mean that doctors could provide lethal medication for terminally ill people to self-administer

Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death

Reader problem: How can I give up alcohol when all my friends drink?

"Trying to stop drinking isn’t good enough. You have, simply, got to stop. End of, as they say."

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