Posted by fxckfeelings on August 10, 2015
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Despite all of our attempts to make our lives secure—wearing protective gear, creating a savings account, building a Y2K+X shelter—we’re all subject to nature’s whims. Most of the time, we’re just scrambling to maintain life’s delicate balance between order and chaos. Of course, there are certain, non-weather related natural disasters that can create disorder; namely, those we’re naturally related to. That’s why, in particularly unstable families, any interaction must be planned with a map of the likely fallout and that Y2K+X shelter stocked to the gills. Later this week, we’ll see how shaking things up can sometimes make the family balance stronger.
Even though most of my family are crazy and a pain in the ass to be around, I still love them and have found a way to keep them in my life without letting their bullshit make me miserable. I’m worried though that, if they come to my wedding, then our relationship is going to fall apart. I can’t not invite them, because they know it’s happening and will show up with or without an invitation, but if they do show up, it’s going to be a shitshow. My father is a nice guy but a mean drunk, and there’s no way he’ll be sober. My oldest sister is a compulsive klepto who would probably disappear the wedding gifts, and another sister is well along in following our father’s staggering footsteps (my brother moved far away to get away from them, and I can’t blame him). I’ve told my fiancée I don’t want to spoil the event for her parents, who are very nice, but I’m afraid of what my family will do to create chaos and ruin what we’ve paid for. My goal is to have a wedding that doesn’t blow up on me and hurt innocent bystanders like my wife and her family.
Whatever you decide to do about inviting your family to your wedding, it’s clear that you accept them for who they are, but that acceptance is dependent on certain factors, i.e., where they are, and for how long. When it comes to family, especially awful relatives, better living through boundaries is often the rule.
Even if you’re not interested in punishing, hiding, or changing them, and you can talk about them honestly with your wife-to-be (who is not asking you to disown them), you’re also not interested in inflicting them on the public or your new in-laws. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on December 18, 2014
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The human mind is capable of many complex, inscrutable functions, but when it comes to hopeless situations, they’re processed by a part of our brains that hasn’t evolved since we had tails. That’s why, in those moments, our instincts tend to go one of two stupid ways: either you deduce that nothing’s working and never will, or that nothing’s working but definitely will if you try the opposite of whatever you’re doing now. Thus does our lizard brain control our response to foreign policy, midterm elections, and alcoholism. Better to force some human-level reasoning to what’s rarely an either/or situation and respect what you’re able to accomplish with what you control. When your instincts tell you to give up is when you know you need to give a situation more thought.
I’m an alcoholic (with twenty years of sobriety), so when it became clear my daughter also had the disease, I tried to stay focused on doing my best to help her and not start freaking out and blaming her or myself. I think I did OK because my daughter is trying to stay sober and goes to meetings every day (I know, because she’s living at home now), but every eight weeks or so she stops going and, a couple days later, she’s drinking again. We then have a talk and she gets back on the wagon, but it wears me out and I’m losing hope. My goal is to figure out how we can get out of this rut without something horrible happening first.
It’s tough to see your daughter with an illness you know so much about and yet couldn’t prevent; given the season, you must feel like her ghost of Christmas future, if Christmas was less about Jesus and more about just drinking a lot.
On the other hand, it also sounds like you bring a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to the job of helping her. You don’t get outraged when she slips, and, perhaps as a result, she recovers her sobriety pretty quickly. Then, you manage to keep from losing it when she loses her sobriety all over again. At least until now. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on January 23, 2014
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Sadly, there’s a simple equation when it comes to confronting someone about drug use; the more you panic during the confrontation, the more they panic and then seek chemical relief by using more drugs. So, whether you’re trying to get through to others, or taking up the topic with yourself, it’s best not to focus on negative emotions. Instead, ask yourself to create your own definition of drug abuse, based on what you think would compromise your safety or ability to keep your promises and be who you want to be. Then compare your behavior with your standards and, if it doesn’t measure up, consider a positive way forward. Your confrontations will be less dramatic, but your conclusions and efforts will have stronger roots, more staying power, and the relief won’t be so chemical.
My twenty-year-old son did well for a couple months after his last detox, but then I got a call from his girlfriend that he’s taking the same tranquilizers again that he was addicted to before. I asked him about it and he denied it, but I believe his girlfriend and now I don’t know what to do…tell him to get help, take him to the emergency room, have an intervention, or what? If he admits it at all, I know he’ll say that his anxiety is unbearable and he just can’t stand it without medicating himself. My goal is to get him real help.
Most people know that the first of the Twelve Steps is to admit your lack of power over addiction, but few realize that this applies as much to the loved ones of addicts as to addicts themselves.
As the parent of a young son, you may feel you have additional power and responsibility, but you also have additional handicaps, such as the huge cost of treatment, its notorious ineffectiveness, and the difficulty of winning cooperation from a defiant child. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on January 20, 2014
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We often warn readers about the dangers of being too helpful, but for every person who gives without thinking, there are plenty of others who want to help someone they love but are too paralyzed to act. Whether someone you love rejects your help or asks for it, your ability to be helpful doesn’t depend entirely on their motivation or yours, but also on the nature of their problem and what kind of help, if any, is likely to be effective. So don’t make it your business to push or provide help until you know more about their problem. Then you’ll have a better idea of how to focus your efforts and limit your responsibility to providing what will actually work. That way you can find the right balance of helping, which involves doing the most good with the least harm to everyone involved.
My sister got arrested last weekend for dealing drugs, and even though I wasn’t surprised, it brought back all my angry, helpless memories of the many times when we were growing up that she would get into trouble and then get into treatment, tell everybody she was feeling better and going straight, and then fuck up again. This time she’ll probably go away for 10 years and the state will take custody of her kids. My parents are devastated and wonder where they went wrong, and I’m also thinking hard about whether I was a good brother. A few months ago, after she stole from our parents, I told her I’d never trust her again and I wonder whether that caused her to give up hope. I can’t stop thinking about her and I can’t sleep or focus. My goal is to figure out how to get over these feelings so I don’t ruin my life as well.
When people we love do bad things, we usually give them two options: punishment or help, with help sometimes coming in the form of punishment, and vice versa. Even when intentions are good, good is not what necessarily results.
Unfortunately, some lack the ability to respond to either; neither additional help nor punishment will give them the self-control, moral compass, or whatever it takes to stop themselves from doing bad things. What they do deserve, and won’t get, is better genetic luck, and what their families deserve is protection from their bad behavior. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on November 25, 2013
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If you truly want to believe in the old saying, “There’s someone for everyone,” you have to add the caveat, “assuming that many of those people aren’t exactly right for each other.” Some people think they’ve found “the one,” but then can’t see their partner’s faults because of the wishful optimism of love. Others sour on their spouses because of the tired pessimism of long-married irritability So if it comes time to make a tough decision about a marriage, be sure to ask yourself what continuing your partnership is likely to do to your finances, parenting, and security given what’s happened so far and what you now know about the character of your significant other. Once you figure out whether your someone is actually Mr. Wrong or Mrs. Will-Suffice, you’ll have a much better idea of whether you should hire a therapist to help you get along or a lawyer to preserve your assets.
Please Note: There will be no new post on Thursday due to American Thanksgiving. As always, we are grateful for our families and your misery. We’ll be back next week.
I’m living a nightmare and feel totally helpless. I thought my wife had overcome the drug habit she was struggling with before we got married (otherwise I wouldn’t have married her). Normally, she’s the sweetest person in the world. Recently, she went back being the evil witch I remember her being when she was on drugs, blaming me for everything and threatening to take me to court for abusing her. When I asked whether she was on drugs again, she said I was a crazy asshole. Two hours later she said she was sorry, that I was right, but she felt ashamed of using drugs and was taking it out on me. She said treatment just didn’t work for her. My goal is to get her to get help so she goes back to being the amazing woman I love.
There’s a reason that “addict” is a term you live with forever. That’s not to say it has to be a horrible stigma—college graduate and Torontonian also qualify as life-long labels—but no matter how much you wish addiction would be behind you or someone you love for good, it’s always there.
You thought your wife had overcome her drug habit because you loved her sweet, kind side and wanted to think ugly, addict side wasn’t real. She’s not a bad person, but she has a bad side and a bad disease that she doesn’t seem ready or willing to deal with. Even when she’s being kind, her evil side is always going to be there, and she’s doing nothing to stop it. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on October 28, 2013
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It’s easy to disagree with a stranger—if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have road rage, Judge Judy or the internet—but it’s both difficult and painful when you find yourself unable to find common ground with someone you love. Whenever you feel pressured by someone you love to do something you hate, whether they’re motivated by destructive needs or idealistic ones, don’t feel obliged to end the pressure by changing their minds. Instead, accept the pain of unbridgeable differences and protect yourself from unnecessary conflict. Then, when you take action, you will have the confidence and optimism of someone who does not have to explain or persuade, even if the person you can’t relate to is a relative.
I’ve always known my father can be a little weird, but he’s generally a decent guy and I know he loves my kids. The trouble is, he’s got it in his head that my wife is an evil person who has serial affairs and doesn’t really care about our kids, and that I can’t see it because she’s got me fooled. Whenever he visits, he gives her dirty looks and takes every opportunity to whisper about how insincere she looks and how badly she manages the kids and, of course, my wife picks up on it, which is what he wants. I can’t impose him on my wife, the tension is not good for the kids, and I can’t get him to see that he’s wrong, because he feels he’s on a mission from God. My goal is to find a way to persuade him to stop so that we can spend time together as a family.
If you’re a parent, you‘ve been told that it’s important that you and your spouse are in agreement and present a united front. In reality, the wish to overcome and erase disagreement, be it between parents or families in general, causes lots more trouble than disagreement itself.
Your father should know by now that, by openly expressing hostility towards your wife, he does nothing but cut himself off from both you and his grandchildren, hurting everyone and reducing whatever positive and protective influence he wants to have. He is cutting off his family to spite his fact-less assertion. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on May 9, 2013
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For parents of kids in high school, it often seems like your goal is to get your kid through school, and your kids’ goal is to find every way possible to get distracted. Some of those distractions, like video games or music, are harmless, while others, like drugs or serious relationships, can go from a diversion to totally destructive. Sometimes when a kid seems over-interested in romantic relationships, it’s because the relationship with school needs work, but other kids would chose relationships over the best school in the world, just because of how they’re wired. In any case, parents, it’s important for you not to show anger or fear, regardless of how you really feel. Instead, if you can, sell the kid on school, sell the school on working with your kid, and if that doesn’t work, it’s time to homeschool your kid in managing intense sexual relationships. As long as you avoid guilt and blame, you can be a great teacher, no matter what curriculum you’re forced to use.
I’m 14 this year and in my second year of high school, and in my area there are a couple schools that I could’ve gone to. Unfortunately, there was only one co-ed school, and it had a “bad reputation.” My parents forced me to go to the other school, an elite girls school, instead. I didn’t like it even before I started going there, but I never knew it would be this bad. It’s really strict and I actually hate not having boys around. I’ve never been boy crazy but now I feel like I can’t stand it. And this year, I discovered this good co-ed school that I originally thought was far away but is actually closer than the school I go to now. I can’t rest until I get to move schools, but how do I convince my parents to let me move without telling them that I want boys in my life? They’re not the incredibly unreasonable strict type, so they wouldn’t have forced me to go to a single sex school if there wasn’t a choice. Still, I can’t say that I hate it because it’s a girls school! They’d never let me move because of that. It may sound silly but I’ve gotten really depressed recently. The school also has lots of other different problems, mainly the strict part. I hate strictness. It kills me, and I just want to be free. I feel like I’m suffocating and I can’t escape.
We rarely get letters from readers in their teens, probably because, when you’re fourteen, developing an independent view of the world and living under your parents’ absolute authority, feelings are one of the few things under your own control. It seems natural that your average adolescent’s response to a site called fxckfeelings.com would be “fuck you dot org.”
That said, we’re glad to hear from someone young, and it’s important during this stage to seek knowledgeable outside opinions, especially because so much of your time is spent with the same group of teachers and other kids your age. School can feel a lot like jail, except you learn things way more valuable than how to make wine in a toilet. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on April 8, 2013
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Sometimes goals that appear meaningful, like speaking your mind, getting closure, or getting an art degree, are excuses for pursuing feel-good results we damn well know will turn out badly. If you put aside your yearning for a better world while examining the probable results of your actions, however, you’re much more likely to do actual good, even when it doesn’t feel so hot, rather than let good intentions draw you into making the same old mistakes. No matter how right it feels to try, getting the last word, closure, and/or a BFA just aren’t worth it.
It really isn’t my ex-girlfriend’s fault that I got paranoid and couldn’t work for two months—she didn’t make me start using meth with her (she’s was a heavy user when we met). I used because I wanted to, not just because I loved her and the chemistry between us was amazing. Eventually, though, the meth made me unbelievably paranoid (I’d never been into drugs before) and I thought she was putting the smell of cat piss in my apartment. I also couldn’t sleep, think straight, or pay attention to anything for more than two seconds, so it wasn’t long before my boss told me to get help or else. Months of treatment have almost put my brain back where it was before and I’m almost ready to return to work, but I want my ex-girlfriend to know I don’t blame her and I want us to part on good terms, so I think we should meet once more, just to get closure. My goal is to erase the negativity caused by my bad reaction to meth and close the book on the situation for good.
After month of treatment, you should be well-versed in how to approach your addiction one day at a time; while there might be a rehab out there that preaches having one last meth binge hurrah “for closure,” it probably won’t be open for long.
The search for closure is the broken person’s version of the Holy Grail; long, dangerous, and ultimately futile. You might think you’re trying to put things right, but you’re really just picking a scab, so if you think it’ll help you heal, the opposite is true. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on April 1, 2013
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Since we now live in a mostly-online world where everything is a loss/”fail” or victory/”for the win,” it’s normal to regard death as the ultimate fail since we’d give almost anything to prevent it from happening to ourselves and those we love (although if it happens to our worst enemies, it’s a win situation, even if most of us wouldn’t even admit that in Youtube comments). In reality, we disrespect our humanity by considering ourselves defeatable by something we don’t control, and what we do with ourselves and our family and friends when someone is dying or otherwise afflicted is what makes us great/gives us p0wnage of mortality, at least for a little while.
After 15 years of homelessness, prison, jails, rehabs, psych meds, medication management, horrific poly substance abuse, and occasional hopeful stints of sobriety, our son overdosed two months ago. He was 30 years old.
All the years of fear, guilt and depravity notwithstanding, his father and I miss him terribly. I won’t go into the efforts (financial, emotional, time) to get/keep him sober that consumed our entire family for the last decade. Lets just say our son’s use of his drug of choice, heroin, has been the 24/7 of our lives. I could write a book about police cars in the driveway, family sessions I’ve sat through with green rehab “counselors” who appeared to be clinging tenuously to not using themselves, and the finer points of being frisked by zealous prison guards.
Some days, like today, all I can remember is what a horrible slog it’s been. Other days I remember my son’s big, kind heart when he was himself, his ability to read a room, and the way he only talked when he had something to say.
I’ve examined our family life over and over, and I had pretty much come to grips with the past, and the present. The future was plainly jails, institutions, or death. I knew all this, and had many sleepless nights to steel myself for the inevitable.
Of course when the inevitable arrives, it is a total sledgehammer to the heart and mind. The worst part is this: his father and I had kicked him out of our home (again) where he was living (again) because he was shooting Xanax. He actually got the Rx for Xanax from the same doctor that prescribed his Suboxone (why heroin addicts should not be prescribed Benzodiazopines is another post). Later that night he died of an overdose from a lethal mix of Xanax and heroin.
So, he is dead, after we pushed him out in an argument. No goodbyes, no “I love you,” just unkind and hurtful words.
In a way I feel this was our son’s final selfish act, leaving me a lifetime of guilt and replaying that night he left over and over in my mind. I feel I’ll go crazy if it doesn’t stop. I don’t want to live this way for the rest of my natural life.
[Please note: We usually edit submissions for length and clarity, but we felt this was so well-written that it should be left almost entirely intact. If the author ever follows through on her threat to write a book, we would read it.]
The usual way we judge ourselves as parents is by the way we help our kids survive and grow, even if we can’t make them happy. That standard is usually fair, unless your child suffers from a disease that nobody and nothing control, from doctors and medication, to the child or the parents who feel responsibility for his/her survival.
The toughest thing in the world then is to judge yourself properly when you still can’t stop your son from dying, unhappily, in the midst of drug abuse and conflict. It’s a mix of every kind of hell, because you feel you’ve failed, that he failed, and that the universe has failed everyone involved.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where nice kids get addicted to horrible drugs, nice parents can’t save them, and part of the illness of addiction is that the kids fuck up again and again, and you can’t keep them at home when they do. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on February 7, 2013
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As anyone who’s loved someone crazy or addicted knows—or really, anyone who’s watched any non-duck or -storage related programming on A&E—some addicted and/or mentally ill people take too much responsibility for the impact of their behavior on family, and others put too much responsibility on their family for saving them from themselves. In actuality, your job is never to act on your feelings of responsibility until you’ve first observed, and then accepted, what you actually control. The result may suck, and leave you feel totally helpless, but you need never be a slave of guilt when you’ve done what you can with what you’ve got (which is hopefully more than basic cable).
My wife (we’re gay) has Tourette’s syndrome, anger issues, and a tendency to drink more than she should. I have Bipolar disorder, and an obliviousness to other people’s feelings that is sometimes intentional, sometimes not. My wife and I dated for seven years before we got married, so it’s not like we didn’t know each other’s diagnoses and drama, but most for most of that time I was well-medicated, held down a full time job with benefits, and felt like I wasn’t being my real self. Last summer my anti-depressants kicked me into a full manic break. “God” told me to start collecting camping/survival gear and move in with friends in my home state to work on a civil rights campaign and spend time with my family. We won the campaign, and I got some cherished time with two relatives in their dying days, but I completely f*cked us financially, and ruined my wife’s trust in me. She is adamant that marriage is forever, whether we’re happy or not, and we are going to make it work. I love her, but I’m pretty sure I’m an Asshole, there’s no reason to believe this won’t happen again, and if she doesn’t get rid of me I will ruin her life, whether I want to or not. She wants stability and kids. I don’t think I can provide those things for her. My goal is to reconcile my wife’s expectations with the real limitations imposed by my case of crazy.
As we’ve often said, the best way to know for sure that you’re not an Asshole™ is the fact that you even considered the possibility that you’re an Asshole™. Assholes™ may feel injured, but, since they know it was someone else’s fault, they never feel guilty. Sadly, as a non-Asshole™, you’re forced to feel both.
So just because you’re mortified by what your last manic period did to your family finances doesn’t make you an Asshole™ or a dangerous marital partner, even though that’s the way you feel. It just makes you a good person struggling with a bad illness. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »