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Assholes always win.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Chemistry Preacher

Posted by fxckfeelings on November 28, 2011

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If you take any relationship wisdom from this site, it should probably be that good partnerships are not the same as relationships that feel good. That doesn’t mean they have to feel bad (although bad feelings are unavoidable sooner or later), just that they have to survive bad feelings and offer benefits to both parties that are worth the trouble. So relationships that grab your heart but show no signs of becoming good partnerships are dangerous to your health, and relationships that turn you off but have much to offer are worth putting up with. Ain’t love grand, and ain’t love gone wrong a royal pain in the ass.
Dr. Lastname

I’m always a little annoyed at my boyfriend, even though we never really fight, because he always seems a little unavailable (you’d think at our age he’d be over playing games). If we spend lots of time together this weekend, then next weekend I can be sure he’ll call back late, find a reason we can’t meet early in the day, and leave me with an option for getting together briefly that doesn’t work well for either one of us. He used to say it was because he needed time for his son, but now that his son’s in college things haven’t changed. I don’t think he wants to date anyone else, and our friends think we’re great together, but I’d like to share my life with someone and our relationship is stuck.

Sometimes the worst thing about a relationship is that it’s too good to be bad, but too bad to be worth the effort.

Your boyfriend is almost a good match, good enough so that you look forward to seeing him every weekend, but it’s not mutual enough for him to feel the way you do. So you’re always chasing him, but never quite catching him.

If it were truly bad, then either he’d end it, or pride, fighting or the protests of friends might eventually help you break up, grieve and move on. Here, no such luck. You’re in relationship purgatory, but on the southern side. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Late Expectations

Posted by fxckfeelings on November 3, 2011

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When people who look smart and capable perform poorly, we assume they can do better, and if we can only bless that co-worker/child/local sports team with more encouragement, they’ll be able to come out on top. Trouble is, many of the obstacles to good performance are big, bad, and beyond our understanding, and that’s when a “can-do” attitude becomes a burden and a curse to those who look so capable but are actually “can’t-don’t”s. So, when encouragement becomes discouraging, keep your positivity up, just lower your expectations.
Dr. Lastname

Is the habit of procrastination a reality that cannot be changed, or not? I often find myself procrastinating so long that something I feel I want to do or should be doing is no longer possible to do. Then I feel terrible about myself and berate myself. Should I give up those dreams/things I want to do or should I plug on and do the best I can, hoping that I can overcome procrastination enough to actually accomplish a few things?

Berating yourself whenever any bad habit gets the better of you can make you feel weak, angry, hopeless, etc. The one thing it can’t do is make that habit go away.

On the plus side, your frustration shows that you care about doing better, but self-blame leaves you feeling weak, angry, hopeless, etc., which makes it harder for you to get out of your chair and start catching up.

While logic dictates that finding the source of a problem will lead you to the solution, trying to find out why you procrastinate doesn’t usually help. For one (deliciously ironic) thing, it gives you a reason to avoid doing what you need to do. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Low Fidelity

Posted by fxckfeelings on October 24, 2011

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We’ve talked before about the myth of “help;” how applying the mantra “you need help” to everyone and anyone with problems isn’t always the right thing, whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of this recommendation. After all, just because someone begs you to get help doesn’t mean that you need it, and just because someone begs you for help doesn’t mean it will do them any good or be worth it. Forget feelings of disloyalty, use your own judgment, and remember, most of the time, the most helpful response to people who want you to be involved in help-giving or help-taking is to let them know when help isn’t the answer.
Dr. Lastname

I’m a 22-year-old who is coming out of a pretty rough emotional patch. I got into a bad habit of leaning on a male friend, being a complete needy, co-dependent mess with a guy who is a pretty heavy drinker and, you guessed it, a needy, co-dependent mess. Well. Now I’ve sobered up and tried to develop some space between us, and he’s not taking it well. He drunk-dials me at least once a week, and leaves these crazy, rambling, needy voicemails. (I moved away a while back, and he keeps pushing me to make plans to meet up.) I basically want to cut him out of my life altogether, because I really think he’s bad for me. But he was there for me—albeit in a f*cked up way—when I was a mess. Does dropping him make me a bitch?

There are two sides to every sin; for example, murder is evil while manslaughter is just really unfortunate. The same is true for good deeds, and fidelity, while less deadly (hopefully), works much the same way.

There’s a bad kind of fidelity based on feelings and a good one based on what you think is right. The bad one is a gut-level sense of obligation you feel towards anyone you’ve shared a bed or bread or booze with, who cries out to you in need and expects you to respond. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

The Help

Posted by fxckfeelings on September 15, 2011

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As diseases go, mental illness is a doozy to treat; some mentally ill people are too humiliated to ask for help, and others are too crazy to ask. If you want to help them (or yourself), keep in mind that it’s the illness, stupid, which distorts the attitude towards treatment. Use the same logic and moral values for mental health treatment decisions that you would use for other illnesses; there’s nothing humiliating about getting sick, no matter what a sick brain decides.
Dr. Lastname

I have been wrestling with depression for years now and my maternal side of the family has a history of depression and suicide. I don’t feel that I can do this on my own anymore and need help. I don’t want to just take a medical cocktail of antidepressants. My question to you is how do I go about finding a therapist and/or doctor that will be most helpful to me.

The first step for getting treatment for your depression seems simple– don’t get depressed about treatment for depression. After all, depression’s just another form of pain unless it twists your thoughts into thinking that not getting rid of it is a kind of failure that marks a meaningless life.

As long as you realize depression is a persistent ailment, just like persistent back pain or diabetes, you’ll have an easy time making treatment decisions because you won’t regard using treatment as evidence of weakness. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Forced Exposure

Posted by fxckfeelings on August 29, 2011

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The mistake most people make when they want to improve someone they love (or even themselves) is to share their unfiltered, unabridged negative feelings as a source of motivation. They’re right, of course, it is a powerful source of motivation—to avoid you and your criticism like the plague. When you want to make someone better, keep the negativity in check while you urge someone, often yourself, to think reasonably about what will work out better. Being close to someone doesn’t give you the right to unload; be a sibling second, an amateur shrink first.
Dr. Lastname

I’ve always been close to my younger brother but I kept quiet about my objections to the woman he married, although she sure came with baggage—a mean ex-husband and 2 unhappy kids. Recently, however, it turned out that the mean ex-husband wasn’t entirely wrong, and she is indeed self-centered, bossy, and nasty and shows very little respect to my brother or, in one memorable episode, our parents. When she cussed out my mother, I’d had enough, and let him know I thought she’d gone too far. Since then, as you might guess, my brother has not been eager to talk to me and certainly doesn’t want to talk about his marriage, even though my main feelings for him are positive and protective. I would do anything to get him to seek help, since he won’t talk to anyone in the family, but I don’t know how to get through to him. So how can I get him to talk to someone?

There’s a common notion that shrinks are good at getting through to loved ones who won’t listen to anyone else; that a psychiatrist can double as a spiritual Sherpa, able to guide the stubborn up Mount Issues to the Summit of Personal Insight.

What people forget is that shrinks aren’t Sherpas, we’re strangers—we lack facts and a vivid, first-hand impression about whatever the rotten thing is that they should be advised against—and there’s no reason to believe a stranger can succeed where a sibling can’t.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Gimme Gimme Gimme

Posted by fxckfeelings on August 11, 2011

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Whether or not it’s more blessed to give than to receive, both activities are loaded with lots of potential punishment, particularly if you feel unworthy and/or poor to begin with. If giving is necessary to make you feel worthy, you’ll end up a good-hearted sucker, and if being given to is the only thing preventing you from living in a trailer down by the river, you’ll end up in a black-hearted rage. There’s no need to feel bad about giving or receiving if you feel proud of who you are rather than how well you’re doing. A healthy perspective is the best blessing of all.
Dr. Lastname

My friends tell me I’m too good to my ex-wife because I always take care of her when she’s in town by giving her a place to stay, feeding her, and tending to her medical needs. Even our kids say she uses everyone, promises everything, and gives back nothing, and, after many years of marriage and an equal number divorced, I know they’re right. I argue back that it’s not smart for me to antagonize her after she’s promised me half the estate she inherited from her dad, but they tell me that she never keeps her promises and she always figures out a way to blow her money on impressing new acquaintances and going on shopping sprees. My goal is to find ways to protect myself and maybe satisfy my friends’ concerns without fighting with my ex- and maybe losing her bequest.

God bless the giving people of the earth—kindergarten teachers, foster parents, 02% of psychiatrists—but I’ve said many times that, no matter how saintly their exterior, the givers’ biggest recipient of generosity is often their immediate feelings.

Let’s face it, giving feels good (partly because it offers peace of mind to the persistently guilty), and that means it’s bad, at least under some circumstances. Giving too much, like any source of good feelings, is dangerous to you and detrimental to the object of your charity. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Your Bad

Posted by fxckfeelings on August 8, 2011

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Funny thing about fuck-ups—“fucking up,” despite being their specialty, is their least favorite topic of conversation, probably because they haven’t joined the honorable brotherhood of fuck-ups by choice. I know, life is supposed to be all about choices, but it’s actually about the choices you make about the things you have no choice about. Assume that most people don’t like to fuck up, figure out what their limitations are, and your conversations will become fuck-up-free.
Dr. Lastname

I can’t understand why my colleague has become such a sloppy teacher. She’s smart and well-trained and relates well to people, but it’s become common knowledge in our department that the kids don’t like her and complain that her classes are disorganized and have very little content. Maybe she’s decided that her part-time sales job is more important than teaching because it makes her more money. My goal, if she’s really decided that teaching isn’t important, is to avoid discussing the subject with her and talk about other things when we hang out. Does this make sense?

People always interpret one another’s inexplicable actions as if they’re the result of choice, rather than, well, inexplicable. The reason they call them stupid decisions is because intelligent forethought was never part of the equation.

It’s upsetting to see your friend and colleague do a bad job, so you assume she’s doing it because she chose to commit her time elsewhere, where the money is. Sadly, you’re probably inflating her grade. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Bad Romance

Posted by fxckfeelings on June 9, 2011

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Nuclear meltdowns may poison the air and water for miles around, but, in terms of actual damage done, love is probably the greater environmental hazard because it affects more people, gives no warning, and can’t be doused by heavy water. We should give kids courses on “duck and cover” before exposing them to the seduction of dreamy romances, but until then, there are some ways to avoid the fall out. It’s not easy building a hazmat suit, but there are ways to do it if you still have possession of your personality after the exposure is over.
Dr. Lastname

A year and a half ago, my ex-fiancé died suddenly from a heart attack. He was 38. We had broken up a year earlier, and it was a very messy break-up. He called my boss at work and told her I was trying to have her fired so I could steal her job, I walked away from most of my personal belongings when I moved out, and I walked away from my savings because we had a joint bank account. I went to the funeral and found out that while we were planning our wedding he was pursuing on-line long-distance relationships as well as inappropriate relationships with women in our city. A letter from one of the long-distance women was read out at the funeral. I can’t move past this. I have been dating a man for about 3 months now and he’s wonderful. I have a really hard time thinking positively, and every time we have an argument I think ‘worst case scenario’—that he will leave me. How can I think more positively?

First, begin with the idea that love is dangerous and some people are more vulnerable than others. We’ve called love a virus before, and sadly, your emotional immune system is impaired.

People love to say it’s important to “follow your heart,” but for people like you, that can be deadly; after all, those same people might say that “love is blind,” and when you’re helpless to love, following your blinded heart can lead you right off a cliff. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Cruel (And Unusual) Intentions

Posted by fxckfeelings on May 26, 2011

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People like to call one another on bad behavior, and, thanks to the likes of Oprah, think that such acts of “openness” are a good idea. What they’re forgetting is that most badly behaved adults want to behave that way, have their own reasons for thinking it’s OK, and are ready to behave even worse if confronted, threatened, or attacked. If you want to continue and/or improve your relationship with a badly behaved person, don’t give him/her an earful s/he doesn’t want to hear. Offer a proposal for a better way of behaving, your plan for making it worthwhile, and your intentions in case it’s declined. You can’t whip anyone into shape, but you may persuade someone to develop better manners, for their own reasons, on their own terms, in a now Oprah-free universe.
Dr. Lastname

My crazy ex-wife’s bitterness and sabotage blocked me from seeing our son, but when he got to college and out of her grasp, I hoped that 20 years of patience was paying off and I could finally begin to revive a long interrupted relationship. I’ve tried to show how much I love him and want to help him, and I’ve looked for opportunities to give him gifts and take him on vacations. The trouble is, I’m beginning to feel that all he wants me for is money and that, otherwise, he either doesn’t care or is angry and suspicious. He asks for things, says thanks, and then disappears until he needs something else. If I ask him why he hasn’t been answering my calls, he gets huffy. My goal is to let him know that I won’t put up with that crap and try to make the relationship work the way it should.

The main barrier to a good relationship between you and your son isn’t your ex and all the lost years, but the fact that, according to your son, it’s your problem to fix, not his.

After all, whether you like/deserve it or not, you have a needy and untrustworthy rep, and at this point, you don’t know if it’s because he’s brainwashed, oblivious, or a jerk.

Time will tell, and the best way to make the best of what’s there, be it a good kid with bad ideas or a bad kid with bad ideas, is to keep your expectations low, your feelings to yourself, and your needs in check.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Ill Communication

Posted by fxckfeelings on May 16, 2011

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Couples, like sports teams, tend to react to one another with reflexive reactions that bypass the higher centers of the brain in order to better facilitate working together as a unit. It takes no more than a look or an innocent question, however, to put you on the defensive before you know what you’re defending against or the harm you’re going to do by responding so fast. Then you’ve got an error against you and a very angry fan base (even if it’s a fan base of one). Instead of pushing for resolution, take a solo time out, rethink your strategy, and sooner or later, you’ll both be back in the huddle, figuring out your next move together.
Dr. Lastname

I hate it when my husband and I squabble over something stupid, and then he falls silent and stops communicating, and it’s like he’s left the room. It drives me crazy. It’s true, I’m not thrilled about doing his bidding when I don’t have the time, or when his requests don’t make any sense, but if he let me know how important it is to him instead of sulking, I’m sure I would do it and then we wouldn’t have to go through this pain. My goal is to get him to communicate better.

If you’re the sort of person who can’t stand it when someone you love is angry and silent, your best mate might be a parrot.

You may try to find ways to help your beloved and avoid your pain, but don’t. Sometimes, reaching out to angry people will get them to lash out at you because they want a time-out, or it will let them know they can get to you by sulking, so they’ll use silence as a weapon.

Anger sends the same signal from any animal, from human to bear—go away, or stick around at your peril.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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