Posted by fxckfeelings on November 5, 2015
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If, as discussed earlier this week, you’re a shy person struggling to get by in a socially-driven world, there is hope. Sure, you may never feel comfortable as a party animal (without employing some unwise methods that will lead to a very uncomfortable trip to rehab), but you can find ways to feel less like a trapped animal at parties. Here are five techniques that anti-social people can use to survive social situations.
1. Accept Your Social Impairment
Respect your anti-social nature and don’t apologize for appearing anxious, feeling a lack of social enthusiasm, or dreading the event in the first place. Instead, develop your own criteria for considering social events necessary and worthwhile. For example, it’s worth pushing yourself to go to a beloved cousin’s wedding or your boss’ birthday party, but you can feel OK about skipping your creepy neighbor’s Pig Roast.
2. Try Fear Management
Research all available anti-anxiety and anti-shyness techniques and treatments, then sample those that seem reasonable for your specific issues and budget. There are plenty of non-medical treatments out there, from books to therapy to breathing techniques, that will make parties less painful. If they are helping, however, be willing to try medication if necessary, understanding that effectiveness is often no more than partial and requires tolerance of side effects.
3. Own Your Awkwardness
Once you accept your own social shortcomings, it’s easier to learn to tell people that you occasionally suffer from anxiety; you shouldn’t feel obliged to share this information with everyone—after all, you’re part of a group least likely to throw a parade in their own honor—but not to hide it from those important to you. Imply that you’re comfortable with this fact of life and are not sensitive to their reaction; even if you aren’t so comfortable, fudging it puts them at ease and can reduce your anxiety about your making them anxious.
4. Forecast Your Fears
Since social gatherings feel like risky stunts, it’s important to have several escape and emergency plans in place. Prepare plans A, B and C for managing that anxiety in a way that will reduce symptoms, save face, and allow you to emerge unscathed. Just knowing that you have plans in place will have a relaxing effect and it make it easier to relax (slightly).
5. Take setbacks in stride
No matter how solid your management plan or how long your panic-free streak, there’s always the possibility that things will go wrong and you’ll be struck with an outburst of social anxiety, shyness, or self-criticism. If and when that happens, don’t take it as a crushing defeat or failure. Instead, take pride in your persistence and willingness to tolerate these painful feelings for a good cause. You’ll never conquer your shyness entirely, but, as we always say, you can keep it from conquering you.
Posted by fxckfeelings on November 3, 2015
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In a society where all the spoils seem to go to the outgoing, being shy or anxious can feel like being cursed. Just because you can’t make direct eye contact and small talk, it’s easy to feel like a failure, clam up even more, and become convinced you’re doomed to a life of banishment. In reality, however, some people are shy and self-critical, no matter how hard they try to become outgoing, and many shy people still find ways to get ahead, no matter how much they hate getting trapped at parties. There may be no real cure for shyness, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a curse, either.
I’m terribly self-conscious. It makes me extremely shy, self critical and lonely. I don’t talk to people much. I’m terrified to speak to a group of people. It takes me too long to do projects since I’m avoiding mistakes. I’d love to say f*ck my self-consciousness, self-criticism and self judgment. It comes over me, however, like a wave and I don’t overcome it. These negative feelings affect me both emotionally (panic, frustration, resentment) and physically (sweating, shaking, shallow breath). I’d rather be social, self-accepting and a more agile and accomplished performer at work. My goal is to be able to tell my problem to f*ck off and become the person I’d rather be.
WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on July 16, 2015
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Deciding whether or not to accept the challenge to fight an Asshole™ shouldn’t be difficult—whether you’re facing an Asshole™ or an actual asshole, every instinct should tell you to get the hell out of there. Of course, sometimes the Asshole™ seems like the only thing standing between you and justice, so before you go “mano a anus,” consider the validity of your anger, the likelihood of ancillary damage and cost, and the value of whatever it is you hope to win. Then, whether you’re the one who must do the fighting or just counseling someone else, you’ll come up with a strategy for either fighting or fleeing that will have the least-shitty results.
My father died recently and my unmarried younger sister still lives in the family house with our elderly mother who is now struggling with memory loss. Over the years we have been a dysfunctional family with a lot of sibling rivalry, and my brother and I find our sister argumentative and difficult. Being around her for any length of time involves walking on eggshells and she and our mother have a turbulent relationship although she is her favorite child. My parents’ will states we will all benefit equally upon our mother’s death but now our sister is trying to emotionally blackmail us into pledging the house to her. She feels that she deserves it as she is the main caregiver. However, she has been supported by her for years and has always been hesitant to find work. We find it distasteful to be arguing about money with our mother still living and our father deceased just weeks ago. My brother and I are both happy to inherit our fair share when the time comes but worry that our sister will syphon off the funds my mother has and expect to keep the house as well. We feel like vultures in wait and do not wish for bitterness or conflict but our sister is often unreasonable and bombastic and we have problems of our own. My goal is to find a way to withstand manipulation and protect our interests without causing our mother’s remaining time to be made unhappy and stressful.
The feeling of unfairness is like the emotional salt in the psychic wound left by loss. After all, it never feels fair when you lose someone you love, but having that pain exacerbated by an Asshole™ sibling adds extra sting to the agony.
It’s hard to avoid becoming paralyzed by that pain, as well as guilt over the anguish you could cause your mother by arguing with your sister. Before you go to war with your sister, however, give thought to whether winning a victory would be meaningful, or even possible, given her Asshole™ tendencies.
Your sister is being totally unfair and unreasonable, but as with mortality itself, there’s a point when you have to lay down arms and give in to the inevitable. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on July 9, 2015
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People often have simple, easy expectations about complicated, difficult feelings; grief should resolve itself with time, and overwhelming guilt should be resolved by redeeming actions. Of course, grief doesn’t always disappear on schedule, if ever, and guilt shouldn’t become overwhelming unless you’ve actually done something wrong. So don’t grieve for persistent grieving and do feel guilty for over-reacting to guilt. Adjust your expectations, hold on to your values, and get used to the simple fact that painful feelings have a logic of their own.
I lost my son ten years ago when he was hit by a drunk driver, but I still think about him every day, and sadness comes back periodically. I’ve always liked to stick with the things I liked—I’ve had the same job for many years, the same friends and hobbies, and I’m often reasonably happy—but he was my only kid, I never remarried after his father left us, and I just sometimes wonder whether I should still be thinking about him and feeling sad so frequently, even after all these years. My goal is to learn to accept his death in a healthy way so I don’t grieve forever.
Like rage and exhaustion, grieving is one of those feelings that you’re only “allowed” to experience for a limited amount of time; otherwise, everyone around you wants to kill you, and that’s only if your emotional-overdose doesn’t kill you first.
While rage and exhaustion really can burn you out, grieving over a death, even for ten years, isn’t necessarily unhealthy or unusual, and it certainly isn’t guaranteed to hasten your own demise.
In reality, people differ in the depth of their attachments and life doesn’t always offer second chances. So your experience with prolonged grief after losing your only son may be unavoidable, if uncomfortable, and, of course, sad.
After all, you’re the type of person who experiences strong, lasting attachments, so your relationship with your son would probably have been central to your life if he were still alive. Based on your long history with the same job and friends, it seems that you’re also the sort of person who values continuity and relationships over adventure, change, and new experience.
The pain of prolonged grieving could have become destructive if it caused you to lose interest in relationships or the values that shaped your life, but that isn’t the case. You’re living the life you want to lead; you just miss your son.
It’s hard to live with grief, so don’t make it worse by wondering why you can’t make it stop. Certain kinds of grief never end, but that’s what comes of loving, having children, and being fully committed to them. You wouldn’t want to be a different person; you’d just want life to less cruel to people like you.
So don’t question lasting sorrow. It’s a reflection of the loving relationship you had with your son, it hasn’t stopped you from leading a meaningful life, and it’s a key part of that meaning and of who you are. You have moved on in so many ways, even if your heart hasn’t.
Don’t feel bad about feeling bad; feel good about having a good relationship with your kid, even if he isn’t here anymore.
“When I find myself still grieving for my son after many years, I wonder if I’ve really moved on. I know, however, that I’ve made the most of what life has offered me even when it’s been unbearably painful, and grief hasn’t changed what I care about or have tried to achieve.”
I can’t stop feeling like I screwed up because an executive I hired a year ago feels I hired him under false pretenses. It’s true, his prospects changed recently when I relocated our company, but, when I hired him, I didn’t know that was going to happen. He doesn’t accept my explanation, however, and feels I’ve derailed his career, or at least uprooted his life. The situation reminds me of my mother, who always lamented how becoming a parent sidetracked her career, and I hate the idea of making anyone feel that way. My goal is to stop feeling guilty all the time.
As a manager, your job is to allocate responsibility fairly after considering a person’s job description and workload, and to avoid making anyone responsible simply because you need someone to blame. That might be emotionally satisfying, but it’s bad management. Especially if the person you’re mindlessly assigning blame to is yourself.
Don’t let yourself become responsible for an employee’s unhappiness, or even your mother’s unhappiness, without first stopping to examine the facts.
You suggest that you did nothing wrong, but you continue to blame yourself because he does. Forget about him then and consider your job description and what you could or couldn’t do about his career. Then ask yourself whether you treated him properly. If you met your own standards, then give yourself the right to disagree and to decline responsibility for ruining his life.
It’s hard to watch someone feel his life is ruined. Even though life sometimes takes a turn for the worse, however, it’s seldom helpful for anyone to see himself as a helpless victim who can do nothing to improve his situation but blame his problem on someone else. Taking on responsibility for other people’s problems doesn’t just hurt you; it also hurts them by giving them an excuse not to look for a solution.
So don’t take responsibility you don’t deserve and don’t listen to whining; you have a responsibility to protect yourself. Maybe you acquired the habit of feeling responsible for the sad lives of others as a child, but you’re an adult now, and a boss, and the blame stops with you.
“I feel terrible to hear someone say I’ve ruined their lives. I know, however, that I haven’t done anything wrong and that, if someone’s luck is bad, it’s their job to make the best of things without complaining. I will no longer accept undeserved blame or listen to unhealthy complaints.”
Posted by fxckfeelings on June 15, 2015
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It’s strange that, as children, we’re pushed to declare what we want to be when we grow up, and then get disappointed with ourselves when we can’t achieve that goal, even though most kids want to grow up to be king or a dinosaur. If you get to adulthood without an idea of what you want to be, plausible or no, you may feel doomed if uncertainty and indecisiveness make such decisions difficult or illness makes your chosen path impossible. In reality, what matters most is not choosing a career or doing well at it, but being a decent and independent person as you find your way in life. Then, whether a career appears or, like the dinosaurs themselves, comes to a premature end, you will grow to be a strong person who can be proud of your choices.
I’m in my mid-20s and struggling from some choice-paralysis in regards to my career. I went to college on the other side of the country a few years ago and obtained an arts degree (I know, I know – bad move), and am doing administrative work. I find it deeply unsatisfying but it pays quite well, considering. I also know that if I wanted, I could build a solid career here in something practical, I would just have to decide which career. On top of that, my family is here, and I’ve taken up meaningful volunteer work. I have some friends with their masters that are starting up serious careers, and then some that are doing things like buying houses and getting pregnant, which makes me feel like maybe I should just find a boyfriend and start settling too. On the other hand, I deeply want change, a bigger city and different industry options. I got into a program at a college in a bigger city on the other side of the country, and it’s probably as useless as my current degree, but I would love to go back to school and be more qualified in something. Also, this city I would be moving to has more varied industries. But leaving my job and going back to school on the other side of the country means I would have to take out more student loans which just seems stupid. I know there is no right answer and that everyone goes through this in a way—if I go, I can always come back—but the part of me that wants to be pragmatic knows that with my current debt, moving would actually set me back a lot. My goal is to reconcile my desire for a cool arts job in a bustling city with my growing desire to be practical and either make a decision to find something that works for me here, or move, explore other options, and not look back.
Like marriage, a career is about the long game and shouldn’t be judged by its immediate rewards, be they to your mood, wallet, self-esteem, etc. Besides, while marriage is hard work, a career is just hard work; the only way to get the same kind of bliss from a new job as you would as a newly wed is to start working in porn.
Once you take that into account, it’s becomes easier to simplify your career choices, particularly when it comes to work, going to school, or change in general. Right now, in your mid-twenties, you have a great opportunity to explore career options, new cities, even sexualities if you’re so inclined, all without having to worry too much about pay or security. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on June 1, 2015
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The only thing people are worse at accurately evaluating than “family values” politicians and Marvel movies is their own character. That’s the drawback of judging something using your emotions and expectations, not facts and fairness; it makes us as apt to judge ourselves too harshly as to excuse ourselves too readily. In any case, don’t trust your self-judging instincts until you’ve examined the facts, reviewed your standards, and decided how you would judge a friend under similar circumstances. Then, however you feel, stand by your verdict/review of Ant Man and act accordingly.
I’ve lost a few really close friends over the years, one after the other, and it’s got me wondering whether I’m really a jerk (or “Asshole™”?) but don’t know it. Most recently, my best friend froze me out when he accused me of hating his boyfriend; I swear I kept my thoughts about him to myself, and besides, I didn’t think the guy was so terrible, but either way, I was shocked when my friend dropped me and I had to hear from someone else that he was married. Before that was the friend who was always mad at me but then went nuclear when I suggested spending less time together, then a handful of ex-boyfriends who think I’m the devil, a job or two I was awkwardly let go from without warning…when everything was happening, I thought I was doing the right thing, but with a such a long enemies list, I have trouble trusting my judgment. My goal is to figure out whether I’m just bad at choosing friends or bad at seeing myself for the jerk/Asshole™ I really am.
Since the first rule of Asshole™ club is never wondering if you’re an Asshole™, you probably aren’t one. On the other hand, the first warning sign that someone’s an Asshole™ is learning that they’ve got a list of people who’ve wronged them that’s longer than the list of ingredients on a can of Pringles, so your concern is understandable.
Of course, everyone can act like an asshole sometimes, but that doesn’t an Asshole™ make, especially since you probably regret that behavior while an Asshole™ would expect a trophy for it. What you need then is a reliable, objective way of examining the moral value of your actions (and the value of those friendships, as well). WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on May 14, 2015
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The best way to test someone’s ability may be to put them in a high pressure situation—a mock trial, dinner with a spouse’s divorced parents, Kobayashi Maru, etc.—but the best way to test their character is to see how much responsibility they’re willing to take for things if they go horribly wrong. The ability to read and take criticism depends far more on personality traits and reflex than reason and judgment; that’s why Assholes are amazingly good at pinning responsibility on other people (which is why therapy usually has so little to offer) and nice people are good at figuring out how they caused it to rain. In any case, if you judge yourself as you would anyone else, you’re more likely to use logic rather than instinct. Then you can figure out whether you owe an apology or not, and to whom, and others can figure out whether you’re solid enough to grant a second chance.
I’m usually OK with being single and childless—I’ve had some bad relationships that were far worse than being single, so being independent seems like a fine alternative, and kids will come when I’m ready. When I look at Facebook on Mother’s Day, however, and see pictures of my friends looking all happy with their kids and happy little families, I start to get depressed and hate myself. I’m sure that part of the problem is that my own mother died a couple years ago. My goal is to figure out why the happiness of others makes me feel like such a loser.
Mother’s Day, like weddings, birthdays (including that of Jesus Christ), and all other days that celebrate someone with gift giving, are usually doomed to cause as much pain as pleasure, and sometimes more.
The intention is to make someone feel appreciated and loved by giving them time, love, and shit they don’t need, but it often winds up making more people, including the honoree, feel worse by forcing them to consider all the time, love, and shit they don’t have. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on March 19, 2015
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The issue of control—what you’re responsible for controlling (not much), whether it’s possible (not often), and what happens when you try (not good)—is a frequent topic around here. Our frequent negativity is due to the fact that people often try to control something they can’t, be it in themselves or others, while they should instead be trying harder to control their response to their helplessness. Fact is, the inability to control something doesn’t mean that you’ve failed, but that that something can’t be controlled, period, so redefine your responsibilities instead of pursuing the control you wish you had but never (ever) will.
Since my father died unexpectedly last month, I’ve found myself bursting into tears without warning, and I know it’s upsetting my children. We were all close to him, but he and I had a special bond, and his death has left a huge hole in my life. I’ve never felt anything like this before—he’s the first person close to me that I’ve lost, and lost suddenly—and I’ve never lost control like this in front of the kids. My wife says grief is natural, but I’m worried that I’m really acting crazy and scaring them, and I just can’t stop. My goal is to get a grip before I hurt my kids.
While the pain of grief, like depression, is uncontrollable, what you do with it isn’t; some people ease the pain with booze, hibernation, and/or memorial tattoos. It doesn’t make a lot of sense then that you’re beating yourself up for some tears.
You’re not making bad judgments due to your grief, but, instead of expecting to get rid of it or hide it, ask yourself what your goals should be to manage it. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on February 9, 2015
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Passion, love, and misery are like the rich foods of emotion; trying to banish them from your life altogether is as impossible (and saddening) as attempting to consume them non-stop. Passion especially, like a buttery steak, always gives apparent meaning to life, but too much can push you into taking dumb risks and too little can cause you to undervalue who you are. Ultimately, there are other values that matter more, like thoughtfulness, patience, and fiber, which is why moderation is key. If you can avoid pursuing heavy foods or feelings to excess, and remember the real basics, then they can enrich your life without weighing it down.
What is love? Some might say its a kaleidoscope of happiness, fun, visions coming together of two different personalities to settle for a better future. Love gives you a canvas to paint your future with colors of happiness and joy. For me it was a life changing experience because it happened with someone who was completely different from me. I first thought it could change us for the better¬—two people coming together to create a better future with a scope of mending oneself for the happiness of other, and it didn’t seem a hard task considering the happiness it involved—but I was shattered to learn that it was just a sham. My point of view didn’t matter, the pain didn’t matter, the agony didn’t matter, all that mattered was her nature, her attitude, her look out towards things. It took me four long years to come to this reality but it was too late…all it took was a whisker of a second to wake from that slumber of false hope. When it did it was all too late but for the better of both the individuals because four years of struggle were prevented from turning into a lifelong of pain. My goal is to remain outside the bubble of so-called stigma called LOVE.
To paraphrase the famous Homer Simpson quote about alcohol, love is the cure to and the source of all of life’s problems. It’s given us excellent pop songs, drunk wedding toasts, and, for most people, moments of true happiness. It’s also given us terrible pop songs, sober divorces, and, of course, lessons in true misery.
As such, it’s not unnatural to want to recreate lost love if you feel, as so many do, that it gave meaning and importance to everything you did and do. One way of holding onto it is just expounding on it with all the meaning and emotion the written word can allow, as you’ve done above.
The danger, as you point out, is that love can draw you to someone who has different values, wants different things, and is maybe just not a nice person. It blinds you to dangers and the risk of breakup while offering such a strong illusion of deep meaning. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on January 26, 2015
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Evaluating a conflict within a relationship is a lot like doing detective work; sometimes a case is solved easily with nothing more than the broad strokes, and other times every particle of DNA is a necessary part of the puzzle. In relationships, big disputes over basic issues don’t require examining detail, whereas minor spats over specific matters necessitate the full “CSI: Marriage” treatment. No matter how thorough the required investigation, evaluate your needs and actions so that you can get the evidence to close the case for good.
FYI, I’ve had a rough life, but I’ve have enlisted the help of a therapist to help me get over the hurdles holding me back. Now my long term boyfriend (not fiancé or husband) has pushed me to breaking point with his selfish behavior, so after three years of making excuses for him, I finally ended our relationship. He wants back in– I don’t trust him anymore based on his actions, but he is begging to show me that he understands where he has gone wrong and is trying to change. I’m thinking, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me,” but these fucked up feelings for him are weighing on me and I can’t bring myself to let go. With an intelligent brain full of patterns to recognize, and if given a sharp wake up call, is he capable of changing his behavior enough to warrant me giving him another shot? Or should I listen to my own intelligence and kick his ass to the curb? My goal is to strengthen my instincts enough to recognize people I don’t need in my life and increase the size of my cojones enough to say enough is enough.
It would be easier to evaluate your ex’s worthiness if you’d given a more detailed inventory of his crimes, but deciding whether or not to stay with someone or take them back has a lot less to do with what exactly they’ve done wrong and more with what you expect any worthy partner to do right.
Your ex could have lied, cheated and stolen, or he could have just hogged the DVR and forgotten to squeegee the shower door; the process for figuring out what to do with him/for you is exactly the same.
Of course, you may also feel like your stubborn love for him should be factored in, but, not surprisingly, we find that smart decision-making and feelings rarely mix. So if you’re trying to decide whether to restart a relationship that failed because of your ex-partner’s bad behavior, do a top to bottom review of what you want, what went wrong, and what evidence you see that he has the motivation and the ability to make the necessary changes. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »