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Nobody's ever died from bottling up their feelings, but plenty of people have died from unbottling them.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Fixed Signals

Posted by fxckfeelings on April 13, 2015

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As we often say when pontificating about Assholes™, the great paradox of self-awareness is that those who worry most about whether they’re bothering other people mainly bother themselves, and those who don’t worry at all are a huge bother to anyone unlucky enough to cross their path. You can find a happy medium, however, by using reasonable tools for managing your social behavior, like keeping things friendly and superficial and pursuing goals you’ve defined for yourself. Trust in your own rules of etiquette, pursue your social goals, and you will find the sweet spot between obsessive and oblivious.
Dr. Lastname

I’m a divorced mother of three with a nice job who would like to get married again, so I was very interested when I got a message on Facebook from an old high school crush whom I hadn’t see in twenty years. He and I never dated, but we were good friends, and I was pleased to hear he was also divorced and happy living in a nearby city I often have cause to visit. So after we had a great time catching up, I suggested that we have dinner next month when I’ll be there, and he seemed eager but also a little unsure about whether or not he’d be free. We’re still messaging each other, but he hasn’t said yes or no to meeting up yet, so I find myself thinking a lot about what he’s thinking, and whether I’m reading his signals correctly or if I’m just nuts. My goal is to figure out what he’s really thinking and if he’s “just not that into me” or taking it slow because of where we are in life and what’s at stake.

Given that this guy is a teenaged crush, it makes sense that you’d revert to your younger self and worry about what people are thinking about you and whether the boy you like is going to ask you out or ignore you on Facebook or maybe even take you to the prom.

Equally juvenile, however, is this notion of writing him off simply because he’s “just not that into you.” He might not be—hell, he might be too tired after football practice—but as an adult woman and mother of three, you’re old enough to decide whether his wishy-washy flirtation means you shouldn’t be that into him. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

I Fought The (In-)Law

Posted by fxckfeelings on July 19, 2012

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If your relationship feels threatened by your partner’s attachment to a difficult, intrusive parent, you may well feel that you have to fight for his/her time and loyalty, but going to war over an in-law is like getting involved in a land war in Asia; a classic blunder, per “The Princess Bride.” Instead, remember that, while a partnership requires a mutual commitment of time and energy, it also must leave room for work, exercise, and time with friends the one party doesn’t like. So draw up a schedule that minimizes three-way togetherness and maximizes stiff-upper-lip politeness and the repression of negative feeling. It might occasionally be painful, but of course, life is pain, and anyone who says differently is selling something.
Dr. Lastname

My partner and I are both in our 60s with difficult marriages behind us. We have separate homes dozens of miles apart but meet often, share many interests, have a healthy sex life and enjoy meals out, daytrips or just being together. His elderly mum lives some distance away and is socially awkward with a serious hoarding issue that escalated when her husband died. Part of her house is uninhabitable due to this, and she goes without hot water rather than let someone in to repair her broken boiler. We used to get on OK until last year when she started coming to stay with my partner on a frequent basis for visits of indeterminate length. She would be included in everything we did and be a real pain. I tried to be understanding but tension mounted and came to a head on her sixth visit of last year when, without discussion, she began getting into the front car seat with her son leaving me to take the back. He denied and defended her behavior and blamed me. I feel I am being cast in the same role as his ex-wife whom he also blamed for “being difficult” with his mother. Her needs were put first over the Christmas holiday and there was another furious row when she wanted to extend the visit and he felt guilty for saying no. To be fair he is now trying to set boundaries and consider my needs but she is about to arrive again. How do I protect the relationship and what is left of my sanity from her manipulations without looking like the bad guy?

While the mother-in-law-from-hell has been around since the dawn of time—they provided the motivation for a daughter-in-law fish to escape onto land and evolve into human kind—this mother-in-law has created problems for her son before. Just ask his “difficult” ex-wife.

That means your situation is twice as challenging, because you’re not only dealing with an extremely sensitive situation, you’re dealing with one that’s been a deal-breaker in the past.

The only way you can avoid falling into the traditional trap of becoming a bad guy is to figure out what you think is reasonable and acceptable, according to your own needs and standards, in terms of how much you’re willing to share his time with his mother, and under what circumstances. After all, you can never be a bad guy if you know you’re doing the right thing. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Missed Manners

Posted by fxckfeelings on April 9, 2012

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One of the great mysteries in human thinking is why we think pointing out a rude person’s rude behavior will lead to improvement, instead of just elicit a (way more logical) rude response. So, instead of drawing a rude friend or co-worker’s attention to their bad-manners, decide whether your relationship, personal or professional, is worth sustaining in spite of their overbearing behavior. If it is, respond politely to whatever you think needs attention and refuse to talk about anything you think does not; you can be firm if you know what your own standards are, without having to defend or retaliate. If it’s not worth it, then feel free to sever ties (politely and with the utmost tact).
Dr. Lastname

I have a long time friend who has OCD about feet and cleanliness. Her OCD is so bad that whenever she sees someone’s bare foot touch the ground, they have to immediately wash their feet before entering her house. She recently accused me of having smelly feet when I’m in her car wearing clean socks and boots during winter. In addition, when I got a little irritated with her accusation she said, “I’m only helping you out because someday you will meet a man and he won’t like your smelly feet.” I don’t think I have smelly feet and have not gotten complaints from former boyfriends about it, nor have my other friends or co-workers complained about smelly feet. How do I tell her she’s being rude and that her OCD is getting out of control?

Wondering how to correct a friend’s rude behavior was the topic of many letters sent to the late, great Dear Abby. That said, I’m not sure she would like my answer.

Back in those days, calling friends and family on their rude behavior was the way civilized people policed the quality of social civility, like telling kids on the bus to give up their seat to an elderly person and expecting they would bow to public judgment (and not give you the finger).

The trouble is, unsolicited advice, no matter how tactful and well intentioned, is often a hard sell, even when presented to adults that aren’t naturally rude. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Out With In-laws

Posted by fxckfeelings on January 21, 2010

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In-laws are classically seen as a pain in the ass, but when your in-laws’ offspring becomes your ex, and your own offspring remain, that pain doesn’t go away. Sustaining relationships with exes is hard—especially when those exes are drunk, crazy, and generally impossible—but when you have kids, you’re forced to sustain those relationships, with parents and grandparents, like it or not.
Dr. Lastname

My ex-wife cares about our kids, but she’s always been overbearing and intense, which is why I ‘m very happy not to be married to her now. Her latest rage, in both senses, came from her new therapist, who persuaded her that she’s depressed and has bad dreams because she was neglected and maybe abused by her alcoholic parents, so now she wants our kids to have no contact with them, their grandparents, at any time, whether the kids are staying with me or with her (we have joint custody). Now, I’m not crazy about her parents and they sometimes drink too much, but they never did anything unsafe and the kids love them, so I was shocked to hear from the kids that they miss their grandparents (my wife never informed me about her new policy). I don’t want to trigger a court fight with my wife—I can’t afford it, and neither can she, but she spares no expense when she feels her kids are threatened by the forces of evil—and I’ve got no great wish to put myself on the line for her parents, but I don’t like having her tell me what the kids can do when they’re with me and I don’t think losing their grandparents is good for them. My goal is to send her a message that she can’t control what our kids do when they’re with me and protect the kids from losing their grandparents.

The short answer is, you can’t win a pissing contest with a fire hydrant.

Yes, your ex-wife has no right to tell you what you can and can’t do with the kids when they’re with you, and yes, it hurts them to be cut off from their grandparents, and yes, in the short run it’s entirely within your power to facilitate grandparental visits.

No, none of this matters in the big picture.

If your wife is the kind of self-righteous, crusading, angry asshole you describe her as being, then you have very little power to make things better and many, many opportunities to make things worse.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Expelled and Smelled

Posted by fxckfeelings on December 7, 2009

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At fxckfeelings.com, we’re never afraid to tackle the ickier topics; we deal with not just the feelings that come out of us, but the solids, as well (although often they’re equivalent). So if someone can’t hold it down or you can’t hold it in, sure, it’s an awkward situation, but it’s not the end of the world. You’re not responsible for what goes in or what comes out, just for what you do about it, whether it’s your problem or your neighbor’s.
Dr. Lastname

I just started at college, and I like my roommate, but she’s bulimic and hard to be around. Not just because she’s sick (and everybody on the floor knows about her problem, it’s hard not to), but because when she binges, it’s on my food because that’s what’s closest, and she always feels really bad about it and cries that she wishes she could stop, but then she doesn’t offer to pay for it and it’s costing me a lot of money. Part of me just feels bad for her, because she’s clearly really messed up, but another part of me is pissed because I’ve lost a lot of money this year on food that she’s eaten and thrown up, and that just makes me feel guilty like I’m a bad person for putting my lost money above her health. I want to move after the break, but I don’t want her to feel abandoned. My goal is to help her and myself.

Welcome to that other part of college, Hard Knocks University, where the class Helplessness 101—what to do when you can’t help both someone and yourself, and sometimes you can’t help at all—is a frosh requirement.

The tough part is not the decision, but accepting the shitty nature of your options. Bulimia, like any chronic condition (depression, addiction, etc.) is not completely curable, not by you or certainly the patient herself.

If you buy into the psychobabble about body image and low self-esteem, you might think you could help her by praising her strengths, noticing her attractive qualities, or getting her to think about the superficiality and limitations of attractiveness. Ha!

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Sh*t Happens

Posted by fxckfeelings on July 13, 2009

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This post might not be for the faint of heart, but then again, life rarely is. After all, shit is inescapable, not just as metaphor but as reality, thus, it’s worth exploring those issues that deal not just with emotional crap, but with crap, period. Here at fxckfeelings.com, we take your shit seriously. Literally.
Dr. Lastname

OK, I’m having an issue with a guy at work, and it’s pretty gross, but it’s also driving me crazy and nobody will take me seriously. I can’t say exactly where I work, but it’s the kind of bureaucratic place where nobody ever gets fired. Like you’d have to murder someone in the office, and even then, vacation without pay. This guy recently got kicked down to my office, which is pretty small and windowless (it’s a filing sort of thing), and I’m not sure what landed him here—he’s nice enough, although he’s a little creepy around girls—but all I do know is that he farts. All the time. And I know, it’s funny, ha ha, but it’s not funny when you have to spend all day with him and he occasionally bends over to file something and lets one rip in your fucking face. Normally, I’d just bust his balls about it, but he has zero sense of humor, and I think he’d just stare at his feet and say nothing and avoid me in the future. Which would be great, except our desks are right next to one another. My boss thinks it’s a joke and told me to deal with it. But it’s not a joke, it’s fucking gross, and working with him makes my sick, literally. So my goal is to get someone to take me seriously and help me deal with this guy.

Congratulations! You’ve come to the right doctor because, while I rarely care about your feelings, I always take farts seriously. After all, is it possible to feel happy without happy bowels? Of course not.

I’ve often theorized, (if not in scientific meetings, at least at family get-togethers), that farts were the first form of pheromonic communication, before people learned to lie by making sounds with their vocal cords. After all, while assholes often lie, farts do not.

Then the brain routes their message directly to the amygdala, (I’m sure that’s what brain imagists will discover, when they do the necessary experiments), which is, on the higher level, very similar to what happens when you touch a hot skillet and jump back before you realize what’s happened.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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