Category Archives: etc

“Other” Reasons People Don’t Leave

 

 

The chicken doesn’t mean anything. I just think it’s funny.

I’m starting to think that perhaps I shouldn’t call my college relationship abusive. After all, it’s not like I was hit or anything. Also, I wasn’t exactly the best girlfriend in the world. I had a jealous streak a mile wide and wasn’t very trustworthy toward the end. Plus, there must have been *something* good to keep me there. If I can think of good things about him that means it wasn’t abusive, right?

Then I remember how he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. I remember how he once planned a fake suicide threat and panic attack to make me feel guilty for breaking up with him for someone else. I remember how he harassed the other guys who were interested in me (while we were broken up!) behind my back so he could swoop in and play the hero. Granted, I shouldn’t have fallen for his crap about wanting to be friends right after our breakup because he had an agenda. I should have known better.

I remember the surge of fear I felt when I saw a friend request from him on Facebook. I have no idea why I felt that because it’s not like he could still hurt me, but it just felt…I don’t know.  I don’t want say it was a flashback because to put myself in the same category as some other people I know but my therapist says I should because “if *I* thought it was abuse, that’s what it was”. Makes sense. Anyway, I wanted to write a post on this for another site, but they thought it was “too serious”. So I’ll do it here. Here are some of the reasons people stay in abusive relationships that you usually don’t hear about. I’m not writing this to “label myself” or play the victim to get attention (as I’ve been accused of before) so much as  to give some insight that might help someone else down the line. 

-We’ve invested a lot of time in the relationship.  We have a history with this person that we don’t want to be for nothing. We don’t see that by staying we’d just be wasting more time, losing more time we can’t get back.

A lot of times, I will think back to what things would have been like in college had I either not met him or stayed away from him; who I could have dated, what classes I could have taken, what “drama” and what kind of hurt I could have spared myself and other people.  I wouldn’t give up my current husband and relationships for the world, but I wonder if I might be subconsciously trying to get that time back.

We still love them. As much as you (and perhaps your mom) wish you could, you can’t turn your feelings for someone off like a light switch. It’s possible that you might stop loving someone (or, in my case, realize you weren’t in love with them to begin with), but this has to happen over time if it’s going to happen at all. And it may not. Love can evolve, which makes it really confusing when it comes to plotting your next move. It’s especially hard if you have kids together.

-We don’t know when to quit.  According to my father, this is a problem of mine. Granted, he was talking about making fart noises or playing the “I’m not touching you” game in the car, but you get the point.

We don’t want to give up. We tell ourselves, if we stay just a *little* longer, things will work themselves out. We think, maybe if I marry him, he’ll treat me better. Maybe if we have a child, he’ll treat me better. He’d have to, right? Since I’d be the mother of his child. Um, no. If someone has it in them to abuse a partner they claim to love, they probably have it in them to abuse a kid too.  Even if they don’t, it’s still a toxic environment to grow up in.

Even if it’s not a matter of behavior, we never know when it’s truly over because the person always tries to find a way to “rejuvenate” things just long enough for you to come back to him. After that, it goes back to the same old thing and the cycle starts all over again. We don’t realize that that this is never going to stop and that it’s time to step off of the carousel. We know when everyone else should quit, but we don’t know that for ourselves. We give advice to our friends with relationship problems, but we don’t take that advice ourselves. Perhaps we’d do well to.

You could also take “not wanting to quit” to mean that we don’t want to admit defeat. Our egos won’t allow us to do anything that could be considered “quitting” or “backing down”.  We don’t realize that a relationship ending isn’t a failure on our part; If anything, it would be a victory if we were to stand up for ourselves and leave. We just don’t see that at the time.

-We think it’s normal. I’m not saying that we’re used to mind games or being insulted so much as that we think it’s just the normal “ups and downs” of a relationship-that we have to take the good with the bad, and this is the bad. There’s also the fact that things aren’t always all bad and we think the good things are worth staying for. For instance, my boyfriend’s family was incredible. If I could have dropped him and kept them, I would have. Also, it’s like I said above-he loved me in his own way. Maybe it’s worth staying for, maybe it’s not. That’s up to you.

Then again, I remember the time he told my suitemates that I’d gotten upset after a fight we had and ran off into the dark side of campus. I hadn’t; I was sitting in the parking lot and then downstairs talking to a friend. He was the one who’d stormed off like a child.  Apparently this was some sort of “trick” he played on my friends. Very juvenile, but so was he. Even if it’s obvious to everyone else that our partner is abusive, we don’t see it that way. We don’t know to. We think we’re just “going with the flow”, never realizing that said “flow” is about to drag us under.

-We’re easily led and under his “spell”.

If you have a submissive personality and they have a strong one-which is almost always the case-they will take advantage of you and justify pretty much any behavior by saying that you didn’t say “no”.  The truth is that you usually did say no, just not in a way he’d recognize. I sure as hell did, even if it wasn’t in those words. However, I’d said “yes” too. That’s the problem-those are the only words they’ll hear and will use it against you. It might not be intercourse (it wasn’t with me), but he’ll do things the law doesn’t allow thinking it’s okay because you’ve done these things before and that gives him a “right” to ignore anything else you might say. No, it doesn’t. I don’t care how much you liked it before-you can say no any time you want. If he doesn’t listen…well, there are words for that. You know what they are.

Like a lot of phishing scammers these days, it’s not that you’re stupid or weak; they just know what to say and how to say it. For this reason, I don’t think there is a such thing as someone who “accidentally” emotionally or psychologically mistreats someone. They will often claim they didn’t know what they were doing, but I don’t believe it. I don’t see how.

-We don’t know what it means to forgive. This sounds weird, but bear with me. It’s not that we don’t forgive enough, but that we forgive too much. Like I said above, we think that what we’re dealing with is just the bad along with the good and that we’re being “hasty” in leaving. We have this idea that forgiving someone means forgetting what they did-in other words, thinking we have to put ourselves in a position to get hurt again. We have to go back to them, we have to behave as though nothing ever happened because anything else is tantamount to holding a grudge, and we all know what God thinks of that. I thought this, and boy was it my undoing.  I still don’t know what Jesus meant by forgiving someone “seventy times seven” times, but I don’t see why we should put ourselves in a position to need to forgive someone that many times. I know, I know,  He wasn’t giving us a literal number of times, but you get the point. We think we’re doing wrong by holding their bad behavior against them, even if it’s for our own protection. We think that “doing unto others” is more important than doing unto ourselves. As admirable as it is, this kind of selflessness can go bad really quickly if it’s wasted on the wrong people. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t try to treat others with the grace that Jesus showed us, but sometimes you have to do this from a distance.

To quote a friend of mine: “Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself; That means that you have to love yourself. Otherwise, your neighbor is screwed.” Makes sense to me.

-We don’t want to be mean. In my mother’s generation, women were often taught to be “people pleasers”-meaning that their primary purpose in life is to make other people happy. We think we’re not “allowed” to do something that upsets someone, that hurting someone’s feelings means that we’ve done something wrong and that somehow that makes us a bad person. As you can probably tell, this idea didn’t die with them. We might not be taught to be as submissive as they were, but sometimes we still get that impression, especially if our mothers are as selfless as mine was. Even if we know we should stand up for ourselves, we don’t always know how. Not without feeling mean, anyway.  We have a twisted notion of what being mean is, and an abuser will eat that up. My ex certainly did. Otherwise, why would he fake a suicide threat and panic attack so bad that I had to call a couple of his friends at 5am to drag him out of my room? He made it out as though I was the one who made him have to get counseling, even though he told me he’d done that to someone else. He also had this habit of “spontaneous repentance”-he’d start rambling on about way he’d done wrong by me and other people and how sorry he is and how he’ll change his ways. Of course, I fell for it. Stupid me. *Pointing at myself* Don’t be That Girl.

Bottom line-

We don’t see it for what it is. If it were happening to someone we love, we’d pick it out in a minute. Maybe there are positive things about your partner that people outside a relationship don’t see, but they’re usually not distracted or taken in by those things the same way we are. It’s much easier to see something for what it is when it’s not happening to you.

You could say that all these things boil down to not thinking we deserve any better, and you’d be right. I’m just talking about it this way because a lot of times people have a hard time putting their feelings into words. I do, anyway. For more information, check out http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/.

 


Christmas list?

This post was originally published in December 2010, but I thought it could use an update. Even though I am working now, I still can’t help but feel like crap because half the time I forget things that are easy for everyone else to remember and I seem to always be doing something wrong. I’m not saying that because I get constant criticism, although it feels like that sometimes. I’m saying that because I’m oversensitive and tend to respond to things like the tones people use when sometimes it’s better to remember that that’s just how someone talks or that this isn’t a good time of the year for me in general. It’s better this year than it has been because I’m working and making money, although I do wish I could see my family and friends more often. Anyway, back to your regularly-scheduled whine-fest.

My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas. The first things I thought of were a Bible with the Apocrypha in it and/or one of my favorite party games. Of course, we’d actually have to *have* parties in order to play said game, but that’s something else entirely. I can think of a few things I’d like, but I don’t think they would be something he could give me. For instance:

-He can’t give me my brain back. One thing I hate to no end is that I feel like I am ‘slipping’…everyone else ‘gets’ things that I don’t, and I keep missing and forgetting things. I don’t want to immediately say it’s because of my bipolar and/or ADHD, but that’s probably the most likely scenario. My doctors have told me that it affects the way I think; I test lower on IQ tests than I did before because my brain works differently (well, assuming it works at all 😛 ). Seriously. I’ve been told over and over again that I ‘don’t think’ or whatnot, but that’s not true at all. I *do* think, I just tend to think so fast that nothing really ‘sticks’. My last few employers-you know, the two jobs I was fired from in two weeks-can attest to that. It’s just so frustrating, because I feel like everyone else is smarter than me and understands everything much better. Maybe this is true, but maybe I’m just *different*, not any less or any more. I don’t know.

-He can’t help me lose weight. Maybe he can in terms of eating more vegetables and less fatty stuff, but he can’t exercise for me or stop me from liking things like soda and cookies. I feel like I’ve nagged him enough about that in terms of getting him to buy veggies and fruit for produce, although truth be told I really don’t push anywhere near as much as I could. Still, I know that money has been really tight for us and that he feels like the stuff we can afford is often the stuff that’s really the worst for us. He doesn’t say it like that, but that’s what it comes out to. We *do* get canned veggies but It’s up to me to actually *eat* them, or to choose them over other stuff when I have a choice.

-He can’t help me get motivated to do, well, anything. I have so many projects I’ve started that I haven’t finished and don’t really know if I will. A children’s book, a novel of sorts, a few other writing projects…at least I’ve had some stories published, although they haven’t sold yet and *ahem* aren’t the type of stories you let your dad read. I have a couple of tabs open in my browser right now for things I keep meaning to read, but somehow never get around to it because I’m so easily distracted. Maybe at some point I’ll stop playing Facebook games long enough to read the stuff I’m supposed to read on Beliefnet for my job, and Slater, get off the counter,then do some writing I get paid for and Dr Phil’s head looks particularly shiny today….oops, got distracted again.

-He can’t get me to stand up for myself the way I need to.

-He can’t ward off my depression or make other people do stuff with us. They have their own lives and I totally appreciate that, but sometimes I just get bored with the same old thing. Boredom often leads to depression with me and, since I don’t work outside of the home, I get bored quite a bit. It’s gotten better now that we’ve paid the car off and I’ve been doing more stuff at church. Just to get out among other people-especially more women since most of my friends here are men-really helps. Even so, sometimes I still feel really “meh”. Which leads me to my next point:

-He can’t make me feel like less of a piece of crap because I get disability even though a lot of the time I feel as though I can work. I know from experience that my mental issues cause major problems and my physical issues aren’t much better, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling as though I’m one of those “sponges” or “cheats” some people rant about. I would never, ever say that to someone else, but I’ll say that to myself. Hmm.

He can’t change the past, which is ultimately what it would take to ward this off.

That’s just it. He can’t change the past. I know he would if he could, though. The only thing that can be done is to get to be more comfortable and content with the way things are and to try and improve things from there, but that’s something I have to do for myself. I have to ask God to help me with that every day, if I remember. That’s really sad, ‘if I remember’, but the point is that he can’t do it for me because it’s not *for* him to do. It’s for me, with God’s help. And I need all the help I can get.

*sigh*

Maybe I should just stick with new jeans and some bras to replace the ones I can’t wear anymore. That would require a lot less explanation.


What it’s like to have ADHD as an adult

http://www.scatteredminds.com/ch2.htm

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/2081.html

I was writing an article for another site when I came across a lot of “testimonials” about ADD/ADHD…I figured I’d follow suit and write a longer and more descriptive piece about what goes on in my mind. Or, what doesn’t go on, and why I come across as a total airhead sometimes (or, at least, give an excuse).

The thing people tell me most often is that I do stupid crap because I don’t think. It’s not that ADD/ADHDers don’t think at all; quite the contrary. We think all the time and at warp speed, which is why we get distracted and can’t focus on things like directions, music, reading, etc. I used to love to read, but now I can’t get through a page online without skipping around. My Pocket app is always full. Ditto my bookmark collection because I add anything I think I’ll want to read later and then forget it’s there. I’ve been fired from two jobs in two weeks because I don’t “register” what’s being said to me for very long, assuming I hear it at all. Some of my friends act like I have dementia because I’ll compliment them on something that’s been there for years as though it’s brand new or repeat things without realizing it. I have about four-yes, four-different script projects I haven’t worked on, as well as a lot of articles or essays that I keep meaning to finish but I never do. At least, not on paper. Or computer. Or something. One of the worst parts about it is that it makes me feel like crap because I can’t seem to do anything right. At least, that’s how I see it. I just get so anxious about missing things that I end up missing even more things, screwing things up for myself even more to the point that I get so frustrated I want to give up. I never used to give up before.

It also bothers other people and makes them think less of me. If I hear one more person call me a “flake” because I can’t stick to anything, I’m going to…Slater, get off the counter…hmm, I need a pedicure…what’s that smell?…uh, what was I saying again? Typical.

I couldn’t sit down to do any sort of Bible study this morning and, even when I did, I couldn’t concentrate. Before you say, “of course not” or something similar, this is a problem for me. I haven’t been good about church/Bible/prayer anyway, anywhere near as much as I was before. There are a lot of factors that go into that, but it’s really hard to understand what you’re hearing when your mind insists on giving the priest pink hair or green-and-purple fairy wings. Yes, I’m aware how sacrilegious this is, but it’s not on purpose. The liturgy the Episcopal church uses helps a lot in that way because it’s interactive; f I were still a Baptist and heard preachers speak for 45 minutes, I’d be screwed.

Some people say I’m a good writer and I can’t help but wonder if this warp-speed-mind is part of it. Yeah.

You know how everyone else can “tune out” what’s going on around them? We can’t. In a sense you can say that we don’t have an attention deficit so much as attention overload-we pay attention to everything, whether we want to or not. For instance, I used to work in a furniture store that sold electronics. At any given time, there was a DVD going to help us show off the TVs and sound systems. Around Christmas we played “The Grinch That Stole Christmas”, which was fine with me because I love that movie…I would sing the rhymes to myself and, one day, I sang them to my boss. He thought I was talking back to him; after all, who likes to be told that their brain is full of spiders and they have garlic in their soul? He said something about how dare you talk to me like that and I explained that I was singing the songs from the movie and I just couldn’t get them out of my head. He didn’t know what I was doing because he tuned the songs out, but I can’t do that. Ever. Even if I want to. It’s not uncommon for me to get a song stuck in my head that I don’t even like and have it stay there until another comes along to replace it. For instance, right now I’m humming the background music to the Weather Channel that came up when I turned on the TV. This happened with the obnoxious hip-hop radio stations the customers kept putting the radios on-reason #375 Why I Got Sick Of Hip-Hop, even though I like some of it.

Some people say I’ll grow out of it. Seeing as I’m in my 30s, I think I’ve done all the “growing out” I’m going to do. I know some kids do better as they get older, but some of us just get worse. I used to take Adderall but it didn’t work well enough to make a difference. Concerta gave me a rash and my doctor didn’t want to try Ritalin for some reason. Not that it would have helped anyway.

Thank you for reading this far. I think that’s another thing with ADD-we talk all the damned time and can’t seem to stay on track…or maybe that’s just me. I don’t know.

I’ll let you go now. I’ve got some reading to do…or is it cleaning? Writing? Phone calls? I don’t know. I’ll figure it out eventually.


5 Things Women Should Stop Apologizing For (Assuming We Ever Did)

(Throwback Thursday-this was originally published 9/2013)

 

“Lo siento”

“Je suis désolé.”

“Mi dispiace.”

“Es tut mir leid.”

“I’m sorry.”

I tend to apologize a lot for things I don’t need to. Sometimes it’s to keep the peace, but mostly it’s because I’m a ‘people-pleaser’ and feel guilty every time someone expresses the slightest bit of frustration with me. This has been my undoing so many times that I’ve come to think that the words, ‘I’m sorry’ should be banished from every language on the planet. I know I’m not alone in this. There are a few things, though, that I will never apologize for. In fact, I don’t think any woman should. The list is pretty long, but here are the five things that I feel are the most important.

1) Standing up for herself. I know several women who were raised not to show anger or frustration. Apparently they were supposed to ignore things that bothered them for the sake of being ‘ladylike’. Some of these women are from England, a society many people think would be ‘beyond’ this sort of thing. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked about “PMS” when I complain about something I’d be able to buy my own private island, preferably staffed with shirtless firemen to serve my every need. Ditto being called a ‘bitch’. Comments like that say a lot more about the person making them than they do about us.

2) Not looking (or even wanting to look) like a supermodel. That’s the whole point of this magazine-celebrating those of us who have curves! Marilyn Monroe, a woman who is considered the bastion of beauty the world over, wore a size 12! If you’ve ever seen Mad Men, you’ve seen Christine Hendricks (http://www.stylehasnosize.com/tag/christina-hendricks/). I don’t know what size she wears, but it’s clear that she hasn’t missed many meals. Ditto Catherine Zeta-Jones, Adele, Queen Latifah…the list goes on. We’re gorgeous, and anyone who doesn’t appreciate that isn’t worth your time.

3) Choosing to work outside the home. Economics aside, some people think a woman who does this is selfish, doesn’t love her kids or intentionally being obstinate-ignoring traditional gender roles just for the sake of doing it. Sure, this might be true for some people, but most have completely different reasons. My mother, for instance, felt a lot better about herself once she got her real estate license. Regardless of how much money she made, it got her out of the house and allowed her to meet more people. Tell me-if my mother were depressed because she wasn’t ‘allowed’ to do these things while we were in school, what good would that do us? If depression were to suck all of the energy out of her the way it does to a lot of other people, would she have had anything left to give us kids? No. Contrary to what some people think, working outside the home can actually make someone a better mother.

On the other hand…

4) Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom. I’ve heard such women criticized by some of the more strident feminists as ‘continuing the patriarchal society structure that kept women back’. I can see their point, but I couldn’t disagree more. Feminism, for me, is about choices.

The problem, as I see it, is that some of us have been told that we only have so many options when it comes to career and family life. Even if it’s not explicitly said, I’ve known women in male-dominated fields who have been made to feel as though they don’t ‘belong’. It is much better now than it was in my mother’s generation, but some societies and religious groups still hold to what they view as ‘proper’ gender roles. Feminism has, among other things, given us the ability to choose what we do and where we go in life rather than having someone else (fathers, husbands, etc) make those decisions for us. Some women want to be SAHMs (Stay-At-Home Moms), and there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, I admire them; I don’t know that I’d have the patience!

5) Wanting to be appreciated for what we do. While we don’t, to quote Jesus, ‘do our deeds in public to be praised [paraphrase!],” it’s always nice to know our ‘good deeds’ do not go unnoticed. I’ve heard things like ‘you do this because that’s what you’re supposed to do-no one thanks a secretary for doing her job”. Um, I beg to differ. I’ve had employers do just that. They know that we’re the backbone; without us, their business couldn’t run. That makes me want to try that much harder to please them.

The point is that we, whatever roles we take in our lives, lay the foundation for the things that stand now and those which are to come. In raising a family, we are grooming our children to make a difference in the world. In being a wife or partner, we are giving another person the love and support they need to go about their daily life. In the professional world, we support our employers and colleagues. If we work outside the home, we help ‘bring home the bacon’ needed to do all of the things mentioned above. We are always going to be somebody’s mother, daughter, sister or friend. If you think about it, we really run the world. We let the men think that they do, but we know the truth. 🙂

We have been given the gift of strength and an indomitable spirit. That, my friends, should never be apologized for.


Abusive Relationships-A Closer Look

This is another one I wrote a while back that I’m posting here. I feel a bit odd about sharing this because the situation I’ve described in this and other posts (like this one) is nowhere near as bad as what other people I’ve known have been through, but I don’t want anyone else to feel the way I did if I can help it. Anyway, here it goes.

*************

I wish I wasn’t able to write this article.

I don’t say this to imply that I hate that I’m a good writer or using the internet to research. It’s actually fun…too much fun, considering how easily I get distracted. 🙂 No, I hate that I don’t *need* to do research to write this article. Instead, all I have to do is look at my past.

The funny thing is that I had no idea that the relationship was abusive at the time; we never do. I knew I didn’t like what was happening, but I thought abuse only looked one way (hitting) and that it was easy to tell what “fits the definition” and what doesn’t. Nope. Since I didn’t have the luxury of this knowledge when I was coming along, I’m going to give you a few ways to tell if your relationship is abusive before you get in too deep to get out.

1) He ‘swept you off your feet’. Declaring his love immediately to get you in a relationship is a big clue. Abusers look for vulnerable people-for instance, people who just got out of relationship the way I had. Getting you to commit to him quickly doesn’t give you a chance to see him for what he is, which is yet another reason being “on the rebound” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Besides, you don’t want to let yourself get swept into a relationship if you’re not ready to be in one.

2) Your partner is excessively jealous and controlling. He has to know what to wear, where you are, who you’re with, when you’re going to be back, etc.

Come to think of it, this sounds like how a parent would act. Difference is, he’s not. He has no ‘right’ or ‘position’ over you the way your parents did as a kid. You’re not a kid anymore.

3) He attempts to isolate you from your friends and family, mostly by ‘requiring’ that you be with him at all times and/or behaving in such a way that your friends will not want to be around you. I can tell a few stories about this, but I won’t. Let’s just say that a lot of this goes on behind your back as well as to your face.

4) He makes you feel bad about yourself. This is the biggest reason people stay in these relationships-they think they can’t get or don’t deserve any better.

5) Threatening to hurt or kill himself if or when you try to leave. This might sound romantic in a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ way, but it’s not. It’s coercive and controlling. That, and he’s probably not as hot as Leonardo DiCaprio. 🙂

6) He never takes responsibility for anything. His family, you, his boss, the kids…everything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault. That way, he doesn’t have to stop what he’s doing because ‘…made me do it.’

I remember saying stuff like this when I was six and broke the cookie jar. At least a six-year-old has an excuse to be childish!

7) He tries to change your looks. ‘You know, you’d be really hot if…’ ‘Maybe you need to…’ comparing you to other women, etc. This sort of criticism does not come from a person who really cares about you, even if it is framed as a joke. Besides, you’re beautiful just the way you are.

8) He pushes and pressures you into things-sex, drinking, drugs, etc-that he knows you don’t want to do. He then criticizes or makes fun of you for your reluctance-you don’t want to have sex because you’re a ‘prude’. You don’t want to drink because you’re ‘no fun’, you won’t ‘play hooky’ from work because you’re a ‘goody-goody’…you get the idea.

9) He has a bad temper and blows up over little things. This makes you afraid to do or say anything he doesn’t like, including standing up for yourself.

I have no end for this except to say that if these things seem familiar to you (or you see them in a friend), get out. Don’t walk-run, and never look back. You deserve much better than this.


The Girl in the Back of the Room

I’ve always wanted to be an advice columnist. In fact, that was one thing I wrote in those “where do you see yourself in ten years” sections in those “senior” books we got in high school. Anyway, I wrote this as an “audition piece” for an online women’s magazine. The magazine hasn’t officially launched because of some family issues the editor-in-chief had, so I’ve been given the “green light” to publish this in my own blog. The advice is to the 20-year-old me from the [censored]-year-old me.

My column name is “The Girl in the Back of the Room” I chose it because that’s the girl who sees everything that’s going on. That, and that’s who I was through most of high school. I hope you like it.

 

Dear Girl,

I’m a college student who has been dating her boyfriend for about a year. He just kind of ‘swept’ me into his life; I had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend and he gave me a lot of attention when I needed it. The trouble is, it’s gotten to where it’s a little *too* much attention. He always has to know where I am at any given time and makes me feel bad if I want to be alone in my dorm room or hang out with my suite-mates rather than spending time with him. I want to break up with him and have tried to on a couple of occasions, but he always talks me out of it-he says he loves me, that he can’t live without me, that I’m the best thing that ever happened to him, etc. He’s even said that he’ll hurt himself if I leave. I don’t love him or feel the same way about him, but I can’t help but feel like I have to stay so I won’t be responsible for anything that happens to him. If he were to kill himself because of me, I would feel like a terrible person for the rest of my life.

My friends say I need to tell him goodbye in no uncertain terms, but I don’t know how to without feeling mean. I’ve always had a problem with being too nice, but I don’t know any other way to be. My friends also say he’s playing on my good nature and manipulating me into staying with him. I’m starting to agree with them. But how can I break up with him so he’ll leave me alone without having to be mean about it?

-Confused in Connecticut

Dear Confused,

I wouldn’t normally use the words, ‘Bite me’ in an advice column, but I think it fits here; this is what you need to say to your ex because he doesn’t seem able to understand much else! You’ve tried to let him down easy, but now it sounds like you’re going to have to bite the bullet and be blunt. Tell him how you feel or, in this case, don’t feel. Yes, you’ll hurt him and feel like you’re being mean, but sometimes you really can’t avoid it. Despite his statements to the contrary, the nicest thing you can do here is make a clean break.

As for him talking you out of it, don’t give him the chance. Do what you can to avoid being alone with him. Have someone else with you whenever you can. Don’t answer his emails, don’t take his calls, ignore his knocks on your door and have your suite-mates to do the same. If you have to, report him to campus police.

You are not-I repeat, not-responsible for what happens to him! It’s not up to you to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself because he’s the one who controls his actions, not you. If he truly is suicidal, he needs to see a doctor. Either way, I agree with your friends-he’s probably saying this to make you feel guilty. I hate to say it, but what you’re describing sounds like the beginnings of an abusive relationship. If you go on any longer, things will only get worse until you find yourself in too deep to get out. Do yourself a favor and get out now. Believe it or not, it’s okay to think of yourself sometimes. If you’re really concerned about him, tell him to use the campus counseling services or have a mutual friend check up on him. Whoever talks him through it, it should not be you.

As for being a bad person, that is not even close to being true. It would be one thing if you were hurting him out of spite, but you’re not. The fact that you are concerned about it at all shows how *good* a person you are.

Apparently hindsight really *is* 20/20. Maybe now I can finally let go of that chapter of my life.

 

 


The Men of ‘Project Runway’

(Disclaimer-Neither The Prozac Queen nor her ‘subjects’ are to be held responsible for any asthma attacks suffered/deadly sins committed/computer keyboards damaged that result from reading this post. Drool at your own risk.)

I’m publishing this again because I’ve found yet another reason to love Mr. OctoberTim Gunn has an “It Gets Better” video too.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but I didn’t know if it would be weird for me to write about a TV show without having a purpose other than for my own entertainment. I’m not sure why, but the phrases ‘creepy stalker’ and ‘desperately needs a life‘ come to mind.:) I love to read reviews online, but most of those appear in ‘zines’ with people whose jobs are to watch TV and comment on it. In other words, people who get paid to do what I do for free. 🙂 I’ve now read other people’s ‘personal reviews’ and I figured, what the heck. It’s not like anything I say will (or should) be taken seriously. So, here goes.

Despite the fact that I have about as much fashion sense as a turnip, I love watching Project Runway. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a reality show on Lifetime where a group of fashion designers complete weekly challenges for a chance to show at Fashion Week and all kinds of other awesome prizes. I especially like the ‘Unconventional Challenges’ where they make dresses out of corn husks and stuff they found in a pet store! There’s also the one where they had to talk people out of their clothes (hmm, shouldn’t we at least wait until the third date for that?) to use in their projects. I haven’t seen every season, but that’s what the internet is for. So you know what I’m talking about, here’s a link to the show’s sitehttp://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway
There’s also the ‘All Stars’ show where they bring back designers from previous seasons to compete all over again. http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/project-runway-all-stars

Heidi Klum is the host…she’s pretty nice, but I love Tim Gunn, who serves as a sort of ‘mentor’ to the designers. He’s so classy-he has a way of telling it like it is without making you feel like a squashed bug. He would be so much fun to hang out with but, seeing as I’m a nobody, that’s about as likely to happen as my cats are to follow instructions. In other words, never. Oh well.

Like most other reality shows, half of the draw is the level of attractiveness of the contestants. However, since Lifetime caters to women, any and all ‘eye candy’ I notice is of the male variety. Finally, something just for us!

Now, some of you are probably asking, “Wait a sec…aren’t all these guys gay?” My answer to that is, “And? Your point is?” I don’t know, and I don’t care. Gay, straight, bi, tri…it doesn’t matter. Hotness is hotness. It doesn’t matter anyway; the closest any of us will probably get to them is licking the computer screen.* Oh, well.  In that vein, I’ve come up with the Project Runway Swimsuit Calendar. Well, not really, but here are my ‘nominees’, in no particular order.

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