|Photo courtesy of Peter Beste|
I'M TAKING CARE OF EVERYONE BUT MYSELF
Dear Willie D:
I have a typical great life; a wonderful husband, great kids, a beautiful house and my dream job. But I feel like I've lost myself because I cater to everyone's needs except my own. I'm the mother who never misses a school function. I'm the wife who is a lover and friend who is always available for my husband's various needs. I'm the employee who stays after hours to finish a task. And I'm the friend who makes herself available for another friend; even if I don't have the time.
Well, I'm tired of it. I need a break, but I don't know how to stop going. I find it hard to say no to or let down the people I love when they're counting on me. If something doesn't give real soon I could have a nervous breakdown. How can I put everyone else's needs on hold for a few minutes a day and set aside a little “me time” without feeling guilty?
Without fail, the older we get the more likely we are to get fed up with meeting everyone else's needs when our own needs aren't being met. To free up some time for yourself you have to learn how to prioritize “essential” and “desirable” tasks. For example, taking your kid to school is an essential task, while hauling her to piano lessons 45 minutes across town three days a week is a desirable task. Take some of those desirable tasks off your plate and use the time you would've spent doing them as your me time.
Learn to say no. You don't have to feel guilty for not doing something for someone or skipping an event when doing so takes away from time that you reserved for yourself. You have to be healthy and happy to have a healthy and happy relationship with your family, because what you put out is what you get back.
Like the message from the flight attendant before the plane takes off goes, in the event of an emergency, please put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.
HE KISSED AND TOLD
Dear Willie D:
I'm 19 years old and I had sex with a 22-year-old guy who shared with his friend all of the intimate details about our night together. Afterwards, his friend told someone who knew a friend of mine and it got back to me. At first I was mortified, but then I just blew it off, deleted his number from my phone and cut off all contact with him.
I'm no longer worried about what people think because what I do and whom I do it with is my business. But my question is; why do guys feel the need to kiss and tell?
The primary reason men kiss and tell is for approval from other men. I learned to keep my mouth shut while in my high school Home Economics class sitting around a room full of girls. The thing they hated most about guys was the type who blabbed about who he had sex with; especially if it was with one of them.
Most guys are snakes who are jealous of another guy's conquests. Divulging your sexual experiences with a female only gives them the knife to stab you in the back later, so they can have her for themselves.
More sage advice from Willie D on the next page.
SHE EATS OFF MY PLATE AND I CAN'T STAND IT
Dear Willie D:
Every time my girlfriend and I go to a restaurant she waits until I order so that we don't get the same dish. The reason she does this is so she can eat what's on her plate and mine. When I tell her I don't like it when she does that she gets defensive. I make sure to not use the restroom more than 15 minutes after I place my order. Otherwise, I might return to a plate with portions of the entrée missing.
How do I get her to stop eating off my plate?
The reason there is always a knife positioned next to your plate is so you can defend it. Actually, I don't mind sharing my food with my date. A happy date is a happy mate. But if you don't want her eating off your plate, your girlfriend should respect your wishes. To eat off someone's plate without their permission is rude and classless.
Since she won't keep her grubby hands off your food at restaurants, stop taking her out. Or you could do what I did to our middle-school bully, Richard. He used to point at the food on a student's plate, touch it and say, you want that? When he finally made his way to me I stuck my fork through his hand and that was the end of that.
Wait a minute — I can't be telling dudes to stick their food-snatching girlfriends with forks.I can't respond to these letters without my medication. I'm out!
I DON'T FEEL COMFORTABLE AROUND PEOPLE
Dear Willie D:
I work at a steel plant in Houston. Whenever employees are on break, they are required to be in the break room or the adjacent patio that's used mostly for smoking. Many of my co-workers have children so naturally they talk about their children every chance afforded to them. I don't want to hear about their children's diaper rashes or test scores, so I usually sit at the end of the table and turn towards the TV or stand somewhere where it is understood that I don't want to be bothered.
I know my co-workers say nasty things about me behind my back. I care what they think of me but I can't help it. I was the same way in high school. I don't know why but I have a fear of rejection and saying the wrong thing. I'm afraid if people see the real me they may not like me so rather than take that chance I turn inward. Am I just anti-social or is there something deeper wrong with me?
Fear of Rejection:
I'm no doctor, but it sounds like you have Social Anxiety Disorder. It is characterized by intense fear that the person experiencing it might make a mistake or be humiliated or embarrassed in front of other people. You can beat this, though. All you have to do is realize that people are people. Regardless of how popular or brave some of us may appear we all seek validation, want to be recognized by others, and make mistakes.
If you can't heal yourself via the physician within you, consider counseling. Cognitive behavior therapy is another option. It's a psychotherapeutic approach that teaches you how to react differently to dysfunctional emotions. And then there's always medication, which I saved for last because for me when I'm feeling sick, drugs are always a last result.
All things considered, if you want to be alone and it makes you happy don't sweat being around people. There's a bunch of weirdos out there.
Ask Willie D anything at askwillied.com, and come back soon for more of his best answers.