My question is a bit of a touchy subject. Recently we helped a fellow fur out by providing a place to live, as he was getting evicted from his prior residence. We were taking a chance, being that we did not know him very well, and now we wish we had.
A couple weeks after he first moved in we noticed something was a bit off. He admitted to us quite plainly he had stolen food from his previous roommates. I was none too happy and immediately told him if I ever caught him stealing from us, that he'd be out. Not long after this incident he made a sexual pass at my mate, right in front of me. I told him not to grab my boyfriend's ass, and that was his one and only warning.
Today he told me he threatened a small neighbor kid by saying if the kid's dog (a pit bull) came near him again it would die.
I am at a loss as what to do. I no longer feel comfortable with this fur in my house. I do not know how to break it to him that he might need to leave, especially since he traveled thru multiple states to get here, and I do not want to see anyone out on the street.
* * *
This is a good example of the danger of letting someone into your home whom you don’t know well. It was nice of you to take that furry in, but generosity can only go so far. You need to have some respect for yourself and your own sanity. Therefore, if this arrangement isn’t working out, you are the lord of the manor, so to speak, and have the right to tell him to leave.
However, before you do that, let’s look what we have here. First there was his confession that he stole food at his previous place. However, he has, as yet, not stolen from you, and you made it clear this wasn’t acceptable. Secondly, he grabbed your mate’s butt. You put a stop to it and, I surmise, he hasn’t repeated the act. Finally, there was the dog incident, which is disturbing. I hope you told him that what he said was inappropriate and potentially criminal.
So, basically, this furry has got no social skills to speak of. Likely this is because either he was poorly raised by his parents or he has a mental or emotional problem. This shouldn’t be your problem, but you have made it your problem by bringing him into your home. You are right that it isn’t very kind of you to just kick him out onto the streets in an area he doesn’t even know well.
Do you like the guy, despite his flaws? If so, he is worth a bit of effort. I would suspect your initial deal with him was that this would be a temporary arrangement, yes? You can patiently explain to him what behavior is acceptable and what is not, and if he improves, then you don’t really have a problem, and, eventually, he’s moving out anyway.
If you don’t like the guy (behavior or not), then you need to move on this more quickly. Start working on plans to get him out now. Locate a friend or family member who will take him in and figure out a way to get him there. You don’t have to toss him on the street, but you should figure out something quickly. You don’t have to necessarily tell him you are doing this because he’s a buttmunch, just tell him that your financial circumstances have changed and you cannot afford him to stay much longer. Again, assuming you weren’t inviting him to live with you forever and ever, this is not a betrayal or a matter of you going back on your word.
Um, hello, Papabear...
If it's no trouble, I need your advice. To preface my question, I have a girlfriend in real life and have a very hard time saying "no" to others. Now on to my purpose for writing, I was asked to be the mate of a friend online and I said... Yes! He seems like a very kind and loving person, but it was so sudden... Honestly, I am not sure what to do here. I fear that this new relationship is only a result of puppy love, as I have truly only met this guy recently through an art stream that he runs. Now, sorry for rambling, onto the real question. What do I do here? I mean, what if it IS puppy love, and what of my girlfriend? How can I deal with this with the least hurt feelings from either party? Honestly, all I care about is keeping the others involved from being hurt... I suppose I just need help figuring this out, and if you can help, some advice.
Thank you for your time and consideration, please help me if you can...
* * *
So you have a hard time saying “No.” Also, in your online form, you say you are 15 years old. The combination of the two leads me to suspect you said “Yes” to this proposal was a combination of youthful impulsiveness and your desire to please others. You really didn’t think it through, did you? I mean, did you stop and say, “Wait a minute, I already have a girlfriend” before you said yes?
I think you need to pause, take a deep breath, and think this through. Do you love your girlfriend? If so, why would you dump her for someone you just met and know very little about? On the other paw, if you don’t love your girlfriend (i.e., perhaps there is a subconscious reason why you leapt at the offer from this other person) then there is the option of dumping her and pursuing this puppy love and seeing if it develops into something special.
Either way, since I’m guessing you’re not looking for a ménage à trois, you’re going to have to let one or the other go. This will be a lesson for you to think before you act in the future because now you are going to have to hurt someone’s feelings, no matter what you do. And learn to say “No.” That is an important lesson in life that can save you and others a lot of grief; and keep in mind it is okay to say it.
Dear Papa Bear,
I'm a polyamorous fur with a bit of a problem. You see, about a year ago, I met a wonderful, wonderful friend, whom I will be referring to as Eri, at a con. We talked online most days and developed a very close relationship. Eri was in a relationship with someone else, who will be called Scorpion.
Now, about a month or two ago, both Eri and Scorpion came up to visit, along with several of our other friends for a birthday party. Scorpion and I spent some time together, and the next day, told me she was also polyamorous and found me attractive. I reciprocated the feelings.
With Eri's permission, we began a friends with benefits type of relationship. I became extremely close to Scorpion, and have remained so to this day.
The next month, the both of us took a road trip to see Eri, as she lives far away from the both of us, and I began a similar relationship with her.
However, soon after this happened, Scorpion and Eri broke up. Scorpion is somewhat indifferent to the situation, although is not fond of some of the recent choices Eri has made, but Eri was really hurt by this. And I'm caught in the middle.
My feelings for both of them are different, though. With Eri, she is my best friend that I happen to have sex with, but it's a more friendly type of relationship. I act as a sound board for her to vent out ideas and we tell each other everything. Scorpion is different. It started out as just a fling, but has become more emotionally charged, and I've found myself falling hard and fast.
We've both discussed becoming more exclusive with each other, and are both quite open to the idea. The problem here is Eri. She's still very hurt by what Scorpion did, and has told me that she views me as her replacement.
I don't want to hurt my friend, but I very much want to be with Scorpion. Is there a balance between this, or should I just follow my heart?
* * *
While there is nothing inherently wrong with polyamorous relationships, the problem with them is that they become complicated. Most people have a hard enough time maintaining a stable relationship with even one person, let alone two or more. Yours is the perfect example. Although you like both Eri and Scorpion, you now have a break-up between the two of them. Therefore, you no longer have a working polyamorous relationship. What you have is your relationship with Scorpion, and then you and your friend-with-benefits, Eri. This is no longer a true polyamorous trio.
Now, according to your letter, you are in love with Scorpion, but you see Eri as more of a friend that you have sex with. Eri, however, wants you as a replacement for Scorpion. If you don’t feel for Eri the same way she feels about you, you need to tell her this. You need to tell her you see her as a friend.
Frankly, what is likely to happen here is that Eri, already upset about Scorpion, will see you as taking Scorpion’s side and she will be upset, which could, in turn, mean the end of your sexual relationship, at the least, and possibly your friendship, as well.
BUT, if you take Eri’s side, then Scorpion will be mad and that would cause a rift between you and Scorpion.
At this point, it’s a mess, let’s face it. You can try and salvage it by telling Eri you still want to maintain your relationship because you feel it is separate from what you and Scorpion have, but chances are this will not convince her.
Based on what you have said in your letter, unless you can get Eri and Scorpion to make up and be friends again, this trio is done and you’ll have to choose between Eri or Scorpion. Since your heart is with Scorpion, that is the way to go. You can tell Eri how you feel and that you don’t want it to end, but brace yourself that in all probability you will end up losing Eri.
Not every story has a happy ending; not every relationship works out. I hope it does for you, but if it does not, then you will need to be strong and go on with your life with Scorpion only.
My name is alan and I am finally 18 years old and I am a fat gay anthro rat and I am having a bit of a relationship issue. My mate, who I have been with three years, just keeps on gaming and well it’s taking a bit of a toll on our relationship. Whenever I come home from school and log on to my laptop the first thing I see is him on stream gaming. We have short little chats, we tell each other we love them and basically that's all our conversation turns out to be. And the month of February is worse. He games all month and I have to let him game or else I have to take care of a moody, fat, gay, anthro badger. To all reading this, the month of February is a tough month for him because he lost his mom when he was younger in this month.
I’ve just had it with his gaming. He games and games and games. I feel like he dose not care for me any more. I miss the old times when we had like date nights and he gave me all the love in the world, but now he just games and I started drinking sodas just to get me through the pain of this. I drink like 4 sodas a day; trust me, it’s that bad. Now I turn to you, Papabear. What should I do? I don’t know how much of this I can take anymore. I am losing sleep over this. I am a gamer but I only game like 5 to 6 hours but he games like 7 to 10 hours a day.
Oh, yeah, I got a nook for my birthday last year and I was wondering if you know any good books that I can read.
From a stressed out new Mexican rat king.
P.S.: My mate lives in Georgia, sorry I forgot to mention this.
* * *
It’s clear that your mate has a gaming addiction that was probably exacerbated by the death of his mother. He is avoiding the pain he feels by submerging himself into a fantasy world. This might ease his pain, but he is actually hurting himself and you in the process. Therefore, it is not a positive therapeutic strategy, but a harmful one that must be stopped.
The mental health community is recognizing this problem more and more, and treatment centers are starting to pop up around the country specifically designed to treat gaming addicts. If your mate had the money, I would suggest he go to one of these.
First, of course, he needs to recognize he has a problem, just as an alcoholic or drug addict has to. That’s where you come in. From your letter, it does not sound like you have yet confronted him with the problem. Now, I guess he lives in a different state, so you can’t do the ideal thing, which is to sit down with him in person, hold his hand, look him in the eye, and explain the situation. Unless you can fly over to him, you’ll have to do the next best thing: call him on the phone or perhaps do a videochat.
Tell him basically what you told me. That all this gaming is hurting him and you and destroying your relationship. Tell him you love him and want to help, but he has to help himself by trying to get some treatment and trying to get off the gaming. One way to do that is to set limits. For example, if he is gaming 10 hours a day, try cutting it to 9 for a week, then to 8 for the next week, and so on until it is a more reasonable 2 hours or so.
As for your Nook, you could start by reading up on game addiction to help your mate. Here are a few good ones:
Work with your mate on breaking his addiction. This will take patience and time on your part. Such things don’t change overnight. There will likely be a two-steps-forward-one-or-two-back-two-steps-forward-again progress that, at times, could be infuriating, but if you love him you will work on it.
He also has to deal more directly with the grief over losing his mother. Some grief counseling from a professional would be helpful, either one-on-one or group therapy. Explore what options are available in his part of the country and go from there.
In addition to all of this, don’t forget to be good to yourself. You can begin by dropping the sodas and drink herbal tea or water with some lemon or lime and a dose of stevia sweetener. If you like it bubbly, get some soda water and mix citrus and stevia into it. Try to get some exercise, and yoga or meditation to calm your spirits. People who try to help those who have an addiction or serious illness often forget that they need to be healthy, too, so take care of yourself!
Hope this helps! Please keep me posted on your progress.
For the longest time I have had a question that I feel hasn't really been addressed anywhere I've looked. The issue, as I perceive it to be, is that I have two fursonas, and I cannot seem to ever decide which applies more to me.
I use both daily, as I have accounts on various accounts that use either one. My first and original fursona is that of a Bengal tiger, personifying the aspects of myself which I desire to have, or to obtain eventually at some part of my life. I'll refer to him as ALoD. I have had this fursona for about 7 months (as long as I have been a furry). He is the more headstrong, outgoing side of my personality that I occasionally display, but more often hide behind my shyness.
My other and more correct fursona, as it is 2 months old, is that of a River Otter. He reflects my personality as I am now, and I identify most with this one. He is the epitome of my insecurities, though he is fun loving as well. This fursona is often displayed by my tendency to be quiet and ponderous, yet can still enjoy every aspect of like as a child would (not to be confused with babyfurs). But the problem lies not there, but that while my Otter fursona, which I'll call Churran is just as relevant to me as my other fursona.
I view each fursona as a large aspect of my personality, as if they were real individuals, and often find myself wondering "What would ALoD or Churran do?" I can neither place one over the other in terms of importance nor can I decide which one to refer to myself as when introducing myself to a furry I've never met before. I even go so far as to use the name Churran as my furry identity since I like the name more than ALoD.
So I ask this. Is there a way to decide, or is this something I will simply need to get used to? Also, is this normal among those in the fandom?
* * *
It is not uncommon for a furry to have more than one fursona and it is nothing to be concerned about. I had one furry write me a while back wondering if she was suffering from multiple personality disorder because of this, and, of course, she wasn’t. Many furries use fursonas to help them express their identities more freely. Sometimes, like you, they have different fursonas to express the way they are feeling at the time on various occasions.
Later on in life, you might find that you drop one or the other fursona, or maybe add a new one, or drop both and decide on an entirely new fursona. As we change and grow, our fursonas often do the same until we eventually settle down on one or two. For example, I was a wolf, then a dragon, and now very content as a bear. I’ve discovered myself and who I am and that is a bear. You will probably do the same, as you are only 18 right now.
Furries your age usually do one of two things after a few years in the fandom: 1) they leave furry forever, deciding they are “too grown up” for it, or 2) being a furry helps them discover who they are and their fursona becomes quite solidified.
So, don’t worry about having two fursonas. It’s all part of the growing process and discovering who you are.
Hi, papa bear.
How appropriate the advice site is named papa bear, for the question I have to ask you has precisely to do with that.
I lost my papa when I was around 2 years old [Papabear note: he is 20 now] and since then I've been looking to have someone be a paternal figure to me. Along with that, I've been experiencing strong urges to recreate my early childhood of which I barely have memories. In other words I want to have my papa back, I want to get my early childhood back, I want to laugh all my cares away, redo my life like it was a crayon-drawn sketch.
It's a really cute and adorable dream depicted like that; however, it always hardens a knot to my chest (one I have since I turned 13) and I can't help to tear up at times.
I want to grow up as a person in society, be mature and fit in. But I don't want to let go of the childish traits that are part of me. What do I do?
* * *
I am so sorry for your loss—a hard thing to go through for any child, not to mention your mother, who, it sounds like, did not remarry and had to raise you by herself. It’s understandable that you would want to regain something you lost that should have been a part of you. Now that you are 20, though, it’s a bit late to be adopted by a father, although there are a lot of furries out there (and nonfurries) who really have a strong need to pal around with older men as mentors and father figures.
While you don’t want to pull a Michael Jackson, which would be rather scary, there is no reason you can’t indulge your inner child now and then. That could be a reason why you are a furry. A lot of the stuff that goes with being a furry is very childlike—loving cartoons, dressing up as an animals and such—so I bet you really enjoy that.
Note that I use the word “childlike” and not “childish.” Childish is a word that means immaturity, a state often characterized by selfishness, tantrums, and not being able to deal with adult life. Childlike means having a wonderful, colorful imagination, enjoying the ability to play and have fun, being honest and open, have a sense of wonder about the world.
You may have had to grow up too fast in life and missed some opportunities to play, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun as an adult. Look at me and other greymuzzles like me: I’m 47 and dress up as a bear! Most adults would say I’m nuts. I say I’m playful. At the same time, I work hard, pay bills, and do “responsible” stuff.
You can be both childlike and an adult, Kyu. I’m a living example of that. In fact, being a childlike furry will keep you young, I seriously believe, and make your adult life easier to get through. In the meantime, no law says you can’t find a mentor, a father figure in your life. I have a couple in mine who have helped me a lot over the years who have helped me both psychologically and spiritually.
So, Kyu, be responsible. Hold down a job, pay your taxes, and all that boring stuff. But also embrace your childlike side. Many adults don’t and this is the result:
Others do, and this is the result:
Which group would you rather associate with?
Dear Papa Bear,
I got into a relationship with this girl at school, hereafter referred to as Cheryl. This was before I had accepted that I was gay, before that whole fiasco with my family, and it was a fun relationship; it was the first relationship I'd ever had with anyone, guy or girl.
She was cute, though the rest of the guys didn't like her; she is kinda... overweight, and she has a forceful, tomboy-ish personality...
Anyway, she was overreaching a lot of the time, and I was initially uncomfortable with her PDAs... Again, first relationship EVER! I had trouble holding hands with her at first, then I got comfortable with hugging her... And then kissing her, VERY short ones... In class, she would poke my sides, or reach her arm around me and grasp my love handles, which ALWAYS made me jump, seeing as they are very sensitive.. I got used to all of the above, except for the last one, and we had a good relationship for a few months... We never... Well... Never DID anything, even though she asked several times... I just... NO.
Then came the winter-break, two weeks of no school. I sat around, reading books, watching TV, taking my nephew out to play, and texting my friend in PA, hereafter referred to as Quinn. I talked to Quinn about... Stuff... He was actually what made it possible for me to accept that I'm gay; otherwise I'd probably have realized when I was twenty-ish in college.
When I realized this, I knew why I felt so uncomfortable with Cheryl... It made sense to me, at that point. When the break was over, I broke up with her, feeling VERY bad that I was going to hurt her in doing so (Don't put the words in these parentheses into the site, if/when you do put it in, just letting you know as to WHY I felt so bad hurting her; She'd had, like, 25 "boyfriends" by this point, some who "used" her and dumped her right after... Yes, THAT kind of "used".)
Anyway, I broke up with her, and she hated me for a week, and I felt absolutely terrible about it... But she came around, trying to get be back into a BF/GF relationship, and when she saw that I wouldn't, she asked me, when we were alone, point-blank, WHY I wouldn't... I told her why.
She flipped out for a few days, hating that, quote, "Another guy has turned gay on me, F*** THIS!!!"
She became less belligerent, eventually accepting that she was in the "Friend-Zone," and things became semi-normal...
But here's my problem:
She's STILL hugging me, STILL holding my hand, STILL trying to kiss me, STILL grabbing my sides and poking me...
I STILL feel uncomfortable with it all, but SHE is the one doing it all. I hold my arms at my sides when she hugs me, I leave my hand open when she curls her fingers into my hand, I turn my head away when she tries to kiss me, and I TRY to block her poking and grabbing, but she won't let up... Doesn't help that I share my 3rd period class with her...
How can I make her stop?
* * *
This reminds me of something from my past. My ex had a boyfriend in school and she really liked him and, eventually, he discovered he was gay and that was that. Much later, she and I met, fell in love, and, after years of marriage, I figured out I was gay and we divorced. Did she turn me and her old bf gay? No, not at all. The thing is, and I really believe this, that many gay men have qualities that some women are attracted to, such as being kind, sensitive, emotional, funny, caring, etc. Some women are attracted to “tough guys” or “bad boys,” others like men who are more gentle. These men are not all gay, but gay men tend to be much more in touch with what society calls the “feminine side.”
So, first of all, “Cheryl” needs to understand this. She’s not turning men gay; rather, she is attracted to certain qualities that are more common in gay men than they are in more “macho” straight men.
Now, for your side of it. You’re uncomfortable with her, shall we call them, friendly advances. If she is doing this because she still thinks she has a shot at you or (God forbid because this is such a fallacy) because she believes she can change you, then you need to sit down with her and straighten her out. If, on the other hand, she is just an affectionate person and she just likes you a lot but understands this is on a friendly basis, then (assuming you still like her, too) I would recommend you calm down and enjoy her friendly affections.
American society is bizarrely uptight about outward displays of affection on one hand, but on the other Americans are crazy about sexuality in the media. It’s a disparity I have never fully understood. I, for one, love affection. I love hugs, friendly pats, even kisses, from men or even women. Affection is something we need more of in our lives. Good friends in our lives, friends who love us and can show it, are rare and should be treasured.
As long as you and Cheryl both know and accept where you stand when it comes to sex, then relax and enjoy her company. Physical contact of any kind is a wonderful thing in this life and is what makes REAL life so much more awesome than the virtual life so many furries retreat into.
Hope that helps,
Dear Papa Bear:
I need a little help with love issues, I will star saying that there was someone I liked since I was 15 years old and had the chance to ask him to a date, which was wonderful, by the way.
After a couple of dates I started to love him a lot; even though he's gay and I'm bisexual, we have the same interests on movies, games and shows. I really started to love him and there are some things that are kinda hard for me to tell him:
1) I'm into zoophilia (thanks for your help with this subject)
2) He doesn't know I'm in love with him
3) I'm too shy to admit my feelings for him because unfortunately someone broke my heart some time ago and I'm afraid that he might not like me at all.
What can I do? How can I express him my feelings without seeming fearful? I just don't want to get hurt again if he says "no."
Please help me Papa Bear.
* * *
Dear Dairy Cow,
Glad I was able to help with your earlier problem. Your current situation has similarities to a number of letters Papabear has received from the lovelorn in that the difficulties all stem from the same emotion: fear.
There is a Japanese proverb that says, “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” We believe that fear controls us, but it is actually we who have the power to let it rule our lives ... or not. Fear is an excuse to not take a risk, to not slide back into laziness and what is familiar and comfortable, even if what is familiar and comfortable is not good for us.
There are two ways to face fear: you can take baby steps, or you can take the plunge all at once (e.g., pouncing your love interest, giving him a big fat kiss, and declaring your undying love). You’ve already dated this guy, and you both get along. He might even be in love with you but might, like you, be afraid to take the next step. I’m getting a sense that in this situation, we might want to try the baby step approach. Have you told him, at least, that you like him? If so, how did he respond? If he replied in kind, that is definitely something to build on.
I’m guessing, too, that, although you dated, perhaps you are not dating at present. Ask him out to a date. First, do something ordinary, like a movie and a hamburger, then ask him to another date. This next time, do something more romantic: a walk in a park or on the beach, perhaps. Now, if things are going well, the next thing you use is not words but body language: a touch on the shoulder, perhaps a light touch on the hand. Smile, and use your eyes—they can speak volumes. If you sense him withdrawing suddenly, then back off. You are making him uncomfortable. But ... if he responds, you will be able to tell. That’s when you go a little further. Tell him that “I like you.... a lot. More than my other friends. I care about you.”
A lot of what goes on here depends upon his reactions to your gestures. You will be able to sense positive or negative feedback and then proceed accordingly. If he, for instance, says “I really like you a lot, too,” you could even go to, “I think I might even be falling in love with you.” Again, these are baby steps.
You don’t bring up things like your zoophilia and his being bisexual until you can establish whether or not this guy likes you in the first place. These are things that can be discussed when the relationship has a foothold. If you discover that you both really love each other and want very much to be together, then these issues can be overcome; if the relationship is weak, then a disagreement about sexual appetite could be the end of it. Again, you won’t know that until you have been together for a bit.
So, try the baby-step approach, Dairy Cow, and see how it goes. Good luck!
[Dear Readers. In today's column, I write back to two furries who wrote to me at the same time. It's quite touching. Read on....
I’m 20 years old and I found a really great friend who I want to move in with. However, he is in the air force and I want to go to Texas with him for 8 weeks then to Georgia for two years with his boyfriend. But I’m being pulled in all directions. People telling me what to do and acting like they know better then I do. If I go then I will be letting down all my family, but if I stay I will be missing out on something great.
. . .
A very close and loving fur known as King will be writing to you soon. He desperately needs help. He is trying to find out how best approach what is going on with him. If his letter comes in and you need any info from me, I would be happy to provide it for you, Papabear. I love him deeply with all my heart. That is why I am trying to save him from his mentally unstable adoptive mom and his less than helpful adoptive dad. I have already paid for his tickets to join me in TX as I will be going for training for a new job in the Air Force. Afterwards, I will be going to my next duty station in GA. His parents, aunt and uncles are all telling him that I am a pedophile (even though he is an adult and is 20 years old), a creep and someone after his money (his whole $10 in his bank account). They are filling his head with doubt and he is getting pissed. Hell, he is even saying he is getting panic attacks because with me on one side tugging and his adoptive family tugging on the other he is slowly losing his patience. He hates his job, as well, working for BK in NJ. I want to give him a better life away from his abusive parents and crappy job. I love him so much I am willing to take him with me to tech school, living with me in the hotel I will be staying in, find some temporary job until I leave and then drive off together to GA. He is to be living with me as well. We will meet in person this upcoming Friday and the following day he is coming with me. But sadly his folks are driving a wedge between us. Well this is what I got for you on my side of the story. Let me know if you got his letter yet or are giving him some sort of advice. Please please Papabear he needs you. :'c
* * *
Dear King and Alonely,
I am writing to both of you since you both wrote to me. King, you are 20 years old. That’s old enough, certainly (unless you are suffering some illness that makes you dependent upon others), to go off on your own and live your own life. The letter that Alonely wrote is filled with love and concern for you. He sounds like someone who wants to care for you, while your family, on the other paw, want to restrict you, either because they want to control your life or because they don’t have enough faith in you to believe you can go out and live it yourself.
If the two of you can come to an agreement on how the finances will work, and if both of you are willing to do what needs to be done to make this new partnership work, then, King, you need to take the bull by the horns and, as you say, make sure you don’t “miss out on something great.”
Throughout our lives, we come across people who tell us we can’t do something. When we are young, it is often parents and family members who tell us “No, you can’t do that.” When we are older, it might be friends, or lovers, or bosses, or the government, or the church. People will always tell you “No.” People will always try and limit you, to tie your feet down, to clip your flight feathers. These are the people who want to control us and who, indeed, are afraid of having people in their lives they cannot control.
Don’t listen to them. I can tell from your letter that your heart knows better than your head what to do. Follow your heart.
Good luck! Hugs!
I’m coming to you for an answer that I can’t quite answer myself. I wish I could say I had an awesome childhood (which I might have had but don’t remember much), but I mostly remember the painful memories that I endured. My dad cheated on my mom several times, but she forgave him and tried to make it work so we could keep our family together. During those times my dad would take me to his mistress's houses and then would threaten me of disownment if I ever spoke of them to my mother. Eventually they got divorced which was messy and somewhat set the path of an even more interesting childhood as we grew up constantly living with our dad or mom for a few years. The lies and tricks my dad pulled were horrible and have somewhat set influence in my life.
I feel nowadays that these memories have taken its toll on my life. I have fears of commitment, trust, and abandonment and because of that I have set up a defense that leaves me emotionless most of the time and hurts others around me. I created a trait of self-sabotage. Sometimes when I feel I get too close to someone, I get scared and I distance myself from them, sometimes I cut communication, I come up with excuses, I leave them for someone else, end a friendship, etc. I do it with as little emotion as possible. I feel this way I wont get hurt and that I wont have to ever deal with the possibilities of my fears, but because I do this, it hurts those iv become close to or friends around me.
My question is, how do I stop sabotaging myself so I can enjoy life the way its intended and stop hurting friends and loved ones around me?
* * *
Parents are so key to our lives. They can nurture you and help you grow into a well-adjusted adult, or they can totally fruckerhump your brain and scar you emotionally for years to come. Your dad didn’t give you a very good example of how to be a loving and good human being. Observing him as you grew up, you developed this sense of “this is how adults behave in relationships” and imposed that world view upon your own life.
What you need to remember are two things: 1) You are not your father, and 2) The past is the past. The only reason why you are having problems with your social relationships now is because you believe that your life will somehow mimic that of your parents. Furthermore, your self-esteem has been crushed.
In order for you to regain control of your life, you need to acknowledge that you are in charge of your own decisions. What you are currently doing is allowing FEAR to control you. When you are afraid, when you are scared of things, you will inevitably make bad choices, as I have said before in other columns. And the only person you are hurting is yourself by doing this.
SpaceBear, do you want to be happy? Do you find that this strategy of yours of running away from relationships and being “emotionless” makes you happy? Bet you $100 right now it doesn’t make you happy, or else why write to me?
You are confusing the relationship you had with your parents as being commensurate with a relationship with a potential mate. You need to divest yourself of this incorrect thinking. Yes, relationships can be hard sometimes, and there is no guarantee that you will find a mate who will always be by your side forevermore. However, if you run away from every possible chance you have at happiness, you are GUARANTEEING you will never be happy.
Because you no doubt have low self-esteem from the way your parents treated you, what you need to do is get that back. You can start with some meditation exercises. Find a quiet place to be with your own thoughts and, for at least 15 minutes a day, say, out loud, to yourself, “I deserve happiness. I am a good person. I deserve love. I deserve someone to love and someone who will love me back. I am worthy of being loved.” You don’t have to use those exact words, but something similar. You need to hear them, which is why I tell you to say them out loud. There might be times when those “little voices in your head” tell you otherwise. When they do, shout them down! Yell at them, “You are wrong! I am a good person! I deserve to be happy!” Keep yelling at them until they shut up.
SpaceBear, I know you personally (as a few of my readers might know) and I can tell you’re a good guy. Your father was wrong and cruel to threaten to disown you. You have a loving heart, and in our conversations you have repeatedly told me you want to help the furry community. Judging by your letter, other people have sensed this too, and they have approached you, but you have pushed them away.
By doing this, you might think you are protecting yourself, but you are not. You are hurting yourself. Like a person who is addicted to smoking and is damaging his health, at some point you have to stub out the cigarette and tell yourself to stop it. Self-doubt and self-criticism can become addictive, too. You’re used to it; it even feels good sometimes, doesn’t it? Like a relief. “I don’t have to get involved in a relationship because I am unworthy, so why put out the effort?”
I have a feeling you know all of this already, don’t you? You just needed to hear it from someone else. Now that you’ve heard it, do something about it. Work on defeating that inner voice that brings you down, and the next time someone comes up to you and asks you on a date, tell them “Yes!” Or the next time you see someone cute that you like, resist every negative inclination in your body and go over to them and ask them out. Dive into that ocean, SpaceBear, and be renewed.
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.