I've read a few of your columns and you seem very intelligent and helpful, so here's my situation...
I live with my family, which I feel I'm too old for anyway but I can't get away. My mom had A LOT of problems when I was a kid and my grandparents raised me. They were both amazing as parents and I love them so much for everything they did for me, but about six years ago they moved to Florida and I was left to live with my mother. She loves me dearly and feels terrible for not being there most of my life but she has a lot of problems.
First, she worries too much and is very vocal about it. It's hard to explain what it's like but when she talks about things there's a sense of urgency in her voice, like I'm supposed to find a way to fix it. She loses things all the time and has woken me up at 6am on multiple occasions to help her find her keys/a lighter/her work badge, etc. My sister, her boyfriend and my nephew live with us as well. As much as I love my sister, her and her boyfriend are terribly irresponsible people. He is on disability, which I understand completely, but they spend all of their money on video games and all this other frivolous stuff and leave mom stuck buying diapers and food for the baby towards the end of the month. This has gotten to the point that I've spent the last of my money a few times on things the baby needed less than a week after they bought 6 *new* video games! It goes beyond all of that though, I also take the brunt of all the fights in the house. My mom has admitted that because my sister closes up when she's upset my mom is more willing to come to me about problems and in the end she just ends up taking out her problems with my sister on me. I feel like a punching bag in the family but any time I try to move out (or even talk about moving out of state)my mom starts crying about how I'm the strong one that keeps the family together and telling me how much she needs me to help out with things. I'm not entirely financially secure enough to move out, which brings me to point #2...
My mate and I have been together for 2 1/2 years and things were kinda rocky (read: he still had another girlfriend) over the first few months. I'm finally getting over that to the point that I understand the situation and am not constantly waiting for him to cheat on me. We live 400 miles apart and he's just finally looking into moving out this way, but even then, temporarily and with a roommate (mutual friend) and not directly with me. He's been talking about wanting to marry me for almost 2 years now, but hasn't actually invested in the ring. He also pretty much sucks at the whole romance thing, but honestly our closeness and the other ways he shows me kind of make up for it. Otherwise we have a really good relationship and even my mother (who has a very low opinion of men due to a really bad track record) say's it's obvious that he's head over heels in love with me. I seem like the only one who doubts it. Maybe I'm paranoid, or maybe it's just because of the past but I feel like he isn't as serious as he says. I don't think he's cheating, in fact, as much as we talk on the phone he pretty much couldn't be and he calls me most of the time. I guess I just feel like he's not as sure about getting married as he says he is. I'm scared that if I totally believe him and leave myself vulnerable I'll get hurt. I don't have the best track record either and before him I had never dated anyone for longer than a year and a half.
I don't know how much sense this makes, but hopefully you have some sage advice, cuz I feel like I'm losing my mind.
Thank you in advance,
* * *
So, there are two situations here: your family and your mate situation. Papabear has said it before and he will say it again: the path to happiness must be bordered by people who reinforce that happiness. Papabear has seen it over and over where furries write to him about how they love their families, friends, mates, etc., but how these people are very negative influences on their lives that make them feel awful about themselves.
Despite your love for them, you must either remove them from your life or, at minimum, distance yourself from them to gain some perspective and relief from the constant burden you are feeling. Papabear has been having a bad time with this himself, lately. There is a woman in his life who he thought was a friend but instead has proven herself to be the epitome of evil. She will stop at nothing to hurt me for her own selfish purposes. I have been struggling with this for several months now, and it has brought me to the point where I have curled up into a ball and gone into convulsive fits of crying. It has been even worse because for the past two weeks I have been in a different state to try and deal with this and can’t be with my mate, so all we can do is cry together over the phone. Thankfully, I am rooming with friends, two of whom (furry names Viperman and Bobby), cuddled with me last night and did their best to comfort the bear. These are true friends. I was going to stay here longer to try and resolve the issue, but I simply can no longer bear it and am flying home in a couple days to be where I belong, in the arms of my loving mate, Yogi.
I’m writing this as an example to you, Affexion. You don’t have, apparently, people like this around you who can boost you up. It is what you truly need.
You say you cannot get out of your home, but hint that you are old enough to do so (older than 18, yes?). What you need to do is whatever you can to get out of the house you are living in and away from a family that is sucking the life and joy out of you. This doesn’t mean you have to stop loving them; it does mean you have to protect your own health and sanity for your own sake. Do whatever it takes to do this. Do what you can to find at least a part-time job, and I would suggest looking for roommates and working out a deal with them to share expenses.
Closely connected to this is the issue with your mate. Given what you have written (and I feel you have already concluded this) living together is not an option. You love this mate of yours, yes, but he is another person like your family. This is not surprising because most people select mates who in some way remind them of their lives with their families. Instead, try to get an income—any income—and start a focused search on one or more roommates with whom you can live. To do this, you will need to be brave and knock down that wall that says “I can’t do this” and do it anyway. This should be your top priority.
I wish you luck.
My life is going through a literal, living Hell... I'm on a relationship with someone who I love very so much with all my heart and soul, and I am starting to be worried about him. He hasn't answered my texts, messages, or IM's in 3 days....Can you please help out?
Dakota the Snow Leopard
* * *
You leave Papabear with very little information, but here are the possibilities and suggested responses to your problem:
1) If you are concerned about your boyfriend’s well-being, then try to contact his friends and family to see if he is okay. If you can call him by phone (you only mention texting and IMs) then do so and leave a message. If you can actually travel to his home, then do so and see if he is okay. If you cannot contact him in the ways mentioned above for some reason, contact the police station in his area and tell them you are concerned that something may have happened to him and you have not heard from him in three days. Ask them if they can just swing by his home and see if he is okay.
2) The other possibility is that he is deliberately avoiding you for some reason. Are you familiar with the phrase “he’s just not that into you”? It could be that you are more enamored by him than he is of you. You have the right to know this, of course, and in this case he is being a coward by hiding from you. If he is all right and nothing unfortunate has happened (as in case 1 above), then he has the ability to contact you, yet he hasn’t done so. Papabear’s advice to you in this case is you stop trying to contact him. Then, if eventually he contacts you again, ask him where he has been. If he does not give a reasonable response, such as “I had to travel suddenly out of the country to my uncle’s funeral in France and my cell phone doesn’t work in Europe and I couldn’t get to a computer,” then it is time to read him the Riot Act. If he has so much contempt for your feelings, he is not the boyfriend for you. Dump him and move on.
Quite nervous since my friend just showed me this site. I have a few things I would like advice on actually.
1st thing is actually my past. My father ran out on me when my mother was pregnant and came back after a while I was in this world. But he was hardly around in my life. And my mother wasn't the best either. when I was 7 she virtually abandoned me for her "boyfriend". I was just a child so the first thing I did was tell my dad. Then he just walked back out the door. I tried to follow him but he told me to go back inside. But I couldn’t. I stood there crying in the rain. When I was finally taken inside I couldn't sleep for almost a week. I was exposed to drugs, on a daily basis that I learned how to roll blunts, make pipes, bongs, you name it all before I turned 8.
I moved with my grandmother since mum was "too busy" and my aunt chose to find a moment to "practice" a few things because she just got a boyfriend. I didn't know anything but a little while later I learned I was raped. My sister was 2 years old and everybody just hated me. Mother and wouldn't watch her. So I did. Then she had my brother then the same thing. I took care of them. Made sure they ate. Everything. I would starve myself to the point I was sick to make sure they ate.
My uncle put me into several fights just because he wanted to. So I grew up fighting. Then my mother had 2 more kids and that just put me 6 feet under. I had 4 kids to take care of. I became a father by 11 basically. She was never around always out running with Rick (her boyfriend). I grew extremely defensive and very rebellious. Any time she would bring home dinner was at 2 in the morning when everyone was asleep. And leave 7 in the morning and the food would be gone. I became more worried about my brother's and sisters that I was even failing school.
Because I grew up fighting I took lessons, classes and became a mixed martial artist. (The martial arts is actually what I practice. I personally think I do it professionally but I haven't joined the competition or the league. I'm ready to so I'll just go with my best friend because he trained at my side.) Grew very soft hearted. I became a man of words, many words, enough to make a dictionary. I did what I had to do to survive even provide for my family, and I wasn't proud of stealing either, but life went on without any difference. I got protective for myself, spoke my word and would be beat because of it that my anger finally blew up and well. I protected myself.
Now my family doesn't really like me. They don't talk to me. When they do it always turns into a fight. Over he said she said shit (pardon my language). But I stopped obeying, listening, because all it did was cause more problems so I did what had to be done or what I thought right and accepted the consequences. I wasn't afraid for what ever punishment came my way.
But there is so much more I would like advice on and such but I lost the heart to ask. I'm already crying just writing all this. I kept it in the back of my mind but it always came back on me, haunting me like some guilt. I tried meditating but I can't even do so for 30 minutes before the memories come back. But the guilt is coming from. I aim to help all, but when one person comes for help that contradicts what someone else asks for help. Its a choice on who to help but I try to help both and wind up failing one or both.
So I’m hoping you can offer any advice, feedback, or anything to say about this. all I know about myself is what people say I fear I'm losing sight of who I am. All I know of myself personally is that I'm protective, good at what I do, and a good person at heart.
* * *
First of all, that you survived this nightmarish childhood to become a decent human being is, to me, no less than a miracle from God. From what I understand, you took care of your siblings and managed to learn martial arts and to survive with your own moral code intact.
One word: Bravo.
I'm not sure if there really is a question somewhere in your letter, other than about mediating disputes, but it sounded more like you just wanted to hear what I think of you. I applaud you. Your parents should bow their heads in shame for what they have done. You have nothing to be guilty about. Indeed, if I could, I would submit your name for sainthood.
I'm a bit confused, though, on one point. You say your family doesn't talk to you, yet they are asking for your help? Or are these people outside your family?
Regardless, as you have already found out, you can't please everyone. And you shouldn't feel guilty that you can't. Because of your childhood experience, you have grown to be a "people pleaser," meaning that, in order for you to help your siblings survive, you became so focused on helping others that it has become a central part of your character. Now, there is nothing wrong with trying to help people; that is a lovely thing, but when you do it to the point of self-destruction it becomes unhealthy.
It sounds to Papabear you are being put in the middle of other people's arguments, and that isn't fair to you. My advice to you is to stay out of such arguments entirely. Just say, "I'm sorry, but I really don't wish to get in the middle of this argument." Let them fend for themselves in this case. It is not fair for them to put you in such a difficult position.
That your family seems to hate you is a poor reflection upon their character, which isn't surprising given their lack of gratitude all these years and their mistreatment of you and the other members of your family.
Papabear has been told repeatedly by some members of his family that "blood is thicker than water" and to always stick by one's family. While one should strive to be a good son, father, brother, sister, mother, daughter, niece, nephew or whatever, there comes a point where that bond can be broken. Family is more than just genetics. Family are those who stick by you and love you no matter what. A father who inseminates a woman and then abandons the resulting child is a father in biology only. He is not a true father, nor is he a true man. You would have no obligation to such a person on moral grounds. Same for a neglectful mother.
Fuzzybutt, you are torturing yourself over a false belief system based on what wrong-minded people expect of you. Somehow, miraculously, you have grown up to be a kind and wonderful person. Now it is time for you to define your own family, gathering around you those who truly love you, care about you, and respect you. It is time for you to go out into the world, leaving those behind who not only have abused you but completely disrespect your very existence, and find a mate to love, friends to cherish, and build your family anew. You have already started this, it seems, and now it you must continue to pursue your new life, and to not be guilty for it. You have a right to be happy.
That is my hope for you.
* * *
I appreciate such words. They mean a whole lot. Touching deeper than the heart itself, but reaching out and speaking words my mind, heart, and soul understand. But I am in no capable position to move yet. I had just been fired from my job, not only that I am only 17.
With your advice on starting a family of my own, I have. With friends. They're all waiting on me to 18 to walk out the door with no questions and move into our own place. For a mate, I have one. For 2 years we've been together, despite the great distance between us (with me being in Pennsylvania and him in California). I love him with all my heart and soul.
But I can share with you.... I have attempted suicide. With my father's own gun. I made sure it was next to fool proof, loaded, round was chambered, cocked back and safety off. I said goodbye to my friend and he called me. Talked to me as I cried for 2 hours. I told him I was sorry and pulled the trigger... Twice actually. It just clicked twice. Nothing more clicked. I checked it and there wasn't a thing wrong so I packed it away. My friend asked "was that what I think it was." I told him yes ... it didn't go off.
And that was my only attempt. I promised myself if I lived, I would never let the thought get to me again. Shit... I can't stop crying... I just feel... Like my mate... *sigh* he admitted himself all he's done was use Me from the beginning, but it changed when I stayed for two years, now he's just threatening breaking up because my "attitude" when it only erupts when he chooses sexual relations instead of a relationship...
I know one of the things your gonna say is seek help from a professional psychologist. I do. But I feel.. inside, better with the more people know.
* * *
You know what? I also survived a suicide attempt. I took an overdose of sleeping pills back in college. Problem was, I took too many and started throwing up in my sleep, waking my roommate who took me to the hospital and got my stomach pumped.
As with me, take this as a sign: you are meant to live. You have not finished your purpose yet. You have much to do still.
Talk to your mate about your sexual relationship, and relationship in general. A relationship based only on sex is not a healthy one.
I have a feeling I will hear more from you. You are welcome to write again.
I stumbled across your advice column entirely by accident and I'm really happy I did. You see, I've been having a really rough time with life the past few years and it's been increasingly difficult to keep from dwelling on suicidal thoughts. I am scheduled to begin therapy next month but I am afraid I cannot make it that long. You see there are quite a number of problems in my life right now but in an effort to keep this from becoming a novel, I'll shorten it to the major three.
The first is that I don't know what to do with my life (career, financially, education). I'm twenty-three years old, and I live with my parents again after losing my housing situation. It feels like I'm stagnating, I have no education beyond my GED, and I've only been able to work dead-end jobs that don't pay enough to go back to school. I've considered loans/grants but I'm ineligible for most everything due to a poor credit rating from a prior apartment eviction. Also, since I dropped out of college once before, I can't get most financial aid options.
Even then, I don't know what I'd do, I have really no exceptional talents or marketable skills. To make matters worse, I'm only into a few subjects(science, history, geography) and I usually fail at everything I'm not interested in. Thus even finding an applicable career path has been difficult. I've considered being a pilot too but the high cost of flight school has shied me away from it.
Since I live with my parents, my bills aren't too bad but I still don't make enough to really do much else other than buy the occasional video game and go out to a hookah lounge on the weekends. I have no idea how to move forward from this point. It feels like all options lead to failure or a worse situation.
My second issue is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to deal with my real life issues due to my propensity to escape into an imagined fantasy in my mind. I won't go into extreme detail on this because I've covered it at length in a journal on my FA (http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/3377543/) but suffice it to say that I've began worrying that I'll die before I accomplish anything due to how badly I neglect my own health/hygiene/etc. in lieu of these mental escapes.
The third thing that is a major cause of my depression ... and this is rather difficult to discuss is my certainty that I'll die alone. The reasoning might surprise you actually. It's not that I'm physically unattractive and overweight(both of which are true but not important) the problem lies with elsewhere. I've noticed over the past few years that I'm not physically nor emotionally attracted to human beings at all, either gender. I've slept with both, but I have to imagine something else for it to be enjoyable. I'm incredibly ashamed to admit that I'm a zoophile, I've never done anything in real life because fear of legal repercussions but I've found that animals are the only thing I'm attracted too. I try to like people but I just can't find anyone attractive, and it's not for lack of effort either. It just doesn't happen.
I'm going to wrap this up for fear that I'm rambling and have gone on too long but I'm lost, and every day it seems like death is a preferable option to this existence. I just want to know why I feel these things and what to do about it. So far nothing has helped, even when I used to be in therapy and on heavy drug prescriptions. These aren't the only problems I have but they are the major ones I need to tackle before my life can move forward, at least in my mind. Any wisdom you can impart would be tremendously appreciated.
* * *
What concerns Papabear immediately is your thoughts of suicide. Before you do anything else, Towyn, I want you to call a suicide hotline. You can find one in your state by going here: http://suicidehotlines.com/. I am glad you are going back into therapy, but you admit here that you need help now, so please call one of these numbers. Not next week, not tomorrow—TODAY.
Next priority: start taking better care of yourself. One of the things that can make us feel bad, mentally and emotionally, is poor health. I want you to promise Papabear to start eating a healthier diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in sugars and fats, and to start exercising. You don’t have to go to a gym, just start by walking. Increase your distance each week. Hiking alone can do wonders for you.
Next, you do not mention if you have a spiritual life at all. Life is more than money, career, health, family and hobbies. Happiness comes from a healthy spiritual life as well. Papabear will not dictate which path you choose (in my mind, there are many paths to Spirit and God, not just one) but it is a vital part of mental and emotional health that you need to add to your life.
Next, money and career. Papabear knows what it feels like to think that one has no skills (heck, I’m an English major, one of the most unappreciated skills in America) and to feel aimless. But, everyone has some interests, likes vs. dislikes, in their life. If you didn’t, you would be a cypher with no personality whatsoever. Perhaps you can take one of those interests and find some volunteer work to do in that field. Volunteer jobs can bring immense personal satisfaction—and guess what?—they can also lead to a new career. For example, when Papabear volunteered at a zoo, there were several volunteer docents there who later got jobs in administration or even as zookeepers. Another example might be theater. Do you have a community theater group near you? You could volunteer working on props, costumes, the office, or whatever floats your boat. With some experience under your belt, this could lead to a paying job, as well. Volunteer work is always a bonus on any resume.
Another option is the military. Papabear doesn’t know what your feelings on this topic might be (and I am very opposed to war and killing), but it is very true that the military can do a lot for you in terms of your character, your health, your sense of discipline, and your education. It might be worth considering in your case, but only after you have a better grip on your mental health.
Also, there are a number of government training programs you might look into for help with a career. In Michigan, for instance, there is the Michigan Works! program. If you let Papabear know what state you live in, he can help you find a similar program.
As for your fantasy life, well, this is very understandable as well. Many people retreat into a fantasy world to escape from a tough life. Fortunately, you have apparently not done so to the point where you have lost your grip on reality. You realize that fantasy is fantasy, reality is reality. Papabear feels that if you can improve the other aspects of your life, then you will need your fantasy world less and less. It is okay to have a fantasy life, but not one that takes over your life so completely.
Finally, as for your zoophilia. Zoophilia is considered a sexual deviation and, of course, is for the most part not accepted by society, and there are also many laws on the books criminalizing it. There is a minority of people who feel that zoophilia is okay and that animals can sometimes even consent to sexual intercourse with humans. While Papabear is not a zoophile, he is not going to make a judgment on you one way or the other. However, I do recommend you include a discussion of this topic with your therapist as it is clearly weighing heavily upon you.
Towyn, you are dealing with more than your fair share of issues here, and Papabear sympathizes with you. I suggest you try to not tackle everything at once, but do so in small, digestible bits, starting, of course, with your thoughts of suicide. Those take A priority.
Please write again soon and let Papabear know how you are doing. And call that hotline!!!!
* * *
[Note: Towyn wrote Papabear back that day, and we continued the dialogue....]
I really appreciate your expedient reply, though you touch on some other issues I didn't elaborate on in my first email.
Due to a very traumatic event when I was three I am very hesitant to try new foods, in fact I haven't eaten a fruit or vegetable since. My diet is limited to a very small handful of things I will eat. It's something I've been dealing with for the past twenty or so years. Basically what happened was that food was forced down my throat at a daycare until the worker tore my esophagus with a fork and I nearly died. Had to be flown to a hospital and spent a while in intensive care, ever since I've been terrified of eating strange foods and even being offered food provokes a fight or flight response.
On spirituality...religion and I have a very strained relationship. You see, my parents divorced before I was born and my mother and father differ greatly on the topic. My dad is a fundamentalist catholic and my mother is non-religious. I grew up with my mom but when I was younger my dad convinced her to send me to a Baptist Christian school. I hated it because they based their doctrine on fear of god and subjected me to horrible things because I was a non-believer until I relented. It took me years to finally shake my faith and ever since I've been a stout atheist and very wary of any spiritual teachings. Being the science buff that I am I don't see how an all-powerful all-loving creator could make a world with so much suffering and a people who are so imperfect. I also don't see any evidence of a 'god' figure anywhere. I'm not intolerant by any stretch I just never responded well to religions after what happened to me.
Though on the suicide topic...I've had the local hotline on speed dial for months now. I'm not in those moods all the time, but when I hit a low, it hits hard so I'm well aware of my options when I get those feelings.
With my full time job I really don't have much time to volunteer, I need my income to pay for my car/insurance/rent/phone etc. The only real things I'm interested in are sci-fi, reading, flying, exploring, and tabletop role playing. So my career paths are limited and I'm not sure if they would financially be able to support me. I'm bothered by this because I don't want to live with my parents forever but any financial gamble to try a career path is risky. That risk is what keeps me from moving forward. If I fail I'm stuck here longer.
My zoophilia is a whole other ball park, it bothers me horribly that I don't feel anything towards other human beings, I've never dated and I'm saddened that I'll never experience that companionship in my life. At least it seems that way. I'm also hesitant to discuss that with my therapist, it's hard enough to type, let alone speak it. So I've been bottling those feelings up.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and respond, you have no idea how much it means to me. Even my parents tell me I need to "stop being a bitch" and "buck up". It seems like no one understands what I'm feeling and no one can tell me why I feel this way.
* * *
Okay, well, let’s try and tackle these one by one again. First of all, Papabear is glad you have a local hotline handy, and that kind of removes the worry that you conveyed in your first letter that you had no one to talk to until your therapy started in a month.
On the topic of religion: interesting that you and I had a similar experience. Papabear’s father was a Southern Baptist while his mother was an agnostic. I, too, came to the conclusion that organized religion actually did more to make me feel bad about myself than good. For some people, they will still find comfort in the big religions. That is their choice. I prefer to pursue growth in my spirituality, which is a big difference. You say you are interested in science, and that is wonderful, but science and the material world are not everything. For example, a doctor can dissect your body and figure out how your blood is pumped and your synapses work, but he cannot point his scalpel and say, “Look, here lies the spark of life, that thing that animates all living things.” Not all scientists are atheists, you know. You ask how a perfect loving God can create such a flawed world and flawed people? Well, one answer would be the concept of free will: that if god made us all perfect we would, really, have no choice but to do things perfectly. Therefore, we would have no freedom. Another explanation is that God is not perfect. Oh! Blasphemy! Don’t tell the Church I said that! What I mean by this, though, is that I believe that our universe is imbued by Spirit, and that this Spirit is evolving through states that progress from nothingness and dissolution toward perfection and enlightenment. The world is not perfect now because God isn’t done evolving yet. There’s a lovely quote in the recent film “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” where the innkeeper says, “Don’t worry, it will be all right in the end, and if it is not all right, it is because it is not the end.” Love that.
Next topic: jobs. Okay, so you say you have no time for volunteer work, but it also seems you are held back by fear to pursue other jobs. You do not mention whether or not you tried programs in your state that help you find work and learn about training opportunities. Papabear still feels you need to look into that.
Food and Health: Papabear, of course, didn’t know about that traumatic event with the food. Okay, that is something you have to talk about with your therapist, as it is really beyond the scope of this column and Papabear’s qualifications. That said, the food issue has nothing to do with exercise, unless you have also had a traumatic experience at a gym? Try exercise.
Zoophilia: This, too, is a subject you need to broach with your therapist. You say you are afraid to do so, but, hon, that is what the therapist is there for! Believe me, they have heard this stuff before, and probably much worse. Don’t hold back with your therapist. Everything you tell him or her is confidential, and you are preventing them from helping you by not telling them what is bothering you.
Good luck! Write again if you need to.
I've kind of been down in the dumps lately for multiple reasons. The first is caused by my parents, they treat me like shit for lack of a better term. The second being that I have had 5 failed relationships over the past year and a half.
My last relationship I had a real predicament in. My mate offended one of my brothers (furry brothers, only got sisters in RL) to the point where he threatened suicide. He wasn't joking, he even showed me video of himself with a knife to his throat. I was told that either I had to leave my mate or he would kill himself. After about an hour of hard and sad thinking (I didn't want to lose either of them) I decided to leave my mate because I did not want to be responsible for one, maybe even two (My bro's mate's) deaths. And I probably also saved my only chance of getting out my parent's house too.
Since that day, I've been having things along the line of mood swings. I haven't gotten mad at all, but I've kind of been sliding between calm (If I can really call it that) and depressed.
I want to know your opinion on 2 things, 1: Do you think I made the right decision?; and 2: What do you think I can do to help cope with this random depression I am getting?
Thanks in advance
* * *
This is the second time you’ve written to Papabear about mate/living space troubles. In your first letter back in May, you were getting ready to break a promise to a mate because you promised another guy you were going to room with him. Papabear responded that your mate takes precedence over a previous agreement to room with someone who is not your mate.
Guessing that the mate in your current letter is the one who offended your brother, let us proceed. You say your brother threatened to kill himself over the offense. Papabear is not sure what kind of offense could lead someone to want to take their own life, but the next thing you say about your brother showing you a video with a knife to his throat tells me this is bullcrap. Papabear has personal experience with suicide and he can tell you you were manipulated by your non-biological "brother" to drop your mate. First of all, did your brother previously show signs he might be suicidal? Papabear bets not. Secondly, again, someone who videotapes himself with a knife to his throat then takes the time to show it to you is not truly suicidal. Someone intent on killing him/herself will do so in private, perhaps at most leave a note. (Try this: talk to your brother and say you think he needs to go to a psychiatrist for counseling and see what he says. Bet he refuses energetically because he really never needed counseling—except on maybe how to be a decent brother).
You have let yourself be used, Kumori. Your depression is probably the result that, inside, you know you have let yourself be a tool, and the fact that you have so many failed relationships (and judging from your previous letter) tells Papabear that letting yourself be manipulated is an ongoing problem.
To answer your questions directly: 1) No, you did not make the right decision to drop your mate because of your brother’s pathetic manipulation; and 2) You will only get over your depression when you learn to take control of your own life and not allow other people to make decisions for you.
And, as for your parents, Papabear finds it rare for a young person to actually think their parents are cool. This is because the parents impose rules, which the child does not like and so she or he gets angry and thinks the parents are jerks. Papabear is willing to bet your parents only have your best interests in mind. Chill.
As for the rest of it, don’t be a tool, Kumori. Your life is yours to lead as you wish, and you are allowing your wishes and goals to be waylaid by other people—yet again! Stop it. You are old enough to take charge of your life.
A little tough love from....
Howdy there Papa Bear.
I got a huge problem. A four root canals problem. I make very little income in the state of VA, and most my money goes towards bills, debt, and food. I've been terrified for my life. These oral problems can lead to heart disease and other health issues. I have been denied loans, or not offered enough money out of loans for debt consolidation so I can put money out for the dental work. I'm most certainly not willing to get another credit card. The debt would crush me down even further, and my options keep me bouncing back and forth. Either living miserably poor or possibly dying. I'm pushing myself I think to wait for something amazing to happen. I am unable to afford dental insurance to get the appropriate coverage I need, and my work place doesn't provide any benefits. I've been hunting for a job with benefits and more pay, but in today's market it's tough to scramble to the top without an "education". So, my question is, with facing all these roadblocks and limited options, is there any way to receive dental assistance? I've been feeling really sick lately, and I don't think it's wise for me to leave this world yet. If you're able to give me a bump in the right direction, would be greatly appreciated.
* * *
You are right to be concerned about your health regarding your teeth. Many people do not take proper care of their teeth, and this can lead to other serious health issues. Oral health is very important, and thank you for pointing that out in today’s letter.
Thanks to the fact that the United States is the most backward Western power in the world in terms of health care (and education), you now find yourself in a situation where you can’t just walk into a dentist’s office and get needed care. The government has completely let its citizens down in this respect.
Fortunately, there are people who still care out there. When I was living in Mason, Michigan, a kindly doctor opened up a free dental care place for people who couldn’t afford it. There are clinics like this in your state, too, Wulf.
Please visit The Virginia Association of Free Clinics online at http://www.vafreeclinics.org/index.asp and find a clinic near you. These clinics serve not only the unemployed but also the working poor, such as yourself.
Um hello, this advice column thing is pretty new to me so I'm a bit nervous with it. But from reading the archives you seem to be a very wise and helpful bear so I wanted to at least try it. Do you ever have trouble letting go of bad experiences of the past?
You see, when I was seven years old I stayed at a cousin’s house for two nights. I was happy cause I got to play his Nintendo 64 (I'm a big video gamer even now). One day when I was playing he told me that I couldn't play it anymore even though I didn't do anything bad. I begged him to let me play and he said I could if I did something. He made me give him a blow job, making me suck him 10 times without touching his penis with my teeth, if I did I had to start over again.
He didn't ejaculate in my mouth or anything, but after that happened when it was time for bed he bound me to the bed tying my wrists and ankles to it with the bed sheets telling me to try and get out myself.
All these years I had blocked the memory from my mind, but now its back and I just can't get over it. When I think about it, it could have been the main reason why I'm bisexual today. I hate my cousin for what he did, I'd find him but I can't remember his face. But even more I hate myself, I was too gullible as a kid, doing whatever I had to to get what I want. I know I shouldn't blame myself but how can I not? Sometimes I just don't know what to do.
I really don't know if you can help me or not. But still, I would like to have someone to talk to about it. That's all I really want.
* * *
It took courage for you to write about this traumatic event in your childhood. Papabear hopes that he is not the first one you have talked to about this. I will state right from the beginning that the best thing for you to do is seek help from a professional counselor experienced in childhood sexual abuse. I will give you some information on that below.
First thing's first: DO NOT blame yourself for what happened to you. The blame lies SOLELY on your twisted, sick, manipulative, criminal cousin. DO NOT hate yourself for what happened. I cannot emphasize enough that THIS WAS NOT YOUR FAULT!
Some time has clearly passed since you were raped. Blocking those memories is a common thing for victims to do, but now, as inevitably happens, those memories have come back to haunt you. You say you cannot confront your cousin because you don’t remember his face, but do you remember his name? There is no statute of limitations on rape in the United States (meaning that even if this happened decades ago, he can still be charged with rape). Papabear’s concern, among others, is that this cousin of yours has raped more people than you and he should be stopped. For this, you need to seek an attorney. Proving the crime at this point might be difficult, due to lack of evidence by this time, but, if you can recall his name, you can still talk to an attorney; find someone who does some pro bono (no charge) work in the field. To start, try contacting the Council for Child Abuse and Neglect: 500 Indiana Ave. NW, Room 4415, Washington, DC 20001, phone 202-879-1406, http://www.nccafv.org/.
But that is just one thing. Even more important than that, at the moment, is you and your well-being. There are many potential side effects to rape, including low self-esteem, drug and alcohol abuse, sleep and eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, and even suicide. This is serious, and, while there are some things you can do to help yourself (everything from taking care to stay healthy, meditating, and reading books), it is very important that you seek professional help as soon as possible.
An excellent place for you to start is the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network at www.rainn.org. The website is a treasure trove of information on everything from the criminal to the psychological aspects of rape. They also have information on how to find local counseling centers that can be of help. The website also includes information on their national telephone hotline.
Kageichi, what you experienced is one of the worst crimes possible short of murder. Thank you for reaching out to Papabear as a first step. Now, be brave, think of yourself, and take the next steps I have mentioned above. Papabear is here for you if you want to talk more, but you need to seek out the professionals, as well.
Be Well, God Bless, Blessed Be,
I don't think I have any other way to say this, but . . . I think I might be gay.
You see, whenever I see an attractive man I get turned on, but when I see a girl, I don't. I'm not really a feminine person, like some gay men are, but I guess I've always been kinda "weird." I have Asperger's, after all. I've never really had any crushes on another male, I just have a sexual attraction to them.
But here is the problem - my family, especially on my dad's side, are very Christian. If I admit to being gay to my mom's side of the family, I'm guessing they will either accept it or tell me it's just a phase. But I'm afraid that my dad's side will disown me.
I am a Christian myself, but I don't want to trash my beliefs just because I might be gay. God loves all of his children, no matter what.
* * *
If you are sexually attracted to men and not to women, then you are gay. There is no “think” about it, hon, so start by admitting it to yourself. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have been in an actual relationship with a man, you are drawn to them, so there you go.
You note that you are not a “feminine person,” which indicates to Papabear you fell into the same trap he did: when I was young, I thought the definition of a gay man was not just that he was attracted to men, but also that he should be a girlie boy and talk with a lisp, be into cutesy clothes, and love decorating. Nonsense. My head was spun around when I found the bear community: masculine men who are gay. That was it for me. One look and I knew I had found what I needed in life.
Still from the YouTube video "Being a Christian Furry"
As for your “very Christian” family, especially on your dad’s side, I find that expression funny, as if someone can be “sort of Christian” or “extremely Christian” etc. What you really mean, of course, is that your dad’s family are highly conservative Christians.
Papabear has always maintained that such folk are not true Christians because true Christians are tolerant of others. They accept all types (Jesus hung out with prostitutes and the destitute and was always kind to them). The core of Christianity is that you accept Jesus in your heart as the Son of God and that you try to emulate his life, which means being kind to others (you recognize this, I see--good!) If your father and his side of the family were true Christians, you would not be afraid of them at all.
Too many times Papabear has come across judgmental, hateful “Christians” who cause more darkness and hell in the world than Satan does, quite frankly (because they are two-faced). You, on the other hand, sound more like a true Christian. Therefore, here are a couple really neat sites just for you!
Papabear suggests you visit these websites and talk to the experts there on how to come out furry to your Christian family.
Bear Hugs from a Pagan,
I'm not entirely sure where to begin, so I do apologize if this is long...
My husband/mate and I have been together for a total of 8 years this upcoming January (married almost six months of that). We love each other to bits, and like all couples, we argue. But when we do, it's more of a debate than an argument, we don't raise voices to shout at each other, we raise voices to clarify a point, and we always manage to work things out.
There's one thing though that we still can't break through.
I have a high sex drive. Very high. It's on almost all the time due to a hormone imbalance. Now, I don't go acting out on it IRL, because I can't picture myself actually going to another man (or woman) and jumping their bones. That and I don't want to hurt him, I love him too much. Now, he is the polar opposite of me. His drive is minimal, I won't say non-existent because it is there, it's just wayyyyyyyyy below mine. As you can imagine this makes sex between us...kind of a two or three a month deal at the least (If I'm lucky, four times a month). When we do have sex, it's mind-blowing, best I've ever had, the end, so he doesn’t have ED or anything like that.
Now...when we have the dry spells, I start to get lethargic, and depressed. I thrive on affection and being touched, I love physicality (Is that even a word? Oh well, it is now.) And when I'm not paid attention too, I start to feel depressed. Thoughts that cross through my mind: "Am I doing something wrong? Am I not appealing enough? What do I need to do to make him notice me more?”
Now I have to backtrack a bit here to kinda ... help put things more into perspective. We are the result of a long distance relationship. By long, I mean I lived in the US, and he lived in the UK. We survived hardships because of my drive, and he even let me "Play" with other people online to help me get a lot of the ya-ya's out of my system. It did help, and I'm forever grateful for it because he's so understanding in that area, but now that I'm here...it's like...I don't know. Something's missing?
There's more...Him and I do things online still (me more so than him), though lately I've been just wanting to grab him and have a good solid few days of just making love. I want to be romantic and be the center of attention and please him, but he's always busy doing his thing. He'll play games, talk to people on IRC, focus on them...he says he does all that to de-stress. He was made redundant at his job (laid off) and has been looking for one since, and since I can't work legally (And I have celiac disease to boot) he's been worried about supporting me and keeping me healthy...and all I want to do is take his mind off of things by taking him to bed for a while.
I guess I just can't wrap my head around how he works. I mean, it's like...he's in reverse. I'm going one way and he's pulling back into another. I worry about him and I want to de-stress him but the only way I know how, is the way I de-stress myself...To top it off when I get depressed, he finds it unattractive and it makes him less likely to actually want to be with me in an intimate sense, that just makes me feel worse.
We're both switches, but I lean more toward the bottom side, and he takes the top with ease. Sometimes I get a bit dommy and I go after him, but it's rare because I can't really read him, if that makes sense. If I could tell when he was in the mood it'd be easier for me. But I just can't, and that makes me feel less confident.
Another thing that makes me feel...weird (or abnormal, I suppose), is that I'm female and yet I've the drive of ten rabbits jam-packed into me. It makes me feel like a freak. He's never stated that I am one, and he's supported me as much as he can, but I still feel so alone in this sometimes.
I feel so bad because sex is important to me, dare I say, one of the important things, and I don't know what to do. I want to be chipper and happy and stuff but I want to be all that with him, but I can't when he's all in his little world of online friends and stuff. I feel so left out in that regard.
I know I'm being selfish, but I don't know what to do.
I hate feeling pent up sexually, but I also hate feeling like a selfish dork for wanting that fulfillment and having him enjoy it the same way I do.
I would appreciate your help, any bit of advice will be greatly appreciated!
* * *
Dear Red Kitteh,
Sex is an important part of any healthy relationship, and Papabear knows that an otherwise loving marriage can end if the two people involved are not sexually compatible. So do not feel guilty that you want to have a sexually satisfying life with your husband (you also call him mate, so you are not legally married, I suppose?)
There are a couple things that might be going on here. The first one that comes to this bear’s mind involves stress. You say your mate has been laid off and is worried about supporting you. Being out of work can be very depressing, and he might be trying to alleviate some of this by chatting online and playing games on the computer, etc., in order to escape from reality a bit. Don’t be offended, but spending time with you in any manner, sex or otherwise, might just be a painful reminder to him that he is, in his mind, failing you—and when you act depressed yourself, well, you’ve seen the results. This theory, though, assumes that his sex drive changed after he lost his job, and you have not indicated that to be the case.
Another factor could be age; you don’t mention how old he is, but older men tend to have lower levels of testosterone and lower sex drives as a consequence. The good news is that low testosterone is easy to diagnose with a blood test and his doctor can prescribe testosterone to boost his levels. If this is the problem, then it is easily resolved. Complementary to this is your own hormonal issues, which you say have raised your libido. You do not mention whether you have, or can, seek treatment for that, but, based on your writing, I might assume that your hormonal issues are untreatable.
Other causes of low libido can be drug use (both legal and illicit), being overweight, alcoholism, and diseases ranging from diabetes to anemia to hyperprolactinaemia (a rare pituitary gland disease). How is his health? Has he had a medical examination lately?
The average married couple with no medical issues has sex about twice a week; in comparison, you say you are having sex about two or three times a month, so, yes, this is below normal unless the two of you are in your senior years. “Normal,” however, does not mean everyone will have the same experience; “normal” for your husband seems to be at this lower rate, and if he is not having any of the problems mentioned above, then that could just be what is natural for him.
One more thing: have you had a serious heart-to-heart talk with him about sex? Unless he’s very thick in the head, he surely knows that you want more from him than he is giving, but that is not the same as talking about the problem openly. Talk to him frankly about your bedroom problems, and you might find out that there is something going on you haven’t even guessed at. If something does come out, then do not be judgmental about it. Acknowledge what he has said and try and work your way through it. If you need help, you might also seek out a sex therapist, although this is likely not an option for you since neither of you is employed at the moment and insurance usually does not cover sex therapy.
You say you both love each other very much, Kitteh, so this is a relationship worth saving, says Papabear. See what you think about this bear’s suggestions, and if I’m not hitting the mark, write again and we’ll keep working on it.
Dear Papa Bear
I have a rather sick fetish that I'm really embarassed about. This fetish is transforming into a bulb of garlic. I know it sounds weird and often people don't take me seriously because they either think it is a joke or they think I'm insane. I have tried getting into other transformation type fetishes (Such as transgender or regression), yet I continue to fantasize about the whole process--turning white, shrinking, filling up with layers, and finally being eaten or chopped up. My question is how should I get rid of this stupid fetish, I just want to like normal transformation. You probably think this is stupid as well, but that is why I want to get rid of it.
* * *
Just when Papabear was beginning to fear his column might slip into the summer doldrums, you have sent him a real challenge. Thank you.
First of all, your fantasy is not sick. It is definitely unconventional, but it is not sick. Secondly, while this sexual fantasy is a new one on Papabear, you are not insane. Indeed, I believe I can get to the root of your problem here by treating your sexual fantasy in the same manner as I might dreams.
As you know, dreams can be interpreted when one understands how they can often work symbolically. The obvious symbol here is the garlic. Did you know that garlic--and its cousin the onion--has uses both in magic and as an aphrodisiac? Garlic has been used as a folk remedy to prevent premature ejaculation, and onions as a sexual stimulant. But in addition to sexuality, the foods of the onion family are also associated with other human passions, such as jealousy, greed, and anger.
As for its magical qualities, garlic has been associated with magic since the time of the ancient Greeks (if not before), who associated it with the goddess of magic, Hecate. Practitioners of magic have made potions with it for love, passion, and protection (we see the latter case surviving today in the form of the myth about vampires being frightened away by cloves garlic), as well as healing, courage, and consecration.
Papabear doesn’t know whether or not you do from your letter, but if you have any knowledge of magic or folk remedies at all, you would surely be aware of the above, and your sexual fantasy would thus be easily explained as a subconscious symbol of your desire for passion and love. Even if you have no previous knowledge of garlic’s properties, the symbolism remains.
As for the part about being cut up and eaten, well, that is just a variation of the more common vore fantasy that many people have. Vore fantasies are typically a metaphor for submission—the ultimate submission of allowing oneself to be utterly consumed.
Putting two and two together, Papabear’s diagnosis is that you wish to be consumed by passion, and that this desire is expressed symbolically through the fantasy of being a bulb of garlic. Either that, or you eat too much Italian food (kidding).
Okay, so, how would one get rid of this fantasy? Well, now that you more fully understand it, perhaps you don’t need to. Perhaps now you can simply accept it for what it is. If not—if you are dead set on having a new fantasy—perhaps you can through the act of transferrence to a fantasy with similar implications but with the same subconscious source. You could, for example, try and focus on more traditional vore fantasies, such as your being a young, subby furry who gets eaten by a dragon. (Note this is a vore fantasy and not a transformation fantasy, something you tried unsuccessfully to do).
In the end, the mind wants what the mind wants. You have to agree that your fantasy certainly does make you a pretty unique individual in this regard. Why not just embrace it? Viva la difference!
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.