First of all I'd like to thank you for being such a positive influence for so many people and the fandom. Many charge a ton of money to do less than half of what you do and whatever your reasons are, I feel you're being honest and sincere in your answers. You've been thanked by many, I know, but the fact that you do what you do, makes me feel grateful that you're here, and having something to be grateful alone makes me feel a little better.
Well, I'll try to get to the point. I was born in a very white trash, poor, religiously fanatic and very abusive family in a 3rd world country. So I guess it goes without saying that I have issues. Several traumas, depression, anxiety, ptsd, add, the list goes on.
I won't get further into that because that is another whole can of anaconda sized worms on it's own so I'll focus on what's bothering me right now.
Recently I've come to the realization that my self-hatred is enormous, way bigger than I thought it was and it probably has a bigger impact on me than any other factor. I've been trying to lessen it's effects with some simple practices and try to understand to what point it affects me.
Now, seemingly unrelated to that I've became very interested or maybe obsessed with My Little Pony FIM as of late. Specifically fanfiction. I was always a fan of the show but my interest in it had died so long ago I even stopped watching the show. I don't know why I started reading the fanfictions exactly, I think I frantically read all fancomics that I found and still wanted to consume more of that universe so I looked at fanfiction.
Here's where it gets weird. I absolutely hate reading. It's one of the things I hate the most in life and even to read a fiction book like Eragon took me a loooot of effort and will. Only book I think I wholeheartedly read without any struggle was The Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy, which remains in my concept one the best works of fiction/entertainment of all time.
I digress. I started reading these fanfictions and having an amazing time, the first one I've read captivated me just like Hitchhiker's. I didn't focus on anything specific such as romance or sci-fi. They were just a few surprisingly well written stories in that universe by an author. The second author I found had good stories too but they were very focused on romance, comedy and a specific kind of drama I really spent hours thinking about. By that I mean that many time when I'm reading one of these stories, I stop reading them and begin to "spin off" from it and think on different things the characters in the story could have done and many times I stay hours in that state so much so the story in my head is now another one completely.
I told myself I was going to stop after that one story because It was consuming too much of time. I didn't, I kept getting back and finding more and more fanfictions to read. And usually feel bad all the time but recently I started to feel worst so I thought: "Either I read this fics to escape or they're what causing me to feel worst."
At first I thought it probably wasn't the latter, and I still don't think it is but something strange happened. I found some fics where I related to a character, usually a character who suffers from depression, has a lot of self hatred (not low self-esteem) and all that brings.
I've been to many lowest of lows and suicide is far from an alien thought to me to say the least. (Not only for emotional distress but physical pain as well, I've dealt with some hard stuff.)
But I've never contemplated self in reality of fantasy and I've never glamourized suicide outside of very very common "self sacrifice" fantasies.
So, at one time I read a comic when a character is feeling unworthy/guilty for depression reasons and the character doesn't do anything except think. But I go on one of my "spin offs" and put myself in his place and I start fantasizing about him/me piercing his/my shoulder and making a slice from it to my collar bone. It felt weird because I really, really, really wanted to feel the pain of doing that. I'm not a fan of pain, I'm averted by any sadist or masochistic thing or thought so this was really a first to me.
Then it happened one where I (the character), flew very very high up and just let go. And again, I really wanted to experience that, which is funny since I'm somewhat afraid of heights and it's not on my top 10 ways to suicide. (Don't have a list, just wanted to stress the feeling.)
And this keeps happening, I knew I hated myself but I never knew to what degree until this started to happen. I can't find why my subconscious want's to be punished so hard, why does it feel so guilty. I don't feel like I was or am a burden to anyone, I only sometimes feel a slight hint of guilt over decisions I've made in the past over something small and it goes away pretty fast. Do I consciously feel unworthy of love, affection, attention, existing? Very much, yes. But can that translate to fantasies of self harm when in reality I don't have the slightest wish to do so?
I know the source it's trauma but this is new to me and it feels like it's a big part of the whole picture. Am I not seeing something that's clearly there? If I'm just living "hidden" emotions through these characters, why are these emotions more hidden than the others? Should I stop reading fanfiction or at least avoid the ones with this theming?
These are a lot of questions, I don't expect you to answer all, if any of them. I hope I've at least expressed myself well enough to give you an idea of what I feel because my real question is:
What's your take on this?
Also I'd like to let you know that I'm planning or hurting or putting myself in danger in any way so please don't worry. I've been trying to be introspective with my feelings to see where they come from, the why and how and It's obviously not easy but with every realization I feel a little better, if not I feel like I've gained a key to unlock some other mystery in the future.
But every time I think I cannot be surprised anymore, well... So I don't know what to make of this, all I know is that I can't feel good fantasizing about hurting myself. If anything that is proof of my decaying state of mind and I'm looking for improvement not decay. Sorry for any confusing parts, I hope I've explained it at least well enough to not give you any headaches.
Thank you so much, Papabear. Hope you have an awesome holyday season and new year!
P.s. I still hate to read but I think I love to write. XD
Anonymous (age 27)
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Thank you for your letter. You raise a very interesting topic: the healing power of fiction and literature in general. It sounds as if you have had quite a difficult childhood, so I extend to you my sympathies. Almost without fail, people who suffer from low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety are this way because of external forces. That is, traumas you have experienced or feelings of being negatively judged originate from those whou surround you and do not spontaneously generate from within. The only reason you feel badly about yourself is that you have been the subject of physical, emotional, or psychological abuse or a combination of these.
Many people find comfort by escaping into fantasy worlds, or through other forms of art ranging from film to music to the visual arts. Fiction literature appears to be the remedy you have found for yourself. That is perfectly normal. In fact, there are studies that show that reading novels and stories can ease people's emotional and psychological issues. Indeed, it has also been shown that reading fiction can help us learn to improve social interactions and empathy with others. In the world of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic you have anthropomorphic unicorns, ponies, dragons etc., many of which have cheerful and spunky personalities, making friends and solving various problems and quests by working together. It's a very upbeat and optimistic cartoon, which is why it is so popular. Obviously, MLP represents a world that you find desirable, and reading MLP fan fiction and imagining yourself in that world is part of your self-therapy. You see, lacking a therapist in the real world, you have discovered your own treatment through this television show and its fanfic.
Okay, so why the dreams or fantasies about dying in one way or another in various MLP scenarios you imagine for yourself? Obviously, you start off daydreaming about the MLP world and then your feelings of depression and anxiety intrude upon it. This is similar to when children have a dream that starts off happily but ends up with a monster suddenly appearing and attacking them. The monster could represent things such as fear about a bully at school, a homework assignment or test, or perhaps an upcoming visit to the doctor or tension in the family. So, here you are, in your case, having an escapist fantasy and then the black clouds in the back of your mind intrude upon it.
You also mention you are experiencing fears and guilt about hiding your emotions and feelings. It sounds like you are keeping something out of the letter, such as feeling ashamed of who you are, something you are keeping secret from your family? I can only speculate, but this could obviously be the monster intruding into your daydreams as well in the form of self-destruction. Furthermore, the fantasy of dying in an act of self-sacrifice is a call to get attention that you are a worthwhile person. Let me ask you this: in your daydreams of self-sacrifice, do you go out in a blaze of glory? An explosion or fireball? These are symbolic of trying to send a flare up into the sky to get attention when you feel stranded on a desert island of loneliness. (You can feel lonely in a room full of people, you know.) Complementary to this is the daydream of piercing or cutting yourself. This is a subconscious desire to feel something, to verify that you DO exist because you feel ignored. "Hello? Am I here? No one is acknowledging me! Do I even exist? If I cause myself pain, I will confirm that I do."
The solution to all this is to get your family to acknowledge that you are a worthwhile and valued member of the clan, but if they won't do that, then you need to find a family and friends that do. Family, in my opinion, is not necessarily your blood relatives (see Lilo and Stitch). Family are the people who love and support you for being you. In My Little Pony, the characters are not related but they are still family. For now, these fictional characters have become your surrogate family, but you would do well to find some people in real life who fulfill your needs as well as talking ponies and unicorns do.
In the meantime, you say that you don't like reading but you love writing. Writing is extremely therapeutic, too. I encourage you to write your own stories, working out your feelings as you do so.
Make sense? Write again and let me know.
Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’ve just been very busy with woodwork and social stuff. However, recently I’ve been thinking about the sad and dark stuff that happened in 2020 and how so much I wasn’t expecting just how low the year could get.
I’ve been feeling down lately (though I stress I wanna live more than anything). The news and all the horrifying stories about COVID-19 and the horrific crimes committed by police (the fact I now cannot trust them with my life given my mild Autism and hearing about police murdering Aspies [people with Asperger's] is both depressing and disturbing), the numerous deaths of beloved figures from disease, the recent financial recession in my country. Not to mention the natural disasters that occurred earlier in the year and so many events I were looking forward to getting cancelled.
I’ve also suffered a relapse in depression. There are nights where it’s been so overwhelmingly miserable, I just want to cry myself to sleep. I struggle to smile and find the situation so hopeless, I can’t stop frowning. I just wanna smile again and feel hope and light, not this looming despair and darkness that leaves me paranoid of a horrible disease. It’s so scary and uncertain.
I’ve been feeling lonely lately. Trying to get out of the house to help my mother out with shopping and seeing a friend is to try and cheer myself up. It’s hard to feel hopeful when the news is destroying my faith in humanity and the global pandemic is killing so many people. I’m just so overwhelmed.
I also felt a sense of guilt from what happened with Etika. I wanted to help him because I could empathise with him and wanted to help him but when I heard he was blocking people trying to help him, I didn’t do anything because I loved his stuff and I wanted to not bother him. I was scared when I heard about his disappearance and was devastated when I heard the news of his suicide. I’m crying typing this because I feel so guilty I didn’t do anything even if doing something kind meant being blocked for trying to be a good person.
Also, one massive thing that traumatised me and made me feel terrified was my Mum’s so-called friend (I’m just gonna call him “J” even though he has the same name as my brother which I find insulting). I noticed early on in 2019 when J was emotionally abusive to my mum, gaslighting her and making her feel as if he was the only one who truly loved her(my separated father is 10-times the better partner than that bastard). He was also screaming at her at times. I could hear them through the paper thin walls. He threw things and was cruel to her. First time that happened my brother and I (and my dog Jake though neither of us got our shoes on and I couldn’t get my phone or wallet from upstairs) ran out while my Mum called the cops (this is before my trust in them was destroyed this year) and her bloody bruised face still haunts me. Second time it happened at night after he “apologised” to her and threatened to kill himself if she left, I couldn’t take it anymore and screamed at him to get out and stay out! I never once trusted him and my mum screamed at me that I should be glad dad and mum are in separate relationships. I don’t appreciate abuse. I always had a gut feeling not to trust him but I was nice to him anyway before the second time because I wanted to give him a second chance. He even gave me chew lollies but I suspect it was a bribe to shut me up and it didn’t work. I now associate the packet of lollies with that asshole. I hate them.
Both times, he destroyed something in the house (the car park door on the 2nd time) and made my mum cry. I hate myself for being so scared. I hate that man for what he did and it took every bit of willpower not to attack him the second time he attacked my mum. He’s also taller than my mum and me so he’s intimidating. He’s a monster. A cruel, manipulative and evil sack of shit who I hope I NEVER see his face again.
By the way, I should clarify despite my sadness at my parents separating, they’re still good parents who care about me and my siblings.
The 2010s were honestly some of the darkest and lowest points in my life. I was seriously hoping 2020 would actually improve things but it just got worse. I really wanna hope 2021 is slightly better but I have no idea. I wanna be a parent before I’m 30 but I’m worried if I’ll be a good parent given that I remember a social class from primary school when we were given a younger student from another class to help as a “parent” and I wasn’t there for them so they were given to someone else and the kid told me to my face I wasn’t there for them and were disappointed in me. I know it was just a school Project but it haunted me ever since and makes me scared I’ll be a bad parent for real. After some horrible abuse I went through from that shithead, I realised how important my family mean to me. I really wanna be a good loving attentive father one day.
I guess my questions are this: is there any hope for the future and how can I be a better person? Also, hope your leg’s okay, Papa Bear. I was rather worried when I heard the news from you. Stay safe, mate.
From a concerned and unhappy canine.
Sam the Dog
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Wow, there is a lot going on in this letter. There are at least four questions here: 1) Given the current state of the world, how can I be optimistic and hopeful about the future? 2) How do I deal with my mom and her abusive boyfriend? 3) Should I be a parent soon? 4) How do I deal with my feelings of guilt regarding Etika? (Please note in future that you are only supposed to ask one question per letter, but I know that writing this down is a catharsis for you, so it's okay this one time.
Let's start with the second one first. Domestic abuse is a serious business. Your mother's boyfriend is emotionally abusive and, it sounds like, even physically so. There is not too much you can do until your mother recognizes this, and there are many psychological reasons too complicated to go into here as to why she might be so reticent to change her life. I'm not sure what Australian police are like, but if you do not trust them to help with domestic abuse problems, I would recommend you contact Lifeline Australia (https://www.lifeline.org.au/), which offers services concerning suicide, domestic abuse, and other crisis support services. Start with them.
Next: Etika. What happened to Etika is not your fault. Could you have done more? Sure, you could have tried to talk to him more or recommend help for him, but ultimately his choices were his own. You do not own other people's fates; you only own your own fate.
Should you try and be a parent before you are 30? Ideally, in my opinion, no one should try to be a parent until they have their shit together, but if I could somehow enforce that, Homo sapiens would become extinct in a couple of generations. Almost no one has their shit completely together, so the second option would be to have your shit mostly together, meaning you had enough income and could provide a stable environment to nurture a child into adulthood. Do not become a parent for your own selfish reasons (I cannot count how many times I have heard people say, "I want a baby so I have someone to love me" or "I want a baby so I have someone to take care of me in my old age" or "I want a baby so that I can have someone to carry on my legacy.") All of these reasons are wrong reasons for bringing a human being into the world. So, ask yourself: "WHY do I want to bring a child into this crazy world?"
Lastly, the BIG question: How can one be optimistic about the future in such a grim year? To get a grip on this, one must accept that life goes in cycles. There are good periods in history and bad ones; economic good times and depressions; periods of political stability and periods of unrest. I sympathize with your unease in this Time of Trump, which is simply horrible. I am very nervous that our American republic is being destroyed and we are regressing into a past when racism ran rampant and when destroying the environment was the status quo. Right now, it is about 50/50 as to which path we will follow in November, and it is truly disturbing how many Americans still support Trump and his evil reign of hatred and racism. Let us hope that voters will turn things around, but if not, and we get four years (or more) of Trump, even then there is still hope because, as noted, eventually evil is overthrown and things improve. The only question is whether that happens sooner or later. Of course, you are in Australia, which is a stable, fairly socialist country (compared to the US), so you should be okay, especially since Australia is doing better handling the COVID-19 pandemic than many countries (South Australia is considered one of the safest places on Earth regarding the coronavirus). I think you will be okay. Hang in there.
Looking worldwide rather than just in Australia, yes, there has been a definite swing toward right-wing regimes in recent years. Countries including the USA, Brazil, the UK, Hungary, Poland, and Austria have growing right-wing movements. This is the result of a couple of things, including reactionary movements against immigration and the success of liberal legislation giving rise to counter-legislation. Basically, white, conservative Christians fearing they are losing power to brown-skinned people who follow other faiths or who are liberal socialists. So, we get a political phenomenon based on changing world demographics. As with any active system, there is turbulence during a transition from one equilibrium to the next. Things will settle down eventually, but it could take decades.
You can't take on the world by yourself. But I do like the saying, "Think globally, act locally." If you wish to do something, get involved in local political, social, and environmental groups, and see if you can lend them a hand. That will ease your sense of being powerless because you will be doing something constructive.
Good Luck to You! Take Care! Bear Hugs!
My parents have been fighting a lot lately, and I fear that they no longer love each other. Whenever I go to visit them, it seems they cannot get along with each other. My younger brother and sister ignore the fighting, but I know deep down that they are saddened by this and I do not know what to do. So I am writing to you for advice as to what to do about this.
Anonymous (age 21)
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Instead of speculating about what is going on between your parents, you should talk to them. Ask them what is going on. You and your siblings and your parents should have an honest family meeting and communicate with one another. You are 21 years old, so they can't pull the "you're too young to understand" excuse for not talking to you. Their relationship affects you and your siblings, so you have a right to know. Once you know what is going on, only then can you truly make a decision as to a course of action.
Since I was about 7 years old, I've felt like I wasn't a girl. When I tried talking to my dad about it, he told me not to listen to how I feel. At first, I thought I wanted to be a boy, but 3 years ago I discovered the term non-binary and only came out about a month ago. I only told my mom and best friend, and while my best friend has been super supportive, my mom seems a bit uncomfortable. I told her she could continue to call me "she" and her "daughter" to make her more comfortable, but it doesn't feel right. I want her to call me "they," but I don't want her to feel weird. Me and her have always loved drag queens, and she has always told me if I ever turned out to be gay she would be supportive, so it confuses me a bit to know she's uncomfortable with me being non-binary. Do you have any idea why she might feel this way and what I could do to make her feel better?
Hijinkx the Cataroo (13)
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First of all, your father's advice to not listen to how you feel is absolutely THE WORST advice he could possibly give you. So, do not listen to him on this point. As for your mother, at least she is trying to be sympathetic to you. I think she is uncomfortable about the non-binary term because she doesn't really understand what that is. She can comprehend homosexuality, but, let's face it, lately, there has been a lot of research and terms being flung around by the scientific and LGBTQI+ community that can be very confusing to most people. This page https://www.healthline.com/health/different-types-of-sexuality lists 46 terms that describe sexuality, gender, and orientation, for example, and there are actually even more than that.
What's going on here is that science, in recognizing that human sexuality and gender are very complex, is attempting to define all the various possibilities. Many people find this helpful because there is a sense of relief when one feels that one's personal feelings have been validated scientifically. But for those who are just plain-old heterosexual, white bread, and socially "normal," it can muddle the issue more than it clarifies it. I mean, throw around terms like cisgender, skoliosexual, demisexual, etc., and you are gonna get a blank stare. So many definitions can give one a headache and make one just want to tune it all out.
But just as this terminology can take some time and study to comprehend, so is your own sexuality coming into definition. At 13, you are still undergoing many changes, and you are still figuring things out. You are making a lot of progress and you definitely have resolved the fact that you don't feel like a girl even though that is what you are genetically. But now you are working toward what exactly that means and what variations of that apply to you, as well as how are you going to deal with it. This is an extremely personal voyage that only you can travel, although it helps when you have support from family and friends, people who can hold your hand.
What I am saying is this: Do not rush too quickly into defining yourself. You are only 13, and you are going to be developing physically, mentally, and emotionally for years to come still. And, just as you should not push yourself to the finish line too quickly (the finish line will just move farther ahead anyway), you should not push your parents too hard, either. Do not insist on them using the "they" pronoun yet. To them, you are their daughter, and that is a lot of responsibility in and of itself. Let them call you by whatever they are comfortable with. It is not an important issue right now. What is important is that you continue to explore your own feelings (and ignore parents who say ignore your feelings). This is not to say don't talk to your parents! TALK to them. But don't insist on anything. Just be honest about how you feel and don't put a label on it. Labels can be limiting anyway. If your mother can deal with this best by just thinking of you as being gay, then let her for now, even if she is not being accurate. If your father can't grasp your complex identity just yet, then let him just think of you as his daughter.
While this is all very much about you, it is also about your parents and their feelings. Try to be as sympathetic to what they are going through as you would like them to be about what you are going through. Do you understand? This is a process that will take many years. Do not expect instant results or instant sympathy and understanding. Take your time and be patient with them. And count yourself lucky that at least your parents are there for you, even though they are struggling to understand you.
And remember: we are more than just our sexuality and gender. We are complex beings of mind, spirit, and body. Your sexuality and gender are just one aspect of a complex human being--do not neglect the other aspects of yourself while you evolve as a person, and do not keep your parents from appreciating those other aspects as they strive to raise their child. Let them into your life without being insistent on what is just one part of you. Don't hide it, but don't bludgeon them with it, if you get my drift.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Big Bear Hugs,
I know you probably get this a lot from other furries in/out of the closet, but as a male just learning I am gay, how do I handle the fact I like guys in todays society? How do I deal with the whole "homosexuality is an abomination of God etc?" About a year ago I was baptized as christian, however not sure of my sexuality then. In case you have forgotten, my parents split and I am currently living with dad. I told him I was gay, he was just fine with it, even at one point in an effort to help me with my depression, he suggested getting a boyfriend. (all this was months before codvid-19.)
Mom however is a different story.
Long story short she is very family centered, raised as a Christian. I am pretty sure her opinion on LGBT stuff is she does not think highly of them. One time years ago when I was still questioning, after finding the local LGBT (am I badmouthing my mom as I type this? or is that just my OCD talking? Please answer as a sidenote.) Once I borrowed a book from the local LGBT center and forgot about it in the car. Mom found it and questioned me about it, clearly in a disapproving way. About a week later she told me to read something with her, and it was the bible verse "thou man who laid with a man has committed an abomination." Then she told me if I wanted to be with a guy she will not tolerate it.
So as a Christian, raised with Christian teachings by mom but an accepting dad of my homosexuality, what do I do? How do I accept myself as for who I am, and be happy going forward? Am I obligated to tell my mom? How do I deal with the fear from religion about being gay and it being morally wrong?
0.O *realizes the pandamic going around*
Nicholas (age 23)
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As you know, you're writing to a gay bear, so my answer to your questions is likely slanted. First and foremost is this: the only person who needs to accept you is you. The minute you define your value in life by other people's opinions of you, the minute you seek their approval, you will doom yourself to a life of misery and self-doubt. Whether those people are Christians, family, friends, your parents, coworkers, peers, whatever. It doesn't matter one whit what they think. Most of them are wrong, anyway, being misguided by a judgmental society.
As for Christianity.... In my experience, there are good Christians and bad ones. Good Christians accept and love you for who you are. They recognize that no one, including themselves, is perfect, and only God has the right to judge you. Bad Christians are the ones who use the Bible to defend their hate and prejudice. Stay away from them. The God in whom I personally believe is a loving God, not a God seeking to punish me or hurt me. I do not believe in Hell and eternal damnation. I do not believe that God just wants us to constantly grovel and worship Them. I think of it this way: If I were God and was all-powerful, omnipresent, omniscient.... why would I need to be worshipped by tiny little ant beings? I would not have such a pathetic ego that I would need to be constantly validated for something I already know I am. I would not get my jollies off of hurting people. I would want to be kind to them and try to help them. So if I, a tiny little human being, can feel this way, then God, who is infinitely superior to me in every way, must have all these loving, caring qualities to the infinity power.
So, why do Christians, the Church, parents, etc. try to shame you for being who you are? Simply put, it's a power thing. It is the pathetic desire to control you and your life, and also to make themselves feel holier than thou. Oh, they will SAY they are just trying to help you, but don't believe it. The truth is, by being gay and--God forbid--actually enjoying yourself, you will challenge their worldview, and that makes them uncomfortable because it is easier to just accept what you are told to do rather than to think for yourself.
Religious people who abuse and torment LGBTQIA people for something as unimportant as sexual orientation are doing the opposite of what religion should do, which is to love and help human beings. I could go on for pages and pages as to why the Church disapproves of gay people (most of it has to do with keeping people in line and perpetuating generations of tithing loyalists), but I think you get the point.
You are not your sexuality. That is just one aspect of a well-rounded person. Most people define who they are by what they do for a living and their families. You don't hear straight people introducing themselves like this: "Hi, I'm Bill! I'm a heterosexual architect and married man!" No. So, why should we define ourselves for being gay or bi or whatever? We mostly do this because it is not "the norm." Screw the norm. Norm is boring. Being normal is what has caused so much misery, war, and injustice for millennia.
Do not seek out to be normal. Be you. Be different. Contribute something unique to this world. The world needs unique people like you.
And remember, no matter what: God loves you.
Be a good person. If you do that, you are golden.
As a East Coast fur, it’s hard to meet up in real life with the other furs out there. I currently am unable to drive a car though I am able to take public transportation. I always wish to got out and see or even experience a Furry convention in my state or any state close by ( Connecticut) but, my main fear is my parents. How do I explain to them about myself and my place in the fandom? I’m mainly into expansion and inflation, and I was also caught a few times by my folks during my sessions with an air pump. When the time comes, how will I be able to explain this to them?
Hailfanghoofington (age 22)
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As you helpfully noted in the form, you are 22 years of age. As such, you are an adult and have absolutely no obligation to tell your parents the details about your sexual preference or your hobbies if you choose not to. I honestly don't know why I keep getting questions like this from adults who write to me. I mean, your parents don't tell you about what they like to do in bed and what their turn-ons are, do they? (Lordy, I hope not!) So, why should you have to tell them you are into inflation fantasies? Answer: you don't.
It's great to have open and honest discussions with your parents about your life, but there are some things that it is fine to keep private, and at the top of that list is details about your sex life. Now, it sounds as though you might still be living with your parents and, therefore, you might have the impression that living under their roof obligates you to fully disclosing everything about your life. Not true. What you should be doing is being supportive of them, perhaps pay them rent for the room, help with chores, and move out as soon as possible. You're 22. You need to set out on your own unless there is some medical or financial reason why you can't at this time.
At 22, you should also be able to make trips on your own, even if that means taking public transportation to do so. I encourage you to get out of the house and live your life.
You may remember me asking about me being limited by my parents. its gotten worse my moms bipolar got a lot worse recently. So I've been wanting to go to a furry con in Birmingham, Alabama: Fangcon. I really want to go to it, but I'm scared to tell my mom or both of my parents. since my mom is bipolar and always thinks of the worse scenarios. So, Papabear, what should I do? I only have 21 days left.
Thanks for listening,
GlaDOS (age 11; almost 12)
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You know, hon, sometimes we don't always get what we want. It sounds to me that your mother is struggling, which also means your father is likely having a hard time dealing with your mom.
Instead of worrying about doing something for yourself and adding potential conflict with your parents, maybe you should try to be there more for them. You're 11 years old now, which makes you old enough to start helping your mom with things around the house. What do you currently do to help out at the house? In addition, you should be doing fun things with your mom and dad when you can (life is not all work, no play). Do you? Doing fun things with your parents is a great way to bond, and as you bond, you can reveal more of yourself to them, including your interest in being a furry.
The issue about your furriness is a matter of communication with your parents, and communication is best done between people who are familiar with and close to each other. Before spazzing out and pushing your parents to go to a furcon (take a pass on this Fangcon) right away, get to know your parents and let them get to know you better, too.
I hate my aunts. (all relatives such as aunts and grandparent mentioned here are from my mom’s side). They’re greedy. After grandpa past away in 2015 (or 2016?), they came up with a horrible plan to sabotage his will. They blackmailed my ma and made a lot of her friends believe that she is a greedy backstabber (while she’s not). She lost a lot of people in her life thanks to them. After that happened, her depression worsen. It felt as if the love that my aunts had was a lie. I hate them for it.
Then after Grandma died we planned a respectful funeral for her. We payed a lot of fucking money for it. But then, all of a sudden. My aunts buried her their selves, they just tossed her into the dirt like she was nothing! They did it in a way that showed that they don’t care about anyone but themselves. Those motherfuckers. I still get birthday money from them. But, obviously they came from grandpa’s budget. They just drive up to our house, put the cards in the mailbox and hit the gas and fuck out. I hate them so much. I hate them. I don’t care if they die, I don’t care if they suffer. Because, they deserve misfortune after the things they did to us. You may disagree, but I don’t care. I can’t forgive them. I wish I could just beat the shit out of them. Make them feel the pain they gave to us. I know it doesn’t solve anything. But, I don’t forgive those who fuck with my family.
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Based on what you said, yes, your aunts are horrible people. You might be expecting me--since I write an advice column--to say things like "You should forgive and forget" or "Turn the other cheek." Au contraire. In my opinion, you do not have to forgive them. In fact, there are psychologists out there who would agree with me on this. Now, if your aunts suddenly had a change of heart, made amends, and personally asked for your forgiveness and promised they would never repeat such nasty actions again, then yes, forgive them. But it sounds to me like they have done no such thing, so, yeah, they're a problem. If possible, cut them out of your life. These are what some call "toxic people." Toxic people can damage your health just by being present in your life. Discard them like the garbage they are.
OK! THAT said, there is something else important here. In addition to discarding them, you have another more difficult task, which is to let go of your hatred. Hatred doesn't hurt them; it only damages you. And no, do not, obviously, do anything that would land you in prison such as assaulting and killing them. That should go without saying, but just for the record, I'm writing that here.
You can already see, I bet, how the fury in your heart is causing you distress, anxiety, even physiological changes such as hypertension that can damage your heart. Are your aunts worth that? No. They are not worth your love and they are not even worth your hatred. They are not worth your valuable time.
Let's talk about that birthday money for a moment. Recently, I got married to my new hubby, Michael. We invited friends and family to a little ceremony in Las Vegas. Michael's sister and only sibling, Gayle, did not attend. She said, "I can't go because my pastor is having his retirement party that day." Seriously? So, her pastor is more important than her only brother? Gayle is a very religious, Christian person, who is not happy about her brother being gay. Now, I have met her a couple of times over the last two years, and I thought that she was a pleasant woman at the time. I knew she had, in the past, been uncomfortable about Michael being gay, but I thought she had turned the corner and was now accepting him. Apparently not. The pastor's retirement is not an excuse. She obviously didn't come because in her mind she condemns her own brother for being gay. Anyway, just before we left for Vegas, she swung by with her daughter and handed us a card. It had a $100 gift card in it. Big fucking whoop. I told Michael to throw it out, but instead, he bought a bidet with it. Appropriate.
What I'm saying here is that you should not accept money or anything else from your aunts until they change their ways and beg forgiveness. Until then, as I said, cut them out, and that includes any gift cards or cash they send you, which is only their pathetic effort to assuage their own black, guilty hearts.
Do everything in your power to remove this filth from your life. Removing their presence, which is a constant reminder to you of what they have done to you and your family, will, over time, make it easier and easier for you to not feel that hatred. Forgetting about them will be a balm for your soul. Just as you would for a troll on the Web, the only way to heal is to block, delete, ignore. Also, occupy your mind with other things; this helps. Do I bother to hate Gayle? No, I actually feel she is pathetic. Neither do I, however, forget or forgive what she did, but I don't think much about it (except as a very good example for teaching people like you about dealing with toxic people).
Does this make sense? I hope so. Family members can really suck, can't they? I do not believe in the "blood is thicker than water" idea. You (hopefully) have some members in your family that make you happy and feel loved. Cling to them. The ones who don't are the ones with whom you should not associate. And remember this, too: family is MORE than blood. There are friends in this bear's life that I consider family more than my blood relations on my father's side.
In the week since I broke up with my ex I fell into an old habit. This habit is basically collecting pictures of my first crush and sorting them in a folder on my laptop. Now my first crush was at the young age of seven, and the object of my affection was the fictional character of Molly Macdonald [a character from the PBS cartoon series Arthur].
Now all of that was just exposition. My question concerns events that happened today. So I was sitting in my room listening to music. After a while I had to use the restroom (note that I had left my computer on Spotify). After a few minutes, I got out the john and walked into my room. Immediately, I noticed something was off: The folder with pictures of my first crush was opened. The only other person home was my mom, so I guess she snuck into my room and was searching my laptop, where she saw a folder labeled "Molly" and probably though I got a new girlfriend and got excited or something, until she clicked on it and was met with 659 images of a children's show character.
At dinner my mom was extremely quiet, and after dinner I heard her telling my dad about something she found on my computer. I am now extremely worried I may be at least sent to a therapist, as my parents probably think I'm a creep now. I'm sorry if this is an inconvenience, especially considering you helped me last week. Thank you in advance.
* * *
Quick question: were all of these images of Molly G-rated?
None of the images were NSFW. That’s actually a pretty pointless question as even if there’s no porn it is still incredibly suspect to have 659 images of a 9 yo from an educational show for children. My parents haven’t said anything yet, though my dad handed me the business card for a therapist yesterday.
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It's actually a very relevant question that I needed to ask before giving you a full reply.
You do not need a therapist because you like children's cartoons. Pretty much everyone in the furry fandom likes them (my favorite is TaleSpin), and the vast majority of us (LOL) are perfectly sane; millions of mundane adults enjoy cartoons, too; indeed, Japanese culture is full of anime-loving adults, and we all know how popular anime is worldwide. Now, some cartoons are definitely aimed at very young kids (e.g. Teletubbies), but the majority are really for "general audiences," meaning they are suitable for children AND adults.
Here is an article as to why many adults like cartoons, even cartoons for little kids. And some people believe it can actually be helpful to adults to watch them.
Therapists are for people who are troubled (or just need some professional guidance). If you are having emotional or mental problems, then you go to see a therapist. If you have problems recognizing reality, then you need a psychologist or psychiatrist. But just watching a cartoon does not at all mean you are crazy or unbalanced. Your parents are of the misguided impression that you must stop all childlike behavior at a certain age and be pushed into adulthood and being boring and dutiful etc. etc. They are wrong about that. While it is important to go out into the world and become a productive citizen, that doesn't mean you have to kill the child that remains inside all of us.
I don't expect that you can show your parents this email and that it will convince them, so go to the therapist, tell them what's going on, and get them to write a note to your parents that you are not crazy so that Mom and Dad will have written notice from a professional that they shouldn't worry. (If the therapist says you are crazy, then they are a terrible therapist; get a different one).
Hope that makes you feel better.
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My parents have nothing wrong with me enjoying something not made for my age group. The problem they have is with having 659 images of a specific character. If I found something like that on one of my friends computers I would also be skeeved out. The reason it’s a little creepy is cause of the number of images. It took months to amass 659 images of Molly Mcdonald. I can see someone thinking I’m a pedo cause of that folder.
* * *
Well, it's not like you're a stalker, and Molly isn't a real person. If you had that many images of, say, Jody Foster, yeah, that would be creepy. But this is a fictional character, so it is more of a hobby.
While I'm here I'll ask: what is it about this character you find so appealing?
* * *
An explanation of why I am infatuated, obsessed even, with Molly will take some time. As far back as I can remember I have always been attracted to tomboys. Because Molly is a tomboy I developed a crush on her. I developed an obsession with Molly because I have high-functioning autism, and as you probably know, people with this disorder develop obsessions with people, things, even places. Next, I’m like 11, my balls drop, my voice begins cracking, and now I have a fetish for tomboyish bullies. I started the photo collection on a old tablet I had. Next, we jump to when I turned 14. I deleted every nsfw image that was in the folder, as I had just then learned she was only 9; I had thought she was at least 13-14. Next I stopped adding to the folder about a year ago as I got a girlfriend and I actually had something to do besides look a pictures of a fictional girl. Anyway, that’s basically my explanation of why I have an infatuation with Molly.
* * *
Well, okay then. I would think that your parents would understand the obsession possibilities involved with autism, and the Molly thing is certainly consistent with that. From what you are telling me, you are actually very well-balanced. Sure, you had a bit of an obsession (everyone has SOMEthing they are fascinated by on a romantic or sexual level), making you no different from most other people (with me, it's bears, obviously). Furthermore, you got rid of the NSFW stuff when you realized the age thing was a factor (even though Molly isn't real, some people do get in trouble for having anything on their computer resembling child porn, even if it is fictional), you have stopped collecting the art in general, and you are moving on to a relationship with a real girl and realizing that it is better than living in a fantasy world. Even though you two broke up (rare that a first girlfriend turns into a forever love), you are moving into the realm of reality.
Heck! I'd say you're doing great! And I think any therapist would agree with me.
Here is what I would suggest for you now. Talk to your parents openly about computer use and your privacy. Tell them that while you appreciate they are trying to protect you, spying on you is not acceptable. Instead, there should be an open agreement between you and your parents. Solution: propose to them that they write a computer usage contract https://www.kidguard.com/parents-guide-to-technology/how-to-make-a-computer-usage-contract-with-your-child/. Sometimes, getting things down in writing can calm people down. Tell them what you told me about Molly. Be open and honest with your parents and ask that they do the same for you. At 15, you are old enough to have a more respectful and mature relationship with your parents. You should also acknowledge to them that you understand they love you and are trying to protect you and that you love them right back.
Sneaking around is detrimental to any relationship, whether it is between spouses, parents and their children, coworkers, or friends, it is always a bad idea for anyone who is not a government spy LOL.
Hope that helps. Good luck!
Hey, it's me again.
Bit of an update on my situation. I didn't sign up for meetup, as there were too many things requesting my identity, which I found to be sketchy. Furrymap didn't help, since the guy you pointed out never responded to me even when I messaged him. But that's not the important part.
See, loneliness I can deal with. I've at least found a small group of furs (though some are simply transformation enthusiasts) on discord who I sometimes refer to as my "family" simply due to the fact that it's mainly a closely-knit group of people within a small circle, where new people are welcomed but rare.
Meanwhile, in real life, my situation is getting worse. My father has become paranoid that his job is potentially going to use his skills (what he does is basically advise other businesses on how to improve their management and working quality) for their own gain, while only treating him as a tool. This leads him to often become stressed, and he will usually isolate himself in the garage and drink a glass of wine and smoke a cigar. One night he was more stressed than usual, and actually managed to get drunk. He then began verbally shouting and insulting both me and my mother, and this is only one of many times he's done something like this. He also tends to act like we (Mom and I) must be subservient to his will, and he'll often berate me for any small mistakes I make, such as when it took me a long time to finish a day's worth of homework, or when I accidentally got a party member killed while playing Icewind Dale with him (it should be noted that in the game you can pay for resurrection, but he's so stingy he'd rather reload every time someone dies.)
All his anger stresses Mom, who will often, when stressed, take it out on me. She often snaps at me for minute things, such as if I've forgotten to do something she asked me to, or if I haven't gotten everything I need for school in my backpack together yet. All this stress, compiled with the stress of school in general, makes me begin to feel like I'm about to implode. At this point my only solace is that family on discord, who are never quick to anger and will always provide helpful advice, as well as my boyfriend, who is very much a comforting soul to know (another thing: dad doesn't know about my relationship and he'd flip his shit if he knew).
The fact that they (or at least a few members in the server) obviously care for me is what keeps me going and not giving in to my sorrow. But lately things I seem to be getting more extreme in my views. I've often expressed thoughts of physically harming or murdering my parents, mostly my father (though I've never acted on them, much to the relief of me and those that care about me), and I've often expressed desperate pleas for one of the server members to help me make plans for them to kidnap me so I can get away from this town. These attempts have always been met with refusals and declarations that such a thing would be highly illegal, even if I promised my parents that i'd be back someday or somehow threw them off the trail.
I wish I could go back to my childhood, when my parents were actually happy together and I wasn't constantly fighting my own psyche. I just don't understand what happened to fuck me up so bad that i'd actually consider murdering parents who may just be trying their best. I just.... I don't know. i don't know what to do, and that scares me....
Feriss (age 16, Michigan)
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A lot of stuff going on here. Let me try to pull it all together.... I'm glad you located a few furiends online to share with. Yeah, Furrymap can be hit or miss; it's just a starting point.
I'm sorry to hear about your parents. I find that your father's fears about others using his skills to benefit their own businesses is shockingly naive. Of course others in business are going to use him as a tool. That's what businesses do! Capitalism is all about exploiting people for wealth. I don't understand why he thinks he is a special case, but turning to alcoholism is not the answer, and taking it out on you is even more offensive. Then, his anger leaches onto Mom, and then she takes it out on you, too? They need some serious counseling and help. This is not good.
I understand your anger and hurt. My father was emotionally abusive. One time, we got in a fight, and I got so angry I literally saw red. I was an inch away from grabbing a hammer and cracking his skull open. Seriously. BUT! I didn't. And that is the difference between sanity and insanity. Just because you entertain these thoughts doesn't mean you will go through with them. Some people have what I call "a bone in your head" that prevents you from going over the edge; other people lack that bone, and those are the ones you see on the 6 o'clock news. A good sign that you won't be on the news is that you express empathy and understanding that what your parents are doing is the result of their not handling stress well.
So, what now? Well, my first advice to you is to call Children's and Adults' Protective Services in Lenawee County. You need to find out what your rights and protection options are. Try to give them a call when you are not around your parents so that you can speak openly about what is happening. You need to arm yourself with information. Remember, abuse is not only physical but can be mental and emotional as well. While you are on the phone with them, ask them what services are available not only for you but also for your parents.
Take this first step and get back to me as to what you learned.
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.