Hey papa bear,
I’ve been struggling a lot lately with stress and life in general.
My family has a lot of crap that always comes up, yet I can't say anything and I’m supposed to just take all the bullying from the external sides of the family during the holidays. Seeing this pressure stresses my mom out to the point every year, in November she loves Christmas but as soon as it's December, she's about to have a nervous breakdown from the external family taking everything out on her.
On top of that stuff, my mate is trying to move out to a friend's house in California as quickly as possible, but I’m getting more and more stressed out by how hard he's having it now where he lives currently.
I don't know what to do anymore papa bear.... I feel like I’m either a ticking time bomb waiting to explode and just nuke everyone with a rant and my emotions. Yet at the same time, I feel like I’m being sucked back into the depression I had during junior high school when I wanted to kill myself.
Am I taking all this to heart WAY too much and am making myself go insane, or am I being too selfish and need to focus on my immediate family and mate and help them out?
very confused pup,
* * *
Ah, the traditions of Christmas.... eggnog, festive trees, the lights, the garland, food, relatives and STRESS! By “external” relatives, Papabear gathers you mean the “extended” family, such as uncles, cousins and such? And it sounds like they all flock to your house, where your mom has to cook and clean for them and entertain them. She sounds like the kind of person who takes a lot on herself to try and make everyone happy.
People often put stress on themselves. This is something Papabear is very guilty of himself, so take my advice with a grain of salt because I have a hard time following it myself. I’m betting you take after your mother, allowing things beyond your control to stress you out and even inviting in more stress into your life unnecessarily. But, too, you mention this “bullying” by your relatives. I’m not sure what that means, but it doesn’t sound like something loving family members should be doing.
Then there is also your mate and your concern for his move and his home situation that is causing you stress.
One thing we need to learn in life is to not get stressed over things that are beyond our control. You, Owen, cannot control how your mother reacts to relatives and the stress she puts on herself, nor can you control what is happening to your mate. In both cases, you can offer your love and support, but you need to adopt a Buddhist attitude and not burden yourself with other people’s stress.
As for your relatives, you say you are “supposed to just take all the bullying” from them and keep your mouth shut. Given that you have a mate, you are old enough to defend yourself. This is what I call “getting your GRRR on.” You should not have to take verbal or physical abuse from anyone, and if your parents tell you to “just take it” they are not being supportive and loving parents. The extreme end of this is parents not listening to their children when they have been sexually harassed by a relative (a situation Papabear has seen several times from letter writers). Wouldn’t you say those victims have the right to their family’s support? Same goes for whatever is happening to you. You have a right not to take abuse from others and to stand up for yourself. Period. If is to the point of, God forbid, criminal abuse, and your parents don’t listen, then time to contact police or social services. If it is just teasing and making fun of you, then make fun at them back, tease them back. Don’t allow yourself to be a doormat to nasty people. Even though blood is supposedly “thicker than water,” that doesn’t give your relatives license to be cruel to you.
That said, I must continue with this comment: you suggest you might become suicidal from all of this stress just as you were back in junior high. Really? Suicidal because your family is being a pain and your mate is having a stressful move? Owen, try and get a little perspective here. These situations, while a pain in the butt, are certainly FAR from cause for committing such a drastic act. Actually, there is NO cause for suicide Papabear can think of (with the possible exception of suffering excruciating pain from a terminal illness; I’m not advocating that, but it is understandable).
I’m glad you wrote to me, Owen. I hope this letter gives you a little objective perspective. When we are living within our own lives and our own perspective, sometimes things seem magnified and more desperate than they really are. Are you in good health? No one in your life is grievously sick or dying? You have enough money to get by? A place to sleep, food to eat, clothes to wear? Then you can get through this without doing anything radical.
In the meantime, you need some stress relief. Papabear always advocates exercise and meditation to help. There’s another thing, too, if I may be a little naughty: sex. I’m not sure where you live in relation to your mate, and I’m assuming you’re of legal age for this, but a terrific way to relieve yourself of stress would be to perform some mattress athletics with your mate *wink wink*.
So, Owen, take a deeeeeeeeeeeep breath, realize you are not in charge of everyone’s life and therefore not responsible for their stress (though you can offer help), defend yourself from derpy relatives, and relieve your stress with exercise and meditation techniques.
Good luck! You can get through this!
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