Monthly Archives: December 2012

Greetings! I have a question about Team You. Mainly, how does obtain such a wondrous thing?

I am in a situation where I am the primary caretaker for an elderly parent with serious health issues. She requires a great deal of time and energy- mental more than physical.

The rest of my family is basically useless. They have straight up said that she is ‘mine’ to handle. They don’t call when she’s in the hospital, etc., etc. I’ve basically written them off as horrible people and being around them stresses me out. I’m pressured to ‘keep the peace’ and not tell them off for basically abandoning dear old mom (while still claiming they love her ever so much.)

I’m naturally introverted with a strong need for ‘me’ time (that often goes unfilled because of my mom.) My one very good friend just moved to another state and neither of us is good about talking online.

So basically I am without without Team Me. There’s just- me. I don’t have time to join any kind of social group. I’m really mostly okay with being alone (I’m not lonely by any means.) I’d just like someone who would pop by once in awhile and drag me out to a movie. Someone’s whose company would break up the cycle of ‘take mom to this doctor’ then ‘to this other doctor’ then ‘argue with mom about what the doctors actually said.’

I was also laid off earlier this year. I worked mainly from home (because of mom), but it did help break things up a bit when I had to go into the office two or three times a week. I don’t know how I’m ever find a job that allows me that much leeway again (they were SUPER good about letting me control my schedule.) So I’m frustrated and frightened that I’m using up my savings and again could really use a Team Me pressure valve.

So how does one put together Team Me when you’re starting absolutely from scratch?

As a bonus question, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to tell off my siblings at mom’s eventual funeral. I even have the eulogy all planned out. It won’t be a big scene, just a little stinger at the end about having no regrets but that they should. It isn’t worth the upset to her confronting them while she’s alive. But once she’s gone- it’s mean and nasty and bitter, but I really want to get that jab in before cutting off all relations. Or maybe write them a letter expressing my anger. Would that come under closure, or just cruelty for the sake of it?

Wow. Taking care of an ailing loved one with no support from the rest of your family, no local friend-network to hang out with for relief, and not even the outlet of working outside the home to give you a change of scenery and company – I don’t care how introverted and emotionally self-sufficient you are by nature, that’s tough. Yes, you do need to beef up Team You!

The first person I think you need to get more squarely on Team You is you, though. Yes, I know you’re trying! But your mother only has so much time left in this world, and she is miserable, or in pain, or scared, or all of the above, so I’m guessing it feels selfish to rank anything you might want or need above anything she might want or need. Which would explain why you feel you “can’t” take time to yourself or join any kind of social group. Even though she actually would be ok for the couple of hours you were gone. Even if taking it would make the difference between miserable vs ok for you, and no discernible difference for her.

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Dear Captain Awkward:

How do you give closure to someone you barely know? IOW, worm can opened, now what?

A few years ago I got to know a woman over a few hours of casual recreational activities. We clicked at first, and discovered through our sharing that we both had experienced several important life milestones, such as ana/bulimia and languishing artistic careers.

Problem is, the more I got to know her the less I liked her, and although we had not negotiated a friendship or even had a tacit relationship of any kind, she began to reach out to me in emotionally-charged ways that made me uncomfortable. 

So I dropped her. Just stopped returning her calls.

Not something I felt good about then or now, but something that I felt was the easiest and healthiest thing for me at the time. 

However, I saw her on the street recently and she had a very strong body/face reaction to seeing me, which is bringing up my guilt for just fading away. Now she wants to get together and talk about it.

Full disclosure: The main reason I just dropped her without saying anything was because, among other things she had started calling me at odd hours saying things like, “I just broke up with XX friend – I told him/her that s/he was unhealthy for me, I was unhappy and I never wanted any more contact. TELL ME I DID THE RIGHT THING. Just say it. Tell me I did the right thing, SAY IT.” It felt both creepy and unbearably ironic to do to her what she’d just done with like 4 people in her own life over the course of a month. 

It was a big breakthrough for me to realise that I could start out liking someone and after a few meetings change my mind, and that just because I was the one choosing not to continue, it didn’t mean that I had to make everything OK for both of us.

But now that I’ve seen how deeply she’s still affected by this years later, I feel like the right thing to do would be to give her closure.

Any suggestions?

This is a truly awkward situation.

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The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 4,800,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 87 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by in 2012!

Do not go to anyone who works from a booth. (Photo by Kevin Dooley; click for Flickr original.)

Do not go to anyone who works from a booth. (Photo by Kevin Dooley; click for Flickr original.)

Hello Captain Awkward and Awkward Army,

I have been in and out of therapy off and on for the last decade or so. I don’t want to give my entire life history, but I will summarize by saying that I have clinical depression, and have anxiety that hasn’t been formally diagnosed yet but which has been plaguing me for years now, and my siblings and I were raised in a one mostly normal parent and one parent with unacknowledged Borderline Personality Disorder household.

In the past, I’ve had some relatively good-for-me therapists, and some less-good-for-me therapists. I am trying to figure out what makes a good therapist overall, and how to tell sooner than several sessions in whether or not they will work well with me. My mostly normal parent has agreed to help me pay for said therapy for the foreseeable future, so I don’t necessarily have to stick with whoever my (crappy) insurance will allow. I’m VERY good at subconsciously and consciously steering away from uncomfortable topics, so a big important thing for me in therapy is a therapist who will help me not get off track, and who will ask me questions.

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Doug wins at relationships.

Hi Captain and Awkwardeers! I have a problem that may or may not be an actual problem and is probably easy to solve, but asking friends for answers gave me nothing but contradictory answers, so I thought maybe you could help.

I’m young (in college) and just started dating one of my friends. It’s great. I’ve known him for a long time, we share interests, we’re comfortable together, butterflies are in full effect, et cetera. The only problem is, I have no idea what I’m doing! I’ve never dated anyone before (I’m twenty-one) I don’t really have any girlfriends I could ask/am not comfortable asking my mom, so I’m essentially fumbling my way through the dark without a flashlight or roadmap. When do you move in for a kiss? What are the milestones? What does and doesn’t constitute PDA? What about gift-giving, is there ettiquette for that? Will our shared group of friends be uncomfortable about our dating? How do I get over feeling shy about asking him this stuff? How SHOULD I feel about this guy, anyway? I have experience with crushes, but not with what a mutual adult relationship actually feels like. The cumulative effect of all this is that whi le I really enjoy spending time with him, I spend the time we’re NOT together panicking about what I might be doing right or wrong. Is there any kind of Relationships for Dummies guide for people like me?


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Hey Captain!

My question is on the ‘he’s not that into you’ theme, and in particular about how to respond appropriately.

I recently decided to try to reconnect with an old friend. We used to be flirty and have some pants and head feelings for each other, but I wasn’t ready for a relationship so nothing ever happened. As far as I know there was no animosity, but inevitably we lost touch, saw other people, blah, blah, blah. Several years on I thought it would be nice to see how he was doing and dropped him an email. Our few brief initial exchanges were very light-hearted and friendly – smileys and everything – and he suggested meeting to catch up. However, his emails about arranging a date suddenly became very abrupt and infrequent and lost any markers of enthusiasm. Going by your awesome maxim that people that are into you (both friends and dates) are easy to arrange things with, I figure he’s changed his mind and doesn’t want to meet up after all. No biggie – I’m happy to leave him be! And yet he’s still going through the motions of trying to arrange it, thus leaving an y actual decisions and responsibility about whether or not we do meet up firmly in my court.

Now if he does want to meet then I think it would be nice to catch up, but I certainly don’t want to sit through an awkward evening of small talk with someone who doesn’t want to be there but can’t admit it. 

Is there a script I can use to ask him to use his words? Or even to bow out gracefully without looking like a trifler? Is ‘Actually, you don’t sound like you want to meet up’ too weird or pressurizing of an email to receive from someone you barely know any more?

Thank you!

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A woolly mammoth frozen in ice.

Sometimes the elephant in the room is really cold.

Dear Captain Awkward:

I was hoping for some advice on dealing with my sister-in-law. Who hates me.

She’s a bit rude/rough around the edges most of the time, to most people, that I’ve seen – but she is really not a fan of mine. She doesn’t return simple greetings “Hi, SIL, how are you?” and looks right through me if I happen to be in the same room as her.

I don’t want to sound like I’m All That, but I get along well with the rest of the family – lots of cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. – this is all her. Other family members have noticed and mentioned (to me) her chilliness toward me over the 10+ years we’ve known each other.

I have no idea if it was something I said or did – and if it was I’m sure I would apologize for it! She’s never said. She and her brother (my husband) aren’t close at all, it could be auto-antipathy because they don’t get along? I don’t know.

And – here’s the awkward part? Although we have a lot in common, and it would be nice if we could be friendly, I have no real interest in talking to her, or in overcoming the barriers, tearing down the wall, or whatever. 

I’d really just like some ideas for coping strategies for being flat-out ignored when I’m sitting there making conversation or having dinner with a group of people, one of whom refuses to acknowledge my existence on the planet, let alone in the room.

Any thoughts on how to deal with her as the future aunt of any possible spawn would be great, too.

Thanks so much,
The Silent Treatment Makes Me Uncomfortable

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