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Starting a happy single life


firelily

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What you wrote above about your assumptions about what people are looking for - "cool" and "beautiful house" and tons of activities/interests - I think those kind of (inaccurate) generalizations lead to cynical attitudes about people.

 

For example, I have lived in a "new" city for 8 years, lived in a major city for 43 years before that (where I grew up). I know for sure that one reason I haven't made more friends/connected with more people is because now that I'm older, and a parent, I don't go out at night anymore or socialize at night -I'm not involved in as much volunteer work by far, or the book club or the women's networking group or going to cultural events regularly. I've never been athletic and my daily exercise is solo these days, not at a gym.

As much as I have gone through the "shoulds" -I should take up tennis or golf, I should drive more, I should find a way to go to all these evening events I get invited to - the truth is that I'm not willing. I am highly motivated in other areas -parenting, my job, fitness and I am highly motivated to be an excellent friend to my friends (many of whom I am in contact with only by phone these days) and constantly working on those skills, especially good listening. Facebook is hard that way because the impression is one of 'coolness" - and I think you have to fight to ignore that and not let it seep in so that you start to think that those photos/descriptions are really their daily life. I know for the most part it's not just true. For those for whom it's true -good for them, they are the minority.

 

I agree accept who you are -and I don't think you get there by the generalizations you made or these cynical assumptions about people's shallow/materialistic/judgy ways. That's not true either and that's self-sabotage on your part IMO.

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What you wrote above about your assumptions about what people are looking for - "cool" and "beautiful house" and tons of activities/interests - I think those kind of (inaccurate) generalizations lead to cynical attitudes about people.

 

For example, I have lived in a "new" city for 8 years, lived in a major city for 43 years before that (where I grew up). I know for sure that one reason I haven't made more friends/connected with more people is because now that I'm older, and a parent, I don't go out at night anymore or socialize at night -I'm not involved in as much volunteer work by far, or the book club or the women's networking group or going to cultural events regularly. I've never been athletic and my daily exercise is solo these days, not at a gym.

As much as I have gone through the "shoulds" -I should take up tennis or golf, I should drive more, I should find a way to go to all these evening events I get invited to - the truth is that I'm not willing. I am highly motivated in other areas -parenting, my job, fitness and I am highly motivated to be an excellent friend to my friends (many of whom I am in contact with only by phone these days) and constantly working on those skills, especially good listening. Facebook is hard that way because the impression is one of 'coolness" - and I think you have to fight to ignore that and not let it seep in so that you start to think that those photos/descriptions are really their daily life. I know for the most part it's not just true. For those for whom it's true -good for them, they are the minority.

 

I agree accept who you are -and I don't think you get there by the generalizations you made or these cynical assumptions about people's shallow/materialistic/judgy ways. That's not true either and that's self-sabotage on your part IMO.

 

Thank you Batya for your response! Sometimes you have a slightly different perspective on things that I have, so you'll comments here are very welcome

 

I wonder which post here do you refer to. But in general, I created this thread to work myself through the feeling of powerlessness into better self-esteem and content with myself. I tried to wrote down some of the self-sabotaging internal talk that I have but not always realize this is going on in my mind, but rationally I know the assumptions I made are probably not true. But they were rather concerned about me not being good enough than people being judgy. I feel like people are ok with other people, but I am inferior and have a lot to prove on. However, some stuff that I feel self-conscious about are ridiculous and totally not mainstream - for example, I don't feel particularly bad for not having a gym membership, but I do feel inferior to people I consider cool because I haven't read all of the fantasy classics Realistically I know it's not how the world works but I still feel like I'm not good enough the way I am. I'm being harder on myself in areas that actually matter to me (like not being good at painting), than areas that I would consider important to people in general. But the step I want to take now is to acknowledge the crazy talk in my head and maybe appreciate what I actually do, and that eg. painting pictures of bad quality is still something to be proud of or something that can make me content.

 

In the dating area, I'm also insecure about my looks, despite the feedback that I get from men (it would hard to be totally unattractive at 29 ).

 

Do you have some suggestions how I could address this negative inner talk? Some that were working for you?

 

Maybe the problem is, unlike some more experienced people, I often switch interest and jobs, and I don't have any single area (like being a good parent or good at someone's profession) that could be some basis of self-esteem. In everything I do I'm a newbie. I do, however, feel good about being a good friend, so thanks for reminding me of that area.

 

Let me know if you have any more thoughts on that matter

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However, some stuff that I feel self-conscious about are ridiculous and totally not mainstream - for example, I don't feel particularly bad for not having a gym membership, but I do feel inferior to people I consider cool because I haven't read all of the fantasy classics

 

Don't forget your taste in beer, movies, and music. If you don't get that right, there's no hope for you!

 

Just kidding, of course. But I get it about the ridiculous standards that exist.

 

By the way, I saw Within Temptation in Philly a couple years ago. They were really good.

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Ouch, getting dangerously close to BMI 25, the magical line between "green" and "yellow" on the weight chart.

 

It's not a tragedy, but I'm not even thirty, never been pregnant and it should be totally doable for me to be more in shape. Two years ago I thought dropping 5 kilos is hardly possible for me, and now, for some unknown reason that has nothing to do with my love and devotion to Pringles, I have 10 kilos to drop to be in what one dietician called an optimal weight for me.

 

It definitely won't be my priority compared to other areas of life, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to develop more healthy lifestyle habits, especially as I'm getting closer to thirties.

 

When I motivate myself to get fit to be attractive to someone, it doesn't bring any results and only depresses me. When I do it to be my best self, I drop the new habits fast because I guess I prefer to be my more comfortable self. I hope my fear of the scary "yellow" area is going to be a good motivation this time. It makes me feel that I need to take care of my health in advance, before getting to a place when I actually have unhealthy weight - rather than impose some ideal expectations on myself.

 

I wish there was a chart like that for other areas of life. Red: the calculator shows you're working too many hours. Green: although you see your friends only from time to time, you're still doing fine. Orange: start saving your money or you'll be crying later. Green: you've worked hard enough this week, you deserve an ice cream now and some Netflix. Taking care of our well being would be so much simpler if there was a chart for everything, where you could put your individual parameters and get some directions.

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I think it's a myth, a fallacy, that having been pregnant is some kind of reason for being overweight after a certain amount of time post-pregnancy. I've never been overweight other than briefly when I was on a bad birth control pill in my early 20s and when I was pregnant in my 40s. Having said that, I have been food/weight/diet conscious to various degrees for most of my life. Here are some observations about what helped me (might not help you but I figured I'd share) . Quitting diet soda almost entirely (these days I have one every few months if that). I used to be a diet coke addict (or diet soda generally) and I found it made me feel bloated and triggered sugar/carb cravings. By contrast, upping my water intake -and I mean plain water -no flavoring -helped me tons -both weight maintenance, energy, digestively, etc.

 

I had to figure out my hunger and full cues after spending several years dieting far too much (basically an eating disorder in my teens/early 20s) - once I got back in touch I was able to make better food choices and especially in the last 5-10 years (I am 51) I simply do not like feeling full - almost full is fine, full or too full feels gross. Also for me I had to severely limit between meal nibbling -if i'm truly hungry I'll have a small amount of fruit, or a rice cake, or a few nuts. Constant nibbling/eating just didn't work for me. Also I've been exercising regularly for 35 years -that helps me a lot (although I've read that weight loss is more about diet than exercise, however I just try to maintain.

 

I was slim pre-pregnancy. It took me 5 months to lose the baby weight (I gained 32 pounds, lost much of it early on after the birth) and after that I lost 5-7 more pounds - that was mostly because of how active I was as a full time mom. So I weigh less than pre-pregnancy and am as thin as when I was a teenager.

 

Hope that helps!

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Thanks Batya Good to read that you're taking such a good care of yourself.

 

Yes, I suppose I believe in this myth, that pregnancy probably will make me a bit bigger for good. That happens to some of my friends but to be honest not that many. What I hinted at here is that I have no medical reasons that would make staying fit and slim hard for me: I don't have any disease, I didn't give birth to children, my thyroid's fine, my genes are great and I'm quite young. With many people it's absolutely understandable that they get a bit bigger and not really their fault, but with me, this is 100% on me and my lifestyle choices

 

What makes a lifestyle change difficult for me is emotional eating. I have frequent cravings for junk food and sweets. When I'm anxious (and I'm often anxious) sometimes getting a pack of chips, soda (not even diet) and chocolate is an equivalent of getting drunk or stoned for some people. It relieves the anxiety when nothing else can, and I think it's more healthy to eat such food than expose myself to such an intense anxiety. Also a lot of my anxiety stems from the fact that my to-do lists items are not being done, so adding gym or yoga classes to that is just another stressor. I feel like I need more positive coping mechanisms with stress before I fully change my lifestyle and ban chocolate altogether.

 

What I can do for now is force myself to be caring to myself instead of self-destructive, drink a lot of water apart from ocassional soda, improve my regular food to wholegrain, steamed etc., and try to get used to eating a lot of fruits. Maybe one day I'll get more emotionally healthy and be able to drop the emotional binge eating trips altogether.

 

Yeah and nibbling... it makes me sad to think about letting it go I have to to something about my hands when I'm watching movies or reading.

 

A lot of the healthy habits that you have are something that you can get used to I guess. I'm used to feeling super full and when I eat meals your way, I feel hungry and scared that the hunger will distract me from using my brain for work or studying. But I used to have a different reaction to both states. I'll try to switch my preferences a bit.

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So of course you shouldn't give up chocolate. I used to go to the gym but not post-parenthood (although I have access to a workout room in my building which I use every so often). I work in my power walk to my schedule so it's not a huge to-do list problem. I have my clothes ready the night before and I do my power walk, weekdays right after my son gets on the bus at 7:20am. Weekends I typically do it mid-morning when my husband gets up. If he is away I have a DVD I use at home. I exercise every day between 31 and 35 minutes (yes, that specific and that is all I have time for these days). In addition I am active during the day.

 

As for nibbling I'd try, for now, rice cakes or carrot sticks or apple slices and slowly wean yourself off having to nibble and replace with water sipping (what I do). I definitely have more energy and feel better when I am less full. I think you will, too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really miss someone at my side. A partner in crime. Someone with whom I could be a team. He would make life easier and less scary for me, support me in my dreams, and I would do the same for him. Be the person he could talk to whenever he has a problem and try to find a solution together. So that we wouldn't have to face all the problems alone. I would feel safe, protected, understood, not drifting in the void.

 

It's hard to be on my own, when I know I'm the only person who actually cares about my goals and dreams. Of course, my friends and family would rather see me happy and successful than otherwise. But they won't fight my battles.

 

But maybe it's like that all the time, anyway? Maybe a relationship, a marriage, even a good one, is about two people who have their own lives, their own fights to fight. I may tell my husband about my bad day while he tries not to fall asleep. He may remind me from time to time that I told I was going to stop smoking. I may drag him along to gym, mountain trips... But ultimately I will always be alone. My goals and aspiration will always be important to me and only me. I will have to be the one doing all the fighting for myself, I will just have my partner to cuddle at the end of my lonely days.

 

Maybe it is rather like that? I don't know anymore.

 

---

Successes:

1. No sugar in my tea.

Still no weight loss, but that may be due to the fact that I eat so much nuts, fruits, yoghurts, all the time. I eat more than I did not on diet.

2. Lactose free milk in my coffee. Now there's no price to pay!

3. I didn't allow my family to treat me with passive aggression. Ugh! Let's communicate like normal people. It's never too late to try that.

4. I had a couple of fun meetings with friends.

5. Some snowy outdoorsy adventures

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I like that you list the good things. With diet I’d try not to be so involved with food - eat breakfast and lunch and dinner and make breakfast larger than dinner. What I would focus on is water- drink as much as possible during the day and develop a habit like that. I doubled my water consumption at least this past year and it makes a big difference in my health. Nuts are fine but have them sparingly. Yogurt without added sugar is fine too. So many brands now have tons of sugar. Sorry you’re missing having a partner - maybe related to the holidays?

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I like that you list the good things. With diet I’d try not to be so involved with food - eat breakfast and lunch and dinner and make breakfast larger than dinner. What I would focus on is water- drink as much as possible during the day and develop a habit like that. I doubled my water consumption at least this past year and it makes a big difference in my health. Nuts are fine but have them sparingly. Yogurt without added sugar is fine too. So many brands now have tons of sugar. Sorry you’re missing having a partner - maybe related to the holidays?

 

Yes! Ugh. Love Actually on TV and all that. I haven't been single since my teens. I now see that December, January and February are not the most fortunate months to be single. Nor is the spring lol. I'm doomed

 

And thanks for the reminder about water - somehow this is a part that I have a hard time implementing this time, which is weird, cause I love water.

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Hi lily , I haven't read it all in fact I only read one sentence ...( I am not much of a reader of anything cos my mind wanders ) but your words rang a bell with me

 

I'm 29 and my goal for the next couple of years is to find inner happiness. I'm planning to do that by living a guy-free life, avoiding relationships that will pull my focus elsewhere. It will be hard but I feel like I really need this.

 

I did exactly this 6 years ago ( this month ) ....I decided enough was enough and set out to enjoy the fruits of life without involving a man ... so I hope you enjoy your journey xx

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Hi lily , I haven't read it all in fact I only read one sentence ...( I am not much of a reader of anything cos my mind wanders ) but your words rang a bell with me

 

 

 

I did exactly this 6 years ago ( this month ) ....I decided enough was enough and set out to enjoy the fruits of life without involving a man ... so I hope you enjoy your journey xx

 

Thanks Pippy! Can you share more about your journey? How did it go? Was it hard? What helped you enjoy it?

 

Hope to hear from you when you have time and mood to write

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Yes! Ugh. Love Actually on TV and all that. I haven't been single since my teens. I now see that December, January and February are not the most fortunate months to be single. Nor is the spring lol. I'm doomed

 

And thanks for the reminder about water - somehow this is a part that I have a hard time implementing this time, which is weird, cause I love water.

 

Yes, I treat it like a vitamin as far as "time to drink" - and I love my water bottle (nalgene brand) - you can do this and just please celebrate you during this season.

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I treat it like a vitamin as far as "time to drink"

 

If I treated water like a vitamin, I would never drink it. I am so bad with vitamins.

 

And thanks for the reminder about water - somehow this is a part that I have a hard time implementing this time, which is weird, cause I love water.

 

It makes no sense, but I understand. I did something similar with fruit, when I wanted to increase my intake. I actually felt anger towards the fruit that I bought and a piece of fruit was lucky if it made it into my stomach rather than the garbage. I called it "fruit rage."

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If I treated water like a vitamin, I would never drink it. I am so bad with vitamins.

 

 

 

It makes no sense, but I understand. I did something similar with fruit, when I wanted to increase my intake. I actually felt anger towards the fruit that I bought and a piece of fruit was lucky if it made it into my stomach rather than the garbage. I called it "fruit rage."

 

Hahaha "Damn you, apple. My lips won't touch your wretched body!"

 

It's just that I used to be addicted to water, but cut on it due to practical reasons (carrying water around, spending money, pissing a lot). And now I can't remember about drinking it. I can ho hours without anything to drink.

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If I treated water like a vitamin, I would never drink it. I am so bad with vitamins.

 

 

 

It makes no sense, but I understand. I did something similar with fruit, when I wanted to increase my intake. I actually felt anger towards the fruit that I bought and a piece of fruit was lucky if it made it into my stomach rather than the garbage. I called it "fruit rage."

OK - you're an adult you make your own choices! In my personal situation with increasingly bad digestive issues ,too much between meal nibbling and not feeling optimal it made a huge difference - and whether it's a placebo or not my friend suggested that drinking water relaxes her and then I noticed it did the same for me. I also take various vitamins and supplements. This was the first year in a long time that my entire blood work came back positive because I'd had bad cholesterol results for years. So for me it's a significant part of my health. Others might feel differently.

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No, I do have to start taking vitamins. I hate them, though. I find they leave a weird aftertaste. But I keep getting sick and I feel fatigued a lot. So, at this point the weird aftertaste is probably a small price to pay.

 

As for water... that's my primary drink of choice. It's the best.

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No, I do have to start taking vitamins. I hate them, though. I find they leave a weird aftertaste. But I keep getting sick and I feel fatigued a lot. So, at this point the weird aftertaste is probably a small price to pay.

 

As for water... that's my primary drink of choice. It's the best.

 

Yes - I take a multivitamin, fish oil,and extra magnesium and extra vitamin D. Sometimes I notice an aftertaste with the fish oil.

 

Yay for water!

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Ok, on another note. I haven't listed my basic life problems here, because I don't like to tell other people how my situation looks like, but these should be more important areas for me right now than the ones listed before.

 

I still live with my parents, at 29, which is not uncommon in my country (unless someone had to move to another city for studies, which I didn't), but yeah I'm ashamed about that. I was eager to move out at 22, but stuff happened on the way. The last few years I wanted to move out to live with my boyfriend, but he was working away weeks on and off, that I kinda waited for him to change his lifestyle to start living with him. Which he never did, so we broke up, and I'm at the beginning.

 

I studied full-time till 25. Then for a couple of years I was working full-time and studying psychology part-time, my dream field of studies and career. I stopped working for a year to concentrate on master thesis (which turned out awesome), volunteering (the same) and doing driver's licence (didn't finish that because of master thesis and deadlines). My savings melted and I had to borrow money from my family.

 

I thought what I should do now is find a serious job that will push me forward in life (not whatever office jobs, like before), live with my parents to save money, pay off the debt and finish the driving licence. The last year as a volunteer practice I was giving workshops about psychological competences to groups of high school students, I really like doing it and I was looking for a job that would resemble it, if not at school then some other institutions.

 

But sometimes I really miss my independence, which is worse after breakup (my bf's parents were a lot away so I lived there part time). I'm not the easiest person to live with, both for my parents and my ex boyfriend, I've always had a sort of depressive, emotional personality. I have seen many therapists and tried meds, but that didn't make any impact really. What helps is just living a good life. As for troubles with close relationships, I think I made progress by actually learning from people around me, how to communicate with them better.

 

So while I realize this will be a bit of a struggle for some time to live with other close people before I make more progress, and I will always cry because of arguments with someone either at home or at job, it would be great to have control over who I cry because and be able to change jobs, partners or a living place whenever I have enough of the struggles, and not be trapped in a toxic setting because of economical situation.

 

Throwing everything away to find a job abroad would solve all this issues at once, but I'm not sure if I could deal with the stress of such a big and sudden change right now. I could find some basic job right now, but in my city it is a bit of a struggle to rent a room with that kind of money (and hiring a single small apartment for one person would cost more money every month than I'd earn any job I could get right now).

 

I don't know where to start unmessing this mess. I thought my priority should be slowly building my dream live, because over the past years I had a tendency to score lower with jobs than I should and have difficulty leaving them, even if the atmosphere was driving me mad - the last job was some sh*y corporation job which gave me a permanent reflux problem So I really wanted to take time this time and make smart steps, even if not very quick or effective. And getting myself motivated to that after some slower time in my life. But right now I'm not sure which my priority should be. What to do to be happy, quickly, not choose the wrong path, and motivate myself to the necessary work.

 

Where would you start with all this, as a person in her twenties?

 

My family is not in a bad financial situation and they could support me for some more time until I'm doing fine, and my older brother is pretty successful and extremely generous to me - if I needed money to travel abroad to change my life, I would have no problem asking him for it. In fact, he's the one I owe the driving course money to, and he doesn't need it quickly. But what I need is to have a debt-free, satisfying, happy life with doing what I love, and where I can control which people surround me daily in my job and home. How do I get there without messing up more?

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That is a lot. What I recommend - make a list of all the things you want and make it very specific and highly organized. Then look at your list and organize it by priority. Then it's baby steps time. I really don't mean to be too cliche or simplistic but I think you're getting in your own way by having all these massive and complex goals.

 

I lived with my parents until I was 28 and done with graduate school. Moving out gave me more independence and personal growth than I ever realized could happen.

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But what I need is to have a debt-free, satisfying, happy life with doing what I love,

 

This is everybody's goal. It's generalizing and not specific enough to form a plan around. So take Batya's advice, get specific, write an outline, and then write your subtasks to create actual steps toward each specific goal. Then you can work your subtasks and actually measure your accomplishments by how well they move you toward each specific goal you want.

 

Generalizations are abstractions: they don't mean anything specific, so they won't get you anywhere specific.

 

and where I can control which people surround me daily in my job and home. How do I get there without messing up more?

 

Forget the control thing when it comes to other people. It won't happen, and you'll just become miserable because you've set an expectation that won't ever happen. Instead, work on your own internal resilience so that your inability to 'control' others won't drive you nuts, or worse, won't result in a backlash against your intent to control, causing you MORE problems--not less.

 

The earlier you can grasp that that scope of your control is limited to your RESPONSE to the people you will encounter, the easier your life will become--and the better you will become at 'managing' your relationships with others.

 

Non-senior people tend to believe that superior positions will put you in control of those who report to you. Not true. Managers are accountable for getting wins for ALL involved by working effectively with the teams they are dealt. Even those people who they've chosen to hire don't usually turn out to be the fantasy employees they'd envisioned. So learn instead how to manage your OWN thinking and behaviors in order to negotiate with the people around you--regardless of how you 'feel' about them. This buys you a win because you get what you need from others even while it buys them a win because you've encouraged them to thrive.

 

Those who expect to control others end up suffering dis-illusion-ment as quickly and as often as it takes for them to disabuse themselves of that idea. Even people you don't like are equal to you and deserving of respect--and the earlier you can recognize this, the faster you will learn how to navigate workplaces without becoming an unhappy casualty.

 

Head high.

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Non-senior people tend to believe that superior positions will put you in control of those who report to you. Not true. Managers are accountable for getting wins for ALL involved by working effectively with the teams they are dealt. Even those people who they've chosen to hire don't usually turn out to be the fantasy employees they'd envisioned. So learn instead how to manage your OWN thinking and behaviors in order to negotiate with the people around you--regardless of how you 'feel' about them. This buys you a win because you get what you need from others even while it buys them a win because you've encouraged them to thrive.

 

Catfeeder - to interject -any book/author suggestions for the work-teambuilding thoughts you wrote above? Yes, for me and yes for the OP -would think that would be very helpful. I don't have a big issue with that just fascinating perspective and the way you put it. Even though I am the fantasy employee, of course, ;-), having accepted a huge demotion in the past year at a new job so I can continue my parenting job as well.

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Forget the control thing when it comes to other people. It won't happen, and you'll just become miserable because you've set an expectation that won't ever happen. Instead, work on your own internal resilience so that your inability to 'control' others won't drive you nuts, or worse, won't result in a backlash against your intent to control, causing you MORE problems--not less.

 

Thanks for writing! But I meant "control which people are arround me" and not "control other people". I hate controlling other people, ugh. It's so exhausting.

 

I once worked in a small company for a minimum was under a toxic boss who felt like a king in his own castle. I should have left earlier, but I didn't believe in myself and I felt like I needed to atay there. I know it will take me a little long time to develop resilience (does anybody really have it?), so since I tend to cry and get stressed because of other people, I would like to be able to control where I work or live and with whom and not be trapped in relationships and workplaces because of financial/security stuff.

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