February 4, 2013

"Mom, Will You Ever Get Married?"



"Mom, Will You Ever Get Married...?"

*le sigh* For many a single mother, the question from your child on your marriage prospects can hit you like a ton of bricks.

If you are actively seeking a relationship, this question may not affect you at all. However, if you're like many moms out there---busy, single and NOT looking to mingle (at the moment), the best way to delicately answer the question may be a little elusive.

In my experience--which is on-going, I find that, in order to be able to answer the question for my child AND myself, I have had to address other issues, one by one.

1. Accept the Reality of Procreation Without Relationship Consummation: You had a baby. You are NOT with the father. You are not a nuclear family. It seems pretty basic and um--OBVIOUS but dealing with this reality, alone, trips up more single mothers than bounced child support checks.  

2. Journey from Jealousy: It's related to the first reality but it is no less important to deal with. 99% of the time, the father of your child(ren) will move on to another mate. Do not believe the lie that you can get over a man with a man. You have to be okay with being single and fight the temptation to act a fool, because "he's" now attached OR get attached to someone to be "even." Girl, don't compete with him. Stay calm and focus. 

3. Balance Your Needs with that of Your Child(ren):  Keeping in mind that you are MORE than just "mom" can be challenging. Besides just not having enough time in the day to dedicate to "me time," a single mom has to remember that she was a woman before the kids. There is no need to feel guilty for needing a break. To be a better parent, means you avoid neglecting the other parts of your being...and we haven't even decided to get out there in the dating world, yet!

4. Deciding to Date-Now or Later: I, personally, feel that you have to make a conscious decision to allow yourself to date and be exposed to others in a romantic way. There's no perfect time but you should consider what is best for your child(ren), of course, before embarking on the journey. Partners come and go and you should never sacrifice the well-being of your children for a mate. 

If you choose to wait until your children are tweens, teens or even after they are adults, you may need to prepare yourself for questions from family and friends. Many will wonder, if you're lonely and unhappy. Single-hood does not equate to pitiful and lonely. Unfortunately, not everyone around you will believe that.

It is okay to focus on your family before focusing on love. You can only concentrate on some much at one time. As long as you are healthy, physically and mentally, you can take your time. Don't let others rush you to date and marry. 

 

Deciding what is best for you and how you should manage your life as a mom is an ongoing process. Working through these four areas can help you get to a place where you can see what it is you truly want. It can open a dialogue about your marital plans (or lack thereof) with your children, too. It's never an easy conversation but it doesn't have to be a terrible one, either. 



 

January 7, 2013

You're SO Negative, Part III



I bring to you, finally, part 3 in my brief series on a few of the types of negative people we encounter in our lives. I was hoping that by this last entry that I would have more suggestions on how to deal with or avoid these personalities aaaand...well, let's see what happens, as we near the end...

 The Scorekeeper



The Scorekeeper says,
 "I will offer to help, as long as it doesn't really cost me. Once I feel I've given more to you than you have to me, you owe me--BIG TIME."
The Scorekeeper....yeah, you think they are helping you but just like with the Martyr, you should beware of their true intentions. 

The Scorekeeper NEVER forgets. They have an internal meter that measures when they have reached their limit of helpfulness and if they feel they have not received any reciprocation, be assured that you will hear of it.  

Oh, they will SAY that you can come to them for advice, for care, for help, etc... They may even be offended when you choose to go elsewhere for what you need- in your time of need, but do not be fooled, they are keeping track of how often you are in need. 

As long as you are doing just as well as they are, they can be the best company and appear to be the best friend (or relative) you have. However, should you find yourself in a bind that runs longer than THEY feel it should, they are quick to point out how much they have already been helpful and how you are now indebted to them and how it is time to pay up. 


Huh? How can that be? How can a true friend decide that your most vulnerable time is the time when you should buck up and repay? Well, that's thing with the Scorekeeper---to them, your neediness is evidence that you are trying to take advantage and they have all of the receipts saved up to prove it. 

 The help you need may not be monetary, so please do not misunderstand. It can be anything that could be reciprocated. It's about balancing the scales...not what you put on those scales.

Here's the confusing thing with a Scorekeeper, very much like the Martyr, they ASK for you to count on them. They INSIST on being the one to offer assistance ---but it's for show. It IS NOT true altruism. It's just not. 

If you can understand this concept---I mean REALLY understand it, you can avoid falling prey to this negative person. Again, it is about control---control of the situation and the relationship. 

Indebtedness to the Scorekeeper should be avoided, if possible. If it cannot be avoided, HURRY and repay them to reset the meter, as soon as possible! You will be glad  you did.  

January 1, 2013

You're SO Negative, Part II



In Part I of this series, I discussed the "Inquisitor/Witch Hunter" as one of the types of negative people that I have encountered and dealt with in life. To be honest, I still have to deal with this type of person but I feel that by identifying their characteristics, I'm well on the road to a better understanding of how to arm myself against their tactics and come out as unscathed as possible from any future altercations. 

I have the same hope for the reader

So, let's move on to the next type, the Martyr:

The Martyr


My, my, my--the Martyr. This one is a tough one to recognize as negative because they appear to be so willing to suffer for the sake of others...and if they will endure pain for the pleasure of others, how can they be negative, right? WRONG. 

On the surface, the Martyr seems to have your best interest in mind but look closer and you will see that there is selfish intent there. 

The Martyr says,  

"I will do these things and my efforts will be recognized and therefore, those who receive the benefits of my sacrifice will OWE me. They will repay me with praise, adoration and attention---or else.

Or else, indeed! The Martyr is always secretly tallying their deeds, in order to lay them at your feet, later on, with some guilt-spawning  diatribe about all they do for you...and all they ask in return is....(insert whatever it is they want here). 

Really what Martyrs want is control. They want control of you, your decisions and inclusion into the very fabric of all you do

They do NOT react well when their efforts have gone unnoticed. They tend to hold in all of their anger and hurt, as they try to do more and more to make you recognize all that they are "doing for you." If you still, somehow, do not pay homage to them and pay them service for their efforts by allowing them to be involved in EVERY aspect of your life---they will explode....all over you. 

It is best that you learn to decipher the signals of a martyr from those of a truly altruistic individual.   

There's an easy test to sort the martyrs from the altruists: Just return the favor and watch the reaction. 

 Martyrs cannot allow you to do for THEM. Oh, no, they cannot OWE YOU. That will upset the balance of power (in their eyes). Martyrs are not "doing good things" for good reasons. They are doing good things to get what they want.  

Altruists can accept good deeds being done unto them, without objection because their truly have good hearts and pure intentions.  

If you find that you are dealing with a martyr, do your best to do for yourself. The best weapon against a martyr is to not need them and therefore, not owe them. 

Good luck, soldier. 

Next up...Part III: The Score Keeper   

Fix Ya Face: Advice for those Bitter Ones...

Okay, so you can't get over what happened  years ago--to the point that you act like a total moron, today? That's not only proof that you're emotionally stunted but evidence that you've given the power to a person who, generally speaking, could care less if you're mad.Why would you want to do that?

I suppose some people cannot help it. Once they feel you've wronged them, they decide it is their duty to LITERALLY act as if they do not see or hear you, should you be in proximity. The problem with this technique is that you ACTUALLY are in their proximity and sometimes, just sometimes, watching them stumble over themselves to avoid you is kind of sad (or hilarious) to watch, which if they knew you were thinking that would probably send them over the edge--for real.




I have been dealing with this scenario for some years now. There is a person in my life...well..."life adjacent" who cannot stand me. When I say she can't stand me, I mean she HATES me with a passion. Here's the thing, though: I don't care. Do you know why I don't care? Because her hatred of me is 1. her own issue
2. almost entirely redirected anger for the person she SHOULD be mad at. 

Her childish behavior made me consider my own issues of hate. So, for that, I do thank her. 

I decided that it was time to address any lingering ambiguous disdain I had for certain people, so that I could go and become a happier person.  

We cannot always prevent people from hating us but my advice is that we do what we can to not let the hatred for others consume us. 

Here's the thing about hatred, it kills the host, not the recipient. Unless the host is insane and goes about literally killing the recipient...but you get my point. 

If you hate someone and thoughts of that person consume you, you cannot function properly when they're around, you physically attempt to keep from making eye contact at any cost...you do...well, stupid stuff, etc, well, then you're acting like a moron and hatred has overcome your civil sensibilities.

You can either forgive that person--if they truly wronged you or you can deal with the true root of your hateful feelings. You will have to figure out why you despise this person, oh, so very much.

I hate to break it to you but that's the hard part. 

Your internal investigation may lead to some uncomfortable discoveries, like, you're jealous of them or worse--that you're not mad at them, as much as you are mad at yourself. *ouch* 

If you decide to change your way of behaving towards that person, more power to you. If not, just keep in mind that you look silly trying to turn in every direction to not face them head on. You've  given them total control of your body and mind...and for what? 

Think about it...    

December 31, 2012

You're SO Negative! Part I




Phew, WHAT. A. YEAR!! 2012 has been full of changes for me. Some changes have been so incredible that they deserve their own entry...but more on those another time. This entry series will be about something more personal, well, "interpersonal" is a more accurate description.

 The one thing that never changes in life is that, no matter what, you WILL deal with other people. Interpersonal relationships exist whether you want them to or not. Even if you think that you're an island or at least a peninsula, I guarantee you interact with and are related to other people---somehow, some way. 

Generally, positive people do not really require explanation or understanding. They make us feel good and we usually respond to their positivity in kind. 

NEGATIVE people, however, are a different story. Negative people tend to drain the goodness from one's soul. 

There is no ONE kind of negative person. Negativity comes in different varieties, like some horrible sort of Now&Later Candies pack. 

 I think that recognizing the type is the first step in learning how to handle them without losing your sense of self, without stressing out too much and of course without "catching a case." You know what they say, "knowing is half the battle."

I present the following types of people that I have dealt with throughout 2012. If you recognize someone in these descriptions, then you feel my pain!


Let me start out by saying that what I write is my own opinion and nothing here has necessarily been substantiated by any social scientists, whatsoever. If you're reading this and you know me and you feel these upcoming entries are about you---that sounds like an issue you need to deal with on your own. No need to come looking for explanations or apologies from me. 

For the purposes of these next few entries, a "negative" person is one who may not be a horrible person all the time, it's just that, their approach to interpersonal interaction SUCKS. 

And with that...let me begin Part I: The Inquisitor/Witch Hunter


The Spanish Inquisitor or The Salem Witch Hunter




Oooh, THIS guy! I call the first type of negative person the Spanish Inquisitor or the Salem Witch Hunter because their argument strategy or method of dealing with confrontation is identical to how the so-named groups dealt with their enemies. 

If you know ANYTHING about the Spanish Inquisition, you already know that for the victims, it was a "lose-lose" situation. You see, the strategy of those requiring confessions was simple: 


"Admit your guilt (heresy) and you will be saved. If you protest your innocence- you ARE DEFINITELY guilty and your soul will be damned to Hell." 

For the Witch Hunters, their tactics were a little different but the results were the same:

"If we TORTURE you and you LIVE, you're a witch. If we TORTURE you and you DIE, then you were innocent."

So, basically, to the Inquisitor/Witch Hunter---you're already guilty. Even, if you "win"-- you're already dead. You cannot win.

Once this type of person has decided on your fate or intentions, your arguments trying to prove that you're right or innocent are just more proof that you're lying. 

They may even SAY to you that by continuing to argue with them --you're just showing them that you are guilty. If you end the argument by not responding or by giving up, you STILL have only proven that they were right all along. Your lack of argument is also proof that you were wrong in the first place. 

Personally, I feel that the Inquisitor/Witch Hunter is a pompous, self-righteous ass. They really never think that THEY could be wrong. They have determined that their insight on any topic or into any discussion is so much richer, deeper and more thorough than yours. They think that only they can see all of the possible truths and therefore, are much better equipped to understand YOUR intention. They truly think that they know what you're thinking or worse, they don't care what you're thinking because, " they can tell when you're lying." 

They feel that your audacity to argue with them or to confront them is evidence that you are trying to take them for a fool or to "play" them. They will NOT allow that. Their motivation is to ensure you don't make them look like a dummy. Even if it means that they crush you---they WILL win. They'll show you. 

Beware of the Inquisitor/Witch Hunter. If you find yourself caught up in an argument....well--good luck. You're in for an uphill battle. You better bring video footage, PowerPoint slides and a voice recorder that's been under lock and key at the White House because, you'll need ALL of that for them to even consider your side. 

Part II: The Martyr  coming soon!