Life is tough. Panicking.

Postby JunoRegina » Tue Dec 31, 2019 2:43 am

I don't know where to go from here.
The past 3 years have been hell. My father, who was my best friend, passed away rather unexpectedly 2.5 years ago. My mother, who had been with him since they were 16, spiralled into bottomless depression. Almost immediately afterwards, my family (me, husband, 2 kids) moved to a new country. We both had very good jobs until my husband's boss left and a new one arrived who decided that he didn't like him that much (the general consensus is racism, but we can't prove anything.) Short version: my husband got fired this month after 2 years of struggling with a racist, psychopathic boss. He has GAD (medicated) and his anxiety is playing tricks with his mind. I'm falling apart, trying to make things work out with my job, his problems, the kids' schools, my vulnerable mother who refuses to seek help, EVERYTHING!
We are financially covered for the next 8 months, but things will seriously start falling apart afterwards. He's 40 and has been in managerial positions for years! How do you bounce back from that??
I can't sleep, can't focus on work or family, my smoking has hit a new record, and I sometimes have heart palpitations or trouble breathing. I'm a strong person! I'm supposed to be everybody's rock! My husband and kids and mother are fragile, but I'm rapidly losing the strength to support them.
I've tried seeing therapists. Nothing helped. I'm losing this battle and I don't know what to do.
I'm not a religious person, but please pray for me. This is how desperate I am.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:31 am

JunoRegina wrote:I don't know where to go from here.


In high stakes situations under time pressure, 1st responders still find time to prioritize goals. Life, even in the most stressful circumstances is not a matter of go, go, go. Search crews take time to regroup and adjust. Medics perform triage. Even in combat a general has to take some time to reassess and plan. It can’t be just fight, fight, fight.

Your family has 8 months of financial security. That’s a nice window of time to assess, plan, and begin executing parts of the plan.

In conducting the assessment I would suggest reframing a few things. Specifically, I don’t think it is healthy to frame the relationships as you being the sole competent person that everyone absolutely must rely upon.

In fact, what you posted has a bit of a conflict that needs resolution. On the one hand you act like your husband is a competent professional unjustly fired. But a paragraph later you act as if at only 40 he is not competent to get other employment and you call him fragile. These two things don’t make sense. If your husband is truly so fragile, then he probably was not capable of managing. By definition a manager is a leader, someone expected not to be fragile.

And if you both had very good jobs that involved moving to another country and 8 months of financial security, that suggests you are much better off than 95% of the population. It sounds like you might benefit from reframing expectations of what is a need verses a want.

Reframing might require dipping into the retirement nest egg or maybe the kids college funds might need some adjusting, but life will be okay.

In other words, I think you could benefit by (1) not putting so much pressure on yourself, (2) by adjusting your goals/expectations, and (3) have a shared level of responsibility with your husband.
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#2

Postby JunoRegina » Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:30 am

Thanks a lot for your response. It really means a lot that you took the time!
Just to clarify: my hushand is a top performer in his field. He is fragile in the sense that his anxiety sometimes makes him feel hopeless under the present circumstances, which means he needs significant emotional support. He has never been fired before. He always received performance awards and recognition for his work, including rapid promotions and respect within his field. To find himself treated this way is killing him.

I'm not even sure how I became that person everyone must rely upon! I tend to take on this role automatically, even at work, and it's exhausting! In time, people get used to the fact that you're ALWAYS there, and at the same time expect you to be just fine on your own because YOU support THEM, which must mean you need no support of your own. Toxic, I know, but I have no idea how to stop being this way.
I'm just really tired, you know what I mean?
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#3

Postby Candid » Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:45 am

JunoRegina wrote:I'm just really tired, you know what I mean?


And you know why, just not how to stop it. Perhaps you were an eldest child with one or more younger siblings, and automatically became the responsible one. Thing is, even though you know the original role has long been redundant, you haven't known how to let it go.

my hushand is a top performer in his field. ... performance awards and recognition for his work, including rapid promotions and respect...


That being the case, a proud history to his credit, it's surprising the recent unfairness "is killing him". No doubt it came as a shock, but I think he'll bounce back. The simple process of updating his CV, listing the awards and responsible positions held, looking at glowing references from previous employers, will sustain him as he looks for the next gig.

Now what about you?

I have no idea how to stop being this way.


The only way to stop being this way is to stop being this way. Forget the people who always need help; look at those who are more competent in their own lives. Tell them you're temporarily overwhelmed and need them to lend a hand. I would expect them to feel good about this. Everyone needs to feel needed. With you, it's gone too far. And no one wants to feel needy, including me... but it's not a devastation for me, and I suspect it feels that way to you.

Do the experiment. Ask for help. Otherwise you'll be heading for a stroke or worse, after which you'll be reliant on others for everything.
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#4

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:42 pm

JunoRegina wrote:I'm not even sure how I became that person everyone must rely upon!


I have seen this occur in a number of areas of work/family/expertise. Emotions naturally drive people to want to feel needed and subsequently fear not being needed.

Two examples:

The manager always on his phone, always putting out fires, never able to make it through a single meeting without needing to “handle” an issue. It is job security and emotional security. People “need” them.

It’s really, really bad management, but they don’t recognize it as such. That they are in constant motion “managing” means they are really important. The department can’t function without them. They can’t take a vacation. And they believe it demonstrates their competence. It doesn’t.

Another example is the home maker that takes on the responsibility of preparing all the meals, doing the laundry, getting kids to school, etc. They get themselves trapped into believing that without their effort life will collapse. They are wrong.

Both the manager and the home maker are self important. They are not educating, delegating, or leading those around them. Instead, they are enabling others. They become the “rock” because they are not willing to give up control. They don’t give up control because they take on the responsibility directly instead of managing the responsibility.

If and when the manager or the home maker are unfortunately struck down by lightning, what will happen?

Life will go on.

The only question is will the transition post manager/home maker be smooth or bumpy? How much turmoil will occur?

If the manager has done their job correctly then there are multiple people that can step into their role without much of an issue. Because the manager has educated and empowered staff it is a rather smooth transition.

If the home maker has done their job correctly then others in the family are capable of fixing breakfast, doing laundry, etc.

Worst case scenario, the manager/home maker is no more and the people suffer a bit more agony as in addition to their loss they must also learn how to approve a time sheet, or where to add the soap to the washer.

Regardless, life will go on. You are not that important. No one is.
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