I just finished my first year away at college. I was happy to leave home, but the year was tumultuous. I did painful things to myself because I didn’t want to take responsibility for my life. Now that I’ve figured out I am in control of my life, I have decided I don’t want to move back home with my family because it makes me sick. My mother pointed out that I don’t have the funds to live on my own during the summer. I know it will be tight, but I need the part of myself that is destroyed when I return home. Even though it was difficult to live away from home, I’ve learned that I created that difficulty and that I can stop it. Tell me it’s OK to grow up and leave even if you’re scared. Tell me it’s OK to think my mother is a complete ass but not hate her guts. Tell me it’s OK to make peace with people even if you don’t like them.
To make peace with those you dislike is an act that requires the deep humility of a truly spiritual person because such peacemaking requires you to recognize their holiness and your brokenness. If you search your heart, you will discover something kind and good about your mother. If you hold this reality to your heart, you will grow in appreciation of her. Dig deeper into yourself, and you undoubtedly will learn how the conflict between you is in service to your wholeness.
When I left my parents’ home, I often held three or more jobs while attending college on a six-year plan. There were plenty of times I was afraid, but my faith in God and the possibilities the world offers was stronger. Faith guided me through those difficult, fearful times. You can make it, too. Make certain you create a circle of friends (of various ages and life experience) who can be your family during this transition. Remember that your home is where your heart is, not where your family lives. Please write back and let me know how your new life unfolds.
I’ve tried psychiatrists, medication, positive thinking, prayer and self-help books. My life never gets better. Despite my endless hunting, I have been jobless since January 2002. Nothing ever works out for me: jobs, relationships, whatever.
Bring your thinking back into balance. Right now, it’s stuck at “never.” You must begin to notice and appreciate the daily occurrences that contradict your entrenched belief in failure. You must admit you had jobs and relationships that worked well for a time. Are you grieving over your expectations that those jobs and relationships should have lasted forever (or at least until you were ready to let go)? Have gratitude daily for what does improve. Cognitive therapy can help.
I’m furious. My fiancée handed me your column about men with wandering eyes and told me she was not going to marry me. This is your fault. What are you going to do about it?
The tendency to blame others and shirk your own responsibility is the likely culprit for the canceled festivities. When your fiancée catches you fixating on other women, do you blame it on being a person, or do you blame it on the woman you’re objectifying? When your fiancée tried to talk to you about it, did you jump into defense mode and pick a fight (like you’re trying to do with me now)? I suggest respectfully listening to her concerns and then making amends in your attitude and behavior.