ue I'm More Than Just a Mom...I Think: Everyone's Problems are not MY Problemsu

Friday, August 13, 2004

Everyone's Problems are not MY Problems

If counseling has taught me anything, it's that. I am not responsible for making sure that everyone around me is happy. I've always felt like that was important. Make sure no one is unhappy - if they are, cure them. Sorry, but people are unhappy once in a while. I don't mean that I don't care if my friends and/or family members are sad. It doesn't mean that I won't go out of my way to help. Lend an ear, give a hug, you know what I'm saying. I used to let my friend's problems consume me and become part of me. That got me into a lot of trouble and almost lost me my marriage last year.

I can't let other people's problems become my problems and my worries. Perfect example - my boss. Used to be that if he was having personal problems, he would talk to me about them. Then, in turn, I would feel bad for him and I would worry about him. I would go home wondering if he was ok or feeling better or what have you. It wasn't a matter of (as with a friend or family member) wanting to make him feel better because I didn't want him hurting - it was more a matter of I don't want my life at work to be a living hell, so please God, let him feel better soon. It's all selfish, I know, but it's the truth. The problem is, it doesn't matter the motivation - it was still a problem. Work should stay at work, it shouldn't come home with you. My work situation is a little unique because, since it's just my boss and myself in our office, it's a very close knit work environment. We have to talk about some personal stuff from time to time out of necessity. I can't call him on the phone for a day off because of issues with David without saying "I'm having issues with Dave, I need the day off". I don't have to go into detail (nor does he ever ask) but there are times when he needs to know it's serious and not just that I'm not feeling well or something. I won't lie and say I'm sick if I'm not. If I need a mental health day off, if I'm honest with him and ask him for it, he will give it to me.

These days, I don't talk to my boss about his personal life (or mine for that matter). If he starts to talk about it, I tell him that I don't want to talk about it (nicely of course, I don't want to lose my job). He knows about what's happened with David and I and I told him shortly afterward that I wasn't comfortable talking about his personal life. And he's honored that. It's a much better way for me to live. Not getting emotionally involved in other people's lives. I'm a happier person for it.

However, we have a problem - my boss just broke up with his girlfriend. The only reason I know this is because he emailed me from the Bahamas to tell me he was coming home early and asked me to call his friend to see if he could pick up his dog. I don't even know how long they have been dating. I used to know all those kinds of details - I'm glad I don't now.

But of course, now I sit here tense. I have to go to work in a few minutes and I don't want to. My boss tends to take out his anger on me. This came to a head earlier this year and I ended up quitting. It was a horrible experience. I sat on the couch, crying, after I sent him my resignation letter because I didn't want to leave my job, but I couldn't keep being treated badly. He apologized and basically begged me to come back (boy, doesn't that feel good). I agreed and things have been very good since. But, he hasn't had a major crisis since then.

Today will be the big test and I'm desperately hoping he passes. I don't want to be on the receiving end of the "do you have a brain" speech again. If I am, I will leave early and go back Monday. I have my plan all worked out. Of course, I'm probably stressing out for nothing. He will probably just be quiet, sit in his office, and leave me alone.

Re-reading this, it sounds like I have no sympathy for anyone anymore. That's not the case at all. I'm always here for my friends. The difference now is that I don't have male friends for whom my feelings of sympathy/empathy can be twisted/manipulated into something they aren't. I've recognized my weaknesses and have adjusted my life accordingly.

Great, now I sound like a robot.


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