If you were expected to pay the lease on a car but couldn’t drive the car, how would you feel? That’s how I’m feeling about having to pay support for my children when their mother won’t let me see my teenaged daughters because I can’t keep up support payments or extra expenses. We have unbalanced levels of income. My daughters are being alienated from me, as my ex gets them to carry on her insidious vindictive nature towards me. Friends and family all say there’s nothing I can do, and that when the children get older they’ll come to their own conclusions. Meantime, I’m losing my parental bond to them and fear that one day I’ll treat them like the total strangers they’re becoming to me now. What do you suggest?
- A Beaten Dad
Divorce is never easy, and it’s especially not easy for the kids caught between warring parents. So I suggest you remember that you’re the adult in this situation. Teenagers living with one parent who’s angry and bad-mouthing the other usually find that the only way to stay out of the crossfire is to go along with the negative attitude, rather than fight it. The girls will most likely seek you out later, IF you maintain contact now in whatever way you can, and do NOT judge them. Send emails, acknowledge special occasions, phone, keep trying to meet them.
• See: Fathers Are Capable Too, at www.fact.on.ca, one of the largest non-custodial parents’ and children’s rights organizations in Canada dealing with custody and access and working to support children’s right to have a relationship with both parents. The web site provides links to books on divorce, parental issues, coping with change, as well as to the Canadian Equal Parenting Directory which provides links to services in all provinces.
I broke up with a boyfriend several years ago and many of my friends judged me because I didn't handle it well. I started a new life for myself by going away to university. I'm generally happy and proud of my accomplishments, but whenever I get judged or my performance is substandard, I feel overwhelming anxiety. Before presentations or public speaking, my heart pounds and my chest gets tight in anticipation of others judging my thoughts. I get upset easily—like, over job rejections – and dwell on it for several days. I'm obsessed with rejection since my friends' judgment of my breakup. It's now spread to all areas of my life--I avoid speaking and dress poorly to avoid attention. How do I handle rejection?
Your natural bent towards achievements has gone into overdrive on perfectionism – setting up impossible goals for you to reach continuously. Learn to overcome this NOW, when you’re at the brink of going out into the world after graduating, and into a career and future relationships. It will help waste far less energy on anxiety and fear. Take the opportunity your university provides for student counseling services, and talk to a professional about your fear of rejection. Avoiding situations and hiding yourself is counter-productive; it will only cause you to miss your goals and lose all confidence. Breaking up poorly, when young and inexperienced, is not a crime. Rather, it’s a lesson in how to deal better with people and relationships. Don’t let one bad experience defeat you.
For two years, my co-worker has been making personal phone calls, taking long lunches, coming in late, or on the Internet for three hours daily. However, this year he’s started bragging to me how lucky he is to only work three hours a day... and what a sucker I am to have so much work, constant timelines and pressure. Our salaries are similar and this has really caused me to resent working with him. What can I say to him that will make him realize how unfair his bragging is? Do I speak to my boss?
Your co-worker is either getting away with slacking off by letting people think some of your work is done by him, or because he has friends in high positions. It’s time to tell your boss what work you’re covering, and to inquire what your colleague is responsible for doing. If you get the sense that his laziness is known and ignored, you should consider asking for a transfer to another department… or, if this uneven workload continues, looking for another job.
Tip of the day:
Non-custodial parents often need a support network to help them handle their feelings of loss.