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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 10:40 am | Fair 63º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Boyfriend-Induced Anxiety, Boyfriend’s Girl ‘Friend,’ Bisexual Family Dynamics

Question from Margaret

How do I handle anxiety? My boyfriend usually causes it with his anger issues but he doesn’t mean to. How do I handle it?

Weezy

Whether he means to get angry is not the point. His anger is making you anxious. Cause and effect. My hand gets hot when I stick it in a flame. And so I don’t.

You don’t have to learn now to “handle” your boyfriend’s anger. He has to manage his anger or you need to get away from him.

This guy needs to get his anger under control before he should be in a relationship with anyone. Relationships do not cure people. They enhance what is already there. If the two of you are healthy, the relationship will nourish each of you.

If one or both of you is angry or depressed or in any way toxic, a relationship will exacerbate all of it.

Based on the way in which you phrased your question, I worry that you are being controlled by him. Is he making you believe that it is your job to handle his anger and that there is something wrong with you if you can’t figure out how to do it? That is just really not at all OK.

Get single. Work on who you are and what makes you feel the most like you. Ask yourself why you felt drawn to someone with anger issues.

Is that what you believe you deserve? Does it feel familiar? That doesn’t make it right. You deserve peace. Look for it. Find it. Only that will bring you the calm you seek.

If you do decide to remain in and work on this relationship, I recommend couples therapy.

Here are some anger management tips from Howcast:

(Howcast video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Amelia

Hello, Weezy. So my boyfriend has a very close friend who is a girl and I respect that. We have been dating for over three years and he has been flirting with her this whole time.

She just told me that she is going to steal him from me and that he needs a better girlfriend, and apparently that’s her! I don’t want to tell him, but if I don’t she will ruin it! What should I do?!

Weezy

There is nothing here to ruin that is not already in pieces. The ONLY thing you can do is acknowledge what it is and deal with it.

You can’t walk into a room full of monkeys and pretend you don’t see the crap on the walls. Where do I begin? Your boyfriend is good friends and has been flirting with a girl who very vocally wants to break you up? Leave him.

Both your boyfriend and this girl are very violently disrespecting your relationship.

You can attempt to talk to him but you need to be extremely direct. You have been allowing this to continue for three years so he will not be expecting blunt talk. It’s time he received some.

Your goal should be to ask for what you need. Accept nothing less and be prepared to walk away.

Tell him the whole story. Let him know what this girl has said to you. My suspicion is that he already knows.

Say, “This is not acceptable to me. I feel horrible about your bond with another girl who is blatantly and openly attempting to break us up. I am very unhappy. Can you tell me what is it that you want?”

If he says that he wants to continue dating you, then remain calm but let him know that you want nothing more to do with this girl and that you do not feel comfortable about his friendship with her.

She is not capable of ruining your relationship on her own. She needs your boyfriend’s collaboration to do that.

It appears that she is getting it. Thus far, he has done nothing to protect you and your peace of mind. He may very well be enjoying the way the two of you compete over him.

The top problem is not this girl. She is third in line behind your boyfriend and you. Yes, he is at fault but, additionally, as long as you continue to accept the way he encourages this rivalry then you are creating your own chaos and heartbreak.

Stand up for what will make you feel safe and secure. I personally do not believe that this relationship can be saved. You need to be single and you need to work on your self-esteem. Show yourself the respect you deserve to receive from others.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Matthew

Me and my brother do not get along. I’m a Christian, and my brother is the opposite. He wears makeup, and paints his nails. He identifies himself as bisexual.

My parents feel like they raised him the wrong way. He left the house illegally; he is 16. He moved in with his friends because we “mentally abuse” him. My dad wants to arrest the people who are keeping him at their house illegally.

My parents did nothing wrong, yet he just leaves. 

I’m happy that he left, but I’m afraid he’ll go to hell ... I’m worried for my parents’ concern about him.

He one time brought drugs into our house, and tried to blame it on my friends who came over. I don’t feel comfortable sharing a room with him if he comes back. He treats me like crap.

He cries and has a panic attack when we have to go to church. He hates our church because it teaches against everything he likes. I don’t know how to handle him since he is so different.

Weezy

I will refrain from assigning the labels of “wrong” or “right” here. I do have very strong opinions, but I also believe that people often mean well but are misguided.

I am going to set a standard for this conversation and that standard will differ from that of your church. It is your choice as to whether you read on.

My standard is that all gender identities and sexual preferences are normal. We don’t choose these. They choose us. God made all of us. We are all meant to be here.

There are religious views that will teach differently than this standard. These strict religious dictates which expect us all to be “straight” are fracturing people. It is unnatural to expect us all to be the same, and it is torturous to your brother and your parents for them to be engaged in this destructive struggle.

He is not “wrong.” Your parents are not “raising him wrong.” What is wrong is the expectation that he be anyone other than who he is.

Unnatural Church-Issued Directives invite only pain and secret keeping and self loathing and anger and rage and disappointment and the upending of families and lives. At the core of your family’s problems is not your brother’s behaviors.

It is, rather, your failure to accept him. IF he is doing drugs it is to escape the strain this is causing. Of course, your brother should not be using drugs but that is a symptom. The root of the problem is that he does not feel welcome in his own home.

There are household rules that should be kept. Among these should NOT be, “You have to be straight.” Yes, he needs to respect his home and his family. I believe that this won’t happen until all of you respect the core of who he is. He is not trying to be a bad kid. He is reacting to feeling shunned.

You and your brother are on a bad course because you feel compelled to accept that your parents must be right and that he must be no good.

What if you decided to not take a side? What if you love your parents no matter what but also begin to think for yourself? What if you say to your brother, “Hey, I get it. I get you. Let’s just be brothers.”

If your brother knows that you are in his corner there need be no more conflict between you and him. Yes, your brother is a bit unusual. You can’t relate because you don’t feel what he is feeling.

Maybe you like girls. Maybe you are happy being a guy. Bear in mind that all of that is making your life easier. And so, you have that much more energy to help him. He needs you.

Your family is embroiled in a global conversation. It is an important one. Let’s all continue talking AND listening.

Here is one man’s opinion:

(Secular Talk video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara​. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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