I’m starting a new bit on this site, where I go through the Internet and find really sad people who ask questions to advice columns, and give them answers that they don’t want to hear, because I am a weird guy with a bit of an angry streak. Doesn’t this sound exciting? I thought that you’d be interested. I thought that I’d start with a couple of people who are being given really bad advice from the columnists they write to. Let’s get started.
Dear person who isn’t me,
I am a semi-young (35-year-old) single mother of four who is working and going to school full time.
I have lately become very negative and very down. I feel very alone and unappreciated by my children.
I ask them to clean up behind themselves and they half do it. I ask them to keep an eye on their younger sibling and no one wants to help. Their grades are not the best (just barely passing) and there is hardly any communication between us. All of our communication consists of yelling and arguing.
I feel helpless and as though my back is up against a wall.
I am now fully aware that I am not happy and have lost control of my life.
How can I get back on the right path? I have no friends — only my mother — and I don’t want to be the kind of mother she was, but now I’m turning into that.
I know it may be a little late to want to grow up, but I want to grow up so badly.
Do you have any advice on a first step in the right direction? – Misguided Person Seeking Advice
I do have some advice, on the first step in the right direction. First – accept a simple truth. Life is a thankless job. When you do well at it, you will NEVER get thanked for it. Ever. When you do poorly at it, you will be castigated for no reason. The reality is that you never truly leave high school. Grown-up life is cliquish and full of ignorant assholes. They are impressed by bullshit, and will get on you for anything. That’s life. It never gets better, you deal with it until you die. Make peace with that how you will.
Next – its sounds like your kids are heading into or near their teen years. This is another thing that you’re going to have to make peace with. Being a parent is also a thankless job. That’s part of the reason I don’t want it. When kids become teenagers, they become unpleasant little shits. Though young kids can be just as unpleasant. When you work all the time and you have to do this on your own, I can’t imagine how nerve-wracking that is. I’d be miserable too. Well, moreso than I already am.
Here’s the reality – do what you need to get by, and leave it at that. You ask me, be straight with your kids. Tell them the situation. Society at large tends to think that kids are idiots. We treat them like they are stupid and that just makes them want to rebel more. I bet you a good dollar that if you were to sit down with them and not yell, but actually talk to them like they are people, you might be able to get more done. Don’t bullshit them. Give it to them straight, and I think you’ll be amazed by what happens.
Next up, we have a woman who has been in a custody battle and is so confused about stuff. Let’s help her out.
Dear person who isn’t me,
My son’s father (we were never married) and I just “resolved” a very difficult and contentious custody battle. My ex wanted more time with our son “Ben” (he is almost 9 years old), but because of issues at his house, my husband and I resisted allowing this.
The legal motion was decided in my favor, but because the father did not “win” he started spreading vicious lies about my husband and me at the school our kids attend, the sports teams Ben plays on, and with the parents of the children he plays with.
People I used to be on good terms with no longer talk to me. The worst part is that my son is now cut off from his friends. He has been very isolated this summer. He is at a loss as to why his friends aren’t around. How can I show that none of what was said was true without stooping to my ex’s level, so at the very least my son can have his friends back? – Divorcee from Kentucky
Ah yes, the custody battle. Something that I guarantee you that she didn’t put in here is that she said some shit about him too. For real, this is why I hate these people who get married because they had a kid. Or, who are in a rocky place with their marriage and think that a child is going to save that. News flash – it isn’t! Having a baby with someone is all well and good, until you hit the fact that your marriage is dead or dying, and then the kid becomes a pawn in the divorce. It happens ALL THE TIME. I have a friend who I can already see that it is going to happen. Her husband is a jealous and controlling dick, and he has almost gotten physical about it. They had a baby together, and she seems to genuinely believe that that is going to save her marriage. This is before she cut me out of her life, because her husband wants to take a swing at me too.
I don’t believe for a minute that this woman is innocent in all this. It’s so common for women who feel they are victims to claim that they have, in no way, contributed to the problem. I hear that crap all the time. But it’s a two-way street. And I also bet that this kid was also used as a pawn in this custody battle. That happens too often to count. It’s part of why I hate when people think that a baby is going to save a marriage. That child is eventually going to become a pawn in a bitter custody battle, and be the weapon of two people who hate each other. I feel for this kid more than you, lady.
Oh, right, I didn’t answer her question. How do you win against this guy without stooping to his level? Got me. Also – another reason that this kid probably feels isolated is because you are married to a new guy. Given that you are already remarried while there is a custody battle, that means that you were already seeing this guy. Maybe before you got divorced? I’m starting to think that these horrible lies that this man tells about you might be on to something.
That’s my really good bad advice for the day. If you have your own thoughts, let me know in the Comments. Feel free to submit your own problems to me and I may make a response to it in the future. Go on my Tumblr page (linked here) and ask away.
Until next time, a quote,
“I consider conversations with people to be mind exercises, but I don’t want to pull a muscle, so I stretch a lot. That’s why I’m constantly either rolling my eyes or yawning.” – Jarod Kintz