Monday, July 16, 2012

Husband, Father, Fuck-up?

Dear Eve,

I work too much and can't stop from obsessing over work stuff even when I'm home.
I have a kid and a wife that I feel like I'm mentally neglecting because of it.
The problem is I feel that if I'm not at the top of my game at work that I'll lose my job and then it will cause the family to lose everything.

I'm unhappy most of the time because of this, but I put on a fake face that I hate.
How can I balance my life?

Dear Good Little Worker Bee,

I'm afraid you're like a lot of men in our age, out toiling in the fields, so to speak, that feel a great amount of pressure to hold onto to their plow, no matter the cost. Dragging the stress of work home and feeling isolated because of it is just the beginning.  Being miserable will be on its heels tout de suite and bring with it the usual:  hookers, gin, off-shore gambling, small-time drug-dealing (what a rush!), SCUBA lessons, and the possible procurement of a Jeep (or maybe a vintage Miata).  Then add more work hours because the anvil of guilt that you've flattened yourself under for attempting to feel something good just isn't enough punishment, is it?  It's not your life that's out of balance: it's you.

So what is the real problem here, my brother?  I'll tell you: it's simply easier to fail at work than at life, so you put all of your fruit in your work basket. Your biggest fear isn't losing your job, social position, money; your real fear is that you'll put your true self out there, warts and all, and be rejected by the people you love most.  I bet you've been wearing that "fake" face for as long as you can remember and that alone is going to rip your family apart.  And let me tell you: to see a man lose his family because he's scared of himself is somehow even more pitiful than a for-real smart-person misusing "literally." I'm crying as I write this, it hurts me so!

Let's get you out of this.  It's time to roll out the therapy bandwagon.  Hop on!  There's lots of happy people riding this bitch all the way to I-Love-My-Life-ville.  You are what is commonly referred to as "depressed" and not thinking clearly.  Once you clean out the cobwebs, get down to the reason why you're afraid to be yourself, and understand how you're using work as an excuse to wear the ever-fashionable Misery Coat (I'm sure many of your friends in the cul-de-sac have this season's version, too), you're going to be happier than you ever thought possible.  Shit-your-pants happy.  So happy that you'd slap your mama just for fun (Bob knows she deserves it).  Happy enough that you'd quit your job/change careers with no regret if it would improve your family's emotional quality of life.

Then again, you could keep on keeping on.  There's nothing like seeing your ex-wife and kid living with the personal trainer you paid for her to see back when she was desperately trying to keep you by making herself perfect and nearly killing herself doing so but you still didn't notice, or love her, or fight for her to stay.  And now someone who has a six-pack somewhere besides the 'fridge is doing unspeakably nasty things to the mother of your child.  You fucked up, buddy, and the protein shakes you make your kid every other weekend and one week in the summer are going to remind you just how badly you did.

Don't do that.

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