Entertaining

Ask Mindy: Have We Fret?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018



Readers, it’s that time again: time for a another “Ask Mindy.” Welcome back to the world of Mindy Morals, the moral surgeon from Trieste, Italy. What’s it take to be a moral surgeon? Not much, just some fluoride, a dental drill and a well-honed sense of ethics. This week, she answers questions about anxiety.


 


Dear Mindy,


Make it stop make it stop make it stop! I can’t take this anxiety anymore!


You know that feeling you get the morning after you drink too much, where you get paranoid about what you did, and who’ll find out, and how much they’ll all hate you?


I’ve never had a drop of alcohol in my life, Mindy, but I’m feeling a lot like that now. Because they do hate me, they hate me like they hate everything that’s ever gone wrong in their lives. They see my success and they hate me for it. But when they look deep inside me, they see the scared little boy I still am—and they hate him even more.


So I fooled around with a younger woman—I knew she didn’t like me, but she went with it anyway. My wife didn’t mind—we’d already established that certain behaviors, when done discreetly, were acceptable. She just wanted my money. I get it.


And now everybody knows, and they think I’m a big jerk. Which I am, Mindy, I know I am. But I don’t want to be the bad guy. Nobody’s ever loved me—not my dad, none of my wives, maybe my sons, but who cares about them—and it makes me act in weird ways. I just don’t want to be alone.


But I don’t know what to say to people to make them like me? I don’t know how to act, except pompous and arrogant. I just want to make a connection. And maybe I shouldn’t have done things through my lawyer, Mindy. I just felt so betrayed.


Help me, Mindy, please. You’re my only hope.


 


Sincerely,


Feelin’ Stormy


 


Dear Feelin,


Take a deep breath. From a few textual giveaways here—your breathless tone, the way you circle back to points—it sounds like you are going through a period of heightened anxiety.


I don’t completely understand your situation—there’s a lot of ellipsis in your answer. But it sounds to me like you’re dealing with what the psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes termed “imposter syndrome.” Even though you’ve attained success, wealth and power, Feelin’, you’re afraid that all everybody sees of you is a hateful fraud. And maybe that’s true—people who suffer from particularly acute anxiety can often act obnoxiously to hide their inner turmoil.


But I see you as you really are. I know that you are only trying to overcome your loneliness and self-loathing, and that all you really want is acceptance. I believe more people accept you than you realize. Maybe you dislike some the people who do care about you. But they’re there for you, and know who you really are.


Focus on them—and not on chasing young women you have nothing in common with.


 


Dear Mindy,


Have you seen the movie Space Jam? Do you remember how the aliens in that movie stole the skills of top-tier basketball players like Muggsy Bogues so that they could defeat Michael Jordan and the classic Looney Tunes? (Oh, and remember how when that happened, the nerdy-looking aliens suddenly got ‘roided up and huge, their bulging muscles throbbing as they dribbled up and down the court? And remember the sensual, seductive, voluptuous Lola Bunny? Those things—along with Bugs’ cross-dressing, of course—definitely sent my psycho-sexual development down a weird rabbit hole from which it has never quite emerged. But that’s a topic for another letter.)


Back to the aliens. Lately, I’ve felt like my coworkers are extracting my talents. I have ideas all the time at work, and sometimes I tell them to my coworkers. But in our development meetings, I’ll hear my brilliant suggestions coming out of their mouths. It’s got me feeling paranoid and undervalued.


How do I assert myself, Mindy?


 


Sincerely,


Space Jammed


 


Dear Space,


First of all, there’s no need to call yourself “weird” for feeling the way you do about the movie Space Jam. Proclivities like yours are more common than you think . Don’t tell my husband, but I’ve always had a pretty big crush on a cartoon character, too. Who, you ask? None other than George Jetson’s boss, Mr. Cosmo G. Spacely. While other girls my age dreamed of being a Bond girl, or of dating one of the Beatles, I would fantasize that I was Rosie, the Jetson family robot. “I came to George’s pot roast dinner just to see how badly he would screw up,” I could imagine Mr. Spacely saying to me, nervously. “But now that I’ve laid eyes on your gleaming chromium body, it’s me who’s feeling screwed up.”


Sadly, the automated utopia that George and his family lived in never came to pass, and here I am answering yet another question about a terrible office. It pains me to say it, but if all of your coworkers are stealing your ideas, then the underlying problem lies with your corporate culture. Do you have a distant, capricious employer, one who shows no interest in your work, just in quantitative results? Do you find that you are often pitted against the rest of your team, and rarely given opportunities to rely on them for support or advice? These are the sort of dynamics that lead to idea theft and grudges, and I can’t tell you how to solve them.


But if you really feel that you can’t trust your coworkers, then…just stop trusting them. Don’t share anything more than necessary, remain friendly but terse, and look for a job elsewhere.


 


Dear Mindy,


I’m having a hard time making ends meet. I’m a model airplane hobbyist, and I complete about 30 airps (community slang for model airplanes) a month. The planes themselves aren’t too pricey, but the accouterments really add up—the glue, the rosewood stands, the glass display cases. I end up spending well north of $100,000 a year on my hobby. And for a long time that was fine. My wife was less than thrilled about taking a backseat to my airplanes, and when I cancelled our vacation to the Maldives so I could pay for a new display case, she was pretty upset. But we got through it. She goes on vacation alone now.


But enough about the past. What’s bothering me, Mindy, is that I got laid off. My boss said that I’d been too distracted at work, and it was “plane” that I had other things I’d rather be doing. And now here I am, three months later, 90 airplanes into my early retirement. My severance will last me for another three months, but I’m already beginning to worry about how I’ll make ends meet. How will I support my family? How will put food on the table? And how will I be afford more model airplanes?


 


Sincerely,


Nothin’ But (Money) Trouble


 


Dear Trouble,


Sometimes I get questions so headscratchingly difficult I consult friends, family and my Imam before I know what to think . Others I chew over for weeks before I write a response. But this was not one of them. It’s funny how often we put our own needs ahead of others’ without admitting it to ourselves. Your hobby has driven your wife away from you, lost you your job and threatens to put your children in the poorhouse. My advice is simple. Stop making model airplanes! Sell all your supplies, and all the planes in your display cases. Throw them out if nobody wants them. We don’t let alcoholics keep empty whiskey bottles on their shelves. Try to get another job.


In short, trouble: focus on your family, not on your ridiculous hobby.


That’s it for this week, but Mindy is always taking questions. Need help solving your dilemma? Just email mindy@manhattanmedia.com. You just might read your answer in next week’s column.


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