Your questions make such a difference to so many. So let’s get started with Patricia who is inundated with negative family and friends, and Chevon who is trying to stop obsessing about her boyfriend.
Hi Mary Jo,
How do you stay upbeat when you have a friend or relative that is caught in a negative cycle? I have close friends going through a bad divorce and a bad job, and they call me wanting to vent. It seems as though when we get together it’s overly negative about everything.
Being a good friend is important, but taking care of you is more important because if you don’t, you won’t have anything to give.
- Make boundaries for yourself that include doing fun things with upbeat, positive friends.
- Listen to your negative friends and family, but don’t be afraid to challenge them on some of their faulty thinking as well. Reminding others that their thoughts make them feel worse helps them to change the same old tapes they are playing in their mind and reciting to anyone who will listen.
- Limit your time with down people and take time to play. Being a good listener is one thing, but allowing you to become a doormat isn’t being a friend, it’s being an enabler.
You sound like a compassionate person, Patricia, but sometimes being a good friend and confidante` means being firm when your loved one is off the path and helping them turn around.
Dear Mary Jo,
I am having obsessive thoughts about my boyfriend. How do I stop these?
Obsessive thoughts take over when you feel you need this person to make you happy. You don’t, but those thoughts in your head are so convincing you cannot share them. In fact, a guy loses respect for you if you are always available, and they will admire you more if you have your own interests and goals to achieve.
- Stop making your life revolve around his. Take your life back and prioritize it. Engage in things that make you happy besides him, and find one goal for your life you want to complete and work toward that.
- Make someone else or some other cause more important than him.
- Make social dates with your friends, and follow through.
- Don’t be available if he has ignored you through the week, but wants to come by when it is convenient for him.
- Pace yourself with thoughts about him. Some obsessions get so intense that people have to set a timer or a limit on the amount of time they will allow themselves to think about another person.
Obsessive thoughts can be a sign of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and many times the condition signifies low self-esteem as well as abandonment issues. So, if your thoughts continue to intensify and don’t go away after two weeks, it’s time to see your
Mental-health professional. Counseling helps as does some medications when the symptoms are severe.
Your mental health is as important as your physical health, so at any time if you become concerned with feelings of depression, anxiety or overwhelming stress, it’s a wise decision to seek mental health care. We all have these feelings at one time or another. However, when they don’t go away after two weeks, it’s time to check in with your doctor.