How Do I Start Caring Again?

Shortly before the COVID-19 global pandemic forced us all to shelter in place, I received this write-in.  Truth be told, I put it aside, because I had no idea how to respond.  Over the past two months, tucked away at home, life as I knew it gone in an instant, my own demons began to make appearances—anxiety, existential dread, grief—sure, some days felt liberating, but many others unraveled me.  I must acknowledge that the column to follow is no exception to the insight: we teach what we need to learn.

Dear Liz,

How do I start caring again? What I mean is that as a rule, I find I don’t want anything, and if I do sort-of want something, I don’t care that I want it. I do like my Sunday mornings out for breakfast as my only me time, and “Oh hey, you want join me…okay…” Or, I may need to buy a car part to make my car better, but “oh, you need money to get a hotel room so your daughter can tour the college she has been accepted at…okay, here is $150…whatever…doesn’t matter…I don’t really need it…”  Hell, I don’t really need anything, or really anyone. Continue reading

Struggling to Get Over an Ex

Hi Liz,

I’m a college age woman who has recently been through a break-up and I’m having a really hard time forgetting him/moving on. It was my decision to end the relationship and break up, as there were many ways he was not a good boyfriend. Many girls even told me he cheated on me. Don’t get me wrong, there were good things about him too. After all, I did love him a lot. I’m just really struggling to get over him, even though I know deep down he was not a good boyfriend. I know I deserved better and still do deserve better, yet I still find myself crying and missing him. I don’t know how to get out of this weird funk I’m in. I’m often sad when I’m alone and can’t stop thinking about him. I need to move on from him, but I really don’t know how. Continue reading

When a Sibling’s Abusive Behavior is Breaking the Heart of the Family

Dear Liz,

I am a college student having serious family problems centered around my high school aged sister. I don’t say this lightly, but my sister is basically an extremely narcissistic and manipulative person who has hurt me time after time. She has stolen from me more times than I can count, puts me down in any way she can, lies to me, has stabbed me in the back, and has basically taken the attention away from me, and my parents give all of their energy to her. She suffers with anxiety and depression which I completely understand contributes to why she acts like this to me. My parents also say to me that the reason I’m the target of her terrible words and actions is because she’s always been jealous of me and I understand that too. However, my parents always excuse her behavior because of her mental illness and that really hurts my feelings because they’ve always held me to a higher standard than her, even when I suffered with serious depression in high school. She never gets in trouble for her language or behavior, or even seriously abusing drugs in the way she does, but if I came home five minutes past my curfew in high school, I’d be grounded for a week. This has made it extremely difficult to come home from school ever and be in my house, and it sucks because I want to spend time with my parents, but this is making me resent them and especially my sister so much. I’ve completely lost hope in repairing my relationship with my sister (at least for now) because I don’t feel as if it’s my job to do so anymore, but how can I save my relationship with my parents and get to a place where I can enjoy coming home again without letting this affect me so much? Continue reading

How Can I Become Who I Am?

Hi Liz.

I graduated college a few months ago & I just got dumped callously after over five years of partnership. We were planning on getting married and I think I put aside any aspirations other than “wife” as I finished school.
I’m 22 and facing myself without him for the first time since high school. I’m a smart person (I think I am, at least. I’m a good writer and very passionate about what I studied in school). And I’m considering going to grad school this spring semester (I’ve already been accepted).
I guess what I’m trying to figure out is how I can start being a real person now that my identity isn’t wrapped up in a future with someone who is no longer interested.
I’m so young, but I feel so incredibly ancient & washed-up.
How can I become who I am?
Continue reading

A Young Man Struggles with “Issues in the Bedroom”

Dear Liz,

I am having an issue in the bedroom.
I am 27 years old, and when I have sex I can’t finish. I can go for hours, but to no avail. Honestly, I’m out of breath and exhausted well before I ever get close to any feeling of being close to ejaculating. I have no problem finishing when I masturbate, but never when I have intercourse. What is wrong with me?
Continue reading

Is it wrong of me to expect loyalty from my mom?

My mom’s friend’s son’s girlfriend has had a long, close relationship with my mom. The girl and I were never close; I could tell she didn’t like me. In the past she mentioned (to my mom) being jealous of me. Despite all that, I wanted us to try and be friends. I kind of felt left out. So one day, I asked my mom if I could tag along whenever they hung out. Guess I kind of inserted myself into their relationship. I soon realized her behavior was way too toxic for me. A day prior to ending our friendship, I walked outside and overheard a conversation she was having with my mom (my mom had her on speaker). She didn’t like me calling when she and my mom were together and blamed me for something I knew nothing about. She then began talking about me. My mom didn’t even say anything to her, and she knew I was standing right there. I voiced to my mom she was more concerned about hurting the girl’s feelings, than she was about setting some boundaries. The next day, my mom said she had a talk with her. I cannot for the life of me understand why she still insists on being close with her. I have expressed to her that their relationship now makes me feel angry and hurt. She’s mad that I am making her choose. I guess I am. I don’t know if I’m being ridiculous. If you need more details, please let me know. Continue reading

Why Do I Still Miss My Abuser?

Dear Liz,

After a year, why do I still miss my abuser? I have been on my own for about a year, after a very traumatic evening where my abuser held me captive in her home and repeatedly hit me. This
left me with diagnosed PTSD on top of my other anxiety and depression issues, but sometimes I still find myself missing my abuser. Even though I am in pain and struggle every day with what happened that night, I often find myself thinking about how I miss her, and I wonder what is wrong with me.
Continue reading

Pornography and Intimate Relationships

Dear Liz,

I am a former student in your ethics class, and I specifically remember the section on pornography. From this discussion, our class explored how it might feel when your partner frequently looked at pornographic images on a social media. My boyfriend is always looking at these photos and discussing them with his friends. I try to explain to him that this hurts my feelings and he justifies it with, “this is something you can’t understand, all guys talk like this.” I try to take a moral standpoint and tell him that “butts and boobs” don’t exist for men to talk about, and that he’s objectifying these women by only talking about them in the context of their body. He still disagrees. We feel fundamentally different on the issue, but I still feel as though there should be a way for us to both feel comfortable.
Thank you 🙂
Continue reading

A Woman Questions Her Lack of Sexual Desire

Dear Liz,

I stumbled upon a question (dated 11/28/2015, Why Don’t I feel Sexual Attraction?) and question that with myself. I’m 53 years old, divorced (two grown children) and have had several unsuccessful relationships since then. I sympathize with the other reader, as I also don’t “get” it. I’ve experienced deep love in my heart and mind, but I have never experienced an innate desire to take my clothes off with another person. I’ve always had sex with my past boyfriends/ex-husband out of love for what they physically needed, but because I didn’t understand how to match what they felt, they were disappointed. And I was equally frustrated because I didn’t feel like I was “missing out” on anything – you can’t miss/long for what you don’t desire. I will say this though – I find that some sexual acts are a very peculiar way to express/show love. And I could never understand a partner’s insistence on “giving” me an orgasm when my body wasn’t wanting one. If my body is at peace, why disrupt that peacefulness only to make me work extra hard for the orgasm, so that I could go back to being peaceful – totally unnecessary.

Thank you,
Equally Confused
Continue reading

A Sibling Grieves Their Sister’s Death, and Seeks Spiritual Insight

Dear Liz,

Almost a year ago, in March, my seventeen-year-old sister died from SUDEP (unexpected death from epilepsy). Grief is a weird thing… Last spring, I felt hopeless, sad, angry, but eventually that subsided and I just kind of went numb. Recently, I think because the anniversary is coming up, I have been extremely emotional, exhausted, and can’t seem to find much motivation to do anything. For example, for the past six months or so I have been going to yoga to try to release my emotions in a positive way, but I don’t even want to do that anymore. Do you have any advice about grief and any insight into the spiritual realm? I used to have vivid dreams of her, I haven’t in a while, we have been to mediums and they said to look for dimes from the spirit realm, I haven’t found one in a while. I just miss her. Continue reading