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Control freaks, advice from others
Old 11-17-2007, 05:52 PM   #1
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Control freaks, advice from others

It's been a really bad three year stretch. Bogus racial discrimination complaints filed against me, involuntary reassignment despite being cleared, Dad's stroke, DD married the laziest most useless SOB I've ever met outside of a prison, Mom's amputation, and my own feelings of weakness for not being able to cope or handle everyone else's problems. This whole "Superman" persona we adopt in my career is starting to wear on me. I am calling Employee Assistance on Monday to set up counseling. Good thing for me I'm too cheap to drink or I'd be in the bottom of a bottle somewhere.

If there are any other "take charge" or "in charge" individuals who want to share some of their coping strategies I am all ears.

I'm not really into drugs (odd for a child of the '70's, I know), and besides, the Citalopram isn't working anyway.
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Old 11-17-2007, 06:16 PM   #2
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I am calling Employee Assistance on Monday to set up counseling.
Although on first read that sounds like bad news, I think it is anything but. Only a fool doesn't recognize his own limitations and there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help. Sounds like you've really hit a rough patch and I wish you all the best in seeing your way through it.
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Old 11-17-2007, 06:41 PM   #3
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Coping strategies? If you don't drink or do drugs, then what's left? A good hard workout?!? (*snort*)

I'm sure that a significant minority of ERs have become motivated to achieve that status due to no longer wanting to put up with the conditions you're surviving. The body and the mind will only absorb or deflect so much. You're going at this the right way. You've picked a clear signal to management that you've put up with enough, and I bet at least 30% of your co-workers have done the same at one time or another.

Speaking as a recovering nuclear engineer, I think control freaks are exactly the kind of personality types needed for prison guards. I can't imagine that you'd get much done on the job with a happy-go-lucky "Aaaaaaw, let it slide this time" attitude. I know that at least a third of my shipmates were on Wellbutrin or other anti-ds to the point where it was called "submarine compound W" or "submariner candy".

I was accused of racial discrimination once, but I was cleared when it was shown that I was treating people of all races, creeds, & origins in exactly the same miserable & demanding manner.
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:35 PM   #4
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:39 PM   #5
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I'm not a control freak but I've had a few times in my life when I've gone for counseling .It helps to unload all that crap onto someone else . Good luck leatherneck !
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:44 PM   #6
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Employee Assistance is a very good idea -- I'm sure the counselors will be able to help you through this rough patch.

I speak from personal experience as several years ago, within a two year period my DH and I lost 13 family members including his father and my mom; during that same period my dad had open heart surgery; DH had a heart attack; and I had my gall bladder removed. My company's EA people were great in helping me deal with all this. Among other suggestions, they asked me to consider trying yoga and meditation to help with my stress level. I did and found both to be incredible. I still do both every day.
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:50 PM   #7
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You're doing the right thing in reaching out for counseling. There are times when we all reach the point where we need a little help, it's no big deal, and real supermen remain super because they know when they need help.

The other thing I would suggest is mediation or prayer. I don't know if you're religious, and it doesn't matter. Meditation or prayer brings inner peace, and anyway you can find inner peace will help you cope. And it's a lot cheaper and more effective than booze. Meditation might just mean going for a long walk in the forest and looking at nature.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:00 PM   #8
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I am a reformed control freak. I had to back off to get a life. It is not easy but it is worth pursuing.

What is the worst thing that can happen? Convince yourself that you can accept that. Then work on up from there.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:03 PM   #9
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What is the worst thing that can happen?
Well, he does work in a prison...
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:26 PM   #10
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I've been to counseling several times through the years -- it was tremendously helpful each time.

Touchy-feely as it sounds, I have also found a half-hour of meditation each day to be relaxing... I get all wound up without even knowing it, and stopping to take time just to focus on my breathing for a short time slows me back down. You can get tapes to talk you through the process.

The workouts really helps too, when I find time to do them. And drugs (the legal variety your dr. gives you), can help in a real bad spot.

All of that said, it has occurred to me that these coping mechanisms help for the short term, but in the end have left me in the same miserable, stressful job. Perhaps if I'd not coped so well I'd be outta here and in some non-stressful situation instead.

So, while it's good to learn to cope, it's also good to have less to cope with. For example, your daughter is grown up and she'll have to come around in her own time, if ever. You simply cannot DO anything about that, so I'd gently suggest that you take that one off your plate, for starters.

Good luck to you and please keep us posted -- I hope you're feeling better real soon.
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Old 11-17-2007, 09:31 PM   #11
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I am not really a control freak, but when I am feeling like you are feeling, it helps to focus more on improving something that I CAN control. For me, that is usually something like either working on physical fitness or cleaning out my closets, but for you it might be something else that you wanted to control a little better than you had been and that you can control.

Even more helpful (for me) is time off. Do you have any vacation time? You could use it and go away on a vacation. Nobody can control everything, and when you are away all these things seem to fade into the background.
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:26 PM   #12
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i'm neither the take nor in charge type, but more the bemused existential observer. when life's distractions upsets my peaceful nothingness, i usually just eat some chocolate or go out on the town for some incredible sex. therapy can also be useful. it is not as fun but also it is not as fattening.

i had a great shrink for years who would later become a good family friend. he used to call me to play pool at a nearby billiard hall. an absolutely brilliant guy who died just before mom. my mom used therapists from when she was very young until alzheimer's took over. my brother needs to take two of his kids to a shrink, one refused therapy but i'm holding out hope for the younger.

sometimes it is good to have someone to bounce your ideas off, to be offered, unthreatened, perspective. even superman has the fortress of solitude. sometimes walls are not enough, especially when they crumble.
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:59 PM   #13
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It sounds like you understand the source of the trouble, and there's light at the end of the tunnel on the employment scenes, anyway.

Going to the counselor at work is a very good move. The counselor will also be most familiar with the environment/stresses of the correctional environment.

On a possibly related note: FWIW, when I've been especially down (hard to see that things will get better, etc), I eventually came to realize that it was often a side effect of sleep deprivation. When I got more shuteye, things brightened up considerably. You've got a lot of external factors on your plate that are probably the reason you are down, but you might find it helpful to make sure you're spending enough time in the rack as one small part of getting past this.
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Old 11-17-2007, 11:55 PM   #14
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I sympathize, I too have a strong need to feel like everything is in control and can find my self mentally going over and over things I cannot change. Just a bit obsessive I guess.

Doing progressive relaxation exercises a couple of times a day has helped me when I get too wound up. There is a book called the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook that gives a number of relaxation and breathing exercises that are helpful. Physical activity helps a lot as well.
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Old 11-18-2007, 12:20 AM   #15
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Leatherneck, when I first read your post my heart ached for you. That's a lot of stuff to happen in a short time. I was reluctant to tell you what worked for me...until I read some of the other posts. So, here goes.

My job was also highly demanding and extremely stressful, and I traveled about 90% of the time for long stretches. What helped me most was meditation and exercise. Join a gym and work out if you are not already doing that and hire a personal trainer to set up a program for you or take a yoga class. Please don't blow off meditation...you don't have to "see a light through a long tunnel"...just concentrate on your breathing and gently clear all thoughs from your mind...try 10-15 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes when you feel really stressed throughout the day.

About your daughter...fathers never think that any man is good enough for their daughter. I feel relatively sure that she knows how you feel about her hubby. If you want to really improve your relationship with her, call her up and tell her you are sorry for trying to tell her how to run her life. Tell her that you've been taking care of her for so long that it's really hard for you to let go of that responsibility. Tell her that you love her and that you respect her right to make her own decisions. Ask for her forgiveness for your not realizing sooner that she has to make her own way in life and tell her that you have faith in her and remind her that you are always in her corner, no matter what. Then, run the whole conversation through your mind everytime you want to criticize her or her hubby in the future. Been there, done that.

Best of luck with the counseling. Let us know how you are doing.

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Old 11-18-2007, 05:12 AM   #16
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I find splitting firewood works well...when that's not an option I use construction. Tearing down an old deck and building a new one, etc...I guess its something about the wood and physical exertion.

Hope the counseling helps.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:24 AM   #17
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Well, he does work in a prison...
LOL, there was a period, about 15 years ago, where I was having recurring nightmares of homosexual rape during a riot. Funny thing is, they stopped when I transferred to the maximum security pen level. Go figure?
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Old 11-18-2007, 03:15 PM   #18
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i usually just eat some chocolate or go out on the town for some incredible sex.
Ah, the solace of food. For a long, long time I unconciously used food as a coping strategy. Might have something to do with the fact that I haven't weighed under 300 pounds in over 20 years. I was actually down to 302 right before the allegations. Up to 378 last year. Down to 325 before Mom's problems started in June. Currently 338 and searching desperately for sufficient self-motivation to start a steady workout schedule again. i have come to understand and accept that sort of over-eating is as self-destructive as alcoholism for me. Personally, I like your other suggestion, but I think my DW might have some objections.

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What helped me most was meditation and exercise....fathers never think that any man is good enough for their daughter.
I am trying to stick to a commitment to start a workout schedule beginning this Friday, right after Thanksgiving. Four days a week, right before assuming duty. We have a fairly nice training center with showers on site, and it's free. I want to try to incorporate meditation, and possibly yoga, into the other three days.

As for the WSIL, I am quite certain they both know exactly how I feel about him. In actuality, I rather liked the one she was living with before this lazy out of work bum. A fellow Airman, intelligent, ambitious, and an equal contributor to their life style. LOL, it really floored them that I didn't have any objections at all, not even to them living together "out of wedlock". I like being inscrutable.

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I find splitting firewood works well...when that's not an option I use construction...I guess its something about the wood and physical exertion.
If only I had a wood stove. I rather miss the satisfaction of seeing a day's efforts stacked outside the back door. (didn't seem attractive when I was 17 though) I hope to build a small yard shed (either 10x15 or 12x16) before deep winter hits. And over the course of the winter I want to strip our bedroom to the studs, re-wire, and re-insulate it all before puttting up new drywall. There is an undeniable satisfaction in viewing the fruits of one's own labor.

I think I'm going to take some of my own advice to W2R and use some of my accrued sick leave. I'm going to schedule my counseling sessions for either my Monday or my Friday and thereby have at least 6 consecutive three-day weekends.

Thank you all for your kind words of support.
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:21 PM   #19
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I'm not a control freak, my problem is just that i'm always right...

Sorry Leathernck...it does sound like a lot. A wise friend once told me that "sometimes the only thing you can change is what/how you think..."

Another wise tidbit I learned is to "be gentle with yourself." When we are disappointed with other people - examine how hard you are on yourself. I never noticed it - but once I realized the reason why i was feeling bad about some friends/life circumstances - i started noticing the constant narrative in my head about myself (before I just thought my high standards were a purely good thing...). Once i made a concerted effort to quiet that voice down (to be "gentle" with myself) - it was much easier to lessen the critical thoughts of others...

so in situations like w/your daughter - you can't get her to see your p.o.v.(at least not in the short term and not if she is in the defensive position) - your insight will likely have the opposite affect. You do have to let go a little bit and just stand there to catch her if she falls. I have friends who have been in similar situations and many cannot take the honesty - so you just have to let people figure things out in their own way - on their own time (to me, that is the true definition of LOVE)... Frustrating part is that some people keep walking into the same pole, going "ow i bumped my head..." again and again - now that gets annoying.

glad to hear you're starting the exercise regimin too - it's easier to feel better if you are in better health.

good luck to you and take lots of deep breaths. i have no idea how you do your job...you have my respect!
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:13 PM   #20
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As for the WSIL, I am quite certain they both know exactly how I feel about him. In actuality, I rather liked the one she was living with before this lazy out of work bum. A fellow Airman, intelligent, ambitious, and an equal contributor to their life style. LOL, it really floored them that I didn't have any objections at all, not even to them living together "out of wedlock". I like being inscrutable.
Leatherneck, glad to hear that you are going to start an exercise program again. That really can be helpful...not only for your weight, but for lowering your anxiety. I hope you will start the breathing and relaxing stuff right away. It also lowers anxiety. It works well when you go to bed, too

Now for a little tough love...you blew right by the daughter heart-to-heart talk. Doesn't matter who you thought might be best for her, it's her decision. She's an adult and entitled to make her own decisions, regeardless of whether you agree with them or not. Bet you don't run your decisions past anyone and would be offended as h*ll if anyone even hinted that you should. Why do you think she deserves any less respect than you do. You don't have to agree with her, jut respect her. Should she at some point in time complain about the consequenses of her "decision", bite your tounge and say "that must be really hard, I don't think that I could handle that, but I'm sure you'll find a way." If she works it out, she's happy...and isn't that what you really want. If it doesn't work out, she has a supportive family she knows is in her corner...no matter what. Or...you can belittle and demean her right out of your life. Your choice.

As you might suspect, your problem with DD hit really close to home for me. I really have been there, done that. Took me far too long to realize that not only was I not in the driver's seat with respect to her decisions...I wasn't even in the car. It was the hardest and best lessen I ever learned in dealing with adult children. That's when my daughter became my friend.

I wish you the very best in this journey.
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