Can I cure pathetic?
August 9, 2011 2:06 PM   Subscribe

My relationships with men are ruining my ability to advance in my career.

Metafilter, I have a man problem. A serious one.

I'm an early twenties college grad. Not too long after graduation, I secured a great job in a field that I liked. Though I liked my job, my plan was to live with my parents, save up money, and eventually move to a bigger city on my own.

That all came crashing down recently. I quit my great job because I broke up with a coworker---and found myself crying at work everyday instead of actually working. (Breakup is a generous word; it was more like 2 weeks of hooking up.) It was a rash, stupid decision over someone I didn't even spend that much time together with. But that's not the insane part.

The insane part is that, even more recently, I got in a severe car crash on the freeway. My car was totally ruined and I should have died. There's no money to pay for a new car, and, given that I quit my job, no real financing options. The reason I got into said car crash? Because I was texting the guy that dumped me.

That's right. I'm fucking pathetic.

Now, I can't get to any possible interviews in Bigger City because I have no car. But I have no job, so I can't get a car. My parents are absolutely sick of me. I've been struggling with depression forever and recently began seeing a counselor, but now I can't afford meds/therapy appointments (or even get to them, for that matter).

I basically ruined my life over a man that doesn't give two shits about me. (This is not the first time this has happened. In college, I didn't complete a thesis or study abroad for similar reasons. Another time, another man that I obsessed over called me "pathetic" and "pitiful"--I haven't really recovered since then.) I have no car and no job. I feel worthless and stupid for having such shitty self-esteem that my ridiculous man obsession has led to such a point.

I don't know where to go from here. I have been shivering and crying in my room for days. Any concrete suggestions for getting out of this mess would be appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (41 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Now, I can't get to any possible interviews in Bigger City because I have no car.

Can you get to possible interviews in your current city? You may need to take a job there for a while if you have no transportation options for getting to Bigger City (I assume that you've already explored public transportation as an option).
posted by amro at 2:13 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

You have a roof over your head, you have an education. Your life might suck right now, but it is far from ruined. Do you have credit? Get a bank loan for a car.
posted by k8t at 2:16 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Take a deep breath. And another.

Be kind to yourself. All shall be well.

You're hurt and despondent and frustrated. That's understandable. It sounds like it hasn't been a good month, to say the least. But, you're alive right now, and you very well could have died in that car crash. You're still thinking and breathing. That's a gift.

Solving your immediate problems is certainly doable (rent/borrow a car for interviews, buy one with your first paycheck), but the bigger challenge is tackling the way you view and treat yourself. A therapist can help you with this.

You can't change the past, but you can change the future. Where do you want to be in 3 months? A year? Five years? If you could be any kind of person you wanted, what would that person look like? How would they relate to others? How would that person relate to themself?

You have the power, right now, to change your life. You can consider this a wakeup call or not. It's up to you.
posted by zug at 2:17 PM on August 9, 2011 [12 favorites]

Get whatever job you can, that pays money, that you can get to from your parents' house. Walking, cycling, public transportation, whatever. Maybe you have to work at Auto Zone, or Starbuck's, or someplace else that is "beneath you" for a while. But take the job, save money like a fiend, and move to Bigger City/buy a crappy vehicle as soon as you can. Then start looking for jobs in your field.

And every time you ring that register or brew that latte, walk to work or endure the censure of your parents, draw a tiny paycheck or bemoan the job opportunity you had/could have if things had gone differently, see it as a reminder to learn from your fuckup and not do it again.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 2:19 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

You are not pathetic.
You are not pitiful.
You are human, flawed and wonderful like the rest of us.
Remember this.
posted by grouse at 2:21 PM on August 9, 2011 [15 favorites]

You have not ruined your life. You made some poor decisions (dating someone at work, quitting your job over that, texting while driving), that you can learn from and not repeat. You fucked up, like most people do sooner or later. That does not make you "pathetic".
posted by thelonius at 2:21 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

That's right. I'm fucking pathetic.

Take it easy there. Everybody does stupid things. Not everybody learns from them. It really sounds like you're doing well on that point.

You need a car, your first priority is a car. So your first priority is actually money. So your first priority is actually a job. On a bus line. You're living with your parents, get some shit job and then buy some shit car. Try to find the job with some co-workers you might like. It doesn't really matter if you feel like the job is beneath your skills. It would probably really help you just to have something to do.

Then drive the shit car to some interviews for less shitty cars.

And personally, I would maybe drop a two line email to someone at the old, great job and say that you just wanted them to know you loved working there and regret having left, and would really be interested if anything ever opens up. The worst they can say is Hell no and you don't have the job now, so whatever.

All of this will take less time than you think and you'll look back on it as a blip on your life's radar someday, I promise. And in the meantime see your counselor and watch some comedies.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:25 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

for less shitty cars.

Less shitty jobs.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:26 PM on August 9, 2011

*HUG*. Just because you fucked up, doesn't mean you ARE a fuck-up.

You know what you do have going for you? You're at least self-aware enough to realize that this (the self-identified man obsession) is a problem, and to know that you need help changing your perspective.

-give yourself a deadline for wallowing. Say to yourself, "Ok. Today's Tuesday. I'm giving myself until Thursday to shiver and cry in my room, and then on Friday, it's up an' at 'em."
-On Friday, look online for jobs in your area. Maybe you could do childcare, dog-walking, something you could ride a bike to?
-On Monday, look online for sliding scale therapists. Maybe your parents would help with meds/costs, or getting you to appointments? This will only help all of you in the long run. Your parents can be sick of you but still want the best for you, and be willing to help you get to a better place.
posted by stellaluna at 2:27 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, you can cure pathetic, with humility, good grace, good humour, and just keeping on in the right general direction. Everybody fucks up; it's what one does about it that matters. Your life will improve dramatically if you (1) avoid navel-gazing and misery about the past, (2) make regular little self-checks: 'Am I doing the best I can, right now?' If the best you can sometimes seems a bit sad, don't dwell; the idea is to simply always be pointed in the right direction. Just making your bed, having a bath, and going out for a walk will suffice on some days. Eventually you will find that all these little machinations to orient yourself back on the path have put you rather far along it indeed, and you will find, again, much to be grateful for.

More practically speaking -- did you not have insurance on your car?
posted by kmennie at 2:28 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

You are not pathetic. You're just going through the normal post-college crisis. This is so ridiculously common. Yours may be worse than some others', but it's hardly outside the range of normal. I spent mine unemployed, cooped up in my parents' house with a broken leg that I'd gotten by doing something really dumb. I felt like a complete failure - as I recall, I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror. I wish I'd realized at the time how stupidly normal this was.

I ended up getting a job, moving out and have had a pretty good life ever since. You will be ok.

If I can give you any advice, it would be to just tackle one problem at a time. Don't try to fix your "man issues" (who doesn't have love/sex issues in their early 20s?). Don't worry about your parents - they're probably just worried. Just work on getting a job. Apply for those jobs in the bigger city and worry about how you'll get to interviews when that comes up. Apply for jobs in your current town, too.
posted by the essence of class and fanciness at 2:37 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I basically ruined my life over a man that doesn't give two shits about me.

You haven't ruined your life. You've having a very rough time right now and need to dial everything way back, catch your breath, and focus on what's actually important right now. From what you wrote it doesn't seem like new job in bigger city is the most important thing. You might feel better if you make out a very deliberate list of everything you need to do--get some support in place, get another job, get insurance, etc. Getting support/therapy (for the depression you mentioned, the situation with this guy/breakup and your recent close call via crashing your car) should be, I think, your number one priority. If not your parents, reach out to other family members or friends. Maybe the getting a new job waits for a spell. If you take that off the table it won't stress you out as you take care of other things that are clearly causing you stress. Find someone you trust to talk to who can help you cope in the immediate sense. Next, check out various free or sliding scale talk therapists. I'm sorry you are going though this and wish you luck.
posted by marimeko at 2:37 PM on August 9, 2011

things get dark. people pull out of them.

Step number one: Make a Plan
Step number two: be OK with changing the plan as-needed.

can't get a big city job because you have no car? bike to a parttime shit-job until you can save up for a beater. Go to therapy, get settled on the road to being ok- THEN try to get a job you love in your field.

It sucks for just about everyone in they're twenties- you are really really really not alone in having a couple of hiccups on your road to perfect adulthood. I always feel better when I think up practical things that I can do to improve the situation.
posted by Blisterlips at 2:37 PM on August 9, 2011

I don't know where to go from here. I have been shivering and crying in my room for days. Any concrete suggestions for getting out of this mess would be appreciated.

I'm going to insist here that you walk outside, even for just ten minutes. Even if you're crying like a kid, take a walk. It's 105 degrees here right now; if it's that hot where you're at, you only have to walk for six minutes, and nobody will notice you're crying because they'll all be moaning themselves. Regardless, get outside and walk.

Why do I insist on you getting out and walking outside? Well, not because it's going to help you, that's for sure -- you're pretty much screwed, no matter what you do, you could walk to Peru and you'd still be screwed screwed screwed. But even though you're screwed, and even though you're fifteen different kinds of hurting, and even though getting outside isn't going to help you one little goddamn bit, it also is going to help you, just sortof, just a little bit. You'll think "Hey, I'm outside -- it sucks out here, too." and you'll be right, but at least you'll be walking, and that somehow helps, and no-one knows how or why but it does, sortof, even though everything still totally blows.

Go take a walk. No, really -- get out of those walls. It will change your head, if only for four minutes, and, having been in your shoes way more times than I'll ever admit to you or anyone else, I happen to know for a big fat fact that even four minutes of ease in a day like you're presently involved personally in can be huge, it can ease your poor damn hurting heart, and open the clog of pain in your head.

Go for a walk, all the nice people here will have given you great answers to greet you when you walk in the door, you'll know we all care about you, and even though that doesn't mean a goddamn thing it also sortof does mean something, something you'd maybe not feel if not in the sort of pain you're in now; we're all sorry you're in that pain and we're all of us glad to open up to you, and we'll all be here when you get back in the door.

posted by dancestoblue at 2:37 PM on August 9, 2011 [22 favorites]

You know where you can meet other people who have let their approval-seeking behavior take control of (and sometimes destroy) their lives? For free? Where the goal is to learn healthy behaviors and coping mechanisms and learn from others' mistakes? In a safe space where folks are supportive and where judgment and criticism isn't tolerated? Where someone will tell you (if you ask) exactly what you should do to get your life back on track?

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.

Whether you're an addict or not, you are telling the same kind of story that addicts tell, no matter their drug of choice. It sounds like you've hit bottom. It sounds like you're scared. And it sounds like you could find some real hope in a support group like that. The help is there if you want it. Best of luck, anonymous.
posted by jph at 2:46 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Hello Early Twenties!! Worst time of my life. No joke. It was one helluva confusing time when you will, yes, fuck up - or at least it will seem that way. But you know what? It will get better. Like it has been said, you have a place to live, an education and your life ahead of you.

Should you text and drive? No. Does this make you 'fucking pathetic?' No; it makes you one of the zillions of folks who make this similar bad decision everyday. Does hooking up with a coworker make you fucking pathetic? No. It makes you one of those normal young people who hook-up with people from the places you meet people, which most often is work. A good idea to date coworkers? Probably not the smartest, but does it make you 'fucking pathetic?' No. Really: no.

There's this cheesy quote on my friend's fridge to the effect of "sometimes courage isn't huge things, sometimes it's being able to get up the next day and try again." You're early twenties are like that. They are confusing, trying, you fuck up a lot. The only way you will become fucking pathetic from this is if you don't learn from your mistakes, if you don't grow from them, if you don't pick up and try again.

Be upset with yourself - a certain amount of that is healthy. But don't make all of this a bigger deal than it is. Who among us doesn't struggle with jobs, relationships and vehicles? Hell, outside of health, which you have, these are the primary causes of anxiety in one's life.

Look for a new job. Ask your parents to be patient with you. Save for a new car while working close to home or riding your bike or taking the bus. Put boys on the hold for a bit. Once you get a job, get a new car, find some therapy. If you can, see if you can't get therapy sooner - maybe your parents can help you or you may live in an area with some low or no cost options.

It's a platitude, but hell: take it one day at a time.

And really, don't be so fucking hard on yourself. You did not ruin your life. You made the ensuing months a bit of a hassle and a struggle. You will come out of this, and it will get better. But please don't text and drive. No boy is worth your life or someone else's.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:47 PM on August 9, 2011 [10 favorites]

Stop, stop, stop. You're catastrophizing (is that a word?). You're fine and will be fine. You're not pathetic or pitiful, you're just a person. It's okay.

Make short-term goals for yourself after a decent period of sad, like, "on Thursday, I will do this in the morning. In the afternoon, I'll do this." Make a list of the things you eventually want to have, like:

1) a new job
2) a new way to get around
3) a new way of looking at yourself that includes letting you make mistakes and then move on and up.

break out the things you need to do to get those things eventually.

1a) - interviews; 1b) a way to get to those interviews, etc.
2a) - money, eventually.
3a) - therapy; 3b) healthy relationships; 3c) stuff to make your life more fulfilling and stable outside of man drama?

and then figure out the tasks to achieve those things.

1ai) - online job search; 1aii) networking, etc; 1bi) set up rides from friends maybe? 1bii) figure out bus routes maybe? 1biii) research shared ride/slugging situations? 1biv) price out cab rides to/from the city center?

2ai) - can you look for odd jobs or short-term work that you can walk or bike to?

Et cetera. Make the tasks very small, specific, and doable. You'll get there. Hugs to you.
posted by peachfuzz at 2:47 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

You're drawing a connection between the dumping and the accident where there really isn't one. The accident would have happened if you were texting anyone at all in that moment, not just him. Where you see a life-long pattern that impugns your self-worth, I just see a bad breakup (and we've all had those) combined with a bad accident. You've had tremendously bad luck over the last little while, and I'm so sorry about it. But I think that if you try to re-frame things in your mind as "bad luck" rather than "bad me", it might help you recover from this double whammy.
posted by Johnny Assay at 2:50 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hey, be nicer to yourself! You made a couple of really common mistakes. You just, unfortunately, made them all and suffered consequences from all of them at pretty much the same time. Most mistakes (texting while driving, for example) don't have drastic consequences each time someone does them. It's just that when there are consequences, they are major.

Take an hour to watch this TEDx talk from Scott Stanley. You "slid" into a relationship with that coworker, and then you "slid" out of your job. It'll help you see how to avoid this stuff in the future. May it give you the motivation to hold off on relationships for a while, because, as he says, the part of your brain that is in charge of making hard choices is going to be really busy for a while.

Once you've watched that, go outside and cry in the yard. Or cry while you walk around the block. Or don't cry. You don't have to cry. But you can. You have my permission.

And allow me to leave you with the answer I gave in this thread a few days ago.

Hi self. It's been a rough summer.

Go spend some time in nature. Find a little park near your house, or stick a chair in the beach sand, or watch birds at the feeder in your yard, or play in a garden. Something.

Take a nice long bath if that's your thing.

Grab a trashy magazine like Cosmo or a tabloid. Only read the parts that catch your eye.

Write a few postcards to friends you haven't seen in a while.

Go buy a trashy pair of panties today. Wear them tomorrow. the trashy panties can be gotten at a place like Marshalls or Ross for, like, $2.50 I promise it's worth it, especially if you don't even leave the house. You're a grown up confident sexy woman, even when you're bawling your eyes out and feeling like there's no solution to even one of the problems you face today.

What I'm saying is, populate your to-do list for now with stuff that is utterly and clearly for you. Let go of the things you should be doing for a minute and just focus on doing things. Fill your days with the "rewards" for a week or so and get into the groove of loving what you're doing. Get into the groove of being you.

Going to the bank and picking up groceries and cleaning all the things can wait. Nobody says on their deathbed, "I wish I had spent another evening at the office" or whatever that quote is. Find a puppy, or poke an anthill with a stick, or sit still through an entire cheesy movie without getting up except maybe to make more popcorn. Commit to you.

posted by bilabial at 2:50 PM on August 9, 2011

Now would be a really good time to hold a fundraiser. Invite everyone: your old co-workers, your old boss, your friends, your college friends, your parent's friends, everyone you can think of except the moron who lead you down the road. It's for a new beginning, for a new car.

I know the feeling of a double whammy. The best thing to do is move on as quickly as possible. Don't wait around feeling sorry for yourself.
posted by parmanparman at 2:53 PM on August 9, 2011

You're in your early 20s. You're expected to make some mistakes, especially in the relationship department. As a college friend once said to me after I wallowed in self-pity after a particularly stupid makeout session, "you can't go back in time and un-make out with her." (him, in your case.) Move on and learn from the experience. It's part of growing up, so don't be so harsh on yourself.

Get a part-time job in your current town until you can afford a car and get a better job that you like.

Check your credit. You're entitled to one free credit report per year in most states. (Beware, though, of websites that advertise on TV that say in quick fine print that you have to enroll in something.) If it's reasonably decent, and you can save up for a while for a reasonable down payment, chances are you can qualify for a car loan. (Don't forget to take into account expenses like insurance, sales tax, registration, and, in some states, excise/property tax).

You have a college degree and experience in your field. That will help with the job. You quit voluntarily. Unless you told your employer that that was why you quit, it's unlikely to follow you to your next job, and you can answer "why did you leave?" in an interview with something vague like "the atmosphere and corporate culture weren't a good fit for me."

Best of luck.
posted by tckma at 2:57 PM on August 9, 2011

Something you can do for free today: stop using the words of some man (who didn't even like you) to define yourself. No more "pathetic", no more "pitiful" - do you realize how many times you used those words in your post, and then in your tags, and in your title?

You have a dependency problem on men to define your self worth. You're beginning to recognize this, and yet you keep repeating those old words like you're digging through your junk drawer for a last fix.

Start owning your life. You've done some dumb stuff, and don't be afraid to identify dumb when you know you've done it, because it gives you back your agency. You made a choice, these aren't things that just happened to you, they can't just randomly happen to you again unless you choose them again. That's power, that's your power over your own life.

And then like lots of people who've gotten themselves into some trouble, you start over. Get whatever job you can, get a car, get back into therapy, get a better job - and then get yourself on a shiny new track to whatever you want to do with your life. (A year or two of celibacy wouldn't hurt, while you turn your attention to these other things.)

You may need to 'fake it 'til you make it' a little bit - get up every day, shower and dress for work, and then do the things you need to do to get a job, whatever job you can under the circumstances, and take it from there. And take care of yourself. It'll work out. You'll be okay.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:03 PM on August 9, 2011 [6 favorites]

A friend of mine's niece has completely ruined her life over obsessions with a string of married and completely unavailable men. She's given up several excellent careers, moved across the country, bought condos in the same buildings as the obsessees, and ignored objectively far more desirable men who were very interested in her.

My friend and I got to talking about her family in general, and it became apparent that quite a few of her relatives had suffered and are suffering from severe OCD-- including the niece in question, who, among other things, used to get marked down on hand-written book reports and in-class essays because, after writing something, she then could not stop herself from going over each word twice more with her pen, and it made for an extremely odd, even somewhat creepy looking final product.

I think romantic obsession is one of the more malignant forms OCD can take. I can't tell if anything like that is going on with you, but if you do have obsessions in other parts of your life, you might be able to limit your romantic obsessions by seeking psychiatric help for OCD in general.
posted by jamjam at 3:04 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been struggling with depression forever and recently began seeing a counselor, but now I can't afford meds/therapy appointments (or even get to them, for that matter).

If you are under 26, you can still be covered under your parents' health coverage under Obama's healthcare reform.
posted by Doohickie at 3:15 PM on August 9, 2011

Mod note: This is a followup from the asker.
Hi everyone, thanks so much for your kind words. I did have car insurance, but since the car was totaled and I still had payments to make, it paid off the cost of the car to the bank. So I do have to finance a new used car on my own.

My credit is pretty poor, but I was making steady debt payments up until I quit my job. I still have a hefty amount of student loans, too.

My town is very suburbs-y, but I will look into public transportation for local jobs.

Throwaway email address:

Thank you so much.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:16 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Forgive yourself. Everyone fucks up. You make your apologies and restitution and you move on. Self-flagellation accomplishes nothing.

That's easier said than done, but you do it one step at a time. When you find yourself wallowing in those feelings you ask yourself "what does this accomplish?" and if the answer is nothing then you let it go.

Depression is hard because, like anger, it's an emotion than you want to keep going once you're in it. Not that either is fun, but it has a self-perpetuating quality. You need to short-circuit it and get some outside help. As Doohickie says, the ACA now allows you to be covered by your parents' coverage. Look into it.
posted by phearlez at 3:56 PM on August 9, 2011

Honey. Please stop with the name calling. Would you talk to a friend that way? Would you scold her and hound her and tell her she's a pathetic loser? Step outside of yourself for a moment. Please start treating yourself with the dignity and respect you deserve. I read your post and here's what I take from it:

*You're a college graduate. This is an awesome accomplishment. And you're privileged to have had the chance at an education. So, good for you. Many people can only dream of this.

*You secured a great job in a field that you like. Now that's really something to be proud of. You're already ahead of many of your peers who are looking for that first job, or even just casting about for a field that they like.

*You had a smart plan that you were carrying out - to save some money and move to a big city for some adventures. There is simply no reason whatsoever to abandon this plan.

You're very bright. You've accomplished some important things. You write well. Now you've derailed a bit. I know it seems catastrophic to you but it isn't. You think you've fallen so far down the well that you'll never crawl back out but I know for a fact that you're wrong. You're not even knee-deep in the hole.

As others have pointed out, there are some simple steps you can take to start rebuilding your bank account and getting back to where you want to be. But the first thing you have to do, beginning right now, is to STOP beating yourself up. Be your own best friend, OK? Every time that voice says, "nyah nyah, pathetic, life is over, hahaha", you shut it the hell up by saying, "I'm strong, I'm smart, I'm not quitting, I'm here to enjoy my life and make things happen."

Get a new email address while you're at it. patheticgirl2 is SO not you.
posted by Kangaroo at 4:00 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

You seem to focused on the idea that despite outward signs of a successful independent young woman, you are consistently flaking out about BOYS! Aren't you supposed to beyond that? Amiright?

I'd like to float for consideration that BOY DRAMA is a substitute for your own insecurities about success.

This is maybe just food for thought once you get that therapist, but I can't help but draw a line between:
(a) moments when you are about to stretch your wings and soar (first big girl job, a chance to study abroad, taking on or completing a major academic work); and
(b) sabotage conveniently arriving in the form of a boy.

You should stop judging yourself on the basis that your issues are about boys and men and things of that nature. IMHO, you are not being flighty or frivolous in reacting to men in this way. You are experiencing -- through them -- your feelings about yourself. That's powerful stuff.
posted by girlpublisher at 4:04 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

In addition to the above, I think you should reexamine your old relationships. "Pathetic," "pitiful" -- that is emotional abuse. I know, because I was there. It is wrong. He was wrong. You are neither; you have a heart. You loved not wisely but too well; you were the truest lady to your lord living; that kind of thing. It's out of fashion these days, but the point is this -- you have tremendous strength. It wasn't valued where it was given, but that makes it no less real.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:14 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

Stop calling yourself names. That's an outrageous thing to do to a human being who has a right to be here.

Now let's get the cause and effect straight.

You didn't crash your car because you were in a bad relationship, you crashed it because you were texting while driving. You need to make a resolution never to use your phone while driving, no matter what the temptation.

Try not to quit your job without having something else lined up, that is, unless you have seriously fucked up in some way like embezzlement on a grand scale. Getting tearful over a cow-orker may be a bit embarrassing, but it doesn't remotely qualify for hara-kiri. Though of course if you could see yourself being too upset far into the future, that's understandable, but it still would've helped to start looking as soon as you broke up.

Another thing I might suggest is that waiting for guys to come to you is quite effective in screening out the ones who don't give two shits about you. It won't screen out all of them, and it won't protect you from getting emotionally hurt (the relationships you don't have can be pretty painful too, let's face it) but at least you won't be rewarding the guy's indifference with blowjobs.

Actually you could make that your new motto: "Henceforth, I will never again reward a guy's indifference with blowjobs." That might help.

My point is, it's essential that you learn to fly by instruments. Success hinges on whether you choose to ignore what you know. You need to set some procedures and follow them, rather than acting on emotion. You may still get hurt feelings, but at least you'll be broken-hearted and employed with a good set of wheels.

Thank God you were not hurt in that accident. You are too valuable for that. Imagine your 5-year-old self. Would you drive carelessly with her in the car? Would you call her "pathetic" or "pitiful"? Of course not. And since you are the same person as her, I have no idea why you'd want to treat yourself that way now. Please be nicer to yourself, ok?
posted by tel3path at 4:49 PM on August 9, 2011 [8 favorites]

I'm just going to address logistics. Most people who're into driving everywhere don't know this, but almost all places in the United States have some access to public transport-- sometimes they only come like, 3 times a week to the really rural areas, but even Middle-of-Nowhere, MI had a van-type thing to go to the nearest small town. So... um, google that. Once you're in a bigger town, there's definitely public transport.

Otherwise: if you're with your parents, and they're 'sick of you' moping, you can leverage this. One: you can ask for a medium-term loan or for them to co-sign at a bank for a medium-term loan in order to rent a car. Two: you can ask ask them if any of their friends may have a second car they may loan you, either as a favor, or so you can pay them back once you get a job. Three: you can apply for your state's Medicaid/etc program (to go to a therapist) and sometimes there's a program to drive you to these places if you can't do it yourself; likewise, you can apply for money from your state's needy program to get enough money to get to the city (rent a car), etc. Fourthly: find out, ask around in a bar/cafe, call the Mayor's office or have your parents ask around, since it's very likely there's a car-pool available in your town to go to Bigger Town.

Five: do not quit a job if you haven't got one lined up, unless you're like, literally bleeding from your eye-sockets. Also, no more spending time with men outside work unless you know you're ok. Make friends instead.
posted by reenka at 4:57 PM on August 9, 2011

Hey, don't be so hard on yourself, ok?

you don't sound pathetic- you sound like me and a bunch of my friends, especially in our 20's. A little stumbling happens in life. and don't feel stupid for caring about someone who didn't care as much back- this is practically a universal experience, especially for people who are nice and caring.
posted by bearette at 5:35 PM on August 9, 2011

Forgive yourself for everything, but please, PLEASE never text while driving again. It's a terrible way to learn that lesson, but it's probably the worst decision you made in this whole story, and the easiest to remedy.
posted by xingcat at 5:59 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

First off, if you call yourself fucking pathetic, or worthless and stupid, people will start to perceive you that way too. I almost started to when I read your post, but then I saw people's nice replies, and it also made it want to be nicer. So stop with that negative attitude. It won't make you any happier to constantly tell yourself that you suck, and it will even make people think worse of you.

Second, do not associate the unemployment problem with a boy problem. They are totally separate problems. You can probably put aside the boy problems by not dealing with boys for now, and focusing on your job/car problems. Then, when your self esteem is a bit better, you can think about boys again. BUT NOT WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING. Seriously, do not text and drive. Do not call and drive, get a bluetooth thing.

Third, you did not ruin your life. You have like, 50+ years of life ahead of you, and I am sure that within a year at least half of your problems will be fixed. And then you will have 49+ years of un-ruined life.

OK, now on to the practical advice:
Plenty of companies will pay for your transportation to/from an interview if it's in another city or if you don't have a car. As others said, look into public transit to get to the city for interviews. Also, if it is really a dream job that you have a chance to interview for (and you think you have a shot), rent a car using a credit card. It'll be worth it if you get the job. And you can write it off for taxes next year. Or start by looking for jobs nearby that you can ride a bike or walk to, even if it's just a Starbucks in the meantime, to earn some money for a car. There is NOTHING shameful about taking a crappy job after college for a few months while you are looking for a real job, I did that. Or ask friends for a ride to the interview, pay for their dinner as a thank you.

Sure, none of those options are as ideal as simply having a car and immediately finding an awesome job, but the point is that these are all different options that you have. So start going through them all. Do at least one thing every day that will make you feel good about yourself - exercise, go for a walk, send out resumes, call about jobs, stop by the local coffee shop and ask about a barista job. Also, do you have any people from your previous job who you are on good terms with who have connections? Talk to them about whether they know of any opportunities for you in that same field.
posted by at 6:34 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

I can relate. A lot. Please email me or PM me if you want to vent or share stories and I can give you tips on how I'm coping.
posted by rainygrl716 at 7:18 PM on August 9, 2011

Come on, now. You are really young. You can get another job. You can get another car. Your life is in no way ruined over the loss of these things. Just inconvenienced for a short while. Get a job where you live, even if it's not that great of a job. I worked a low paying, seasonal retail gig when unemployed a few years ago and I needed it not just for money, but because I had gotten so bummed out that I didn't think I was even capable of doing that job, and it really helped me start getting back on track. Save some money, buy another car.

Now that you know how much it sucks not to have a job, and how terrifying it is to almost get killed in a car crash while texting and driving, that's a thought to keep in your mind and stop yourself from making another impulsive decision in a future situation.

You aren't pitiful, pathetic, worthless or stupid and don't deserve to be called those things or treated badly. It sounds like you feel bad about yourself for feeling bad about yourself, even! But if you are used to thinking that way, it's normal to you and it'll take awareness and work to change. So just try to slowly think about things differently (for instance, "this person is treating me badly and I don't deserve it and don't have to tolerate it") and try to be patient with yourself because it takes time to change. People here recommend that Feeling Good book a lot for changing thought patterns that are damaging.
posted by citron at 9:07 PM on August 9, 2011

How are you fixed for friends?

If you have a good friend network (something about the words you used make me suspect otherwise), now is exactly the time to reach out to them. Call them up, tell them that you've had an awful time of it, and tell them you really, really need them. They are your friends, they love you, they will be there. Trust me.

If you are somewhat lacking, that's okay. But this is where your focus should be. Find friends, not hookups, not psycho meanies that won't care about what they do to you. Pitiful and pathetic should be stricken from your vocabulary, and if anyone ever says that you are either, you have my permission to tell them that you would be more than happy to step over them as they lay dying. But, it's probably a good idea to lay off of relationships for awhile, at least until you get into a super good, confident, and happy headspace. Find (or even, reconnect with, maybe?) the people that will be there for you through thick and thin. Hell, I'll be your friend. Memail me whenever you like.

Now, for the job thing... that's a little trickier. Find out all of your public transportation options (and I mean *all*). You can even try working from home... hell, all else fails, you can learn how to read tarot cards (or do a cold reading) and work as a phone or internet psychic. Glamorous? No. A paycheck? Depends at how good you are at keeping people on the phone/in the chat room. Check out your university's alumni association, and go to networking events through them. Blast your resume to every job you can conceivably get on or Check out Craigslist for short-term gigs.

In the meantime, learn how to do things that wind up creating something from raw materials... I like to embroider swear words for stress relief. Seeing something come into being where there had originally been nothing really helps the sense of accomplishment. Alternatively, write a novel, learn to draw, paint, knit, play the harmonica... carve out a little while a day to clear your mind and focus on the yarn/paper/cloth/instrument in front of you. That has always helped me immensely as well.

You are going to get through this. Trust me, this too shall pass.
posted by mornie_alantie at 10:38 PM on August 9, 2011

It might be useful to remember that many, many people feel this way a lot of the time. Even people who might think have it all together and are self-confident - half the time they're five minutes away from pulling their car over and weeping at the wheel. Most of us are living on the edge. And it does end. If I were to think back over some of the truly horrible mistakes I made in my youth, I'd never sleep.

So, be kind to yourself. Talk to friends if you can. And try to get out of the house once in a while. It's so tempting to just roll up into a little ball in your room but if you can even just sit outside on a bench it helps. And walking dogs helps most of all. If you don't have one, can you borrow one? It might sound inane but there's something about walking a dog that really does help get one out of oneself.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:42 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Everyone had such wonderful advice above, but I just want to chime in from my experience in a very dark part of my life.

What I know now, that I did not know then:

- There is NO SUCH THING as a ruined life. A life is not ruined until you are dead. No matter where you are in life, you have the ability to turn things around. You can move slowly towards something fantastic, and, over a period of time, get a lot further than you dreamed possible. Early 20's people tend to over-catastrophize sometimes ("OMG, I was soooo traumatized!"), imagining that they will be bums on the street and life is over. But even if you *are* a bum on the street, you are a human being with strong internal resources. You can make positive changes to move your life forward. If you keep trying, you *will* get somewhere better.

- Time and life are the most important things. Having your youth and your health is the most important thing. You are young, and strong, and you have a million options that you are not seeing right now. You could work a crap job and save up and move to Buenos Aires. You could get a youth work visa to work in Australia. You could explore the industry where you got a great job, and find a even better one. You may not want to do these things, but the fact that you have no car and no job is actually an asset in some way. Not having these things is freedom. And freedom is powerful.

- Exercise. No matter what is going on in your life, you can always get in shape or in better shape.

- Enjoy yourself every day. Misery breeds more misery.

- Take the next step. The crappy job. Finding a way to pay for a car. It will likely take you 6 months to a year to get out of this. But there is NO doubt that you will. In a year, you WILL be out of this, guaranteed.
posted by carolinaherrera at 5:37 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Honestly? My biggest advice for you is DON'T TEXT AND DRIVE. I know it seems kind of peripheral to your question, but really, this is the only reason you crashed your car and ended up in this shitty situation. It is entirely possible to have a crappy break-up and not total a car. I'm not trying to be harsh, I'm just suggesting you reframe this problem in terms of easy, obvious changes you can make instead of overarching life problems.
posted by threeants at 11:36 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

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