Am I Depressed or Just Surrounded by #%@holes?

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Am I Depressed or Just Surrounded by #%@holes?
Depressed? Take a good hard look at how your lover, friend, boss, is treating you.

Why do assholes make us feel depressed? If we are exposed repeatedly to assholes they can wear on our self-esteem. Most of us are reared to be nice. Being nice means listening to others, sharing a conversation, pointing out the other person's good qualities and reasonably expecting the other person to reciprocate. We respect others' opinions even if they are not shared. We generally defer to authority. Nice people are slow to anger and tend to emphasize the positive (for everyone else, anyway).

Assholes somehow make us feel like dopes for being nice. At first we might get angry and if the asshole is someone we only see once in a while we can be angry and get over it quickly. But if they are someone we see everyday, at work or school, maintaining anger is very difficult and eventually our self-esteem begins to erode leading to feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, sadness, depression.

This is actually not a joke. Even though the quote makes light of it, chronic emotional abuse can indeed lead to diagnosable depression.

Ok, so where do we find assholes?

You can find them everywhere: at school, socially in your circle of friends, at church, at work and in the family...

What can we do about them?

1. Be honest with yourself. Give yourself permission to see the situation for what it is. Once you've identified that there is a person in your life who is harming you emotionally, you can begin the work of getting your self-esteem back.

2. Take action. Action in empowering. Taking action is what's important, even if you can't change the relationship because the asshole is your brother, you can still take action. Did I say 'action' enough?

3. The action you choose to take may be to reduce your exposure to that person, requesting a transfer to another unit, office, state. Not calling your relative everyday but rather once a week. In extreme cases, you may decide you need to break up with them altogether.

4. Put into place healthy self-care strategies that will charge up your Asshole Protective Shield. That means keeping an eye on your sleep, eating and exercise habits. Spend time with people (and animals) you can count on that make you feel good about yourself.

5. Find a good therapist who can help guide you through your asshole recovery. If the damage done by asshole exposure is deep the journey to robust emotional health can be complicated. Be strong and get help!

To stay connected to Dr. Aletta visit Explore What's Next, Like the EWN Facebook page and follow her on Twitter!

This article was originally published at Explore What's Next. Reprinted with permission from the author.
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Dr Elvira Aletta

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Dr Aletta is a clinical psychologist, founder of Explore What’s Next, wife, and mom. Dr. Aletta is a writer whose articles have been featured on the New York Times Well blog, the Wall Street Journal Online, Parents magazine. She's been interviewed on  National Public Radio and the BBC London Radio. To learn more about Dr. Aletta visit Explore What's Next, check out the EWN Facebook page and follow her on Twitter!

Location: Amherst, NY
Credentials: PhD
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