Author Topic: I'm running out of sympathy and tired of listening to the venting  (Read 5482 times)

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Shortylicious

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Re: I'm running out of sympathy and tired of listening to the venting
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2013, 08:19:16 AM »
Op here. Thanks everyone for your advice. Sorry if my first post wasn't clear enough about the situation. It is really the same old 'you knew what he was like before you married him' story. I love my sister and adore her kids but I don't want to continue to get sucked into her misery. Life is just too short, you know. I have been afraid that she will cut me out of her kids' lives if I set boundaries with her, but you all are on target in that I haven't told her how I'm affected by her constant complaining. I need to set clear boundaries with her and be prepared to stick to them. Thanks folks!

TootsNYC

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Re: I'm running out of sympathy and tired of listening to the venting
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2013, 10:09:53 PM »
Op here. Thanks everyone for your advice. Sorry if my first post wasn't clear enough about the situation. It is really the same old 'you knew what he was like before you married him' story. I love my sister and adore her kids but I don't want to continue to get sucked into her misery. Life is just too short, you know. I have been afraid that she will cut me out of her kids' lives if I set boundaries with her, but you all are on target in that I haven't told her how I'm affected by her constant complaining. I need to set clear boundaries with her and be prepared to stick to them. Thanks folks!

You do not have to have a big showdown in which you "tell her" (or tell her off) anything in order to set boundaries.

You can just set the boundaries in your own mind, and then stick to them. Without saying anything.

So you don't want to listen to her whine or go on and on? When she starts, you say, "You know, I have to go. Bye." And then you go find something absorbing to do so that you don't mentally stew about her.

You can just get off the phone, end the get-together, bring an immediate end to the contact. That's a boundary.

But you don't have to announce it to her, nor do you have to give her a list of your complaints.

Just set your OWN boundary and YOU enforce it from your side. It'll be more effective, probably, in terms of getting you what you want, which is to just not have so much of YOUR brain taken up w/ HER problems, right?

And the upside of it is that she doesn't have clear grounds for getting pissed off and cutting off your contact w/ the nieces and nephews.

mrsholles

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Re: I'm running out of sympathy and tired of listening to the venting
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2013, 06:48:33 PM »
And there's always "Wow, that sounds awful.  What are you going to do about it?"  Repeat as needed.   >:D

TootsNYC

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Re: I'm running out of sympathy and tired of listening to the venting
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2013, 08:58:28 PM »
Yeah, I can personally attest to the power of "what are you going to do about it?"

I kept whining about my weight, and my officemate finally said exactly this. Not in any snotty way at all. In a slightly curious way, as if she was interested in the answer. As if she thought there SHOULD BE an answer. Of course there would be an answer; I had a problem, didn't it? And there would be several solutions, right? And *I* was the only person who *could* do something about it. Right?

It was a big wake-up. Helped me in a lot of ways. It pointed out that I have the sole responsibility. And made me realize how boring I was being.

I stopped talking about it and started walking more and eating less. I lost 15 pounds. I hopefully I learned enough not to do something that obviously boring again.

TurtleDove

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Re: I'm running out of sympathy and tired of listening to the venting
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2013, 10:26:06 PM »
Toots - yes - and major props to you!

Piratelvr1121

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Re: I'm running out of sympathy and tired of listening to the venting
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2013, 11:08:23 PM »
As a teen I was the sympathetic ear or just the one everyone went to when they had a problem.   I didn't necessarily volunteer but I didn't turn folks away either.   One friend said it was because I was approachable and people could feel safe telling me things.   Well sure, okay.

Well as a result of this I got a lot of the "woe is me" tales from friends who were dealing with irritating parents, but most often it was boyfriends.  "Why won't he call?"  "He doesn't spend much time with me/he spends too much time with me/ditches me for his friends."

Eventually I got a little tired of being asked what to do and then my advice being ignored.   For what it's worth, I didn't even date until I went to college and my first relationship was with DH so my experience in the boyfriend department was nil and my advice was basically gleaned from what I read in advice columns of teen magazines and sometimes tweaked to what I thought made more sense.   Girls would say "What do you think I should do" and when I gave them advice they didn't like they said "Oh what would you know, you've never had a boyfriend!"  Then why are you asking me for advice if you don't think I'm qualified to give it?  ::)

Course as you can imagine, couple weeks later they were back venting about the same issue and asking for advice they wouldn't accept.

So once while on a bike ride with two of my aunts that I respected, I asked one of them what to say when these girls would suggest.  And she said "Well you can either give them a time frame you'll listen to them vent, say 5-10 minutes, or you can listen for a bit and then say "What are you going to do about it?"

I did use the technique and well, I have to admit that the result meant I got confided in less than before, though not really a loss.   

And it was used again when another friend in college wouldn't stop whining about her boyfriend's mistreatment of her.  I'd give advice, she'd snap "Oh you've only had one relationship, how would you know how they work?"  Instead of pointing out that my one relationship was already past the one year point, we were managing a long distance relationship just fine, I said "Well if you don't like how it's going, what are you going to do about it?"

I have found people that does work with these days, though on the other hand, most adults I spend my time talking to thankfully aren't the type to not take charge of their own situations.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata