Breathe in through your nose deeply now, exhale through your mouth slowly.
Do it again and keep doing it until you start to feel a bit more relaxed.
Do you have people in your life who seem to keep talking about the same problems, over and over again but, they never seem to do anything about them?
Has it worn you down?
Are you tired of hearing the repeated stories over and over again perhaps, worded differently but, it’s still the same complaints underneath the disguise?
Have you run out of idea on what to say to them?
Or, have you come to the conclusion that they are either stuck and can’t get past this point or, don’t want to do the work necessary?
Maybe, they love being miserable? People can be happy in their misery.
Perhaps, they love the drama and attention?
No matter what their reasoning, once you’ve gotten to a point where you recognize within yourself that you can’t handle hearing it over and over again anymore, it’s time for you to do something about yourself and how you react to them and their woes.
All of us have problems
I don’t know of many people who don’t have problems or issues of their own in their own lives, do you? Everyone has them so, is it little wonder that we don’t need the weight and burden of someone else’s or many other people’s problems too especially, if they’ve proven themselves to be never-ending problems that others keep dumping onto your lap.
There’s only so many times we can try to help someone else
With the above in mind, there’s only so many times that we can try to help someone else with their problems before we tend to burn out. Either that, or we run out of ideas.
If the other person or people in your life, keep whining about the same problems over and over again but, never do anything to change their situation in any way, is there really any use in your continuing to try? Be honest with yourself as you answer that question. What good does you, repeating yourself and suggestions do anyone if that person or those people in your life, aren’t going to try something to change their situations? Who is your energy helping in all reality?
Sometimes people need to vent but when it’s the same thing over and over again…
There’s only so many times that any of us can listen to someone else, talking about the same issues before it’s no longer venting but more to the point, it’s not helping them or you to continue listening or being “a shoulder”.
People stay stuck in a groove for several different reasons. As mentioned above, they may be comfortable in the state that they’re in and not want to change it or, they love misery because it brings drama, empathy, sympathy and attention. No matter which way it’s looked at, you’re wasting your time and energy in continuing to listen or offer them the same suggestions over and over again. Allowing them to vent a few times is helpful. Offering them suggestions or your advice or help is helpful once or twice but if the problem persists and they’re doing little to help themselves to change anything, you are being used, abused and played with even if it’s not a conscious effort on their part to do so.
Once they’ve bent your ears, shoulders and taken up your time, they feel better but you don’t
Each and every time you continue to allow this person or people to cry and whine on your shoulder but, they do nothing to change their outcome(s) they may feel better for having unburdened themselves for that hour or 2 or 3 or whatever it may be. I have had people do this to me for 4 and 5 hours, several times a week and right into the early hours of the morning. What’s worse is that some of them, I’ve never met and likely never will meet. They are Facebook friends who know my telephone number and don’t hesitate to use it. I have one net friend who will write to me privately, asking me to call them because they need to tell me something “URGENT!” When I’ve dropped what I’ve been doing and called them, I’ve heard nothing different than what I’ve usually heard from them and not only that but, they’ve gone onto other things that are not only not “urgent” but, have nothing to do with what they were originally saying in the first place. I have another friend who lives in the same city as me and I do see regularly and have done a lot for but, her woes are beyond my help because she, herself, has no intention of changing anything to help herself and has proven that much. She continues on in the same self-destructive patterns.
About the only thing that happens in these types of situations is that the person unburdens themselves until they either tire themselves out or, they get tired of talking about it all and find something else they’d rather be doing or someone else they’d rather talk to about light, airy topics and laugh or make plans to go out. Meanwhile, I feel like the air has been sucked out of me and my shoulders are 100 lbs heavier. Not only that but, more often than not, I’ve dropped what I was doing and no longer have the energy or time to get back into it. At this point, I’m worn out and angry that I yet again, allowed myself to be used and abused. It took me a long time to recognize that fact. I merely filled in time for these people and didn’t solve a thing. Topping that off, I lost my own drive, time and determination and simply want to veg out after it all. Meanwhile, that person or people felt much better, lighter and happier. I would guess so because now I was holding all of their problems while they went on to do other things, feeling better.
They’ll whine as long as you’ll listen or until they get tired and find something else they want to do and are usually the ones who end the conversation abruptly.
That’s another lesson that I had to learn the hard way. People like that are usually bored silly more than anything else. Beyond the first 5 or 10 minutes of saying the same things over again that you’ve already heard and know about them and nothing has changed or is changing, they’re actually bored. They keep on talking to fill in time that they don’t know what to do with. I’m serious about that point.
How many times have you given a friend or family member your ear, shoulder and everything else you have to give to them, only to find that they end their grumble session before you do? Has that happened to you? If not, bravo to you because it means that you cut them off. If it has, and you’re like me, you’ve been used to simply fill in time for them. When something better comes around for them to do, they’ll end the time together or conversation with an “I should get going here because….(fill in the blanks) or, “I’ll let you go because I want to go watch The Walking Dead” or “wash my hair” or, “go to bed”. Uhhh…wait a minute here. Did you worry about what I might have wanted to have done when you started this? Nope! Plain and simply, no they didn’t. You were there or answered your phone and didn’t speak up about what you were doing so, you must be sitting around, waiting for their call or visit or whatever method they used to get to you. Well, weren’t you sitting there, simply watching paint dry and were only there for them and their problems?
These people will suck you dry if you let them
There are people you can help. They are usually the ones who will run their problem past you, ask what you’d do or what your advice might be and then, they end it. While they may do it again, asking again, they’ll usually not do this more than a couple of times and only when you have the time to listen. They’ll ask if you’re busy and can listen or meet them or whatever, they’ll only talk about it for a short period of time but, also talk about other things or ask how you’re doing. Most of all, they’re grateful for your time and patience with them. They’ll also take your opinions and advice into consideration and be thankful that you offered them something to think about. Either you’ll find that they’ve solved it later on or, are working on it but, they’re doing something about it and aren’t drowning you in their sorrows.
The ones that I’m talking about in this sense are the ones who will do this same type of thing over and over again, not be thankful (it’s now your job, not you being kind and sympathetic), not care what you may have on the go or whatever problems you may have to deal with and never ask or ask and only give you 3 minutes to tell them before they’re back onto themselves and their issues again. In short, they will suck the life right out of you if you let them. You’ll end up feeling like you weigh 1000 lbs and simply want to go home and sleep or get away from them, praying never to see them again. Dream on. These are the suckers and you’ve become their victim. They’ve latched on and they’ll drain every drop of energy you have in you if they can.
So, what do I do about these types of people? How do I deal with them? I don’t want to be rude.
First off, once you’ve listened to their problems and there’s nothing changing but, they keep going on and on and taking up your time, thought, energy, sympathy and empathy, not caring what it’s doing to you…they are the ones who are being rude. You needn’t worry about that much. You’ve done more then enough already.
Here are some tips:
- Set aside a set amount of time for them. Don’t put off what you’re about to do, need to do or want to do if this isn’t the first time that they’ve whined on your shoulder about the same thing no matter how differently they word it. Be a sniffer dog and recognize that it’s all simply a disguised version of the same things.
- Offer up some suggestions and your opinions, once…maybe twice if you feel the need to do so but, once you’ve run out of suggestions, opinions etc., don’t go searching or trying to figure it out for them. They may not want it solved at all or, may not be telling you all that you need to know. The only facts that you may be getting are what they want you to hear so, you couldn’t possibly solve it all for them. You can only address what they are telling you and leave it there.
- If they are trying to change someone else, that’s a sure-fired hint that it’s not in your hands to help them because even they cannot change someone else. That’s especially true if they want to change a toad into a prince. That only happens in Fairytales and we all know that. Stop that conversation in its tracks with a plain and simple response. “A leopard doesn’t change its spots” or better yet, “you can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change. You can only change what you do and how you react to them.” Be a broken record with that canned answer. Sooner or later, they’ll get the idea that it’s useless to keep telling you the same thing because you’ll only give them the same answer. Better than that, you’re being honest. No one can change anyone else unless they want to change. That includes the person whining on your shoulder over it all. And, no…I don’t care how much they “love” that person even though they’re being beaten up or abused or cheated on. They have choices. Everyone has choices. You’re not being unfair or uncaring. You’re being honest.
- If you’re busy or planning to do something that you want or need to do, either don’t answer the phone or door or, give the answer that you’re “busy right now.” They may try to go on anyways, figuring you’ll give them the time and your ear again but, insist that you are busy and can’t talk or see them right now. Don’t give in either. The moment you make that “exception” for them, their foot is in the door for the next time. You’ve got to be consistent in how you handle them. Busy means busy. End of story. Find someone else to vent to or whine to.
- Even if you’re not busy and are picking your nose or lounging around in your pjs but, don’t want to talk to them, get an answering service or don’t answer your door and for heaven’s sake, stay off of social media if they’re a friend of yours. That’s an opening for a private messaged whine or to let you know that they’re coming by or calling you. If you get caught like that while on social media, tell them that you’re checking messages, busy talking to someone else or that you simply “can’t” right now and don’t offer them reasons.
- Don’t worry that they need someone. Trust me that people like this, short of an elderly person, usually has about a dozen or so other people that they can call or see or whatever the case may be. You’re not the only person in their lives. In spite of them telling you that you’re the “only one that they talk to about it”, you’re not. They’ve talked to everyone who they feel will lend them an ear. These types of people are never with only one person to talk to. Don’t fall for that one. I did and I learned the hard way with not one but every single one of them.
- If they’re not there for you when you have a problem or need to talk or they’re “busy” and don’t offer you up the time to listen to you when you need it, that’s a hint for you to do the same in return because they’re only in this relationship or friendship with you for what you can do or give them. They’re not in it mutually.
- Give them a mental time frame within your own mind. If you can’t walk away from them or their problems, set a time of about 10 minutes, let them rant then, try to change the subject. If they refuse to change it or only change it for a few minutes then go right back to it again, time to end that conversation or it’s time to leave. At worst, you ” have to cut this short because you need to…(fill in the blank here) and don’t let yourself get caught up like that again.
- Buy them a dollar store notebook and a pen. Wrap it up in a nice way with a card saying, “every time you need to vent, write it out in this book. I’m sure that the answers will come to you. Best wishes!”
- If all else fails and you’re still being plagued by this person’s problems and issues, you may need to get firm and healthy for them by saying, “I’m sorry but, I have no other suggestions to give to you. I think that you may need a professional therapist to help you through this.” If they get mad at you and never want to see you again or doesn’t bother to call you again well, you’re better off even if it feels horrible at first. Remember that you’re not to blame for their situations nor, can you solve them no matter whether you are a Super Character or a god. If they truly care about you as a friend or family member or whatever, they’ll get past it and you’ll have a healthier relationship because of it. If they don’t come back, they were only using and abusing you. You don’t need people like that in your life.
Finally, value yourself first and foremost. You are every bit as much important as is your life, as they and their lives are. They aren’t the only ones with problems, even if it feels as though they are because of their whining. There’s only so much that one can do because your own problems are going to take up your time too. If you’re ignoring your own responsibilities, problems and life to be there for these types of people, you should get yourself a therapist and a journal because you don’t love yourself enough to be kind to yourself.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule but in general and for the most part, these types of people are using and abusing you and your kindness. Don’t be a sucker and let them drain you of your energy and sense of your own life and problems for theirs. Stand up for yourself. You’ll find yourself less stressed, angry, upset, depressed and feeling happier in general. Life is hard enough and dishes us all out some nasty curve balls sometimes. They’re no exception because you’ve either been handed them or will or both. Save your energy for those you can help and let the whiners…whine somewhere else.
At least, that’s the way that I’m seeing things from my little corner of life.
Be well. Love and Light and Blessings.
Have a wonderful day.