A while back we talked about how to spot 5 specific toxic friendships and told you to run when you meet these people. But I got to thinking…what if these are people we see often and can’t avoid? How do we deal with them? And how do we prevent ourselves from falling into one of these 5 categories?
1. The perpetual victim
Everyone has a bad day. This is not something that only military families go through. Cars break down, sudden deaths happen, financial issues arise, life gets messy. When that happens it’s understandable your friend will want to call and vent to you. However, when they are making a daily call complaining about how the world is out to get them it can get very tiring. Initially, you’ll want to be supportive and listen to their problems and pass on words of encouragement. But at some point it will start to affect your mood. So what can you do?
Be polite, but let these friends know that they might need to find a new sounding board. Suggest that if their problems are as big as they feel they are there are resources for them to use to get help. Point them in the direction of Fleet & Family Services or Military One Source for counseling services. The constant complaining might be a sign of a bigger problem that they aren’t ready to discuss but knowing there are other support options could be the opening they need to get real help.
And if you find yourself falling into the patterns of perpetual victim there are things you can do to shake it off. Instead of complaining about every minor issue try to find a silver lining. Make a habit of finding three things each day to be thankful for. Write them down. Keep a journal of the positives. Even if the only positive you can come up with is that there was mini chocolate chips hidden in the cabinet when you were having a meltdown moment at least you found a positive on a bad day. My husband and I will both go “what’s your positive” when the other person is starting to spin into an “oh poor pitiful me” spiral. It forces us to regroup and get away from the negative thinking for a moment.