Watch out for people who lean on you to validate their pain and misery. They may be using you to justify their unconscious decision to hold on to their brand of suffering.
Sometimes, of course, we can help others in their suffering as we listen to them and comfort them. Friends and family members are justified in reaching out to us at times of need for our emotional support.
It’s a different story, though, when we’re being used by others for the purpose of helping them to cover up their participation in their suffering. We’re dealing here with the weird and wacky determination of people to use whatever means necessary to deny their affinity for pain and misery.
Let me explain with an example. Suppose that Tom is really angry at Jane because she rejected him and took up with another guy. In his hurt, Tom tells his friends how mean and cruel Jane was. He paints her in the worst possible light, portrays himself as an innocent victim, and in passionate intensity convinces his friends that he was grievously wronged.
Tom, however, is blind to his own true role in the drama. [Read more…]