Poor relationship models
We should all be grateful anytime someone gives us a safe place to spew some of our emotional bile. When the dam of what we need to say builds up behind us, having a friend generous and patient enough to help us unleash the river is a cleansing, cathartic experience.
Of course, the heart has limits. There’s only so much burden we can spread around. And if we spew too much and too often, our relationships become based on the model that we’re the victim and other people are the soothers.
And that’s simply exhausting. Nobody wants to be friends with a taker. Nobody wants to spend time with a person who makes people feel tired just looking at them.
As my favorite pastor writes, between two people is a generative space, which means whatever you put into it multiplies exponentially. And so, when you bring something negative into the space, it can affect you both.
The challenge, then, is to hone our sense of when we’re starting to drain the other person. To pay attention to their body language and vocal tone and engagement level and, in certain cases, snoring cycles.
It doesn’t require superpowers, just basic human empathy. The emotional intelligence to recognize that we’re not the only ones with readily present needs. Not that we should keep score on our relationships, both people should at least have the change to get up to bat.
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Whom are you unconsciously wearing out?
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