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Problems Being Minimized


kolaida
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I have a bit of a rant. Mostly concerning a friend, who is definitely a Christian. Although, she says that she doesn't include any of the other stuff outside of believing in Jesus (she does vote conservatively). The problem, I'm noticing with her is that every time I bring up a problem I'm having she tends to make it out not to be a big a deal and tends to compare it to what SHE has been through and I'm really getting frustrated. 

 

For instance, I waited until I was in my late 20s to have intercourse, she was 19. Before I've said the longer someone waits, the harder it is to let go/get over that person. She promptly dismissed it and said it didn't matter what age you are. When I have mentioned I have had depression in the past, she has brought up her depression. It gets frustrating as she always takes the focus onto herself and never just hears me out.  I went and got on birth control for heavy periods- she, apparently, ALSO has heavy periods. (but not really, she just considers filling up a pad a heavy period) 

 

Now, I know she has problems. She had a divorce and her dad died in the last several years. Also, she had a miscarriage. I don't go out of my way to minimize her problems and say stuff like, "Well, you shouldn't have gotten married to a guy you'd met online and known less than a year. Of course you got divorced three months later."  "Well, most women have miscarriages before 12 weeks, my aunt had several, a good friend lost a baby while going to the bathroom, another aunt gave birth to two stillborns." Or "Well, you should have known that actively engaging in unprotected sex might result in a pregnancy and might have then resulted in a miscarriage."  Or "Everyone's parents dies. One of my co-workers had both parents pass away by the time she was 17. Or sometimes, it's better to have dead parents than living ones." I mean, I don't BELIEVE in minimizing people's problems, but sometimes I want to minimize her problems because she does so to me. JUST because my dad isn't dead and just because I haven't had a divorce or miscarriage (which on the latter two, I have actively gone of of my way to make sure neither happens, which she didn't) doesn't mean I can't have problems. EVERYONE has problems. 

 

One time I mentioned I felt bad for throwing away plastic bags and she went off with, "Can't feel as bad as getting a divorce, having your dad die, and having a miscarriage." I mean, it was JUST a comment. I felt bad for the ANIMALS in the world that get tangled up in plastic bags. I am just really feeling aggravated because it's starting to remind me of my mother, who constantly minimized ALL my feelings since I'd never been sexually molested like she had. 

 

And it's even more aggravating because I feel if I say anything, she'll just believe it's the devil or something silly. Even though she claims not to be a strict christian and I do believe she isn't, she does seem to have strong beliefs. When her mom was over, they talked (btw, at least her mom can afford and wants to visit. I haven't seen mine in nearly two years) about "strong Christian" people a lot. According to her, I just got "burnt out." I was a strong Christian person. I had people in my Sunday school who embarrassed me (but flattered at the time) saying their strive was to be more like me. Hell, I read the Bible for fun in my spare time. 

 

But, anyway, sorry, end rant. I just wanted to get it out somewhere before I exploded on her. Also, to ask y'all--Am I overreacting to her? Should I just let it go or just not mention any problems to her? She keeps saying I'm one of her best friends and even though I've said the same to her, I'm finding I'd rather talk about real problems or issues with other friends. I don't mind listening to her problems, I just don't minimize hers the ways she does mine and, frankly, it's insulting and hurtful. Not everyone has to go through exactly the same thing as you to have their own problems. I don't understand why some people don't get that. 

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You are not overreacting.  If you think that her friendship is worth investing in I tell her how it makes you feel when she responds that way and remind her when she does it again. It sounds like she's had a hard life and could use some empathy as well.  If you don't think it's worth it, don't share your problems with her. :)

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Not at all. Where there's smoke, there's fire. So sorry you have to put up with this bullshit! I've dealt with people like that during my time in xtianity. It got to the point where even looking at them left me feeling like i'd been punched in the stomach. Nobody else's problems are anywhere near as bad as theirs, your uncle died, so what? You're having problems finding a job, so what? You have problems with your periods, so what? All my problems are a million times worse than any of those will ever be. It's like a game to them, where they have to one-up everything and everybody around them, sick and childish as it is.

 

Like TrueFreedom said, it sounds like she's sorely lacking in the empathy department. Whatever happened to her in her past, i'm sorry for it. However, it's not an excuse to take it out on everyone else. If she has to keep bringing up how you're her friend, then that's probably not the case. It's a manipulation tactic to keep you at her beck and call. The "friends" i thought i made in xtianity did this to me too. There's a reason you've been turning to your other friends when you're in need and not her, it's b/c they're not dismissive about what's going on in your life. I'd call her out on her behavior, and let her know that it's hurtful. Hopefully she owns up to her behavior and makes a concerted effort to change. Be warned, she may get defensive about it, or flat-out deny that she's doing it. If that's the case, then it basically confirms that she's not a true friend, and it's probably in your best interest to find another roommate.

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No, you're not overreacting.  In fact, I'm amazed at your patience in being able to put with as much of her crap as you did!

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Well, at least you didnt have to put up with Herpes, Agent Orange or Polio! :-) J/k.

 

If she seems to have a worse version of whatever you have I think I'd start making up some problem, then when she also mentioned having it tell her you don't really have that problem. :-) You just made it up to see if she would top it. :-)

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LoL if she thinks she has problems she should talk to my wife that would shut her the fuck up. Funny thing is as hard a life as my wife has had to go through she is amazingly resilient and even though I have had a fairly easy life in comparison she still acknowledges all my problems and lets me vent. You cant move forward if you just dwell in the past. People like that just piss her off because in her experience life is what you make of it and people who push their problems onto others and use it as an excuse to do nothing about their lives are just a drain on everyone else around them.

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Thanks, guys. I just wanted to make sure I wan't reading too much into it or overreacting.  She ALWAYS seems to be trying to one up me. I have been VERY empathetic towards her when I first heard of her problems, but  not getting any empathy in return and having my problems basically dismissed by her because she has just been through OH SO MUCH MORE is making me regret ever being empathetic towards her. A lot of her family didn't talk to her for almost a year and I'm beginning to understand why. I mean, she has also had one long term relationship, a job that she loves, and a mother that provided her with a trailer to live in and that same trailer is hers if she needs to move back. She was able to get her degree. It's not as if she doesn't have ANY successes in life to be proud of. I don't have ANY of that, but I don't tear into her about it. At least she got pregnant while she was with a guy she loved (and will probably be with again as they break up/get together again a lot) and will probably have another opportunity to get pregnant and carry to full term. 

 

It's exactly like that- she's always trying to one up or imply that she's such a stronger person and has been through so much more than I have, so I have no right to have any problems.  It's kind of like, so what? I need to go and get married and divorced (which I COULD make happen the same way she did), have a miscarriage (something else I CAN make happen) and wait for one of my parents to die before I can claim to have a problem in life? But, on the other hand, if you were to minimize her problems, I know she'd blow her top. One of her biggest complaints have been how friends and family told her she shouldn't have gotten married in the first place and she wouldn't have gotten divorced- they weren't as sympathetic as she thought they should be. And the same goes for the miscarriage. 

 

Also, this miscarriage thing-- I'm really becoming an even BIGGER proponent of calling fetuses just that: fetuses. Her borderline obsession with this can be a bit, uh, jarring. She's named it, talks about the due date a lot, has carved his/it's name into a couple things, talks about when they'll meet in heaven. The miscarriage is a big thing she brings up a lot, too. (Like with the periods- oh, WHEN she had the miscarriage--- well, duh, you bled a lot after that. You're really gonna compare that to regular cycles??- you're even gonna bring that up?) 

 

I DO feel bad that she had to go through that and I wished she hadn't, but I am getting tired of the constant putting down of my problems when brought up. I do enjoy going out with her to shop and I like having the extra money. But I think I'll take the advice here and be a little more wary of sharing my problems so freely with her if they're just going to be minimized while she maximizes hers. I think most all people are or can be strong and I DO think she's strong. But I also think you could turn that around and a lot of other people, including myself, could have gone through that (and a lot of other people DO go through that) and still come out okay. It's not like she's the only person in the world to have those experiences. 

 

I feel bad ranting about her. Maybe that's the xtianity still in me? Feeling overly guilty about being honest if it's not all nice stuff. Thanks again, y'all!! 

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I feel bad ranting about her. Maybe that's the xtianity still in me? Feeling overly guilty about being honest if it's not all nice stuff. Thanks again, y'all!! 

 

Some of that can come from some forms of christianity. But that's not the only place it comes from, i've found. Because being nice is often a good thing, so thinking twice about negative feelings is a big part of a lot of ethical systems. The important thing for me to remember seems to be that when you stop to ask yourself if your frustration is legitimate, sometimes the answer is going to be "yes", and then you have to decide how to act based on the fact that the other person is being a jerk. There certainly will be times where you're touchy and overreacting, and it's good to be aware of those and not take your personal problems out on innocent bystanders. But it's also important to value yourself and your own needs and not make yourself into a longsuffering, frustrated "victim". It's not good for you, it's not good for your relationship with your friend, and it's really not good in the long run for your friend either to keep reinforcing unhealthy relationship patterns.

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I always get a horrible paranoid feeling when I talk about people at all in general. Like they somehow know. Although, she had no knowledge that I'm on this site (to my knowledge), but I don't know. I always get super jumpy like I'm doing something wrong. 

 

Thanks. I do believe my frustration is legitimate, but I wanted to make sure, which is why I logged on here because some of the most down to earth people I know of, get on this site and without the xtianity blinders on. 

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Some people are just really self absorbed and like to talk about their personal problems. Never mind what the unwilling audience might feel about having all this stuff inflicted on them. They don't care as long as they have an audience.

 

I have seen some people like this and I try to avoid them. Also, I can't abide being told some personal medical details that they ought to be discussing with their doctor in private. I find it nauseating, and I am afraid I would probably be making some kind of facial expression that conveyed that.  Actually, that is probably what they are looking for! Ugh.  Just a way to make others miserable.

 

Everyone, without exception, has issues. Some perhaps more than others.  Its a rare person who actually seems to realize this fact.

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Just have to say I love Debbie Downer, she is so honest, if annoying. I'd rather hear real shit than put up with that fake hypey shit any day. 

 

I'm afraid Kolaida some people just cannot help but minimise other people's issues and talk up their own. It a bizarre oneupmanship, but I have found it often masks a deep pain in a person, and an inability to process or cope with disappointment.

 

At my stage of life, I just confront people when they carry on like that toward me. I ask them if they think their problems are worse than everyone elses. It isnt a competition, just some people deal with stuff better than others. Some people cannot move on from the soul crushing dissapointment and pain of life. It ruins them.

 

If she makes you feel bad or you feel she is dismissing you too often, I would wonder if the friendship was worth saving.

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There is only so much you can do  for her really. Sounds like she should go to some counseling. The next time she gets all mopey about her fetus that's in "heaven" ask her if she has sought therapy to help her cope with the loss. If she responds negatively and I a guessing she will. Try and calm her down let her lash out a bit and try to explain to her that you are trying to help her deal with her issues and I suggest having information ready like therapy groups or some therapists she can go see. If she doesn't go everytime she brings up her crap tell her to move on. eventually she will stop bringing it up.

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I always get a horrible paranoid feeling when I talk about people at all in general. Like they somehow know. Although, she had no knowledge that I'm on this site (to my knowledge), but I don't know. I always get super jumpy like I'm doing something wrong. 

 

Thanks. I do believe my frustration is legitimate, but I wanted to make sure, which is why I logged on here because some of the most down to earth people I know of, get on this site and without the xtianity blinders on. 

 

Wow. You have received some excellent advice in the above posts. I can really relate to that paranoid feeling when talking about people, even though (as it is with you) it is usually in a respectful way. For me, I hate hurting other peoples feelings. I would rather cut my arm off than cause another person to suffer. So the thought that they would find out what I said and be hurt freaks me out. Guess it is a personality thing. 

 

This friend of yours is clearly unable to listen to you when you are upset or offer any form of empathy. Do you have any shared interests that make the relationship worth keeping? Or, are you worried how she will react if you stop wanting to spend time with her?

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hi kolaida,

 

there is always someone who wantsto oneupmanship,,,,

 

but i have a question, whether she does that when you have good news, like having great sex or dinner or both, or she would just turn the happy event to another one of misery encounter.

 

if she is a truly miserable person, i would avoid sharing or even talking to such person,,,,

 

if she is one up manship thingy, it would be interesting if you share more happy news,,,

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I'm too cruelly honest to ever be in that situation, but I feel bad for you. One of the things she doesn't have to deal with that you have as a problem (that seems to be bugging you a lot) is HER. 

 

Since it's a problem with an obvious solution, I say you apply the solution to the problem and get on with your life without being belittled. 

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Hmmm. I'm wondering where the positives are for you in this friendship.

 

If the positives have long since disappeared, perhaps you should stop contacting her and start to ease her out of your life. It may well be that she is taking up time that you could be spending with people who will support and amuse you.

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I am confused...maybe I missed it, but why are you friends?

 

We're roommates as well. 

 

I guess I could just ONLY talk positives with her, but it is hard to ONLY be positive all the time as we do live together. And I don't think she's a truly miserable person; she's not horrible. I do enjoy certain things with her. She just will talk freely about her problems and expect empathy and sympathy, but when another person's problems are brought up (such as mine-- and I've noticed even a couple others in her life), they are kind of shot down with a attitude of *I* should just get over whatever I'm going through or what I HAVE been through (or my problem is being out to be a bigger deal than it should) because she's been through so much more.  It just gets annoying. I DO hate to hurt people's feelings, though. Debbie Downer was hilarious, LOL!! But she's not quite like that. She just seems to think her problems/past disappointments are worse and matter more than anyone else's. I don't really know if "problems" is the right word. Maybe experiences, but stuff that was negative or dealt with in a negative way. I think Galien phrased it perfectly with the word disappointments. 

 

I will continue to see how things go, it is good to have extra money. Her one upmanship does mostly, so far, seem to be based on negative experiences.  Haven't experienced that one upmanship attitude with the positive experiences (thankfully or I might have snapped before now).  I will probably just be super reserved in mentioning any problems I have or have had especially since I now know that my frustration was not out of my place or me overreacting. Thanks again, everyone! (sorry for typos, I should get to bed. words are getting blurry, lol) Thanks again! 

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