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zeldapsychology
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08 Oct 2009, 2:04 pm

I try to be optimistic (on some things mostly health) so I asked my sister "how's your back doing" (She had a back problem+ a fall which furthered the pain) she said it hurt but she'll have to live with it. I was like oh. She also now has asthma and an inhaler and I asked if that was getting better "not really" I then had a meltdown (started to cry) Is it WRONG for be to be positive and optimistic?! !! ! I've been in the hospital etc. and KNOW you have to think positive you be all negative!! ! I HATE that she's negative!! !! I went to the bathroom and calmed down and thought why should I care or ask you how you are feeling but she's MY SISTER and I love her and worry for her health and hate she has this back pain and NOW asthma to the point of using an inhaler (BTW she can barely walk half the local mall without having to sit down) (before the injury we took a NY trip and she was fine after the fall barely half the mall.) (Yes that rhymed. :-) LOL!



DonkeyBuster
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08 Oct 2009, 2:17 pm

I'm a little confused...
she can't walk, uses an inhaler, is probably depressed as hell but you want her to tell you everything's going to be fine? No problem?

That doesn't even make sense. Ignoring her suffering wouldn't be being positive, it'd be being in denial.



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08 Oct 2009, 2:23 pm

Looking at the positives makes life considerably more enjoyable than looking at the negatives. Synthesized happiness is a very good thing. On average, after a year, people who have won the lottery and people who have been in a paralyzing accident have almost equal levels of happiness. I always try to look at the positives.



zeldapsychology
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08 Oct 2009, 2:27 pm

She can walk she just has a back problem which became worse after she fell. NOW she also has asthma and I feel bad after asking her how she's doing since she was negative with the back pain (Oh it's something I have to live with) and Asthma has it gotten better (No not really) IMO those are negative answers and is awfully harsh which made me have a meltdown I TRY to be positive and optimistic and I was curious whether being positive and optimistic in this case was a good thing. Sorry if I confused you or anyone.



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08 Oct 2009, 2:58 pm

She's just telling the truth. I don't really understand why you are so concerned about it.



Janissy
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08 Oct 2009, 3:21 pm

You got mad at her for telling you the truth instead of lying and pretending she had no pain?!?! She told you how she felt. It hurts. And you got mad at her for admitting that it hurts. In your anecdote she isn't even whining or moping. She's just telling a short, simple truth. Getting angry with her for truthfully answering your question is unfair to her.



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08 Oct 2009, 3:24 pm

I think you want her to ignore her reality of chronic pain and suffering to make you feel comfortable, happy. That's very selfish.



anxiety25
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08 Oct 2009, 3:27 pm

I have issues with someone being very negative if I'm trying to be supportive... I think it's because people tell me I'm not supportive enough and I associate that with why they are so negative around me a lot of the time... so when I try and they are still negative? Then I don't know what to do right, and want to help them.

I realize I cannot help them physically get better, and that if they just don't want to be, or cannot be optimistic mentally, then I feel even more useless in helping them.

I want to be encouraging, even if I know it's not ideal at times... and I KNOW if someone is in a bad mood or something they just aren't going to be optimistic, and I also know (because I'm the same way about things) that things are just the way they are and aren't going to change, so it doesn't matter...

But that doesn't help the feeling after trying to make someone feel better.


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08 Oct 2009, 3:32 pm

It's possible to be positive and honest about being in a lot of pain. It's like the Chevelle song "Send the pain below where I need it the most."



Janissy
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08 Oct 2009, 3:48 pm

anxiety25 wrote:
I have issues with someone being very negative if I'm trying to be supportive... I think it's because people tell me I'm not supportive enough and I associate that with why they are so negative around me a lot of the time... so when I try and they are still negative? Then I don't know what to do right, and want to help them.

I realize I cannot help them physically get better, and that if they just don't want to be, or cannot be optimistic mentally, then I feel even more useless in helping them.

I want to be encouraging, even if I know it's not ideal at times... and I KNOW if someone is in a bad mood or something they just aren't going to be optimistic, and I also know (because I'm the same way about things) that things are just the way they are and aren't going to change, so it doesn't matter...

But that doesn't help the feeling after trying to make someone feel better.


If you really want to be supportive, then let her say what she needs to say. That will actually make her feel better. Getting mad at her for not lying about her pain is most likely to make her feel worse.

She is currently trying to heal. The healing process will not be speeded up by getting angry at her for not pretending she's far more healed than she actually is.

Be supportive. Let her vent about the pain (not that she was venting, she sounded very subdued). If you feel that her admission that it hurts will make you angry, then steer clear of that subject and try to talk just about other things. Do not ask her how she is if you are going to be angry for answering "it hurts". You actually CAN help her feel better but only by first accepting that she has a right to her upset feelings about her ailments. Let her work through it. Accept her as she is. That will make her feel better.



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08 Oct 2009, 3:53 pm

I appreciate people being honest about how they feel. If you want someone to be more positive, well, it's just a fact that it's up to them to do it. But she didn't sound negative. She sounded neutral. If that bothers you (which I honestly don't understand) then you might look upon such moments as a chance to be the optimistic one, to point out something positive. After all, as you said, she is suffering. Sometimes you're doing well just to break even, she may be that way. There are people who can be content just living with things. Or be positive about your own situation and hope the example inspires others. If you're looking for her to offer you some positive words, if you're the one who needs them, well, I'm afraid then you need to be doing the very thing you want her to do.

It's a weak and selfish sort of optimism that demands that others never admit they night not be deliriously happy all the time. I've run into that attitude before. You can only be responsible for your own feelings, really. Even if someone has been deliberately insulting, technically you don't have to be angry about it.

Mind you, I've never come close to successfully not being angry at being insulted. It's more of a goal that a current state. But then, this was not the case here, I'm just being hypothetical.


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08 Oct 2009, 4:19 pm

If I trust someone I can admit to them when I'm having hard/bad time.
If I don't trust someone I always tell them I'm fine.



anxiety25
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08 Oct 2009, 4:45 pm

My problem isn't so much that I don't understand the other person's point of view-in fact, I'm very much the same way about things that ail me.

It's an automatic reaction to it, and I really don't know why it is. Maybe I'm just upset because ultimately I do not know what to do, but want to help the other person and don't feel I am accomplishing it.

I don't expect them to be thrilled, I don't expect them to change their point of view, but I do expect them to at least acknowledge what I'm saying, even if it's a "I hear what you are saying, but it just doesn't work that way for me".

That at least makes me feel like my support is being heard. It's hard for me to be supportive in the first place... especially if I don't fully understand what the other person is going through-which is a lot of the time. So to put in the effort to do so for that person and all, and not have it acknowledged is what bugs me... and if it's not acknowledged and later on they say "you're not very supportive of me" or something similar, then it's just that much worse.

I want to add as well, that it isn't a reaction thought through-it's automatic and often irrational... I KNOW that... that is why I don't deal well with emotional responses to begin with, but it's harder when I'm the one having them and don't really get why.


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fiddlerpianist
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08 Oct 2009, 4:55 pm

To those that say the sister is being neutral or just honest, I suspect that there is a lot more context behind this than the OP is presenting. I have no doubt that the sister is probably a negative person generally speaking. Presumably the OP is in the best position to know this. :)

ZP, you are obviously very concerned about your sister and possibly fear that her negative attitude will get the better of her health, ultimately, and that is giving you anxiety, contributing or causing the meltdown. Is that a fair assessment or am I totally off?

The anger is really secondary. You feel that if she had a better attitude then she might get better faster, and you're angry that she cannot see this. Unfortunately, this is one of those unbridgeable gaps between optimists and pessimists. "Why can't you see the good in things?" is met with, "Why do you have to be so optimistic all the time?" You can't change her, and she can't change you. Frankly, that's all there is to it.

I'm sure that I annoy the heck out of pessimists. While I personally cannot relate to being a pessimist, I am resigned to the fact that they can't just up and change who they are, no more than you can.


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08 Oct 2009, 5:00 pm

anxiety25 wrote:
My problem isn't so much that I don't understand the other person's point of view-in fact, I'm very much the same way about things that ail me.

It's an automatic reaction to it, and I really don't know why it is. Maybe I'm just upset because ultimately I do not know what to do, but want to help the other person and don't feel I am accomplishing it.

I don't expect them to be thrilled, I don't expect them to change their point of view, but I do expect them to at least acknowledge what I'm saying, even if it's a "I hear what you are saying, but it just doesn't work that way for me".

That at least makes me feel like my support is being heard. It's hard for me to be supportive in the first place... especially if I don't fully understand what the other person is going through-which is a lot of the time. So to put in the effort to do so for that person and all, and not have it acknowledged is what bugs me... and if it's not acknowledged and later on they say "you're not very supportive of me" or something similar, then it's just that much worse.

I want to add as well, that it isn't a reaction thought through-it's automatic and often irrational... I KNOW that... that is why I don't deal well with emotional responses to begin with, but it's harder when I'm the one having them and don't really get why.


Probably hitting your "Reject" trigger... you're putting something forward, wanting someone to like you for it, it gets rejected, which translates to you've been rejected... owie, owie, owie. At least, that's how it happens for me.

I think it points to some very mixed motives on my part... I was being nice to be liked, to fulfill my image of what a good person does in this situation.

When I ask how someone is doing, ready to actually hear what they have to say and accept where they're at, then things go a lot smoother for me.