First, I must say that this post has nothing to do with anyone named Debbie. In fact, one of my favorite people in the world happens to be named Debbie. She is nothing close to a downer. You know who you are and I love you.
But, Debbie Downer is just what me and my pals call those people you meet who are perpetually down. Not a Negative Nelly- she is more of the type to point out everything negative. Her story is for another day.
Debbie Downer is the one who has everything wrong with her life. Her problems are real, but I don't know what to do with them or her. You see, I don't do well with hearing every time I run into her that-
Disclaimer- these will all be made up scenarios and if they resemble someone you know, it is not the same person or people I know.
Her child can't be controlled.
Her husband won't listen to her.
Her dog is sick.
Her child is now on medication.
Her ex-husband won't pay.
Her grandfather is dying of cancer.
Her date went badly.
She hates her job.
She is sick of her house.
People are mean to her.
Guys don't call.
She has no way out.
Life is miserable.
Now you think I am cruel. Have a lack of compassion. Hardened. Not very tolerant.
You might be right. That is what I am trying to figure out because as soon as I realize that I am dealing with a Debbie Downer, that last weeks crisis wasn't unique, that each week there is a new one, I shut down. Run out of empathy and compassion just like that!
Perhaps it is from my past experience with Debbie Downers that it can't be fixed. No matter how much I listen or what I say, it doesn't help. So, instead I put up a boundary, don't buy into it, and listen for as long as I can stand, try to point out the positive, but steer clear of investing time.
This is not a compassionate response. This is not a loving response. This is not a WWJD response.
I rationalize it as a boundary response with a little of "don't throw pearls to swine" mixed in. Now I am calling Debbie Downer swine. I am so mean.
So I am just wondering-
How do you help a Debbie Downer, a needy one at that, but still not get the life sucked out of you?