I have a friend who is always complaining. Regardless what’s going on in her life, she’s -al-ways-complaining. She may be going through the best time in her life and still will find something to feel unfulfilled about which can make it very frustrating to watch at times.
There’s a theory that the people in our lives project aspects about ourselves to us and the ones we are most in denial about within ourselves are the ones that will annoy us the most about them.
And so, every time I got a bit annoyed or frustrated at my friend during her pity parties, I wondered how much of it represented the fact that the denial of the Negative Nancy in myself really was the one driving me to the edge of teeth grinding hair-pulling.
The plot thickened when friends we had in common had a completely different experience of her. It meant that her Debbie Downer could only come out when she recognized herself in the person she was talking to. Maybe I wasn’t as expressive about my pessimism because it liked to hide under the gage of sarcasm and cynicism (soooo much cooler). But let’s be honest, cool or not, negative was/is still negative.
In accepting that part of myself existed, I became willing to dig deeper and realize that half the time I complained about something it wasn’t so much because I felt bad or sad about it. It was almost like my automatic response to any given event was to look at it ‘realistically'(another fancy word for ‘bitching about stuff’) , like a knee jerk reaction that would be triggered before I could even think about how I really felt.
Which led me to wonder how much of it was Whatsherfacenancy’, how much was just habit and how much was actual discontentment. Identifying which was which would then allow me to actually decide if I wanted to stay complaining or do something about it if I could (queue: the Serenity Prayer ).
Negativity can be addictive. When things are hard on us, we get love, affection and understanding from our friends and family. That high can keep you in a place of constant pessimism just because you’re addicted to the emotional roller coaster and the validation you get when your loved ones compassion hits you.
Sometimes though, negative people are just people being assholes and they’re not projecting anything but their own shortcomings.In that case, your responsibility to yourself is to look out for your own well being and expose yourself to them as little as possible if at all. Because negativity is also contagious and the last thing you want is to catch a case of Negative Nancy that will turn you into a Debbie Downer – them girls are hard to shake off.
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