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Monday, January 2, 2017

It's my pity party and I'll cry if I want to

I'm not sure where I get the titles to my blog posts.  If you've paid event a scant amount of attention to my blog, you'll get that my love of music animates me and is often how I relate. I think God has blessed me with the ability to think, write and tie in appropriate theme music.  But, I digress.  This blog title amuses me.  

So, in my dealings in life, I've come to occasionally host pity parties, been invited to pity parties and be an uninvited observer of a pity party going on. So, I have a little life experience on the subject matter.   Like many situations in life, there is no one-sized fits all solution to how to handle a pity party.  Below are some ways that one can handle a pity party with reasons for and pros and cons of each way.  Knowing your audience is the key to knowing which way or ways to try.

  • Empathize with or indulge it.
    • Often times, it can be a cry for help.
    • I believe often a pity-partier feels like his/her concerns are not being taken seriously.  So, it is a way to gather attention, even passively. 
    • On some occasion, they just need to feel that there is someone who takes their side (indulging it).  Sometimes, people just need to know they have a loyal ally (even when they unknowingly might be wrong).
    • On other occasions, they need to feel that there is someone who at least understand them. (empathize).  Misery loves company.  Besides, it is nice to know that there is someone who can relate.
  • Compete with it.
    • We don't always know we are doing this.
    • It can be a way to give someone else perspective on their plight.  Not to dismiss their plight, but letting them know how it could be worse.  A way it can come out: When I was growing up we didn't get to do this or to go there or have this or...  So, appreciate it could have been worse.
    • It can be a way to minimize someone else's plight rather than relating. Instead of relating to or trying to help the pity-partier, there can be an unhealthy need to 'upstage' them.  A way it can come out:  When I was growing up, I had it rougher or something worse happened to me, so shut you have no room to talk.
    • It can be a competition for empathy/sympathy.
    • I believe competing for feelings, attention or empathy/sympathy is usually a destructive rather than constructive endevour.
  • Ignore it
    • Often times a pity-partier is just wanting to blow off steam. 
    • If the pity-partier can't be constructively engaged with, it might be best to just to ignore their pity party as much as possible.
    • Unfortunately, sometimes the pity-partier will not take well to being ignored.  Their need to be 'listened to' will not allow them to quietly be ignored, leaving you to choose another way of engaging them.
  • Ridicule it
    • Sometimes, after trying every other way to deal with a pity party, this feels like the only way that is left.
    • I believe in some cases coming from someone trusted, it can be a wake-up call, especially if the pity-partier is mature enough to hear the truth and has enough of a sense of humor to deal with it.
    • I believe it is usually a bad idea to do with someone who is emotionally troubled and/or has a low self-esteem.
Just some of my observations on pity parties and pity partiers.  Not everyone's experience is the same.  So, this is meant like many of my other blog posts to throw out ideas or to stimulate thinking on the subject matters upon which I speak.

Happy New Year all.  Welcome 2017, may it be a good year.

- Rich

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