Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pity Party or Not?

I am following several PTSD web pages on Facebook.  I appreciate the information they share and I wish to do my part to encourage others.  One comment told all other readers and commenters to stop the Pity Party and get on with living.  I've held my own pity party on more than one occasion.  My counselor offered to bring a little whine to the party.  The one thing KavinCoach did for me was to clarify a significant difference between acknowledging challenges and wallowing in a pity party.  Urban dictionary has a fascinating description of a pity party

Difference is what you do with the information.  Both acknowledging my challenges and a pity party require that I survey the damage in my life.  However, a pity party is lay around in my pj's with zero intention of doing one single thing differently.  If I had chosen this route, my counselor would have dumped me off at the next therapist.  What astounded him was my unwavering determination to change my life against all odds.  Yes, I needed to survey the damage.  I did it for the purpose of seeing what needed to be torn out, what needed to be modified, and what by sheer dumb luck I did fairly well.  Pity party involves no goals, no future plans, and certainly no inclination to change.  I think I was anty-pity parties when I saw one person that appeared to be a goal setter in public, actually wallowed in self pity in private.  The 'poor-me' syndrome tends to grate on my nerves like fingernails scratching down a chalkboard.  I did recognize the value and need for surveying damage to find out what could use the work.

There is another time when pity parties seem imminent, when supporting others.  Encouraging others often involves acknowledging similarities in problems.  Again the significant difference is intent.  Joining in a pity party has the intent of wailing 'my problem is worse than yours and I can prove it.'  Where as supporting another person is 'this is my experience, I understand your challenges, we can work together to get out of this pit.'  Although the two may look similar, I ask myself what is the main purpose in sharing experiences.  I also learned that I can get mixed up with someone determined to have a full blown pity party when I intend to support.  I learned the fastest way to get booted from the pity party is to suggest the possibility they can change their life.  Pity Party hosts do not want anyone to bring silver linings, hope, and encouragement.  They are in the toilet and are quite comfortable thank you very much.  I don't mind being asked to leave a pity fact, once I realize they have no intention of improving, I'm usually looking for the door anyway.  I do recognize that some progress makes a snail look speedy.  I get that.  The differences are attitude and direction. 

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