Learning to Comfort a Person who Feels Sad

So, do you like to be sad? Probably not. It’s quite likely that at least a part of you doesn’t want to be sad at all, and would much rather be happy. If you feel very strongly about this, I’ve got some bad news for you:

Happiness is really no better than sadness.

“What??” you might say. Let me explain.

Happiness and sadness are both just part of the emotional spectrum. Either emotion, you feel it, perhaps in response to events, and then you do your best to respond to that feeling. But if we feel as though sadness is a bad thing, we can tend to act rather unhelpfully around sad people. Continue reading

Tragedy and the Emotional Vampire

The tragedy of losing friends and those you hold dear is connected to clinging on to others (who you also hold dear) in unhealthy, unfriendly ways. Maybe the true culprit is abandoning yourself during times of pain, when you need comforting the most. I will find out.

EDIT: Why does this post include something about the “Emotional Vampire?”

There is a side of one’s self who wants to keep others close to it because of the benefits it gains. I call this The Emotional Vampire. Why? Because he wants to prey off of the joy of friendship, but complains with those others want to be free, and do their own thing.

After talking with this guy, I realized he acted this way because he himself had lost friends, and, not wanting to deal with that kind of pain anymore, he now did what he could to keep current friends close.

He only seems to come out when a friendship or relationship is in danger. It’s that grasping feeling, saying, “How dare they! I am their friend!” However, as you can see, the Emotional Vampire isn’t invested in what their friend wants.

The reason why, in the original post, I suggested this compulsion might have to do with abandoning yourself in times of pain is because when you lose a friend, it’s painful – and if you can’t be your own friend at those times, you might try to get other people to alleviate your pain for you. I have not proven or disproven this at this time.

All I can say it was extremely disturbing the first time I saw this in myself, because I want to be a good friend, and this side of myself is decidedly not.

Just be careful not to let this side of yourself be the dominating way you relate with other people, or those who wise up to it will flee from you. Instead, challenge your own neediness, and become a more true friend, one who can stand on his or her own, but enjoys giving and receiving nonetheless.

Helping Friends with Analysis vs. Comforting

Found out today that if you try to help your friends, say by analyzing their problem in order to discover a solution, they might get pissed off at you, and claim you’re not being their friend. That’s not to say you didn’t mean well, but your friend really just wanted to be comforted, rather than analyzed. Their problem may seem big, but they’re despairing about because they do not have the inner comforting necessary to handle it themselves. So comforting them is a much better immediate solution, and then they’ll know that you care about them, rather than about yourself appearing like the cool problem solver you’d like to be seen as. At least, this is how it worked out for me.

The fantasy of the friend (feminine energy friend) might be something like a sparkly guy on a white horse riding in to save them from their enemies, but that too seems lame to the problem-solver (you, perhaps). Truth is, when your friend gets comfort, despite your non-sparkliness, they just might forget their fantasy and appreciate you as you are. In this environment, friendship blossoms.

Keep in mind though that though traditionally men and women play these roles, we have within us both perspective, the “male” and “female” in the above conflict – that’s how I “discovered” it – by playing through it in myself.