HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SOMEONE WHO KEEPS REPEATING THE SAME NEGATIVE STUFF?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

How do you talk to someone that keeps repeating the same things over and over? My brother-in-law has been having all kinds of problems and I try to talk to him and give advice but he’s so negative in his thinking and just keeps saying the same excuses and complaints and I’m so tired of it that I’m not wanting to talk to him anymore or even see him.

–Tired Ears (Canada)

DEAR TIRED EARS:

It can be frustrating talking to someone you are trying to cheer up who is not hearing what you are saying and just keeps repeating negative thoughts. Initially when someone does this, all you can do is listen.

Also, maybe you can validate his ability to get out of it or ask him questions to make him think how he can change this pattern rather than being stuck in it. For example, you could say, “So what is one thing you can do to improve the situation?” If this doesn’t work after a while, maybe you should just save your breath until he is ready to actually hear you or make a positive change.

 

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