If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times…….”only vent up.” In the business world, I taught many leadership courses and mentored developing managers. This is one of the rules for professionalism that I learned early and did my best to follow personally, as well as to teach it to others. After all, nobody likes to overhear those water cooler bitching sessions about new policies, other employees, or even management. If you do like to hear them or get involved in them, reassess your situation. You might be a negative ninja.
This week, I started to think about “venting” in the personal environment and if similar rules apply.
When I was married to the isolated alcoholic, his venting came only to me, and most of mine (if it was personal) went to him. Wow….does that help or hurt a relationship? I can certainly understand that the last thing anyone wants to hear is a bunch of bitching all the time. My alcoholic didn’t share frequently, but I know I certainly pointed out his negativity to him on more than one occasion. Should I have? Or did he need to get it out, and I was the only person who could hear it?
Without realizing, it seems that I have transferred my “vents” to my mother. I wonder if instinctually, I’m following that rule about venting up? Is a parent in a personal life like a boss in a professional life? I’m not sure I have an answer, but I have come to understand that nobody, whether it be your boss or your mom, wants to hear it. The exception in my mind is that already negative/bitter people may enjoy someone commiserating with them. Hmmm…. Either way, it really doesn’t do any good. Rather, just a waste of time and negative energy.
Honestly, I thought I was doing well at being positive despite the craziness of my life the last 12 months. I have vowed not to ever speak poorly about my ex husband to my daughter, or even in a place where she can hear it. So far, I think I’ve achieved that goal, which is really important to me. As a child of divorced parents, it hurt me deeply if I heard anything like this (even if warranted), I don’t want to inflict that on my child.
What I have witnessed in Al-Anon, is that the majority of members are willing to hear the vents of other members without judgement and also while trying to support them. The organization and it’s members are important in the healing process for anyone who loves or loved an alcoholic. The twelve steps, if coached and followed, should help a person to find their own shortcomings and also have less to vent about. Luckily, Al-Anon meetings are inclusive of people who need to vent as well as others who can listen and help redirect.
If there is somebody negative in your life, do you tend to be more negative when you are around them? Do they bring you down or do you challenge them to find positive alternative solutions? I think it’s possible to do both, depending on the person or situation.
I can’t say I am offering solutions in this blog, but I hope through my own reflection sharing, I have encouraged any of you to reflect on the same. For myself, I’ve decided I might need to give more to God instead of others in my life. I’ll be more cautious about what I vocalize. God is willing to listen and take it all. Our family members, who are close to us, don’t deserve the worst of us.