When relationships become problematic, one is often tempted to share them with friends or family. Which up to an extent is good for reasons of healing as well as for bonding through sharing pain?
There are many people who feel relieved when they share their pain with others. Personally I think this may be possible up to an extent. However, when the pain is deep-rooted and chronic, repeatedly venting may not produce the same results.
Think of a situation which is not changing. No matter what advice others offer, it may or may not work for the person in trouble. After all each one’s situation is different and what works for one may not work for another. If the solution works out, fine, problem over. But imagine the problem not being resolved for years. And the person keeps on going over it again and again in his/her own mind as well as repeating it to others. What happens?
S/he relives the painful incidents again and again. Feels the pain repeatedly. The bitterness comes back with a vengeance and is only reinforced. The pain is relived. An element of self-pity creeps in. Negative vibes are reinforced. The person is unable to look at the situation objectively, leave alone at the other person’s perspective. S/he refuses to look at what life has to offer and keeps wallowing in pain and self-pity. What has s/he achieved?
Do not mistake me. I am not trying to say that one should not share his/her pain. Do by all means – once, twice, and thrice – if it eases the pain. But if you find that leave alone easing the pain, you only feel more aggrieved, and then it is obviously not working for you.
So how does one stop? Whenever you start to vent and feel the tinge of anger and pain coming back, STOP. JUST STOP. Change the topic. Talk of more pleasant things. Divert yourself. Go out, watch a film, shop till you drop even if it be knick-knacks, read a book, play scrabble on computer (anything to stop you from babbling).
Remove yourself from the society of the offending party for as long as it takes for you to cool off – yes, if it is years, so be it. Try not to think of the person. If you find your thoughts going back to the person or past conflicts, follow the above steps. (For this you have to practice watching your own thoughts – meditation). Over time you will find that the memories slowly start fading. Over the years. Eventually, one reaches a point, when one remembers only the fact that there was a conflict, the details are lost in the mists of time. Once you have forgotten the nitty-gritty, where is the question of forgiveness?
You don’t have to throw yourself in the path of the person(s) who you could not get on with. But if they act nicely at any point, (who knows? Time may have wrought some changes and endowed them with some wisdom), just respond civilly. Even if you doubt the person’s intentions in being nice, just accept the change at face value. Don’t try to attribute any ulterior motives to their actions. If there are any, time will reveal it. Till then, just chill. You may be surprised, you may find yourself feeling touched at some acts of kindness from them.
P.S. With due apologies to Dr. Brian Weiss for using the same title as a very famous book of his, but it is so apt, I could not resist using it.