TO DODGE A DOWNER

Try “gray rock­ing”

First For Women - - Insight -

You love your sis­ter, but she’s al­ways com­plain­ing about every­thing, from her health to her job to her friends. “This is dif­fer­ent from some­one who is de­pressed and reach­ing out for help,” says Dr. Northrup. “It’s a chronic pat­tern where you’re al­ways there for them but they never change their be­hav­ior, never take your ad­vice and never lift a fin­ger to im­prove their sit­u­a­tion.”

The so­lu­tion? “Just be­come like a gray rock,” ad­vises Dr. Northrup: When she starts cat­a­loging every­thing that’s wrong and dis­re­gards your at­tempts to com­fort her, switch off your usual dy­namism and be as dull and un­in­ter­est­ing as pos­si­ble, keep­ing con­ver­sa­tion to a min­i­mum. “This can be very chal­leng­ing at first,” ad­mits Dr. Northrup, who ac­knowl­edges that it’s com­mon to have a fam­ily member who is an en­ergy vam­pire. “But you can­not help any­body from an empty tank.” When you stop putting in more en­ergy than you’re getting back, you com­mu­ni­cate your lim­its and avoid leav­ing th­ese in­ter­ac­tions feel­ing drained.

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