Person A needs to vent, Person B is being triggered by the subject matter - what to do?

Some of us have things in our pasts that we are thankful to have put behind us. Others who are going through similar things or have family members who are troubled want to talk about similar matters. How morally obligated are we to have our scars ripped open again? Is it not acceptable for Person B to honestly and as tactfully as possible tell Person A that B is not the best person to help A handle a given matter, but say that B will pray for A and all of A’s concerns and so on? If Person A gets angry or hurt feelings should Person B feel guilty? :confused:

Person B is perfectly in their right to protect themself, and there is nothing wrong with telling person A that they need to find someone else who is better suited to help. If the problem warrants professional help, person A should recommend that. If they’re both Catholic, person A could also recommend speaking to a priest.

Person B should not feel guilty in any way.

I have been person B, and when I say, hey, maybe you need to find someone else to vent to, Person A just gets upset. I just refuse to be alone with person A now to avoid this recurring situation.

But no, it’s not unreasonable to suggest they find someone else to vent to.

Probably you will not like this answer completely but I will give it a shot. Suppose person A wants to talk to B because they feel due to their past they might be able to help sort things out? Would you be morally obligated, no I don’t think so. But, if your past experience could help someone through their current one would it not be a kindness to try to help? I have things that I put behind me that are painful but I also grew through surviving them. Were it not for the ability to have people to talk to and gain support from them I may have gone down the wrong path when I was in the middle of things. Of course it is OK to tell someone you just can’t go through it again and to ask them to please try to understand. If they don’t and get angry it is not your fault. But, I hope you will consider my first point of view.

Yes, that is the heart of the difficulty in the matter. And of course there are specifics to each situation, the history between the friends in question, etc. - it would be complicated to go into here. I am, as I’m sure you guessed, Person B. I was going to suggest to Person A to have a Mass offered for this problem. Maybe I will have one offered and send a card. I am going to talk to a priest if it continues to be a problem.

This friendship has had its times of great conflict and was getting beyond those times rather nicely, so I really don’t want to mess it up now . . . I could use some prayers myself, I can see! :sad_yes:

I did awake this morning feeling more at peace about it - hopefully that is the direction it will head, back towards peace - at least this time we both remained calm, that’s progress from what it used to be like. I’ll keep trying to focus on the positives and try to help my friend see that although I may not be able to be able to be all she would wish in some areas, perhaps I can be of assistance in other areas of friendship.

I asked God - with the qualification that I realize I’m looking for an easy answer - if He would send her another friend or friends, more capable of meeting her needs in this troubled area. Sort of a “let this cup pass from me” request :o which I know, I’m still working on the 2nd part, the “but not my will but thine be done” . . . sigh . . . :ouch:

One possibility might be is to see if that person could vent without being quite so graphic and see if you could then be of help to him or her without being triggered yourself.

That’d work in some situations; unfortunately in this one even naming the problem is to bring up the memories. But thanks for the suggestion. :slight_smile:

I think you’re quite right to steer Person A away from you for these conversations. It’s obviously not helping them, and it’s hurting you.

How about, “I think that if you want to make progress in dealing with this, you need to talk to a professional or a priest. I am not helping you, and I find the subject upsetting.”

Good news, the person and I had a very normal conversation about other things tonight, which makes me think God gave her the strength she needed or she was able to find another person who could help. I will continue to pray for her and all my friends. It’s hard to have to tell people when I can’t listen to something because I’ve tried most of my life to be a good listener.

Maybe it’s getting older, partly - knowing that I don’t have the energy I used to and if I get all depressed and anxious due to bad memories or worries, it can bring me down to the point where I’m not in a state where I can function well. Then it takes more energy to pull back out of that state. Anyway, for now the matter rests. Thanks for all the help, advice, and prayers. :blessyou:

understood this situation well. I believe in the power of wounded persons healing each other, but only in the context of prayers session or retreat, otherwise the devil could interfere and make things even worst. They should discern about this. But practical wise, they should consult a much a saner and wiser person at the moment:D

Yes, I was ready to consult with a priest if I couldn’t figure out how to deal with it all. I am thankful that my friend has been understanding, bless her.

Forgive me for bumping this thread, but the problem has resurfaced off and on lately. The Person B’s situation has worsened. It’s a case of B having a wayward/confused adult child, whose situation is now train wreck violence and divorce, and children (and person B the grandparent) being affected by the hurt and fear and pain. As Person A here, I don’t want to be in the middle of it and it makes me think of other situations I’ve seen throughout my life. It’s always the kids that pay the price for the adults’ idiocy and selfishness and meanness. :mad:

As for Person B, I’ve tried really hard lately to set boundaries with yet be kind and respectful, and expressed my sorrow that I couldn’t be what B wished anymore. Person B had been doing better at focusing on what I could do and not asking me to be in the deep confidante role of the past, I must give credit. But last week, an ordinary conversation, B just all of a sudden started spilling out the details of the bad stuff. It’s like B sometimes remembers, sometimes forgets, what we’ve worked out. And I never know when it’s coming, and once the bad stuff’s in my brain it takes me days to get over stewing about it and being irritated at B for spilling it out. And I pray and pray and feel guilt like I’m the most selfish person for wanting this cup to pass from me. Makes me want to tear my hair out. :banghead:

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