Level 2 – Tool #63

Level 2 - Tool #63

Level 2 Empowerment Series

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Week #63 She’s Catastrophizing-AGAIN!

What do you do when someone in your life is driving you crazy with negativity and/or can’t stop telling you about something they’re convinced (maybe even afraid) will happen and lead to catastrophe…and you think it’s just not a big deal?

Here’s an example.

My Mother was moving to a smaller apartment. She had given away one set of dishes, but was obsessing about whether the remaining three sets would fit into the cupboards in her new, smaller kitchen. It was all she could talk about, over and over again. I was really getting annoyed.

I had four options…

  1. Try to get her to see reason, “Mom, if they all don’t fit, we’ll give one set away after the move.”

  2. Be critical, even judgmental— in an effort to shut her down. “Mom, you know you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill here.”

  3. Be neutral; just listen calmly and dispassionately and say,” I understand”, every time she brings it up.

  4. Step back and get mindful, empathic, intuitive, and kind. Try to figure out what’s really beneath the catastrophizing (often it’s fear) and be supportive.

Numbers 1 through 3 didn’t work for either of us. But when I tried number 4 an interesting thing happened. I got it! This had nothing to do with whether the dishes would fit. This was about my Mom’s fear about whether she would fit —into this new assisted living setting after living independently her whole life. Once I understood, my irritation went away. Now, when I said, “Mom, I understand”, it had a whole different feeling and meaning.

 

 

Coming Next Week: A Gentle Redirect Works Better

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