Our adult daughter, 28, doesn’t call us often, but often when she does, she is in a blue funk and sees every aspect of her life as a negative.
She got an interview with a firm she has really wanted to work for, but in her call she had so many negative things to say about the firm, the hours required, etc. I don’t know what to say to her in these calls
because no matter what I say, she says something negative.
She has dealt with depression and has always had trouble with change, so this might be part of that, but these calls are super-hard on me. The pandemic has driven her crazy, and she talks about how she has been hurt with it. She doesn’t understand that we feel the same way, and so does everyone else in the universe.
I had to walk away from the phone last night because she was causing me so much anxiety. I want to be empathetic and a good listener, but I don’t know how to do it when she is in one of these negative phases. – In a Funk
I found myself agreeing with Carolyn’s reply and agreeing this sounds like dumping. Therefore, I share her advice with a caveat, Parents are the usual target, even when the “kids” are 28. There’s an unspoken I-don’t-have-to-treat-this-as-a-regular-conversation rule, where Kid can talk at Parent without going through the formalities of asking questions or expressing compassion or exchanging ideas. It’s not a great rule and is best used sparingly — even the most doting parent will glaze over at the thought of a lifetime as designated dumpee — but there is something nice, for those who have a forgiving parent or mentor, about knowing you can still call sometimes and go aaaaaaa for 20 minutes not to get advice but just for the sake of saying aaaaaaa, then hang up and feel better.” I would also start each conversation by setting the time limit, and asking if she called to vent, or seek advice. Now the caveat, if this woman mentions her child has depression, I would encourage her to seek professional help if these calls are happening more than three times a week, and last more than 20 minutes. A professional is trained to actively listen, but also trained to work to provide patients with the tools, and in some cases medications to overcome this issue. How would you handle this?