Sharing vs. Complaining

My brother said to me today that women love to talk to one another. They love to complain. He was referencing a time I spent yesterday with another woman. He went on to say that he doesn’t understand why, but that they do.

I told him that women do talk to one another. That women gain a lot in the sharing of their life, their stories, their current situation. That women find the presence and attention of other women as comforting, helpful, healing.  And that it is not complaining.

No matter what I said I couldn’t get him to agree with me that sharing is not in fact complaining. I tried to get him to understand that women, and men as well, can be sharing without it being complaining. He totally disagreed with me. 

I have tried at other times to explain to him how helpful sharing can be. Especially when the other person cares and validates what the other person is going through.

He said, I tried to tell you many times already, no one cares to hear you, no one cares to listen, no one cares. I told him; women care. He said, no not every woman cares about you, even in your own family, your sister doesn’t care about you.

 I told him I said women, not all women. No, not all women care about me. No, not  all women care about other women, specific women, specific groups of women, etc. He said yeah, but you said ‘women.” I said, I said women, I didn’t say all women, I didn’t say all women care about me, I said women care about other women.

Yes this how our interactions devolve. Yes this is how he chooses to interact with me, insult me, and remind me that even my sister doesn’t care about me. Yes he feels some need to devalue and demean me by reminding me that others in my family of origin devalue and demean me.

It didn’t hurt. I think he meant it to hurt, because my sister is no longer a part of my life. However I choose that. I gave her years to change and stop verbally abusing me, rejecting me, and scapegoating me. I made a healthy, healing choice to find a new family instead of continuing to go to family gatherings. But my brother is always trying to remind me that I am still a scapegoat. I don’t accept that. I don’t accept that title. I am me. I am something more than what my family did to me, how they treated and abused me, and what they thought and think of me. I am me.

I have women friends who love and care about me and perhaps I can’t tell you how much that means to me, how much it means to me that they listen to me and validate me, and don’t accuse me of ‘complaining’ when I am needing love and support, advice and caring. And I need that and get that from my friends.

I never used to be able to admit the big gaping hole inside of me where others were supposed to fit in and stay inside my heart. I can only admit it now, because I am loved, because my friends dwell in that secret place in my heart, and that it fills me with so much joy where before there used to be only emptiness in that space in my heart where blood pumps out of my heart and to all places in my body, nourishing me in every way.

Later I realized that I should have included my male survivor friends into my conversation with my brother. But he was only talking about women and so we ended up talking only about what he wanted to talk about.

It has been quite a revelation to find men who are healing, who are good at giving support, who accept others as they are. I had been very wounded by men and was very cautious and worried that trying to have men survivor friends just would not work and that it would never be healing. I was never sure if that would happen. I was never expecting that and it has been such a wonderful surprise on my healing path to find this.

My brother isn’t usually right about much. But he was right about one thing; he doesn’t understand why women or people in general want to talk with others and what they get from that.

8 thoughts on “Sharing vs. Complaining

  1. I think this goes back to that basic human need to feel a connection… to be part of a shared experience and community. I don’t think it’s gender based, it’s a human need. In many ways it’s sad that your brother can’t see this, as even the most staunch members of our society bond over some common experience – whether it be sport or whatever…

    Good on you for seeing past the potential barb he was throwing…

    Take care,
    CG

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    • Hi CG,

      I think the underlying bias is against women and their need for connection and his denial that men have the same need or that they engage in conversation, friendship, and family for similar reasons. I realize that he was devaluing women, a common enough occurence in my family of origin. He was saying, without saying it, that men are superior beings because they do not engage in frivoilous, selfish, and vacuous behaviors like this.

      I think that he does bond over sport, banter, etc. But he is one of those guys who likes to see the glass as being half full. That is what he says all the time. He prefers to pretend things are okay rather than to talk about them. I think that helps him. He only rarely admits to a problem. He is one of those males who dimish how bad things are to feel better. I know that is a part of male culture and seriously I find it really difficult to cope with it or to consider it helpful, but it is a guy thing, so I have learned by reading about it in psychology books. He’s a lot about denial, so I’m sort of trying to accept that is where his boundary is and not bring it up again, so I don’t have to hear his opinions repeated once again.

      I think since i am moving away he has gotten more insulting or I am talking to him more and that is giving him more opportunites to do so. A little of him goes a long way. Thanks for your kind words and support.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

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  2. I just shook my head as I read this. He seemed so closed, so unwilling to hear anything at all. As a matter of fact he was so against hearing you he began popping off missiles so as to protect and keep safe his bitter, negative spirit. Sadness, just total sadness to see a survivor wounded to this degree.

    People need people… men, women, it doesn’t matter, we need people. It’s not just that either, we need people like us. Men need other males in their life for many reasons. Women need other women in their life for different reasons. It’s nature, simple nature.

    It’s so sad to think someone would be this closed off to the idea of support. He even got petty!!! Gracious!!!!

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    • Hi Austin,

      He doesn’t really understand. And it is sad and pathetic and he is mean about it. He really is shocked and amazed that other people care about me. You are right, we need people. People interact for a number of reasons. He has a lot of sadness locked up inside of himself and he believes that not talking about it is the way to go. I don’t try to make him talk about his life or encourage him to do so or anything like that, but my believing it seems to be an attack on him and his mindset. You are right, he was being defensive and attacking me verbally because of it.

      I wish that he wasn’t in such a bad position in his life right now, because then our time here living in the same house would have gone very differently. Having two people in the house who are at loose ends in their lives and with very little money is hard to cope with. He gets a lot of his personal self-esteem through work and spending his money on others, so he is very stressed and upset with what he is going through and that makes everything worse. That still wouldn’t change much, he would still have been the sort of person he is and I would have been me and we don’t agree about much and he loves to argue for fun and I hate arguing. I love conversation and he doesn’t know what that is. I know what I want. But I can’t have it with him and that is okay. My life is so much more than my family of origin.

      Thanks so much for your perceptive comments, they really help me make connections in my life and are so valuable to me. And it is so nice to think you care about me and my life. Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

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  3. The fact that he threw your estranged sister into the argument qualifies him for the title of a “douche” in my household, and his behavior as “douchery”. I can’t wait for your new chapter to begin!

    Courage & patience Kate…

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    • Dear Phoenix,

      Lol. I have been known to mutter the words douche bag after several interactions in the last few weeks. Usually he is in another room, he is hard of hearing, and did not hear or has chosen not to respond. I think he did not hear.

      I really wish that I had a place to live ready and wating for me to arrive. This is the hard part right now. Even so, there is nowhere else that I want to live, so I am hoping I get it settled before I get home. It’s hard not having family to help me. Thanks for everything.

      Kate

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  4. I have to agree with Pheonix about him living in the state of Douchechusetts.

    And I would also add this: It is fairly obvious why he doesn’t understand the power of women, the power of women sharing, or the power that you yourself hold by understanding these other powers. He doesn’t have any of these gifts, and seeing how he treats those with such gifts, he isn’t likely to be invited into our special club anytime soon.

    I, too, believe in the beauty of women sharing, and I thank you for sharing this story and yet again validating my many experiences.

    – Butterfly

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    • Hi Butterfly,

      “I have to agree with Pheonix about him living in the state of Douchechusetts.” Lol, yes he does live there. You are right.

      Thank you for saying those kind things about me. I always seem to need the reminders. ‘Special club,’ I like that. I will have to remember that and remind myself, we are a special club.

      “I, too, believe in the beauty of women sharing, and I thank you for sharing this story and yet again validating my many experiences.”

      You’re welcome. Thank you as well for the same things. Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

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