Not Wanting to Hear About Other People's Problems

Nuance

Learning
So I know PTSD and trauma are tough things to deal with, but I have noticed that I am hesitant to get close to people because I don't want to hear about their problems.

From my experiences, most of my friendships/relationships have revolved around the other person's issues trumping everything else. I usually remember what other people tell me but most don't seem to care to remember significant things regarding me.


I have a physical disability which affects my movement, fine motor skills, energy levels in addition to PTSD. People tell me that I don't complain much and whatnot.

However, I have had people who were completely able-bodied and relatively healthy make it sound like that my life is so much easier than theirs seemingly to ignore my very visible physical disability and past traumas. I try to listen and be there, but my empathy seems to be low lately.

How do I work through this emotional burnout in order to connect with people in a more real way?
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Ugh. Feel you. It's hard to be emotionally on an equal plane when people didn't get to experience what you experienced. So you can be an emotional support to them and while it's not always impossible, people who went through less hardships can have a hard time imagining what your struggles are and naturally syntonize with you.

I'd say it would be easier to have friends who have had some struggle in something in their life or have good cognitive empathy or a good sense of imagination and curiosity. Over time, I realize the totality of my friends have some kind of shitty trauma, went through drug addiction, have been bullied or have a lgtb identity or pick your problem here. Some of them are just lovely by nature which is cool too.

But yes if you're having emotional fatigue it might be for a reason too. Perhaps try to share a bit more of your struggles and moods and state your boundaries. Friends generally do self select at that point.

I'm sorry you're experiencing this and I hope you can find folks with whom you have a nice emotional connection and balanced exchange. Meanwhile you have here too. We're always reading along!

Gentle hugs if you accept.
 

Sues

MyPTSD Pro
Emotional burnout means you should take break from what's trying to break you. It's so hard to set boundaries and stick to them. I really suck at it, but I'm learning. You can say things like...

I care about you and want to hear more, but I need to take a break from this conversation.

I hear what you're saying, but I don't have the emotional capacity to hear this right now.


Remember, it's not your responsibility to make sure others are ok.
It's ok to say no.
It's ok if someone gets angry
You have to take care of you
 

Justmehere

Sponsor
However, I have had people who were completely able-bodied and relatively healthy make it sound like that my life is so much easier than theirs seemingly to ignore my very visible physical disability and past traumas.
Can you explain more about what happens that leads you to feeling like your needs are ignored?

I also agree it's boundary setting time - and maybe a time of expressing direct needs more?

I'm also in a place where I feel like others have a lot of support they want, but very little they give, so I'm figuring this out myself as well.
 

Friday

Moderator
I am hesitant to get close to people because I don't want to hear about their problems.
When I can’t handle my own emotions, there’s no way in hell I can handle others.

From my experiences, most of my friendships/relationships have revolved around the other person's issues trumping everything else.
On purpose/subconsciously? Because crisis bouncing, self-centered, drama-machines are a) distracting b) rarely interested in things I don’t want to talk about much less involve others in (me, my life, serious anything outside of themselves, etc.) so it creates the appearance/benefits of a closer relationship than it is… with built in walls-distance between me & them that keep it superficial enough not to require much energy/ trust/ expectations/ effort etc. on my part. = distracting & avoidance & low stress & low risk & no great loss if lost = easy win/win/win/win/win. IE the benefit of super shallow friendships / what I’ve gotten out of seeking these types of friendships … much the same as the benefits of “falling in love” with unavailable partners. 99% defense mechanisms.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
i relate completely, but early into psychotherapy, i bought the notion that the inability to relate to other people's problems is one of the more damaging of the ptsd symptoms for many sufferers. for sure it was/is in my own case. that blockage isolated me completely in cruel and callous ways.

decades of psychotherapy later, i still believe that the best place to find sympathy is in the dictionary between shit and syphilis, but i feel far less isolated when i take the time to at least go through the motions of caring. i fake it till i make it and benefit each time i succeed in allowing the world be bigger than little ol' me.
 

Nuance

Learning
Ugh. Feel you. It's hard to be emotionally on an equal plane when people didn't get to experience what you experienced. So you can be an emotional support to them and while it's not always impossible, people who went through less hardships can have a hard time imagining what your struggles are and naturally syntonize with you.

I'd say it would be easier to have friends who have had some struggle in something in their life or have good cognitive empathy or a good sense of imagination and curiosity. Over time, I realize the totality of my friends have some kind of shitty trauma, went through drug addiction, have been bullied or have a lgtb identity or pick your problem here. Some of them are just lovely by nature which is cool too.

But yes if you're having emotional fatigue it might be for a reason too. Perhaps try to share a bit more of your struggles and moods and state your boundaries. Friends generally do self select at that point.

I'm sorry you're experiencing this and I hope you can find folks with whom you have a nice emotional connection and balanced exchange. Meanwhile you have here too. We're always reading along!

Gentle hugs if you
Thank you so much for this. I think it's just been in my experiences where I tend to connect with people who are very traumatized in the hopes that can understand me but it may just be that a lot of people really haven't been through what have gone through so it's harder to relate. Because it tends to fall on me to be the more "understanding" one. One example, I had a combat vet tell that he was skeptical of my PTSD because little children don't form strong attachments. And other emotionally blocked but traumatized people tell me I don't understand how people get depressed (essentially in denial) when I tell them anything vulnerable even if I listen for hours regarding their struggles.
Emotional burnout means you should take break from what's trying to break you. It's so hard to set boundaries and stick to them. I really suck at it, but I'm learning. You can say things like...

I care about you and want to hear more, but I need to take a break from this conversation.

I hear what you're saying, but I don't have the emotional capacity to hear this right now.


Remember, it's not your responsibility to make sure others are ok.
It's ok to say no.
It's ok if someone gets angry
You have to take care of you
Thank you for this. I have been trying to create some emotional distance and figure out what I ultimately want from my relationships in the future. Maybe the way I was going about things wasn't the healthiest and my expectations too high.
 

grit

Not Active
I think looking into trauma bonding may help. That yearning of 'others' feeling us and understanding us is often at least from my experience a deficit missing in me to do exactly that for myself especially for my little part that NEVER got that in the first place - it is the seat of my ptsd.

When I truly 'belief' my own story and no longer need validation or approval for it; I find, it is much easier for me to "hear" others stories without my senses shutting down. I am not gonna lie though - this comes and goes and I take it as it is.
 

Nevermore

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks for this, @Nuance . I needed to read this today.
I'm confused now though - i didn't know not being able to relate to the struggles of others was a symptom of PTSD. I am often first port of call for others to unload their problems onto, and I have become less and less able to be there. I just recently announced that I can no longer do long phone calls. 10 minutes is max. Because I have so often gotten stuck on the phone to someone wanting to talk.... but not necessarily to listen at all.
I become overloaded, trapped, sometimes almost pulling my hair out on the other end of the phone. Too much going out and not enough coming in!
I was always a good listener, but I feel like my listening abilities get a lot worse when my PTSD gets worse, and it seems to fluctuate all the time.
Lately, I feel like I've gotten a whole lot worse. Other people leaning on me feels like too much weight on an already heavily weighted object - me.
I just think people sense where they will be understood and not judged, but don't often wonder how you yourself are feeling. I'm really tired of it!
 

Friday

Moderator
I'm confused now though - i didn't know not being able to relate to the struggles of others was a symptom of PTSD
There are symptoms of PTSD itself… and then there are common effects OF symptoms, effects of stress, and effects of trauma.

- The symptoms of PTSD, listed out, take up roughly a page.
- The effects OF those symptoms, and effects of traumas themselves… fill up a 700p book.

So you can take something like not being able to relate to other’s problems and break it up into component pieces to…

a) see where that’s coming from
b) find ways to deal with / work around / learn to manage

… but the exact cocktail and percentages, or which symptoms, effects of symptom, effects of stress, and effects of trauma are in play? Will not only be different for everyone who experiences that effect, but -due to the nature of PTSD- will also be different for the same person over time (depending on how symptomatic they are, how well they manage those symptoms, how much trauma has been processed, what their stress levels are in the moment, etc.).

Does that clear things up a bit?
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
I had to end a lot of relationships and form healthier relationships because I was the caretaker. I also had to learn to form healthier boundaries. And having said that, there are still times like now where I need to withdraw some and practice self-care
 
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