Right now, I am likely sitting in an OR Waiting Room, trying to hold myself together in the ICU, or belly breathing in a hotel room. Everyone faces challenges in their lives, and it’s so important that we know how to navigate relationships with people that have experienced a trauma. That’s what today’s Tell All Tuesday is about.
Last week, my boss shared with me a great article from the LA Times called “How not to say the wrong thing,” about something called the “Ring Theory of kvetching.”
Noun. to complain habitually, gripe
Make sure you read that article when you’re done here, but the idea is that people who experience a traumatic event are at the centre of the circle, and as you move out, each ring represents people that know that person, with a diminishing level of intimacy. For example, my dad is in the middle of the circle today. My mum is the next ring, I am the next ring, and so on. This is called the Kvetching Order.
Using this theory, those closest to the centre in the Kvetching Order can complain, express their sadness, anger and grief to those that are further out from the centre. Those further from the centre are there to provide support and comfort, but not to offer advice or complaints of their own.
This was such an eye-opening lesson for me. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to rationalized situations, and help people by giving advice. I’ve caught myself doing this time and time again with my mum recently – telling her what she should think, how she should feel and what she needs to do going forward. THIS IS NOT MY ROLE IN THE KVETCHING ORDER! My role is to be there to listen, not judge; share kind words and actions, not give advice or talk about my own emotional struggle.
I plan on reminding myself of this theory often, and working on mindfulness: what ring am I in and what kind of talking (or not talking) should I be doing?