The troubled man scarcely bothered to take a breath as he poured out his unhappiness over his host of issues. He was a true victim and wanted me and others to share in his pain. And, yes, it was painful!
What I knew from many earlier conversations was that the present 30 minute survey of his broken life (and he, indeed, has a number of challenges) would be similar to those that had gone before: it was massively lopsided. In our exchange of words my few comments were swamped by his sea of concerns. My sole role, I knew, was to say every now and then, “Oh, that’s terrible!” or, “I’m so sorry for you!” Prior efforts in many earlier conversations to confront my friend’s self-consumed pathos, or to redirect our themes to some more constructive pathways, had always been met with anger and more self-pity.
For the balance of this entry, please go to: Lessons in Listening