I was watching an episode of "Hoarders" during which a woman named "Jahn" whined, wept, and coerced everybody around her for almost the entire show. She terrified me to the point where I had to turn off the sound. It is precisely the way I react when scary movies get too much for me. I watched as Jahn's two adult daughters tried to help her understand her predicament. They struggled to help their beloved mother negotiate her emotional, financial, and practical issues--and watched as Jahn went from defiant and angry to the part that really spooked me: petualant girlish manipulation. When her daughters said, at the very end of the show, that Jahn needed in-patient therapy, I wanted to cheer. And I thought, "Whoa, Gina, you gotta get out more and get less involved in these shows" but then I thought, "It's the whining. You feel sorry for every other poor soul on 'Hoarders' but you're allergic to whining."
It's like being allergic to shrimp or wool. Okay, so it's not toxic, at least not literally. But I do sort of feel my throat closing up when I'm close to whining; there's even a physical component to the whole business. And I get itchy when I hear people do The Whine, just the way I do when I’ve got wool next to my skin.
So what can we do about our “emotional allergies”? Can we do more than avoid them or weed them out of relationship landscape altogether? I mean, even if you’re allergic to roses you might not want to eradicate them from the world’s gardens, would you? Grab a tissue and let’s see what we can do….