VomitVal (VV for short) is a distant (or maybe not so distant after all?) cousin to Negative.
VomitVal is the person who for some reason thinks s/he can vomit all his/her problems, bad feelings, negative thoughts, feelings of injustice and aggressions all over you. And whenever it suits them. And you’re supposed to take it – of course, that’s what you’re for.
Sometimes, but not always, VV’s grievances are legitimate – a job lost, a mistake made, rainy day and wet shoes, a lost parking space.. But also equally often the reason for the vomiting is an imagined injustice, a (maybe) heard insult, an injustice (“She ALWAYS gets a better seat the table”) or something big like “my life never turned out as good as yours, our parents loved you so much more!”
The vomit can include (besides all the injustices to the speaker) also aggression, hate and bullying.
Agreed, sometimes, in some cases, VomitVals doesn’t think they are vomiting: they are just airing their grievances in a perfectly normal manner – everybody does that, right?
VomitVals want someone to listen and agree. After they have purged themselves completely, they are empty and feel fine – “finally I got it off my chest!”
Sure they did, good for them! But what about you, the garbage can? You are so filled with negative thoughts, emotions, anger, issues.. enough to fill a department store!
What do you do?
You can either become a VomitVal yourself or you have to find a way to get rid of all the garbage somehow.
Some people are lucky that way that they can just shrug all the vomit off. It won’t stick on them and they don’t care.
But for most people it’s not that easy. They worry about what they’ve heard; empathize with the problems and obstacles in VomitVals path, grieve for all the hardship poor VomitVal faces and try to think of ways to help.
But often VomitVal doesn’t need or want help. They just want to get rid of all the bad shit in their lives and throw it up on someone else’s shoulders.
The rule is that a friend you should listen to and help. Be a shoulder to cry on.
But you do not need to be a garbage can for anyone. If a friend turns into a VomitVal, you have the right (and responsibility!) to distance yourself.
And how can you tell the difference between being there for a friend and being a barfbag?
Well, if at the end of your session listening to your friend you feel maybe sad, but relieved that you have been able to help by listening; that was you helping out a friend.
If you feel drained, exhausted, angry and frustrated; you just got barfed on.