When my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer and our family was in crisis mode, I really leaned on my circle of support.
Having the right positive people around me was everything to keep me sane. First and foremost, it was the negativity that I needed to avoid.
Following her treatment for breast cancer, a clinical psychologist named Dr. Susan Silk coined the term "The Ring Theory" to help others identify their own support network.
She recalls a colleague coming to visit her in the hospital even though she had said that she did not want to see anyone.
The visitor said, “This isn’t about you” to which Dr. Silk replied, “My breast cancer isn’t about me, it’s about you?”
This is a classic situation where the wrong thing was said to the wrong person. Dr. Silk created a solution to solve this problem. Here it is in her words:
“Draw a circle - this is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. Repeat as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order.”
The idea is meant to protect the person in the centre ring – the one who is most vulnerable and in crisis.
They are allowed to complain, cry and scream about their frustration to anyone in the other circles, but no one in the outer circles can 'dump' back in.
People in crisis don’t need someone’s complaints or to hear things like, “Be grateful...” or “You should hear what happened to me.”
The person in the centre needs to be heard and believe that someone is really there for them. By having their closest and most trusted ally in the ring beside them ensures that they will get the right support.
Complaining and frustration is still allowed from those in the outer rings, but only to those in bigger rings.
Bring comfort in and dump negativity out.
For more information on The Ring Theory