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Old 06-28-2012, 10:30 PM
 
Location: California
313 posts, read 515,161 times
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I have a close older relative who is obsessed with his childhood. It seems that nearly everything that comes out of his mouth is a pompous story that nearly always begin with "Let me tell you that when I was child" ... or "Here is a story from childhood." or "Back when I was a child or teen." or "My friend and I used to work at such and such doing such and such ...." And he will tell the painful details of his boring childhood stories while ignoring any social cues that I don't care to hear it. He will repeat the same stories over and over again. And it seems like an obsession. He will talk about the bad and the good; ex-girlfriend; old friends, work as a teenager, fights, etc. in a trance-like state as if I am not even there. He has always been this way and acts like he is way more special than others. I've started walking out when he begins to reiterate crusty old irritating smothering tales of vacuousness.

I am a younger adult and don't particularly remember much of my childhood or high school years other than some occasions. They just don't seem to matter enough to talk about obsessively. So I cannot relate to this older relative at all. However; if I do quickly bring up a fun quick story of my youth he will get agitated and change the focus back to him and his life. It's very soul sucking.
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
24,961 posts, read 23,873,661 times
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"I am a younger adult..."

I wouldn't have guessed.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:08 AM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,847 posts, read 30,341,628 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furrypro View Post
I have a close older relative who is obsessed with his childhood. It seems that nearly everything that comes out of his mouth is a pompous story that nearly always begin with "Let me tell you that when I was child" ... or "Here is a story from childhood." or "Back when I was a child or teen." or "My friend and I used to work at such and such doing such and such ...." And he will tell the painful details of his boring childhood stories while ignoring any social cues that I don't care to hear it. He will repeat the same stories over and over again. And it seems like an obsession. He will talk about the bad and the good; ex-girlfriend; old friends, work as a teenager, fights, etc. in a trance-like state as if I am not even there. He has always been this way and acts like he is way more special than others. I've started walking out when he begins to reiterate crusty old irritating smothering tales of vacuousness.

I am a younger adult and don't particularly remember much of my childhood or high school years other than some occasions. They just don't seem to matter enough to talk about obsessively. So I cannot relate to this older relative at all. However; if I do quickly bring up a fun quick story of my youth he will get agitated and change the focus back to him and his life. It's very soul sucking.
Sadly, because our culture is so obsessed with youth, many older people feel that they have no more life to look forward to because they are "old". They stop growing, learning, and experiencing life like they did when they were younger. Because of this, older people tend to live in the past, since they feel that they have nothing to look forward to except dying.

In other cultures, those who honor and respect age, older people are considered valuable and encourage to have full, active lives. My suggestion would be to encourage your older adult to pursue interests that will have him enjoying the PRESENT and look forward to the future. Perhaps you can encourage this behavior by inviting him to do things with you that will take out of the "yesteryear" mindset and put him in the present.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:13 AM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,847,719 times
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The person in question may be on the narcissistic side . . .just self-absorbed and focused on a time in their lives that was fun or interesting to them . . . If it were me, I would just say something like, "Conversations should be reciprocal . . . I have heard a lot about your childhood . . .are you interested in anything about me or my life?" If the person looks at you dumbfounded, you have your answer.

Next . . .

And when they start in again, say, "Oh, that is so FASCINATING." and then walk away.
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:12 AM
 
Location: State of Washington (2016)
3,563 posts, read 2,388,718 times
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He may be insecure and unhappy with his current status in life. Years ago, I had an older boyfriend who did the same thing. All he talked about were the glory days of high school how he was a "big man" on campus and spoke wistfully about those times and the fun he had.

Maybe when your relative starts talking about his "glory" days you could politely say, "Yes, I remember you told me all about that and what a good time you had. Speaking of good times......." then segue into some topic about yourself.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:19 AM
 
224 posts, read 703,028 times
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Maybe they guy hasn't had anything exciting happen in his life since high school days. Some folks don't. Maybe he repeats himself because he is getting dementia or some other neurological disorder. Makes me wonder what stories you tell this guy and why you think yours are anymore important.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:18 PM
 
404 posts, read 1,005,659 times
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I don't think there's anything wrong with having alot of stories to tell as you get older but I think the timing of telling a story is important like the timing of telling a good joke. I hope when I get old I'll have alot of stories to tell to my future kids and grand kids. But those stories are only good the first time around, after a few reruns you're like "I know!! I know!! you used to walk 5 miles to school in the snow"

My girlfriend repeatedly tells me how she was an overachiever in high school, was part of this and that club, participated in everything and misses those days compared to now where she just works her one job. I try not to put a damper in her reminiscing but I just want to say so bad "high school was almost 10 years ago and we're now adults. You can be just as involved on your own time"
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:30 PM
 
9,228 posts, read 18,922,742 times
Reputation: 22157
I think that when it's an elderly person, you need to cut them some slack and not try to be assertive and talk about "reciprocity." The OP didn't say how old the man is (he could be 45 for all we know!) But if we're talking a person around 65 or over, especially if it's a relative, then I would suggest listening to the stories, even if they are a little annoying. Try to appreciate them a little, and even if you can't, file them away in your memory, because one day you might appreciate them.

My grandparents used to ramble on about the past too, and when I was young I would roll my eyes and not want to listen. Now that they are all deceased, and I am doing family history research, I'm wracking my brain trying to remember the old stories I had only half-listened to. I wish I could have a just a 1/2 hour to ask about and hear one of those stories again, to fill in the gaps in what I am now trying to learn.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Hudson County, NJ
1,491 posts, read 2,681,363 times
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I enjoy hearing stories about older folks younger days. I'm well aware what happens in recent times since I've lived it, I want to hear about how things were and things I never got to experience. Nothing wrong with it
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:47 PM
 
Location: California
313 posts, read 515,161 times
Reputation: 262
He is obsessed with youth. And he will not be invited anywhere else with me. I already tried it and it didn't work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
Sadly, because our culture is so obsessed with youth, many older people feel that they have no more life to look forward to because they are "old". They stop growing, learning, and experiencing life like they did when they were younger. Because of this, older people tend to live in the past, since they feel that they have nothing to look forward to except dying.

In other cultures, those who honor and respect age, older people are considered valuable and encourage to have full, active lives. My suggestion would be to encourage your older adult to pursue interests that will have him enjoying the PRESENT and look forward to the future. Perhaps you can encourage this behavior by inviting him to do things with you that will take out of the "yesteryear" mindset and put him in the present.

20yrsinBranson
This person in question is extremely narcissistic. This wasn't because of old age. He's always obsessed about his youth and repeated the stories over and over again throughout years like a 90 year old man (he is in his 50's).

Yes. He is likely to be really unhappy. Because I nearly always feel an aura of gloom and doom around him. He's not disabled therefore it's his responsibility to help himself. And I just stated that he is more of a narcissist and doesn't approve of two-way relationships.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imcurious View Post
The person in question may be on the narcissistic side . . .just self-absorbed and focused on a time in their lives that was fun or interesting to them . . . If it were me, I would just say something like, "Conversations should be reciprocal . . . I have heard a lot about your childhood . . .are you interested in anything about me or my life?" If the person looks at you dumbfounded, you have your answer.

Next . . .

And when they start in again, say, "Oh, that is so FASCINATING." and then walk away.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Praline View Post
He may be insecure and unhappy with his current status in life. Years ago, I had an older boyfriend who did the same thing. All he talked about were the glory days of high school how he was a "big man" on campus and spoke wistfully about those times and the fun he had.

Maybe when your relative starts talking about his "glory" days you could politely say, "Yes, I remember you told me all about that and what a good time you had. Speaking of good times......." then segue into some topic about yourself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wembley View Post
Maybe they guy hasn't had anything exciting happen in his life since high school days. Some folks don't. Maybe he repeats himself because he is getting dementia or some other neurological disorder. Makes me wonder what stories you tell this guy and why you think yours are anymore important.
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