Tag Archives: how to help

When You Don’t Know What To Say To Someone Who Is Suffering

It seems like when someone is suffering in some way, the majority of people have no clue on what to say.  Rather than saying nothing or admitting they don’t know what to say, most people make insensitive, hurtful or even invalidating comments….

  • “You should be glad your grandmother died.. she’s not suffering anymore.”
  • “I know you’re sick.  I had that same problem & it was horrible.  I ended up in the hospital & in more pain than I thought was possible!”
  • “The reason you have this problem is you just don’t have enough faith!”
  • “You should be grateful it’s not worse!  Other people have it much worse than you do!”

Comments like these are invalidating & hurtful.  They also make the person with the problem feel as if they are whining about some petty little problem instead of the crisis they are facing.  These are the last things a person needs to feel but especially at this time!

If someone you know is having a problem, then please, PLEASE seriously think about what you say to that person.  You don’t want to make them feel worse than they already do.  Also, a good idea is to ask God to give you the right words to say.  He will be glad to do so.  Luke 12:12 says, “The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say at the moment when you need them.” (VOICE)  

Don’t forget too that people are individuals.  Even if you have experienced the exact same problem as your friend, you both will handle it differently because you’re individuals.  Just because your friend feels differently than you did or is handling the situation in a different way than you did doesn’t mean that friend is wrong.

Remember, the situation is about your friend, not you.  Even if you experienced the exact same problem, keep the main focus on your friend, not you or what you did.  It’s fine to share that information if your friend asks, but the main focus should be on your friend.

This brings me to another point.  Don’t offer advice unless asked for it.  A lot of times, people just want to vent or talk about their problem to help them get some clarity.  They aren’t looking for you to solve it.  They’re looking for you to listen & offer empathy.

Don’t go too far with positivity.  Sometimes being too positive comes across as invalidating.  When I survived carbon monoxide poisoning in 2015, I nearly died.  It was tough to come to terms with.  Upon telling one person that I came very close to death, that person said, “But you didn’t die!”  That comment came across as something was wrong with me for being upset instead of only being grateful I survived.  “I’m so glad you didn’t die!” would’ve been a much better response.  That response would have shown the person accepted that the situation was bad & they care about me rather than basically shaming me for being upset as any normal person would’ve been.  Being positive can be a good thing but sometimes it’s also ok to admit something is very wrong, & to respond accordingly.

There are also some situations where you simply have no clue what to say.  When a person loses someone they love, for example, there is nothing in this world you can say to make their pain go away.  Rather than try, simply be honest.  Admit that you don’t know what to say, but you’re there for them if they need anything.  When my father was dying, a couple we’re friends with stopped by our home one day.  Neither had said anything so I wasn’t sure if they knew about my father or not.  I mentioned it along with the abuse I received from the flying monkeys at the time during our conversation.  They said, “We saw you mentioned it on Facebook, but honestly, we had no clue what to say.  We’re sorry all this is happening.”  That may have been the best thing anyone said to me at that time.  They were honest, non-judgmental & not critical at all, which was just what I needed.

Lastly, don’t forget to offer to pray with & for your friend.  I’ve noticed even people who don’t share my faith appreciate the offer a great deal.  Prayer seems to offer comfort to most people, no matter their religious beliefs.  However, if the person in question is angry with God or adamant in believing He doesn’t exist, this is not a good thing to say.  Nothing says you can’t pray for that person when not in their presence though…

Dear Reader, please keep these things in mind when someone you know is suffering.  These simple tips will help your friend & maybe even strengthen your relationship.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

A Good Cause

Dear Readers, I’d like to ask you for a favor today.  Please consider helping out the really good cause I’ll describe below.  And, if you are unable to help financially, please pray or if you know of resources that may be able to help, contact me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

 

A good friend of mine has set up this page:

https://www.gofundme.com/2gn8htw

in order to try to pay the electric bill at his garage.  He is a very good, kind man.  Joe has served our country, & is disabled as a result.  He has opted to start his own auto repair business, but it has fallen on tough times.  His electricity has been cut off, & the electric company will not work with him on creating a payment plan.

 

Any assistance you can give would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!!  xoxo

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers

Only You Can Decide Whether Or Not No Contact Is Right For You

After recently being told yet again that I “should just cut ties” with my parents, I felt the need to write this post to remind everyone that only you can decide whether or not no contact is right for you.  I know, I’ve written several posts like this, but sometimes information bears repeating!

 

So many people who write about narcissistic abuse preach the value of no contact for the victim.  In fact, many say it is the only solution & you’re wrong to think otherwise.

 

The simple fact is though, that not every situation is the same.  Yes, no contact is a very good solution in many situations.  Often, it is the only solution.  That being said though, it isn’t the only option.

 

There are many people who are unable or unwilling to go no contact, especially when it comes to a narcissistic parent.  Some are forced to live with this parent due to financial reasons, & have no means to move.  Others want to go no contact, but don’t feel they are strong enough to do so just yet.  They’re working towards that goal.  Still others are fine with low contact, which is what I have chosen.  I deal with my parents as I feel able to do so.

 

There are no “one size fits all” solutions for victims of narcissistic parents.  Everyone is different & everyone copes with things differently.  Just because eliminating your narcissistic parent(s) from your life worked out great for you doesn’t mean it will work as great for someone else.  And, if you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic parent, that doesn’t mean that solution works for everyone.  Never tell someone in similar circumstances to yours that they should just do what you did & if they do it, expect them to have the same results as you.  That won’t happen.

 

 

It also isn’t right to assume you know best what someone else needs to do with their life.  It’s judgmental & makes people feel stupid, as if they aren’t smart enough to figure out solutions on their own.  Being raised by a narcissistic parent, chances are the person already feels stupid, no matter how smart they are, especially if their mother was the engulfing type.  Telling that person what they need to do with their life reinforces that wrong belief.  Obviously you wouldn’t tell them what to do if you thought they were smart enough to figure this out on their own.  This is exactly how I feel when someone tells me what to do, especially when I didn’t ask for their input.  No matter how well meaning their words, I still have to battle feeling stupid.  On some level, it takes me back to my mother constantly telling me what to do or just doing things for me because according to her, I wasn’t doing it right or didn’t know what I was doing.  It’s not a nice feeling!  Would you really want to make someone feel that way?!

 

Instead of telling someone they should “just go no contact,” tell them you’re sorry for their pain.  Listen without judgment or trying to fix their problems.  If they ask for advice, rather than say, “If I were you, I would….”, phrase your advice gentler.  Ask, “Have you ever thought about doing…?”  “What about doing…do you think that would help?”  “Have you tried…?”

 

Offer to pray for & with that person.

 

Offer to take the person to lunch, to a movie or do something that person enjoys as a distraction.  Sometimes a little time away from problems can be very helpful.

 

There are ways you can help without telling a person what to do or hurting them any more than they’re already hurting.

6 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

When People Come To You With Problems, How Do You Treat Them?

I think most of us who have experienced abuse have met at least one person who, upon sharing our story, invalidated us & caused a great deal of pain.  The person who says you’re suffering because you haven’t prayed enough, you don’t have enough faith, let it go- that’s in the past,  I don’t know why you insist on hanging onto this when all you need to do is forgive & forget…

 

Unfortunately it isn’t just people who haven’t been abused who say such things.  Sometimes it is people who have been through trauma, yet refuse to deal with it.  They honestly think they are healed from the damage when in fact, all they have done is sweep the entire incident & aftermath under the rug.

 

Healing isn’t pretty, & sometimes we all need some help getting through.  When someone comes to you for help, how do you respond?  Do you tell her to pray more or do you cry with her?

 

While certainly prayer is wonderful & a vital ingredient to healing, sometimes people need more than you saying you’ll pray for or with them.  They need someone to hug them, to hold them while they cry or even get angry for them.  They need someone who won’t judge them even if they cussing like a drunken sailor or wishing their abuser was dead.  They need understanding, compassion & validation!

 

How do you treat people who come to you with problems?  Do you simply say you’ll pray with them or are you willing to get into the trenches with them?

 

Getting more involved can be a tricky thing for someone who’s been abused, as hearing another person’s story may trigger your own issues.  It also can be extremely emotionally & physically draining.  If you do opt to help another, then build yourself up as much as possible.  Pray & ask God for whatever you need.  Journal if it helps you.  Be good to yourself- eat healthy, get plenty of rest, relax..whatever helps you to feel good.

 

And remember, it is incredibly rewarding helping other people, even when it is hard!  Recently, I wasn’t feeling particularly well when a friend called me.  Someone she knew was having emotional problems & the more she told me, the more I realized it was due to being raised by a narcissist.  By the time we hung up, I felt so much better.  Being able to provide information that helped her, helped me.

 

Truly helping other people, above praying with & for them, can be a wonderfully rewarding experience.  You are blessing not only the other person, but yourself as well.

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

June 3, 2013

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

Did you know that June is National PTSD awareness month?  Neither did I until a little while ago. 

The link below has some good information on the topic:

http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/ptsd_awareness_month.asp

If you know someone with PTSD or C-PTSD, then please check it out, & help to increase knowledge & erase the stigma of mental illness. 

Also, if you know someone with this disorder, then there are some things you can do to help them:

  • Don’t judge!  We get judged enough from other people- we don’t need judgment from those close to us, too.
  • Ask questions if you don’t understand.
  • Be understanding with us- sometimes we just don’t feel like going somewhere or doing something you want to do. 
  • Remeber, no one wants PTSD or C-PTSD.  If it makes you uncomfortable, just think of how it must be for those of us with it!

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health

December 12, 2012

Good morning, Dear Readers!

While not divulging the details, something called my attention today to invalidation.  Again.  It’s something I have dealt with way too often in my life.  A good article on the topic of invalidation can be found here:

http://outofthefog.net/CommonBehaviors/Invalidation.html

 

In my experiences, I have heard so many comments like, “It could be worse,” “You think that’s bad?  At least you haven’t been through *fill in the blank* like I have!” or “But that’s your MOTHER!”   Today it just hit me just how many times I’ve also been told to “be strong,” “Be the bigger person,” or, “You just need to understand her better.”  Those kind of statements are just as damaging & invalidating!  They basically all say the same thing- that I need to suck it up, Buttercup- take the abuse & stop whining about it!  

No one needs to tolerate abuse.  No one.  

If someone is brave enough to tell you that they are being mistreated or abused, then for the love of all that is good & holy in this world, think about what you say to them!!!  Don’t act like it’s no big deal.  Even if it’s not to you, it obviously is to that person!  That person needs understanding & support, & telling them to “suck it up” or other similar statements is NOT understanding or supportive!  In fact, you will do more harm to that person if you say something so unfeeling, & damage your relationship.

I’m already thinking my book, “Emerging From The Chrysalis” that I finished in October, is going to be elaborated on soon.. a second edition, going into more details. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health