Describing emotional difficulties to others often provides one of the
- “You must be having a bad day.” Even if you are having a great day, they
assume you are not because you’re discussing an emotionally taxing
experience. Some really may not want to hear what others are going
through, and others might only listen to a few cries. Be choosy about who
you divulge to.
- “Everyone has troubles.” Yes, and nobody is saying otherwise. For
instance, it is hard to get others to realize the depth of pain certain
conditions cause. People who say that tend to trivialize the issues and lump
them in with things that are less serious. What if you have deep lacerations
and go to the ER to get stitches, only to be told, “Well everyone gets
splinters.” Hey, if it was just a splinter, you’d have likely already dug it out.
- “You are choosing to feel this way, or, this is somehow your fault.” Some
suffer intrusive memories about things that others consider minor, and
being told it was their fault and that they chose to have such memories can
further the trauma.
- “You need Jesus/God/etc.” They assume that emotional difficulties are
always caused by a separation from God or because of direct interference of
Satan, and they dismiss the pervasiveness, seriousness, and depth of pain.
Such a comment sounds condescending. If the problem is purely medical,
no amount of prayer is going to replace medication.
- “You just need to take responsibility.” This is related to #3 above, that
you somehow neglected to do something and thus deserve what is
- “You need to lighten up, get reckless and not take life so seriously.”
Encouraging reckless behavior helps nobody. If someone wasn’t suffering
to begin with, they might have the luxury to not take life so hard.
- “You just need to snap out of it.” Another cousin of #3. This advice would
only work if you were causing the problem.