Someone you know tells you something upsetting about an experience they’ve had, or an awkward emotion which makes you, [the listener] feel uncomfortable…or maybe you read a sad blog post, or something upsetting on social media where someone is authentically real about the actual uncensored shittiness of how they’re feeling at that moment….
WHAT THE FUNK? [yes deliberately mis-spelt to avoid swearing on my blog]
breathe into brown paper bag in panic
Cue more hyperventiling GIFs…BECAUSE THIS IS SERIOUS PANIC.
SOMEONE HAS TOLD….. THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SOMEONE HAD ADMITTED VULNERABILITY AND IMPERFECTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SOMEONE IS STRUGGLING AND NEEDS OUR HELP, SUPPORT AND FRIENDSHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WHAT THE FUNK TO WE DO OR SAY IN THESE SITUATIONS?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WE DON’T WANNA MAKE IT WORSE FOR THAT PERSON
WE WANNA MAKE IT BETTER DON’T WE
BECAUSE MOST OF US ARE NICE PEOPLE
[OF COURSE THERE IS NO ACCOUNTING FOR ARSEHOLES]
BUT MOST PEOPLE GENEUINELY WANNA HELP
BUT YOU DON’T ALWAYS GO ABOUT IT IN THE RIGHT WAY
THIS MEME THAT I FOUND ON FACEBOOK EXPLAINS IT GREAT
MANY PEOPLE HAVE INVALIDATED MY REALITY AND ATTEMPTED TO SUBVERT IT SO….”IT ISN’T THAT BAD”…… APPARENTLY, “IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE”…OR “WHATEVER HAS HAPPENED YOU MUST FORGIVE AS IT’S IN THE PAST”…OR BEST OF ALL, THAT I SHOULD JUST “RISE ABOVE IT”. PEOPLE HAVE SAID “YOU THINK YOU HAVE IT HARD. I HAVE HAD IT HARDER” PEOPLE HAVE TOLD ME I “NEED TO STOP THINKING ABOUT IT” BECAUSE I AM JUST “CHOOSING TO DWELL ON IT”
THOSE PHRASES IN QUOTATION MARKS ARE ACTUAL THINGS PEOPLE IN MY LIFE HAVE SAID.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT BRIGHT SPARK TOLD ME I SHOULD RISE ABOVE MY 15 YEARS OF TRAUMA?
MY ABUSIVE DAD WHO ABUSED ME FOR ALL OF THOSE 15 YEARS!!!!! IT’S QUITE LAUGHABLE REALLY, BUT STILL SO WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS.
MY ADVICE IS…………..ACCEPT PEOPLE’S REALITY. IF THEY TELL YOU THEY FEEL A CERTAIN WAY, THEY MEAN IT! BELIEVE THEM!!!
IF THEY DISCLOSE SOMETHING PERSONAL TO YOU, INSTEAD OF PANICKING, FEEL HONOURED THAT THEY CHOSE TO OPEN UP TO YOU ABOVE OTHER PEOPLE. THANK THEM FOR THEIR OPENNESS AND TRUST.
TELL THEM YOU WILL METAPHORICALLY, VIRTUALLY OR EVEN PHYSICALLY STAY WITH THEM WHILE THEY RIDE OUT THIS EMOTIONAL WAVE. DON’T JUST RUN AWAY OR GO MUTE. DON’T FIGHT, DON’T FLIGHT, JUST SIT WITH THEM AND ALLOW THEM TO EXPRESS WHATEVER IT IS THAT THEY FEEL WITH NO JUDGEMENT OR EXPECTATIONS OR INTERRUPTIONS FROM YOU. GIVING PERSON SPACE TO EXPRESS THEMSELF AUTHENTICALLY WITHOUT JUDGEMENT, IN OTHER WORDS, ‘MAKING THE PERSON FEEL THEY’VE BEEN HEARD’ IS ALL IT TAKES TO SOOTHE THAT PERSON.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE MR OR MRS FIX IT.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF COPING…EMOTION FOCUSSED (MAKING YOURSELF FEEL EMOTIONALLY BETTER ABOUT THE SITUATION), OR SOLUTION FOCUSSED (PRACTICAL PROBLEM SOLVING ABOUT WHAT STRATEGIES CAN BE IMPLEMENTED TO PRACTICALLY IMPROVE THE SHITTY SITUATION).
IF YOU ARE NOT WELL PLACED FOR SOLUTION FOCUSSED HELPING, DON’T TRY.
ALSO, IF YOU JUMP STRAIGHT IN FEET FIRST, SUGGESTING THEY DO STUFF TO CHANGE THINGS IT CAN FEEL LIKE YOU’RE TRYING TO SQUASH DOWN THE PERSON’S FEELINGS.
EMOTION FOCUSSED HELPING IS BEST AT FIRST. YOU NEED TO TURN DOWN THE INTENSITY OF THEIR EMOTIONAL FLAME FIRST, BEFORE YOU SUGGEST ANY “STRATEGIES” OR GIVE ADVICE,” HOWEVER WELL MEANT.
SOOTHE THEM WITH YOUR PATIENCE.
SOOTHE THEM WITH YOUR PRESENCE.
TELL THEM YOU’RE THERE FOR THEM.
ASK OPEN QUESTIONS WHICH ALLOW THEM TO TELL THEIR STORY, AND FFS DON’T THEN STAMP ALL OVER THEM WITTH YOUR IDEAS OR ALTERNATE VERSIONS OF THEIR REALITY.
THAT IS INSULTING.
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!
OR MAKING YOU FEEL LESS AWKWARD.
IT’S ABOUT THEM!!!
AND THEIR FEELINGS!
LEAVE YOURSELF OUT OF THIS.
JUST GIVE THEM YOUR HEART.
TELL THEM YOU CARE THAT THEY’RE HURTING.
ONCE YOU’VE ESTABLISHED TRUST AND RAPPORT AND CONNECTION, EVERYTHING ELSE WILL FALL INTO PLACE AND HAPPEN NATURALLY.
JUST GO WITH THE FLOW AND DON’T PANIC.
JUST BE GRATEFUL THEY CHOSE YOU TO DISCLOSE TO.
THEY TOLD YOU BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT YOU COULD HANDLE IT.
IF YOU FOLLOW MY TIPS YOU WON’T LET THEM DOWN, I promise XXX
Let me know what you think…what helps you and what hinders you when you speak honestly with people about something you’re emotionally struggling with?
Also, before I finish this I want to assure people reading this that I am not writing this to have a pop at any of my followers…this is a general blog based on personal experience amassed from a variety of sources and over a very long period of time. My followers and commenters help me SO MUCH :) I hope you know I grateful I am…just in case there is any uncertainty, this is how I feel about you….
Finally, here are some vlogs I did a while ago on similar topics…my apologies, they are quite long as I don’t edit them…hope you enjoy anyway X
…also including the brilliant Brene Brown short film on empathy….(again, I already did a post on this!)
and a funny one on blaming….