Yin-Yang

"I Don't Know What To Say"

6 posts in this topic

This is sort of odd, I don't think anybody can help or will have thoughts to add to this, but here goes:

You feel like you're dying inside, so you decide to open up to someone. You spill all of the horrible things going on in your head, which is something you hate doing and takes a lot of guts and energy and a LOT of agonizing grief to do.

And they just sort of remain quiet or distant. They say they don't know what to say.

Maybe they say "aw I'm here for you" or something equally shallow, but then they just go right back to being happy or distracted and no matter how much you sit there and try to explain what's going on, no matter how intense or dire the situation is, you're always met with the same response. This can be a person who is your absolute closest most understanding friend or relative. They can be insisting that they care, but it just doesn't feel like it. It doesn't feel like they're even trying. It's just silence. They don't know what to say.

This is after you've already pulled literally every stop you can. It might even be at the point where you're about to completely lose it over their lack of a serious response, that you feel like you're going insane and that you're all alone, and you've told them that. And still they just repeat that they don't know what to say. 

...What do you do?

 

 

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I do understand your frustration in this matter. Here are just a few things that come to mind.

1)      This is something I have noticed over time. Sometimes when people have not had to struggle with certain obstacles in life (i.e. money, looks, health, status, professional success and etc…), it is easy for them to either look down on others who are struggling…I have personally witnessed this many times…or to be totally confused with someone’s struggles. (Not saying people are looking down on you) I think this is due to a lack of empathy. You need to make sure the people you’re confiding in have the necessary empathy or else you might get the responses you have been experiencing. 

I recently had to have this very same convo with my sister. She was diagnosed with a medical problem that will leave her barren and required frequent trips to the hospital. She expected our mother to go with her for comfort. Our mother, who does not have a job and has not for 30+ years, never accompanied her to the hospital…not even once because she was too busy shopping on Amazon and browsing Facebook. Sadly, I had to remind my sister of all of the things our parents have done over the years that illustrate their complete lack of empathy…Then I had to ask her...What made you think mom was ever going to go with you?

After 36 years my sister finally accepted she can’t expect any empathetic response or support from the parentals. She will have to go to other people who can give her what she needs. So just make sure you go to the people with the proper skills to help you. Just because someone is a friend or family member, does not mean they have the skills to help you....e.g if you need helping moving a heavy couch, do you go to the 105 lb petite friend or a strong, fit friend?

2)      The people you’re confiding in might be completely empathetic towards your struggles. However, they might not legitimately know how to properly respond, perhaps fearing they might make things worse by accident. They might need to take time to assess your situation before they can help. Personally, I am that way.

If you need immediate help, I would suggest looking into receiving professional counseling from a licensed therapist…or someone who is at least supervised by one. If you’re not sure which pathway to take for getting assistance, I’d start a different thread because I know there are people here that will be able to tell you exactly how to get help.

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On 2017-10-09 at 10:59 PM, StarGate SG1 said:

So just make sure you go to the people with the proper skills to help you. Just because someone is a friend or family member, does not mean they have the skills to help you....

I needed to hear that today, thank you.

*

I completely agree with the above post. I would add the following to the second point:

Sometimes people genuinely care and want to help, but they don't know how. Maybe they think you want space when you really want a hug. Maybe they think you don't want to talk about it when you really do. I have a number of support people in my life who were completely lost - always trying their best, but still at a loss, sometimes to the point that their efforts were counterproductive - until I told them what I needed. It can take a heart-to-heart conversation, or even a spreadsheet with "what I need", "what to do when ___", etc if necessary. In any case, if you believe this person is supportive of you and wants to help but honestly doesn't know how, I would highly recommend talking to them about it.

Sadly, it's true that not everyone has the skills to help you in this kind of situation. In that case, it's okay to turn to someone else. Maybe you could find a support group for what you are experiencing. You don't have to be alone just because one person wasn't able to help.

Best of luck to you (((hugs)))

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@CrystalFaerie beat me to it: if you know what you need from them tell them specifically what and maybe even why you need that to hopefully get them thinking of how they can fill that need in other ways as well. As the previous posters pointed out, people frequently lack the skills. I don't know how it is in the USA but in Australia mental health skills are sorely neglected. You may be able to find some resources that they can read/watch if they are willing or go together to a workshop that addresses the issue. If you can't find a sufficient support person in you friends/family I encourage you to look for a support group and consider using a telephone service. In Australia we have Lifeline which is a crisis support phone line people can call 24/7 for short-term support (e.g. panic attack, depressive episodes, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, suicide in progress, just needing to vent/chat, domestic violence etc etc) and referrals to other services. You probably (hopefully) have something similar in the USA. They can be a big help also in finding local supports/schemes that can help you more long-term.  

Here is a clip that can help some people: 

 

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2 hours ago, 'tis the Bearded One said:

@CrystalFaerie beat me to it: if you know what you need from them tell them specifically what and maybe even why you need that to hopefully get them thinking of how they can fill that need in other ways as well. As the previous posters pointed out, people frequently lack the skills. I don't know how it is in the USA but in Australia mental health skills are sorely neglected. You may be able to find some resources that they can read/watch if they are willing or go together to a workshop that addresses the issue. If you can't find a sufficient support person in you friends/family I encourage you to look for a support group and consider using a telephone service. In Australia we have Lifeline which is a crisis support phone line people can call 24/7 for short-term support (e.g. panic attack, depressive episodes, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, suicide in progress, just needing to vent/chat, domestic violence etc etc) and referrals to other services. You probably (hopefully) have something similar in the USA. They can be a big help also in finding local supports/schemes that can help you more long-term.  

Here is a clip that can help some people: 

 

God, I really love that short. Thank you for sharing that. I think that might help. 

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