In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to like to reveal 6 things (phrases/sentences) that you never say to someone who is in pain or loss.
First a quick update:
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20 Signs You Are Being Gaslighted! Psychological Abuse by Narcissists & Sociopaths
Gaslighting is Psychological abuse – manipulating someone to doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity. Watch the video
The Wrong Words Make It Worse For Someone Who Is In Pain Or Loss
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words shall never harm me”
In this article, I am going to share with you 8 things (phrases/sentences) that you never say to someone who is in pain and who has experienced loss (job, illness, divorce, breakup or death.)
While physical objects can break bones, words can also break one’s heart or spirit.
We communicate and express ideas, thoughts and emotions via words.
Words, therefore, are powerful.
When someone is in pain or has experienced a loss, words can be comforting and compassionate, or they can be harmful and intensify the pain and loss.
Compassion is the desire and action to relieve someone else’s pain. It can be physical compassion (nonverbal compassion) or it can be words of compassion and comfort.
What Are The 5 Key Objectives of Compassion?
When you choose to express compassion to someone who is suffering, there are 5 key objectives to help ease their pain.
1. Validate what they feel and are experiencing
2. Allow them to feel it (distress, pain, agony, misery, suffering – as long as they are safe and not harming themselves or others)
3. Demonstrate you care and love them (value their happiness and their needs)
4. Offer support and encouragement (by showing you love and care)
5. Help them to identify and name what they are actually feeling
The 8 harmful things I list below work directly against those 5 goals above.
What Are The 8 Things To Never Say To Someone Who Is In Pain Or Loss?
1. “I understand”
No, you don’t understand.
It is not possible to fully understand someone else’s pain and experiences because you are not them. We each see and experience the world based on our own filters, personality, temperament, values, and beliefs.
2. “I know how you feel”
How can you know what they truly feel over their pain or loss? You are not them and you have not had the same life experiences or programming. Even if you lost a child and they have, too, you still cannot fully grasp what they are feeling because they are not you. For example, their loss may also bring up other unresolved pain or inner conflicts.
3. “Be strong/Don’t Cry/Don’t be A Sissy
What do you mean when you say, “Be strong”? Do you mean to say, ‘show no emotion, don’t share or reveal your pain’? As I said to Frank Rich on the Superhuman Life podcast, ‘What human (man or woman) does not cry when their child dies or when they see children being raped or murdered or when their best friend dies?’ If a person feels no pain at the suffering of others, then they have no love. Why do you want to remove the humanity or your friend who is in pain? Further, beware of believing that because someone is emotional (more expressive versus someone who lacks emotional intelligence) that they are therefore inferior. It takes much more courage and strength to face one’s pain than to deny or run away from it.
4. “It’s not such a big deal”
Perhaps it is not such a big deal to you, and therefore it is not something for you to worry about. But if it is a big deal to them, then support them. Plus, when you say those words, you are shutting the door down to trying to understand their pain and the impact of the event.
5. “You can find a new love/pet/have another baby
You are giving advice and minimalizing or trivializing the pain and loss they are feeling. When they are ready, on their own, they may decide, for example to get another pet or have another baby.
6. “It could have been worse”
It is true that things could always be worse, but tragedy is painful, and when you say that it could have been worse, you are simply trivializing their pain and minimalizing the impact of their loss.
7. “Come on, smile, laugh a little”
You are trying to jolly them, and that doesn’t work, because pain or loss is not overcome or neutralized via willpower or just a smile.
8. “Everything will be fine/Time Heals all wounds”
What does it mean when you say, “Everything will be fine”? Do you mean that there will be no more suffering, that they will forget the loss or pain or replace it? Do you mean they will simply replace the lost child, parent, or loved one? Perhaps you simply mean that life will go on – but it doesn’t for everyone – many people who experience loss continue to suffer for years and even decades.
This brings us to the next point: time does not heal all wounds. If it did, then the older we get the happier we would be – free of all pain from the past. And yet, we all have pain, suffering, and beliefs that harm us, and which have been with us for years. The key to healing wounds is not sitting around watching time pass, but rather taking the necessary right action to ease the present pain and heal the past.
Why Do You Respond This Way To Pain or Loss?
When you are with someone who is suffering from pain and loss, are your words intended to heal and comfort them, or are your words simply words that you choose so that you can ease or avoid your own discomfort in the midst of their pain? Do you want someone to ‘be strong’ because you can’t handle their pain or suffering?
If you need help to heal the pain of loss or if you didn’t’ experience compassion in childhood, resolve it rapidly and easily, and be set free of the pain with my SRTT process. Book a one-on-one session with me.
You can add to the conversation below.
I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D. Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.