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Why Do I Hate This Phrase...

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*gasp* "I'm so sorry that happened to you!" 

I fucking hate it when people tell me that. That's why I try to keep it a secret.

Only recently have I ever thought to question exactly WHY I hate it when people tell me that.....and I have no fucking clue.  O.O

Do YOU hate it when people say that phrase to you? How come??? o.O

--204

Edited by 204

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I really dislike that phrase because it often seems:

-disingenuous

-like something people are "supposed" to say

-often coupled with either a horrified or patronizing or overly-sympathetic (like too sympathetic to actually be supportive) response

 

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On October 4, 2018 at 8:16 AM, 204 said:

*gasp* "I'm so sorry that happened to you!" 

I fucking hate it when people tell me that. That's why I try to keep it a secret.

Only recently have I ever thought to question exactly WHY I hate it when people tell me that.....and I have no fucking clue.  O.O

Do YOU hate it when people say that phrase to you? How come??? o.O

--204

I mean....it isn't always that helpful... But on the other hand there is usually no right answer in those situations. Also it's the safe response people do when they don't know how to handle it 

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1 hour ago, Iceberg said:

I mean....it isn't always that helpful... But on the other hand there is usually no right answer in those situations. Also it's the safe response people do when they don't know how to handle it 

No, the phrase is definitely not very helpful, but I don't exactly find it offensive, because some people simply don't really understand what we go through with our MI, and that's all they can think of to say.

At least it's better than "Snap out of it", or "There's nothing wrong with you, you look great".

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Yup. It's not helpful and it might sound like a stock response. But like CrazyRedhead said at least it's not something offensively stupid. "Get over it!" It could be disingenuous but it could also be someone going with the automatic response because they don't know what else to say, and perhaps occasionally they really do feel feel for you. What would be the right thing to say?

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I'm thankful that my Pdoc and Tdoc have never used that phrase with me.  More helpful is, " that is a horrible thing you went through, and survived."

When I went for my first ever pelvic exam, I brought a written note giving a brief overview of my attack to my PA to read before hand.  She did say the "sorry that happened to you,"  but I didn't care at the time.  I was too focused on what was about to happen to be bothered with her statement.

Edited by shimmeree

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Look, y’all, just because something isn’t patently flat out offensive doesn’t mean it doesn’t cause harm.

Part of what trauma that leads to PTSD does is to cause a rift in connection with other humans. When someone appears to be interested, it’s always a calculated risk as to whether you will get a helpful, neutral, or harmful response.

Being responded to as though you are Frankenstein’s monster (with shock and horror) reflects back a disconnect that indicates other people are unable to process, fathom, or otherwise relate to you AS A HUMAN BEING, instead of as a very horrible thing that happened.

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Eta: I think also because that phrase to me represents pity rather than empathy.

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For the average person (maybe someone that has never gone through anything bad) what would you expect (or like) them to say?

It's much worse when someone says "Get over it" or DOWNPLAYS a trauma, or turns the conversation into something about themselves. Like "Mmm yeah, we've ALL been through that at some point!" or on, for me it was WORSE" or "oh, and THAT upset you, Why??! You're just hyper-sensitive"

Edited by Blahblah
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That sounds really rough?

 

i don’t know what feels good to be honest.  It may be that nothing feels great, but some things have felt better than others.  I unfortunately can’t remember them.

Edited by dancesintherain

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Is it possible to accept that not everyone will feel the same about the phrase?

That some people will feel more annoyed or irritated by it? And that others will find it more benign?

By telling me that "it could be worse" in how someone responds IS EXACTLY the dynamic we are talking about: undercutting my experience and telling me about yours.

It's really frustrating to me that some folks are feeling the need to tell me that how people respond could be worse.

Quote

It's much worse when someone says "Get over it" or DOWNPLAYS a trauma, or turns the conversation into something about themselves. Like "Mmm yeah, we've ALL been through that at some point!" or on, for me it was WORSE" or "oh, and THAT upset you, Why??! You're just hyper-sensitive"

For me, the above is MUCH easier to deal with because it shows me that people are clearly working their own agenda, whatever that is, and they do not deserve to be trusted with my story. And it's also possible that for a lot of people the above things would be very invalidating.

 

In a more ideal world, I would find it helpful if people said things like:
-That sounds really painful. 
-I realize it was a while ago. How does it affect you now?
-Ouch.
-How did you get through the worst of it? (if you are through the worst of it)
-I'm glad you are still here.
-I'm glad you didn't die.
-I know not all wounds are visible on the outside but they can still hurt like a mo-fo.
-I appreciate you trusting me enough to tell me something important like this.

 

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2 hours ago, Wooster said:

Look, y’all, just because something isn’t patently flat out offensive doesn’t mean it doesn’t cause harm.

Part of what trauma that leads to PTSD does is to cause a rift in connection with other humans. When someone appears to be interested, it’s always a calculated risk as to whether you will get a helpful, neutral, or harmful response.

Being responded to as though you are Frankenstein’s monster (with shock and horror) reflects back a disconnect that indicates other people are unable to process, fathom, or otherwise relate to you AS A HUMAN BEING, instead of as a very horrible thing that happened. 

I see what you mean. It is difficult to know the right thing to say though. "I'm sorry that happened to you" can be said with indifference or with kindness, and it's the sentiment rather than the words which matter more. It may be a bad thing to say either way, but it's not easy to know the right thing to say to someone with a mental illness, and there is a difference between those who show some kindness and a willingness to try to understand, and those who say the same thing while thinking you're a freak and hoping you'll fuck off somewhere else. It's not easy for people but some of them are trying, even if they do get it wrong.

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I wouldn't go as far as to say I hate it, but I do consider it rather trite and empty. It may seem strange, but I actually prefer it when people say nothing or something along the lines of that they heard me/are listening. Most of the time, I don't seek understanding because I'm only kicking myself by doing that. I know that in order to truly understand me, you have had to have gone through trauma yourself and I obviously wouldn't wish that on anyone. 

I guess for me it is more about being permitted to freely communicate than it is about receiving sympathy and empathy. I appreciate it when others give me the opportunity to have a voice about something that effects my life and wellbeing, and to have a voice at all because I spent so much of my life without one, and often still do, because of trauma. 

It is very empowering for me to be "allowed" to have my say and to portray what I need to in the given moment in time. It allows me to have more of a sense of control over something that I had none over when it happened and still don't in regards to my trauma symptoms. Its also important in the context of assertive communication about my feelings and things I was taught to avoid when I was a victim, for me that allows me to change my mindset from being a powerless victim to being a survivor, having more appreciation and acceptance towards surviving daily life and also having willingness to speak openly and authentically about what ails me. 

Just being granted the space and opportunity to even speak at all is something I have come to learn to appreciate greatly, and is something I am always thankful for. A lot of people have no idea how alienating not having a voice is, and how difficult it is to move on from after so many years. In the moment I often find it difficult to thank the people who give me the space and opportunity to have a voice of my own about my experiences, but I am, and always will be, because it is beyond words how empowering it is to be provided that. 

 

Edited by Hopelessly Broken
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Posted (edited)

I don't mind if people say that.  What happened to me was really messed up and horrifying.  Nothing anyone could ever say to me would invalidate that fact.  I really don't care what other people's response is to my trauma unless it is minimizing it, which in my case would basically be admitting criminality on their own part and I'd know to stay away from them because it means they're a sick f***.

Edited by Lunakin
typo

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Coming to the discussion late and feeling guilty that I’ve said it myself. I don’t know what I want someone to say to me and I don’t know what to say to someone else. I do know I’ve heard the “it could be worse “ (you were raped?  Well you didn’t get pregnant so it could’ve been worse) and that wasn’t to my liking. But even though I’ve had my own trauma, I don’t know what to say to someone else, partly because I know they won’t necessarily react exactly how I would. I’ve been known to say “that sucks “ but it felt like the wrong thing. I wish I knew what to say—or even what I wanted said to me. 

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Considering it from the other side, I think people are genuine when they say it. We may not perceive it as helpful but I don't believe there is malicious intent behind someone saying it. If someone hasn't had an experience you have had, of course they can't relate to it. They're probably also really aware that they probably can't help in a significant way. They can't take your trauma away. I prefer to think people are trying their best and want to offer some kind words to you. No one is going to know the exact response you are expecting. 

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On 8/9/2019 at 5:10 PM, sugarsugar said:

you were raped?  Well you didn’t get pregnant so it could’ve been worse.

Fucking hell! Someone really said that? I can put my foot in my mouth sometimes but Jesus! Sorry, I'm socially inept and I don't always say the right thing, but even I wouldn't say something like that. That's a damn awful thing to say.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/10/2019 at 12:25 PM, Melancholya said:

If someone hasn't had an experience you have had, of course they can't relate to it. They're probably also really aware that they probably can't help in a significant way. They can't take your trauma away. 

Right, and this is part of why the comment is trite and empty. Its also why it sounds disingenuous. If they know this, then they should act accordingly instead of acting as if they can relate and can help. Doing that comes across as phoney and it gives off a forced vibe. If you can't do something, then be honest about it instead of faking it. Not only does this exacerbate the disconnection that Wooster mentioned, but it doesn't help you any either. There's nothing wrong with saying you can't relate and or can't help. Truth is always better than lies and faking. 

 

Edited by Hopelessly Broken

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41 minutes ago, Hopelessly Broken said:

Right, and this is part of why the comment is trite and empty. Its also why it sounds disingenious. If they know this, then they should act accordingly instead of acting as if they can relate and can help. Doing that comes across as phoney and it gives off a forced vibe. If you can't do something, then be honest about it instead of faking it. Not only does this exacerbate the disconnection that Wooster mentioned, but it doesn't help you any either. There's nothing wrong with saying you can't relate and or can't help. Truth is always better than lies and faking. 

 

I don't understand why you're taking it like it's a lie? Can a person not be genuinely sorry / sad that you went through something awful? I don't understand what makes it fake at all. I have used this phrase and it's never been a lie. 

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