Why Do People Play Down Our Misfortunes?

Why Do People Play Down Our Misfortunes? Modern Medicine Woman

Why Do People Play Down Our Misfortunes? Modern Medicine Woman

Have you ever shared something sad, shocking, traumatic with someone and the person immediately says that they understand what you have experienced but proceed to tell you how they have experienced something even sadder, more shocking or even more traumatic?

You start to get a sense that this person did not even listen to you and was just forming in their own heads what they wanted to say to you while you were sharing your tale? You feel like your opportunity to share and process what happened was hijacked.

Ok, so there are some possibilities here:

The person is just not a good listener
You have just opened the door for this person to process their OWN thoughts and feelings because they never had a chance to
They are just too self focused/self centred to relate or empathise with what you have gone through. They are thinking their story is in fact more important or bigger than yours
They have not grasped and they cannot comprehend the extent of your pain. And it is simply their attempt to block you from going further. And they might think you are too dramatic for your liking

In today’s sharing, I like to talk about point number four.

Everything we see in the world and relate to are from our own perspectives. So for example, when someone speaks about the atrocities of war, and if we have not personally lived it, we can only piece the experience together with things we have read, stories we have read. It is really hard to comprehend it first hand. We either want to listen to more stories or we feel so alienated that we wished people would stop talking about it. When it comes to trauma or misfortunes, the relatability factor is missing.

In this very small world we live in now, we are so connected via the world wide web and the news is filled with so much bad news that the world in general has become a little numb that perhaps, just perhaps our own personal trauma/tragedy holds significantly less weight in the eyes of others. And others just do not want to deal with one more piece of bad news

I also think people are looking for something positive and if they think you are not giving it to them, they will turn away. I think there are many lessons to be learned in life — good things that happen and not so good things as well. They both teach us important lessons. When people, especially close friends do not want to listen to your sad news, do keep an awareness whether you are a serial drama queen/king? If you know you are not, then you need to know that some people just cannot cope with sad news and that you are better off seeing a psychotherapist or counselor to process your feelings rather than share too much information with people close to you.

I know, some of you might say that what’s the point of having close friends if they cannot be there for you? Well, there are different friends for different seasons and reasons. Some can be there for you during times of real trouble and these are probably a very small percentage of your circle of friends. There are friends who can be with you only some of the time, but when the going gets tough they will not be able to deal with it.

So at the end of the day, it is about being discerning. The last thing you want to feel is rejection from people whom you thought you could rely on when you are going through the most difficult time of your life.

People do not mean to play down your misfortunes, it is simply because they are not able to process your experience with you. Be kind to yourself and choose wisely.

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  • Karen

    Wow, I just found your post and this article is very insightful. As you mentioned the example of war and people becoming perhaps “hardened” ,unwilling or unable to relate to another’s burdens of life, I was thinking of my own experiences of the past 3 years and the lack of empathy or compassion of certain family members and a few friends whom, I guess, I had higher expectations from in helping me deal with continually rising issues(drama to some). I definitely agree having an outside therapist can help you at a psychological level in dealing with stressful and difficult situations. In fact, that’s how I am being kind to myself my one most necessary expense for I have a very limited income. I am understanding more now then ever before how families break apart when others can’t put themselves in another’s “shoes.” I for the most part do see both sides too often and am having a difficult time reconciling this. My main thought is, we are each alone in this world,except for a spiritual belief of ‘God’ walking with you. In fact, there was a point where I thought, no one seems capable of helping me and a few can only seem to criticize. A comment to me was, I need to ‘find myself.’ I’d love to go find myself,but life keeps throwing up roadblocks. Their answer to that is to” focus on one thing at a time”. Oh man I’d love to do that. I start to and BAMM, another issue. I’ve kept my sanity for the most part by having a good therapist, drugs Rx., essential oils I discovered, but don’t use enough, my faith, and miraculous Angels God brings into my life at many needed moments. But, unfortunately, it’s not quite enough to take up the slack of others. For I do feel guilt and an increasing urgency to continue letting some of those angels get burned in a way and I want to be a help. My experiences the past several years have been very chaotic and disappointing on mainly my family front. Yet, I still try to be positive for I know I have it better then many others in the World as a whole. My life has so many issues I’m not going to continue further except to say, I didn’t realize how much losing a spouse who’d been going through a lot of painful health issues was going to be such a nonstop hassle. I now know why Jesus specifically indicated helping to support and showing kindness to the widowed, the orphaned and less fortunate. I also now understand the warnings in the Bible of being careful of what you say or even think. Be a Blessing. Guard your tongue for you may be cursing members of your family in the future by what comes out of it. Thank you for your insightful blogs.

    • Wow, thanks for your generosity in sharing! Indeed, we all just need to keep trying our best. Life is beautiful with many lessons for us, especially in relationships, helps us to know who we truly are 🙂
      Karen, good blessings to you always….

      • Karen

        Thank you and to you too.