It’s true that I have almost always felt off. That I wasn’t quite in sync with my peer group and sometimes just those around me in general, but am I more than just off? Am I actually wrong? For example, someone in the online divorce support group that I joined posted the question “Does the pain ever end?” On the surface it seems like a rather simple and to the point question, but I do not believe that it is. I responded to the question by posting the following: “Only time will tell, but until then all we can do is hold on for dear life.” I thought that this response was just as honest and straight forward as the question itself. Am I wrong?
I believe in supporting and, for lack of a better word, validating other people’s emotions. I do NOT believe in the cliché and to my opinion platitudes like “Everything happens for a reason.” or “An ending is just another word for beginning.” or “All things heal with time”, etc., etc., etc. I believe that there are people out there that may find comfort in those quotes when they are in a time of stress, but for me and undoubtedly for others those quotes provide no support, no comfort, no reassurance and no source of strength. I hear or read those words and what I hear or read are the words of someone who doesn’t know what else to say, so why not resort to something generic that sounds good. This is my response even when the person saying them has gone or is going through a similar situation to mine, so back to my example. The individual who posted the question “Does the pain ever end?” I do not believe that this question is as simple as it seems on the surface. (Then again I don’t believe that such a thing as simple actually exists, but that is a topic for another time.) Responses to this question ran the gamut, but generally stayed on the positive end of the scale. It was not my question, so maybe I should not be irritated by some of the responses, but I was. The people who essentially said yes just give it time could very likely have been wrong. How do they know that this person’s pain will end? How do they know that instead of ending it won’t just turn into some kind of dull ache? That would be a change to be sure, but that would not be an end. How do they know that this person won’t just become accustomed to the pain? Getting used to or becoming accustomed to being in pain does not mean that the pain has ended. How do they know that this person won’t actually continue to feel their current pain everyday for the rest of their lives just as intensely as they do today? The answer is that they don’t know. They do NOT know. They may hope that this person’s pain will end and the pain of their experience(s) may have ended, but that does not mean that they know that the pain that this person is experiencing will end. They hope it will. They want to be supportive and encouraging, but the reality is that they do not know. Am I wrong?
I believe I am a contradiction. I believe in being realistic, pragmatic if you will. Maybe I am too pragmatic at times, but I also respond to things very emotionally. As a result I have a tendency to feel at war with myself. I want to be supportive of and encouraging to the people who want and need that support and encouragement, but because I do not believe in platitudes such as those listed above I will not make those kinds of statements to someone else, so instead I respond to questions of “Does the pain ever end” with statements like “Only time will tell, but until then all we can do is hold on for dear life.” Am I wrong?
I want to feel understood, supported and comforted, but I want that to be sincere. I don’t want to feel like I’m being talked down to or patronized. As a result I provide the kind of understanding, support and comfort that I look for. Am I wrong? I hope that there are others out there who may want or need someone to talk. I hope that at some time in the VERY near future I’ll be able to find one or more of those people because I really want and need someone to talk to. I hope that if and when I do find that other person or people they will understand that even though I may not tell them what is stereotypical that I am in no way belittling or minimizing the pain that they are going through because I am going through it too. I hope that the way I have approached my situation, the way that I search for the support that I want and ultimately the way that I provide support is healthy, beneficial and appreciated. I would like to believe that I am not the only one who feels or reacts this way. Am I wrong?