How can we support someone who is suffering?

23.01.2021
Whatever the reasons, we can always accompany the person in their pain, staying by their side, sharing with them and respecting them.

There is no bandage to stop tears, no method to sterilize psychic wounds, and no cast for heartbreak . What we do have is our presence to appease the pain, because by listening to the needs of those who suffer, we are telling them that they also count on us to face that suffering .

If dealing with our own physical and emotional pain is already difficult, responding to that of others can overwhelm us. Witnessing or hearing laments about other people's physical and emotional injuries speaks to our vulnerability and reminds us that our bodies and minds are not invincible .

Helping people who are going through some form of emotional pain relies less on diagnosis and procedures, and more on personal style. While some rush to help, but confuse "fixing" with helping, others decide to get lost like the last blows of summer in October; they expect no one to count on them, assuming they don't have the skills to help the person.

I'm here by your side, I feel your pain

" No one can free men from pain, but he who makes them reborn the courage to endure it will be forgiven."

-Selma Lagerlof-

Regardless of our tolerance for the suffering of others, we all have something to offer despite our differences . One of the most effective ways to help is to be honest about what we can offer, and at this point empathy or our ability to put ourselves in the place of the person who is suffering comes into play .

A study carried out by the Association Psycological Science (APS) on the neuroscience of empathy and carried out by neuro-psychologists from the University of California (San Diego) ensures that " empathy not only requires a mechanism to share emotions, but also to maintain them separated . Otherwise, they contact us, they distress us emotionally . "

This means that we can, in some way, accompany the person in their pain, making them share that we understand and share what they feel. A simple step that can be very comforting; the person, in addition to feeling accompanied, also feels understood in their suffering .

From having more or less empathy with the specific pain that the person suffers, we can maintain the connection through the following strategies:

1. What do you need?

We can think that preparing something to eat is the most appropriate, or we can assume that the person wants to share their feelings when, in fact, what they prefer is to have a conversation on a neutral topic. In fact, they may prefer not to have any conversation and just want our company; they may even wish to be alone. Asking, and not assuming, is the only way to find out to be more effective.

2. Only if you ask me for advice, will I give it to you

Tips are always appreciated and very welcome when requested; however, other times they may not be so; especially when we use them as a way to end the conversation and move on to another topic.

People who feel hurt want to know that they are not alone and that someone understands the depth of their experience , so offering easy and immediate answers, and less if they have not been asked, can make the person feel ignored, invisible and more alone still.

3. I offer you some alternatives, but no recommendations

Sometimes we try to help by suggesting immediate solutions to try to undermine the pain such as going out for a drink, or a trip to the beach, a trip to the mountains, or even seeking the company of a pet. In this sense, we can fall into the error of being too directive : we assume the problem as our own, we look for a solution and we push the person to act in that sense. However, the problem is not ours and it is she who will finally have to make decisions; This is precisely why we can help a lot by giving ideas or providing alternatives.

4. I let you feel your pain

The pain that we see in the person in front of us may be in an initial state. We can fear that, if you do not take action, it will end up flooding you, precipitating you towards a crisis. However, sometimes this crisis is necessary, deconstruction and new construction is essential.

Here is the true emotional ability, because there is no magic measure that works for all people at all times. Thus, helping her, at times, may have to do with encouraging her to let go of the emotional pain she is fighting against without leaving her side.

5. I observe you and do not judge your behavior

We can learn a lot about ourselves by paying attention to how we help others . It is true that almost all loss situations tend to also bring a gain, but it may not be the time to try to direct the other's attention to it. If we make a mistake in this sense, we can make you feel even worse for not being able to feel, because the pain covers you, what your mind, in its most cognitive aspect, does recognize as positive.

Active listening teaches us to accept the limits of our power. Those of us who withdraw from emotional pain are challenged to face our helplessness, as well as to value our presence and silent empathy, as empathic connection during a difficult time often requires no special words or skills . Authentic caring and a desire to be honestly present can go a long way.

When we reason about a problem, we tend to use a simple and useful outline most of the time. This way of thinking is what is known as linear thinking.

In couple relationships there is always a certain degree of commitment and, of course, seeking the company of the person you love. However, some people have an excessive emotional dependence on their partners .