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Why do people play down our misfortunes?

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.

 “Written by Shamala Tan, Holistic Health Coach aka Modern Medicine Woman Please visit her website http://www.modernmedicinewoman.com.sg/ to download a free copy of a ‘live’ discussion and meditation on how to identify the blocks in your physical, emotional and mental bodies”

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