What Hurting People Need (Part 1)

When the unthinkable happens to someone you love, what do you do?

When a loved one dies, when an earth-shattering diagnosis comes in, when a family falls apart, when life deals a gut-punch to someone you know, how do you respond?

It’s amazing how helpless and just plain dumb we humans can be. Deer caught in headlights.

In the face of something big, I often find that my feet freeze to the floor, my hands fall limply to my sides, and my brain freezes like a Windows 95 PC–complete with one twitchy eye mimicking the CRT monitor refreshing.

What shakes me out of it is this one thought: If this news is doing this to me, what must it be doing to my friend? And my frozen state is instantly replaced with a call to action.

I must say, I’m not a “thoughts & prayers” kinda girl–not at all. If I’m going to err, it’s going to be on the side of doing too much. And I have. (Boundaries might be a good topic for another day!)

I’ve learned a few things by trial and error as I have reached out to others, but the greatest teacher of all has been my own pain.

When jobs disappeared and finances dried up, when depression crept in, when I lost a baby, when I grappled with the life-altering diagnosis of my son… and so much more… I got a front-row seat to the ways people reach out to hurting people.

And I have a few notes.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be exploring this topic, and hopefully presenting some good ideas.

But first, I’m going to start by talking about the bad and the ugly ones.

Some things that people do to hurting people are simply NOT helpful, and NOT kind, and NEED to stop. Like yesterday.

So here I am, jumping into the deep end with this brand new blog. I’m going to start preaching at you next week with the first “Don’t” — We Need Care, Not Advice.

Have you ever had a painful experience made worse by someone trying to help? I suspect some of us could use some group therapy! Comment below.

© 2021 Ashley Lilley – First time commenting? Please read my Comment Policy.

5 thoughts on “What Hurting People Need (Part 1)

  1. I have learned that the last place to go for any help is the place you be would expect to get help, the church. They are too much in into a reason such as sin, or judgement( yes we I have been guilty of that). Operating in unconditional love towards ourselves and others is the answer. I have fibromyalgia and chronic nerve pain. If I had not had these issues, I too would be less understanding, since my evangelical experience has taught me that it either must be my fault for not be wanting to be healed enough, or I still have sin in my life. I have stepped away from the unhealthy beliefs to a more healthy faith. There is still the ” idea that it must somehow be your fault for what is happening. I have learned that we all have something to deal with regardless of faith or not.

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  2. After I broke up with Jack, it seemed like many people turned against me. Strangers, doctors, and other “helping” professionals leapt in without understanding the situation and further hurt my child and me as a result. Even the justice system is geared toward encouraging Jack to continue abusing my daughter and me. But worst of all were the people I had thought were my friends, who managed to convey to me that they would have done so much better if they were living my life, that I “should have” done this or that, or that surely I misunderstood Jack, he must be the victim …
    On the bright side, I now know who my real friends are. I approach the world knowing that I know little to nothing about what is happening in other people’s lives, or what shape their tragedies and struggles take, and I hope that by trying to understand and avoiding passing judgement, I can avoid making things worse for them.

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  3. I get what Ginger Johnson commented. The church I used to attend threw me under the bus. The first “professional” I talked to was no help either. Sorry for all you went through Ginger.

    Liked by 1 person

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