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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What do you do to help people who are hurting?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (32742points) November 10th, 2016


When you know someone is hurting, what concrete steps do you take to try to help?

I know many people who are presently distressed. Yesterday, I shared a mindfulness exercise on Facebook, and I asked that others share my post. It’s a simple exercise that is proven to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. This morning, I used Facebook again to lead a live group meditation.

These are small things, but they may give big relief to one person.

Please, tell us how you help people who are hurting. Please, include the steps you take to help. Share your methods so we can all use them to help others.

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18 Answers

Seek's avatar

I’m a feeder. It’s all I know to do. Come to my house, and I will make tea, and you can tell me all you like – or sit as quietly as you like, while I make supper.

josie's avatar

Apply pressure, speak reassuringly, and give him a Fentanyl lollypop.

janbb's avatar

I listen.

Coloma's avatar

Listen and validate their feelings. I know how much I hate not feeling validated when I share some stressful situation I am experiencing. Nobody wants to hear the bullshit cliches of ” it could be worse” or, worse yet, “you need to think more positively.” Sometimes things are just really, genuinely, shitty and what hurting people need most is a shoulder to lean on and cry on, not compulsively, not forever, but for awhile at least.

Mariah's avatar

Jake’s meditation was fantastic. It really helped me this morning.

I am not fantastic at helping people. I am perceptive with my close friends though. If a friend has the kind of problem where relaxing and drinking for a night is going to help I will do that by their side. That was often the treatment for stress problems in college. I realize it is not apprioriate for most hurts. I also like to cook for people. But most of all, listen and discuss. I don’t know many other ways to help.

Jeruba's avatar

Listen and reflect.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Listen and understand their distress, but don’t fall into the “hole”. Support their concerns and support them.

CWOTUS's avatar

Somewhat like @josie, I suppose: RICE


That’s a real answer to “real hurt” (injury), but I realize that’s not what you were asking.

I’ve helped a number of people get over various panics, emotional distress, loss and other psychic issues. Mostly, I avoid judging – including agreeing with the “victim” that I’m listening to when they’re going off about a former lover or partner or parent / child – because eventually a lot of relationships are restored, and I don’t want to be on record as having agreed that “that person is a turd” or worse. (And I keep what I’ve heard to myself, too, so whatever was said doesn’t get back to the other person through me.) When the time calls for it then I try to help the distraught person see the beauty that’s around us even on “bad” days, to find humor – there’s always a joke somewhere! – and to “just take a breath” and then another one, and so on.

Mostly, despite how much I do like to talk sometimes and write a lot, I shut up and listen.

Sneki95's avatar

Listen or, if you are the hurt one, take a piece of paper, write down all your worries, and throw the paper away.
There was even a certain website where yuu can write, but everything is deleted when you leave the site.

flutherother's avatar

I stay with them, empathise and listen.

LornaLove's avatar

Showing empathy.

rojo's avatar

We put a lot of emphasis in the US on self-reliance, strength, willpower and the like but to bring this to the forefront of someone who is hurting does nothing but belittle the struggle they are presently going through. The reached out to you because they recognized at some level that they could not do it on their own and needed assistance. Platitudes like “Buck up” and “Be strong” do not help them only hurt them more. As others have said, be there, listen, have a shoulder to support them.

Many times we are tempted to try and “fix” the problem but some problems just cannot be fixed. You cannot bring back someone who is gone. And sometimes we try to fix the sufferer but this only makes things worse, they are at a fragile point in their lives and telling them that this too shall pass just emphasizes their helplessness. They need comfort in the here and now not at some point in the future. A lot of times people are just barely hanging on and pushing them to try harder or more; trying to make them recover quicker than they are capable of, and only they know their capabilities, will cause even greater stress and anguish.

Don’t try to “fix” things. Stay with them, support them, allow them to process all those emotions and feelings in their own time and in their own way. Be there to help but do not try to resolve things for them, they must do this Suffer with them so they know they are not alone.

I remember reading once that those who make the greatest difference when we hurt are not those who try to lead us out of the darkness but the ones that are willing to follow us into that darkness and stand beside us no matter what.

I try to be that person.

Coloma's avatar

@rojo Well said!

janbb's avatar

A wise teacher I knew told me when his son was going through terrible times, he said to his son, “I don’t know all that you’re going through but I want to stand here along side you.”

si3tech's avatar

I simply try to be present, and listen. Being heard, I believe is a basic need.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I send a (((HUG))) : )

Ryan_Coke's avatar

I hear them out.
If it’s a guy hurting I’d tell him there’s Billions of other women out there and if it’s a woman hurting I’d tell her she’s beautiful and it’s me hurting I’d have a drink and go to bed.

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