When coping with great losses, it is not unusual to have a well-meaning family member, acquaintance, or friend say the wrong thing at the wrong time. They may inform you that you need to take a particular action or that it is time to make a specific change and begin getting back to being your former self. I know, and you know that going back to being as we were before the loss happened just isn’t going to happen. Significant losses break us and transform us as a person.
Again, I stress that poisonous people think they are doing the best thing and encourage you. However, we are all results of a culture that twists the grief process and proceeds to pass on the myths acquired early in life. Sometimes toxic people have an actual piece of information to communicate, but the timing is wrong.
Numerous questions arise inside our mind, “How does he know what my requirements are?” Great caregivers are naturally good listeners, not informers of what one wants.
So, what can we really do to cope with the added stress these undesired remarks generate? Here are four strategies to follow.
- As tough as it could be, try to keep your cool as you react to the individual. To suddenly snapback with an angry remark only heightens your legitimate anger. It may very well create a brief break in your relationship with that individual. Of course, much depends on the tone of voice in which it was communicated and the remark’s nature.
- Try a modest response such as, “I’m not eager to do that” or “I know you don’t want to harm, but I have to make the adjustments I need according to my schedule.” That might be all that is needed. Also, there is nothing bad if you choose not to respond in any way. Read the circumstances, and then take the fitting action.
- Everyone mourns differently, but not everyone knows this vital concept. So, you may be able to block unwanted remarks by saying, we are all different in the way we change. Try to normalize your grief for your caregivers. In short, tell them what your suffering is like. Yet, stress how much you value all they have done and how thankful you are for their being around your discomfort and listening to your feelings. You are tutoring your support system, even though it is hard for you to be the teacher.
- Lessen contact with individuals who don’t understand the information or want you to follow their plan for your grief. Their toxic and pushy nonverbal communication will give them away quickly. When you have to stay in their presence, be polite, but end their company as soon as you can. There is really nothing wrong with quickly absenting yourself from a scenario where you know you would have to speak to the person for an extended period. You just need a break.
It is essential to be patient in your reply to the toxic person. Remember that many potential caregivers are at a loss about what to say to one who is suffering. They want direction. Often, their grief in seeing you in so much pain pushes them to try to do anything they think is restorative. Only you can determine how much extra pain the person continues to cause by being around you. You may have to limit your communications with them without fail.