One comment on “Validating Our Pain: Quantity is NOT the Qualifier

  1. It’s always easy to stand on the outside and think you understand what another person experienced. Yet, you can never truly know how a situation affects another, even if you’ve gone through something similar. We all need to be careful of minimizing the feelings and emotions of abuse victims. This is especially true if, though well-intentioned, we suggest that someone else ‘didn’t have it as hard’ as someone else. I also think your approach to someone telling you that their personal experience ‘wasn’t that bad is insightful and reassuring.

    The caveat here is to not undermine someone’s coping mechanism in an attempt to validate their feelings. Sure, just because a person may not have suffered as much physical abuse as another or have endured their sufferings as long as others is no reason to minimize that person’s trauma. At the same time, when THEY THEMSELVES say ‘it wasn’t that bad,’ it may simply be an attempt to create internal impetus, a personal call to action as it were. Sometimes the thought, “if THEY can do it, then I have no reason NOT to do something similar” is a powerful motivator. So we need to strike a balance when it comes to our internal reactions to someone saying their own experience ‘wasn’t that bad.’

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