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Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Crashland, Dec 8, 2011.

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  1. Crashland

    Crashland Well-Known Member

    It seems that any post/new thread admitting that something is wrong is an invitation to the most patronising comments - and by whom? People whose life is in just as a big mess as the opening poster's!

    I am not immune to this behaviour either and I feel right embarrassed about it. I can't decide whether to rephrase my sentences or just shut up, really, as it is so pathetic trying to be comforting/wise to those who seek help on these boards.

    I have come to this realization a few hours ago, really. I just got pissed off by certain comments. One would think we all are in the same boat yet we are getting the same old "you should do this" crap from each other - the very vanilla comments we all hate!

    So what is it all about? Does it make us feel better about ourselves to distribute sacred wisdom among those who feel down the most? And what makes us think that a new thread asking for help/support gives us the right to patronize the poster?

    Any thoughts?

  2. In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place Well-Known Member

    It's a tricky one and I really struggle with this myself. I'm not qualified to help people in a professional manner so yeah your left with the same old,same old. "Have you spoke to your doctor" blah blah and I often don't bother replying at all once I look at the shite I've written. I kinda look at it that the main thing was somebody putting down their thoughts and getting them out there. If you can identify with a particular persons problem you may be able to offer some advice or comfort. Ha I've come full circle and ended up thinking that there is some value to it all. Some comments are patronising but there's also something there even if its only an acknowledgment that they've been heard. I dunno really,thinking about deleting my comments here now lol
  3. justMe7

    justMe7 Well-Known Member

    I have no idea what you are talking about. And I'm assuming neither does anyone else. So generalized rants about generalzed statments are going to make generalized arguments.

    People are people, they try. I don't know the answers, nor do others. All people can do is suggest a point of view, and hope that the reader can take something benifical from it.

    Again... I have absolutly no.. no idea what you are talking about. You might aswell be talking about someone who posts about chicken in a vegan thread. Just saying ... Context changes everything. Generalized conclusions don't work when in relating to specific events.

    But then again,... perhaps im being patronizing. I'm sorry if im coming across that way. But try to understand this. We're not all in the same boat. We share a general "understanding" but beyond that, we're all very much on our own trying very hard to deal with our own lives. So there is going to be an enourmous amout of mis-communication, different perspectives, and sometimes condesending attitudes. People are drawing from all sorts of places and lifestyles. People come into threads posting their opinons because they want to help, or feel that their lifestyle is somehow better than others. You can literally analyse this till youre blue in the face. All I can say is, just remember, just because you're down, and others are down, doesn't mean there is a unwritten law of apprication and care for the most sensitive aspects of who we are. Things are going to be suggested and said that are either retarded, overly insensitive, over the top.. blah blah

    Lifes not perfect. We try.. Best thing to do is not to get sucked into other peoples bullshit. Stay true to yourself and what youre seeking. You can't change people, all you can do is suggest something, and let them make their own minds up.
  4. 1Lefty

    1Lefty Well-Known Member

    What are some comments, or statements that you consider patronizing?
  5. BeautifullyChaotic

    BeautifullyChaotic Well-Known Member

    I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you are talking about generic statements such as "I'm here if you need to vent" or "try not to dwell on that and look at it this way instead" and all I can say is; yeah, it's kind of hard to know what to say to someone who is struggling, even though we are struggling as well. I don't think it is patronizing at all however; seeing as we do have a better understanding of one another's pain than average Joe Blow down the road and we are making a real attempt to comfort someone during a crisis by trying to give the best advice possible.
    I myself have been known to simply let the OP know I understand their feelings and, if I have been in a similar situation I share my experience, let them know that I may not have an answer but that I can listen and let them just vent and get it all out and try to show my support in that way; sometimes it helps the OP to just know that people hear them, understand and care enough to put our own issues aside for a while to just listen.
    Everyone here is struggling in one way or another, and we not always understand what someone else is going through, for example; in my area there ARE jobs and they are quite easy to acquire, but in other areas of the world and even my own country there are literally NONE; so my rant about people being lazy and not trying upset quite a few people but all I know is what I see where I am. I have no idea how hard other's are struggling but when I see a post where someone says they are struggling with this issue I still feel for them. I still want to try to give them the reassurance that I am here for them to vent to. That may come off as generic, but I don't think it is patronizing at all because I really do mean it.
  6. justMe7

    justMe7 Well-Known Member

    I think he means, but I guess we'll have to wait for him to clarify, is that when you open up about something that is classifed as "wrong" people are jumping on it with high horse comments, with stuff the OP probably is well aware of, and doesn't help someone trying to talk about something sensitive with insensitive comments pouring in. Could be wrong though.
  7. ZasuArt

    ZasuArt Well-Known Member

    It's a tricky situation, and one that makes me question my own interactions in SF at times. I've been very open about my own difficulty in managing my own f**ked up life, and the fact that I am not good at taking my own advice. And I'm certainly not a professional. But like many of us here, I also have a lifetime of experience coping with severe anxiety, suicidal depression and PTSD; as well as actively surviving multiple forms of child abuse and neglect, rape and drug addiction. I screw up every single day, but I've somehow managed to survive to ((gulp)) age 40, which considering the number of self-inflicted near-death experiences I've had is no small feat. I don't think I come across as patronizing (I really, really hope not), because I have no illusions about my own overwhelming shortcomings, and I frequently offer this fact in my responses. I sincerely hope that my feedback and support helps my SF friends. And I can honestly say that for me, taking that time to step outside of my own depression bubble and focus on someone else's struggle for a bit is every bit as helpful as the support and feedback I get in response to my posts (if not more). If this makes me selfish, then I can only hope my selfishness is helpful to someone as desperate as I am. Posting, getting responses and GIVING responses have all saved my life at times. So when I'm feeling like, "Who the hell am I to offer advice?", I just remember that we're all experts and students on some level. I just try to always respond in a way that I myself would find comforting/helpful, and always with an open heart and genuine caring and concern. I'm sure I sometimes miss the mark, but aren't we all human? And if anyone doesn't want feedback/support/advice, they have the option of posting in the diary section, and even changing their settings to reject messages. Sorry to ramble... just my thoughts on the subject!
  8. Crashland

    Crashland Well-Known Member

    Hi all,

    thanks for your comments.

    I'm almost certain that none of the forum members whose comments I see as patronizing mean any harm in any way - just as I have no intentions to hurt anyone's feelings with my own less sensitive comments. I don't mean rudeness at all. I'm referring to a subtle stance of feeling superior to the one we give advice to. Such things do come across.

    My point is that saying anything in a "this is how it is, period" manner IS patrozing (forgive caps, bold doesn't work) even if the comment is posted with the best and purest intention.

    I must admit I might just be raging mostly against myself. I read ZasuArt's comment - I have read quite a few of your posts on other threads as well - and I kind of realized that some people make me feel humbled, genuinely compassionate and wanting to help to my best abilities, not forgetting my own limitations.

    Some other posts however make me feel judgemental - even if I do not want to be! I still want to help but the tone of my voice is distinctly different, well, quite patronizing, I should say.

    I suppose I see the same thing in some of the comments on these boards.

    Well, I wonder if it makes sense at all...
  9. Stranger1

    Stranger1 Forum Buddy & Antiquities Friend

    Lets not forget that by posting you are showing the Orinal Poster that he/she is being heard.. Be it generic or some wise thoughts.. The main thing is to try and comfort the poster..
  10. ZasuArt

    ZasuArt Well-Known Member

    That makes sense to me, Crash. I think that we can all relate to those moments IRL where someone basically shuts you up by saying "What you need to do is (insert empty bit of advice here)." And because we all share a common struggle here in SF, it is sometimes amplified when we perceive a bit of advice that way here (hope that makes sense... had a hard time wording my point!). I think we all have days where we're feeling defensive and less than patient and compassionate. Truth be told, I'm sort of having one today, which is probably why I was drawn to responding to this thread, and another with a similar issue. None of us is perfect, but we're all doing the best we can. And I appreciate you being able to hear and respect an oppposing view.
    (totally not patronizing, but huge) hugs and friendship... T
  11. MorganaNever

    MorganaNever Well-Known Member

    That is how I felt after few things I posted.

    See, I agree with you in all but one thing- i dont think that that behavior is motivated by the desire to feel great about how wise we are. I think its purely out of compassion.

    It is hard to hear someone feeling a certain way without being really able to help. We naturally want to think of solutions, even if we should know better.
    Specially irl, even people who themselves are depressed can't deal with the depression of people they care about. I noticed this forum is amazing because I saw so many posts where people simply offer to talk to you more or share their story or compassion and don't tell the poster what to do.

    Sometimes though it seems someone is struggling with a specific issue and someone may feel they "get it" or resolved it before in their own life (looking at someone elses story without the complexity of their individual personality and life makes some issues seem simpler, which is occasionally not a bad thing...). So they think they can genuinely tell them what they feel worked in some situation they identify it with.

    I realized though usually this attempts to help really end up being patronizing and therefore don't help at all, and it is better to approach the person with questions and willingness to listen before getting wise. I guess it really depends also on how a person does something, for instance instead of saying "leave the x situation and do y" , it works better in a form of a question, like " is it possible for you to do ...."

    So you're right, we need to be careful how we approach things and how we try to offer advice, but I still think it mostly comes from best intentions. I don't think though it is such an issue on this forum though, people are really understanding here.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2011
  12. Kristie

    Kristie Active Member

    reading all of these replies makes me somewhat nervous here. I am not exactly new here but have come and gone over the past few years and mostly just read what others say. Speaking for myself only I dont get offended by the things people say here. I feel as if it is a safe place to express how we are feeling with others who share some of the same feelings of anxiety, depression, etc. as I am. I woudl rather get a word of advice from someone here than from family and frieds who dont know, dont undersstand or dont accept what I am going through. Dont even know if this makes sense to anyone but I do appreciate everyone here and having this place to come to as I struggle through life right now.
  13. Crashland

    Crashland Well-Known Member


    you really got me thinking! What does a poster in distress actually expect/want from the community? In turn, what is the best way to support a poster in distress?

    I know that I look for genuine, quality attention and some debate, confrontation and ultimately comfort on that basis. But only on that basis. Therefore the best anyone can do for me is to read my post carefully, analize it, try to relate to it, ask me further questions and thus help me explore/ discover the underlying truth.

    I don't know whether it is projecting my unconscious expectations to others or it is pure (genuine, I assure you) interest but I tend to do the same with people on here who interest me.

    However, that's just me.

    The question still remains and I would love to hear about what you all expect/hope from the community when posting in distress.

    (Should it be a separate thread?)
  14. 1Lefty

    1Lefty Well-Known Member

    Hi Crash - I know when I've posted needing help, I really don't know what I want or expect. I feel like I'm very flawed, a wreck of a human being. When I see someone post, especially if it's their first post, or their thread doesn't have any responses, I'm not qualified to analyze anything beyond the basics - the person is in pain or a crisis or lonely. And sometimes there are just a few sentences to work from. The best I can do with my limited knowledge is just to let them know someone is paying attention to them, what they say is important and they may be able to get help here. I'm kind of like a vagabond, I don't have much, but you're welcome to a cup of what I'm having.

    And I apologize if I've taken the OP off-topic.
  15. Butterfly

    Butterfly Sim Addict Staff Alumni SF Author SF Supporter

    I think it should be taken into consideration that we are all here for one reason or another, and some days for each of us can be tougher than others. I know from my own personal experience of posting to people's threads the response you will get from me usually depends on how I am feeling and the mood I am in. Sometimes I can't express what I want to say into words and just want the OP to know that they are being listened to and that I am actually there via pm or posting on the forum for them. I know sometimes it can be annoying when you spill your heart out and the only response that you get is :hug: or keep fighting, you can get through this. But sometimes people are struggling themselves and just want the OP to know that they have been heard. It should be remembered that it is not people's intentions to be patronising. We are a peer support site. None of us can give professional advice or can give you all the answers you are looking for, but what we can do is let you know that we are listening and we are here for you, in one way or another.
  16. gloomy

    gloomy Account Closed

    I don't think anyone is being condescending here… mostly they're doing their best to help you and now you're getting angry because they're not telling you exactly what you want to hear?

    You should really be happy that they're trying their best to help you… if you don't want to hear what other people have to say, then don't post your problems online…

    I'm actually a little bit angry about this thread.
  17. Growing Pains

    Growing Pains Well-Known Member

    Well, I've skimmed this thread. I apologize for not reading it in its entirety, but it's 10:30am and I haven't been to bed yet. (So is the punishment of having insomnia) There were some points that I kind of admit that I agree with and then others where I didn't know where I stand. But I will say, I know that everyone here tries their best. It's hard trying to comfort someone in similar situations as yourself. Honestly, even when the person is going through something that I can relate to, I find myself at a loss for words. Fact of the matter is, this website isn't a substitute for therapy. It's not a quick fix. It's only here so we can know we're not alone and have someone there to remind us that we're not. Most of us don't have the answers. That's why we're here.

    However, I think everyone is looking for something when they post. To answer the quote above, I think I just like knowing someone else understands. I like hearing a common sense, blunt answer. The few times I have made use of the suicide and self harm sections for advise, I did so seeking someone to talk sense into me. I didn't want to be told to speak to a doctor (god knows I can't afford that lol, that's a big part of my problem!) or asked what kind of meds I'm on (goes back to the money thing). I just wanted a blunt, common sense answer. Though, that said, any reply helps. As long as I know it's been read, that does help. And I've never seen any of the replies I've gotten as patronizing.
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