As you can tell from my Facebook posts, I've been ‘feeling some kinda way' emotionally. I have a big problem when people, who call themselves helping, actually hurt and hinder individuals who are dealing with legitimate heartache, hardships, anxiety, and even mental illness.
As I mentioned, some people really do call themselves helping by using the “you should be a better fighter” tactic; but, truthfully, they just come out condemning the person in need. They forget that the person in question is already hurting.
Therefore, I decided to compile seven simple tips to share with you regarding how to help someone with anxiety and stress, not to mention heartache.
How to help someone with anxiety and stress
1. Trauma, emotional, and mental pain has various levels (1 – 10). Whatever a person is experiencing is very real to them. Don't downplay someone else's painful experience because you don't see it as significant.
2. Trauma, emotional, and mental pain takes quite a while to heal from. Please stop telling and lecturing them to ‘just get over it'. Please, just stop it.
3. Even in salvation, don't minimize a person's pain because God has victory. Remember, God kept Joseph, David, Daniel, Jephthah, and the three Hebrew boys in long circumstances for the benefit of others. Stop and consider what they suffered to accomplish God's plan. Sometimes God allows people to experience every ounce of pain for the next person. Don’t underestimate someone’s suffering because they’re saved.
4. People who go through trauma, emotional, mental, physical, and sexual pain and abuse can end up suffering PTSD and anxiety. They need help and support – not condemnation.
5. DO NOT pick and choose who you'll give your support to. “You're tough. You'll be ok,” as opposed to, “That person over there needs love, care, and support.” Who made you judge? For all you know (which is usually true), the circumstances are typically reversed.
6. Many times we can cause offenses with our ‘well-meaning' comments. Let’s remember who we are helping. Is the comment that you're giving supposed to help the individual or you? Some people like to give advice because it makes them feel good. Consider, it's not about you!
7. Many people are dealing with emotional abuse in relationships. You know, it's not at all helpful to tell the person:
“You need to try harder.” “You must have said or done something to bring it on yourself.” “You're supposed to be such an example.” “Your spouse is such a lovely person. I can't believe that they would do a thing(s) like that.” “They would probably be a better person if you'd change.”
Ask yourself, how would you feel if someone treated you like that? How would you feel if you are dealing with a manipulative friend, spouse, employer, teacher, etc. and you were blamed had your voice taken by the people who are supposed to be your support, family, and even friends?
Emotional abuse in relationships is real. It causes anxiety because the victim is kept off guard constantly. They never know what to do. Even if they do and give their best, at the end of the day, it's not good enough. Emotional abusers love to maintain control.
However, you empower and enable abusers by constantly criticizing their victim – your supposed loved-one. Since abusers maintain control, they love to maintain a high super-sweet image in public. They are fooling you. By condemning the victim, you are helping the abuser take their voice.
In conclusion, PTSD, emotional, mental, and anxiety sufferers are already suffering pain from what they went through. Don't make their suffering worse by adding to their load. Don't make their healing longer and harder because they have to get over what happened to them PLUS whatever you said or whatever help you could have, but didn't, provide.
How to help someone with anxiety and stress is simply about being there and being a friend.
If you or anyone you know is dealing with emotional abuse in relationships or you want to know how to help someone with anxiety and stress, feel free to reach out for help now. Self help is the best help.