>…Bittersweet Symphony

I think he has pain.

Something that occasionally enters my head as a client is speaking is the line from a song: “I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me, yeah…*

The thing that makes our pain so much more unbearable is the sense that we are alone with it. Very few of us are actually alone; most of us don’t know how to reach out for support, or those around us don’t know how to respond in a way that feels supportive.

My friend tells a story about going to comfort someone who shoves him away, snapping “…let me have my grief!” Most of us would say that we just wanted to help, maybe throw up our hands and walk away; but he just sat with her, his quiet action speaking volumes that she is not alone in her darkness. Granted, he’s an incredibly compassionate guy, but we all have that capacity to be there for each other, even when we don’t know what to say. Notice that he didn’t avoid her or to try to “make her feel better“, as most of us do, he just listened to her when she asked him to allow her the space to grieve. His presence let her know that at least she was not alone with her pain.

More commonly, though, most of us don’t know how to let each other in. We create these worlds of self-sufficiency, which work really well, until the crisis hits and we find that we haven’t asked for help in so long that no one’s even looking in our direction. So we suck it up and go for biopsies and blood tests alone, then we get angry at our partner for not psychically knowing that they should have come along. We yearn for our partner to empathize, but we don’t know how to tell them how we feel, how much we need them to just listen, to hold us. We even get angry about having to ask; and a vicious cycle gets created.

Listen. You deserve to feel someone with you in your dark places; you deserve to have someone who recognizes and responds to your pain; if your partner doesn’t know how to do it, and/or you don’t know how to ask, there are some reallllly important conversations for you to have, I mean, like now, before the next storm hits.

*The Verve, Bittersweet Symphony (see below)







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