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What's the best way to respond to hearing about someone's past abuse?
My instinct is to just listen. Absorb. And be there for them. I don't want to come off as I'm not really listening, but honestly it doesn't feel appropriate to say any of the generic responses many often respond with when they hear a...
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SW User
+ 6 11 replies 45 views Nov 2, 2016 |
Edited: 3 yrs ago
In all situations I am a patient quiet listener.
shadowplay · 18-21, M
your right and you didn't cause them pain so you have nothing to be sorry for. for most survivors i'm sorry can lead to a trap of constantly feeling sorry for themselves. you can say i'm here for you and i won't judge you .listening can sometimes be better than than responding
SW User
That's really all you can do. Listen and let the person know you're there for him/her.

Offering generic, unwarranted advice or saying you are sorry is likely to backfire badly.

If asked, merely offer possible solutions and let that person decide which road to take.
LadyWioness · 51-55, F
I dislike telling them it will be okay, because at the time, it didn't feel like it for them, and I would also be sure they knew that I care, and am willing to listen.
Platitudes are annoying, such as "it'll be okay." I would focus on being there with a listening ear so they know they're not alone.
tnjazz · 61-69, M
Sometimes generic responses sound lame. Sometimes a good ear and a hug are best
That's most accurate.
MsAnnThropy · 36-40, F
It makes me feel uncomfortable. So I'll try and change the subject if I can.
SW User
Trust your instincts and give voice to your true feelings.
3503501a · 41-45, M
It depends upon how well I no the person and the situation and there nature with me
greenmountaingal · 70-79, F
Let them know you are quietly respectful and sympathetic. Don't dismiss it. If appropriate, you can compliment them for being a survivor because some people don't survive abuse.
"I'm sorry" is saying "I'm sorry that happened to you" implying you empathize which is perfectly fine. If you want to say more or know more then ask about how they felt/ or feel now. Focus on feelings not the details of what happened because when people want to know details it comes across as either creepy or judgmental whereas asking about their feelings shows real concern.

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