When others see our pain and overwhelm, they may feel an immediate need to help.

So they offer a suggestion.

Which is the worst way to help us.

We’re in pain because our heart is breaking not because we didn’t think to ask for help. Sometimes, our heartbreak intensifies because of what we hear after we ask for help — crickets. We’re overwhelmed because of our exhausting, demanding and never-ending situation. We’re overwhelmed not because we don’t know about resources and providers. Sometimes, those resources and providers add to our overwhelm because it is work to work with resources and providers.

The unsolicited advice (aka the “suggestion”) adds to our frustration. Of course we’ve tried that suggestion! Of course we’ve tried that adjustment or change. Of course we’ve tried that idea. Often, we are so tired of trying and not getting anywhere that we lose hope, making our pain that much deeper. A suggestion often reminds us of how much we have tried and how much we’re not getting anywhere. Even worse: We have to explain why the suggestions won’t work so we can put an end to the suggestions.

The suggestions exhaust us for so many reasons. What to do with all these suggestions?

I guess we’ll just have to offer our own suggestion, which is this: “Listening — just listening — helps me so much. I feel relieved when I can speak freely about my situation. If I need ideas or help, I’ll definitely ask. Right now, I just need you to listen.”

Our heart can heal when we receive the comfort of a good listener. It’s a suggestion worth remembering.

(What’s the worst suggestion you’ve received? I’d love to hear them; feel free to share in our comments section, below.)

About Denise

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched Caregiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

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Joyce
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I feel this in my bones … sometimes I just wants to SCREAM !!! We’ve loved with this 25 years. You’re underestimating is !! Please … just assists us in the way we request, dints come in to take over , please come inn to Assist our best life !.

Joyce
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I feel this in my bones … sometimes I just wants to SCREAM !!! We’ve llved with this 25 years. You’re underestimating is !! Please … just assists us in the way we requesting Don’t come in to take over , please come inn to Assist our best life !.