Worst Reactions to Tragedy

Being Told Something is ‘God’s Plan’Tragedy is a terrible thing that can strike in many different ways, from an affair, to a national event, a personal issue, or a sudden death. Everyone deals with his or her experience of tragedy in a different way, and much of the time, there is no prescribed ‘right’ way to do things, but the chances are that at some point or another, you’ll find yourself being greeted with one of the following reactions that leave you feeling worse than when you had originally started.

Someone Telling You They ‘Know How You Feel’Being Told Something is ‘God’s Plan’

This is a particularly annoying process, whether you’re religious or not. Usually in the case of a death, people will tell you that the person in question is ‘in a better place now’ and although this won’t provide much comfort to an atheist or agnostic, its phrase that many will take reasonably well. The trouble with being told that something is ‘Part of God’s plan’, whether you’re religious or otherwise, is that the phrase itself leaves you with the impression that you’re not supposed to be upset about something, because you had no right to get between your mother, father, loved one or friend and their place in the cosmic time-line. During tragic times, you don’t care about God’s plan. What about your plans? What about the time that you wanted to spend with the person that you care about? It’s true that people often want to try to see the best in everything, but sometimes life just sucks, and you need to come to terms with that too.

Trying to Find a Reason for What HappenedSomeone Telling You They ‘Know How You Feel’

Although people may believe that the phrase ‘I know how you feel’ is comforting, helping someone to know that they’re not alone in what seems like a rather vast and unforgiving world, it doesn’t actually help. Most of the time ‘I know how you feel’ turns the problem around so that the person experiencing the tragedy can no longer focus on themselves, instead they have to worry about how you feel, or felt during your time of need. Grieving is an extremely complicated emotional process, and everyone goes through it differently, but the best thing that you can do is be there for the suffering person, give them a shoulder to cry on and an ear to talk into, but whatever you do, don’t make the situation about yourself.

need for answers overwhelm youTrying to Find a Reason for What Happened

This is another common, human reaction that many people have when they’re dealing with a tragedy. They want to find a reason for everything, not because it will help with the problem at this point in time, but because finding a reason gives us something to avoid later in life. Some part of us seems to believe that if we can rationally sort all of the painful parts out into things we should have recognized earlier, or actions that we might have taken differently, we will be able to avoid any further heart-ache. This simply isn’t the case. Sometimes, there really isn’t anything that you can do to change the tides of time, and blaming yourself, or looking for something else to blame may seem like a good idea at the time, but it really doesn’t help you in the long run. Take the time to accept what has happened and if you need to, talk to someone about it. It’s all right to be angry, upset, and tearful, just make sure that you don’t let your anger, or need for answers overwhelm you.


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