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"I am sorry you..." (noticing certain phrases being used)

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Butterfly3

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I think this is such an important discussion and a topic I never thought about so thank you for bringing it to my attention!

I personally actually do it to validate a person and was taught it was validating in DBT funnily enough.To me it felt like you were saying to a person I’m sorry that you were hurt And I can see that it’s caused you pain?

This might be a side issue but I also sometimes say it because it genuinely feels like my fault? If someone’s cat died of natural causes I might say it and logically I know that cat died naturally but sometimes I feel like it’s my fault bad things happen to people so I apologise? I don’t know if that makes sense?
 
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beautywithin

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I have noticed this but also viewed it as a persons way of wanting to respond and acknowledge what the other is going through, I also put sending love and hugs because I want the person to know I do care and feel what they are going through
 
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Coolname

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I have been browsing recently and have noticed that some users on the forum has a tendency to use some stock phrases in response to distress shown by others. I am intrigued as to whether this is intentional or whether there is an underlying, unconscious thing people do when faced with upset of others.

The common one I tend to spot is "I am sorry you feel that way/have been treated that way etc" but there are certainly others.

I tend to find these phrases mildly invalidating though I suspect they are used with the best intentions in the world. I notice that this type of response is often not caveated with an insight into how the person may feel or what they can do about the situation.

Has anyone else noticed this tendency? These terms are not good or bad, they are just what they are. But sometimes I feel over-used to the point of being meaningless.
I'm sorry to hear you find this manner of communication mildly invalidating.

In the context of this thread, my comment above is a bit of a giggle. In general, I see nothing wrong with it, and a lot right. It demonstrates I have heard what has been said and expresses empathy in a concise manner, without accepting any responsibility for the situation.

Often phrases become 'stock' phrases because they are well suited to the situation, (ie. sorry for your loss). I agree that any phrase can be overused to the point of becoming a platitude, but I don't think it is helpful to engage in mind-reading or worrying about how we come across beyond ensuring we communicate our respectful support.

When I first reached out on an MH forum, I was desperate for any response. To get a response like; 'I'm sorry you have been treated like that, it must have been horrible', would have been incredibly validating and valuable to me. From what I have seen, such openings are usually made warmer by following up with a reference to that particular post.

It is horses for courses, many people may feel invalidated by the suggested caveats you mention. For me, the central pillar of mutual support is not to offer unsolicited advice or insights, but to listen in a warm, non-judgemental manner.
 
Zaz2020

Zaz2020

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If words of comfort come from the heart they are never meaningless. To say "I am sorry you..." shows a caring nature when there are no other words to describe your empathy towards someone at the very least.
 
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Pollypop

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It is far more important to respond than ignore.

At least the person knows that their post has been read
and acknowledged.
 
Scapes1986

Scapes1986

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They are phrases that can make a person more comfortable if they are receptive. But I can see that the effort could be looked at as somewhat chalky.
 
bpd2020

bpd2020

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This has now left me with the dilemma of saying I am sorry. Since this thread was posted I stopped saying it. Interestingly, other members just gave their view rather then to change. Shows what a weak character I have, I guess.
 
Lunar Lady

Lunar Lady

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This has now left me with the dilemma of saying I am sorry. Since this thread was posted I stopped saying it. Interestingly, other members just gave their view rather then to change. Shows what a weak character I have, I guess.
I don't think your weak - you just don't want to do the wrong thing.

I shall continue to use the phrase because it comes naturally and conveys empathy.

It appears here more than anywhere else because this type of forum tends to have more members writing about trauma and grief...and the recipient is reading your reply to them...not skimming through hundreds of posts to see how original you can be with your prose.

Please don't think about it - replies should be spontaneous. If we start thinking about wording, somebody could go unanswered and be left alone in their darkest moment. x
 
JessisMe

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This has now left me with the dilemma of saying I am sorry. Since this thread was posted I stopped saying it. Interestingly, other members just gave their view rather then to change. Shows what a weak character I have, I guess.
bpd your interest in changing I think shows your sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others and an interest in accommodating those things. There’s is nothing wrong with it so long as you keep your own desires, expression and interests in mind too! xo, j
 
JessisMe

JessisMe

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I don't think your weak - you just don't want to do the wrong thing.

I shall continue to use the phrase because it comes naturally and conveys empathy.

It appears here more than anywhere else because this type of forum tends to have more members writing about trauma and grief...and the recipient is reading your reply to them...not skimming through hundreds of posts to see how original you can be with your prose.

Please don't think about it - replies should be spontaneous. If we start thinking about wording, somebody could go unanswered and be left alone in their darkest moment. x
agreed
 
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Nukelavee

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Please don't think about it - replies should be spontaneous. If we start thinking about wording, somebody could go unanswered and be left alone in their darkest moment. x
I think it also comes down to the person - as I've said, I prefer to actually think about wording, I try to find something specific to refer to. Mind you, there are times when a platitude is all there is for a situation, and that's fine.

At the same time, I'm going to point out we do get new people who lead off with "don't feed me platitudes and cliches", which, honestly, is something we do have to consider.

Plus, while I do agree it's better to try to give validation, even with a platitude, than say nothing - there are people who react badly to it.

Whysoserioious isn't wrong to bring it up like this. If nothing else, it illustrates how different people feel about, or deal with, their illnesses or disorders. Some people are at a point where blanket validation is very important, others can be at a point where it feels invalidating.

In the end, context and intent trump the actual words.
 
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Elisante

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I like replies like these. They make me feel better because the person that replies to you could as well ignore you but they don't, even if they have nothing very insightful to say.

If someone doesn't like them they can politely ignore them, there is nothing invalidating about them.
 
OCDguy

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I think the general consensus is it comes from a genuine place. I can understand how many might be skeptical of the sincerity behind it, but I do believe things are gradually changing in a positive way :) Perhaps reading the content after the initial ice breaker, is validation of the very best of intentions behind someone's post. I wonder if this helps :)
 
SunnyDaze

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This has now left me with the dilemma of saying I am sorry. Since this thread was posted I stopped saying it. Interestingly, other members just gave their view rather then to change. Shows what a weak character I have, I guess.
You don't have a weak character at all. Do not let this thread make you doubt yourself or feel you need to change who you are. Others opinions don't really matter in the big scheme of things. All that matters is how you think about yourself.

Does it make you feel good about yourself in the way you reply to posts? Of course it does, it's always good to be kind and empathize. There's nothing at all wrong with it.

I have sort of changed the way I respond to others. Before,I feel I was too blunt,too harsh. I didn't think sympathy and empathy were what people needed in order to make changes. It felt like coddling and I didn't want to do that.

But...

There's been times I've been here and have been so down,so depressed and so distraught and someone's kindness has really helped me.

It made ne realize we are not here to "fix" others or tell them what to do. We are not responsible for changing others but instead to accept them as they are,where they are. And support them when they need it the most.

And saying "I'm sorry you're struggling" and other replies that are similar are KIND,not wrong.

If some people don't like it then maybe they need to specify in their posts(or their signatures) what type of responses they want.
 
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Nukelavee

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It made ne realize we are not here to "fix" others or tell them what to do. We are not responsible for changing others but instead to accept them as they are,where they are. And support them when they need it the most.
the flip side of that is this - sometimes the reflexive automatic validation is actually enabling bad behaviour. blanket validation is not always a good thing.

Go back and read the OP again. It's more about is giving rote validation enough concern and support, or is it so overused that it is empty of meaning. Is it the same as "How's your day" when you don't expect or want an answer?

USing myself as an example - Receiving a rote "that must be so hard" can rub me entirely the wrong way, despite me knowing it's meant, here, with good intentions. I mean, I have BPD, not reacting how people expect to comments is what I do (although I am getting better). Personally, I don't want to be coddled, if I were to post about a crisis, I want insight and advice. In one of those moods, platitudes are like lighting a fuse. "Everythng happens for a reason" drives me mad, tbh.

I do think it's ironic there is a subtext of judgment being applied simply because the topic was brought up.

What it does illustrate is that there are no perfect answers.
 
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