How to Help People When They are Down

The ones who are doing the work of healing are actually letting go of their past are oddly the ones we judge for being stuck there, we judge them because “it happened a long time ago” and “you gotta move on” and we judge them for not getting over it fast enough. We judge them because “Why now?” But, here’s the irony. The irony is that the ones who are living in the past and not getting over it are much likely the very people who are the ones judging those working through their issues. You see those condemning have physical problems, addictions, relationship problems, negative behavior patterns and all kinds of pathologies and not doing anything about them.

It’s so important to resist the temptation to criticize how another person is dealing with their demons whether they are releasing them and working slowly back to health or whether they are ignoring and denying them because they aren’t ready to do the work yet.

I cannot stress this enough but you cannot know the world of another person. And unless you have fully healed yourself, you cannot put yourself in the shoes of others enough to have the credentials to judge their way, their pace or their personal path as right or wrong. I believe if we all inherently understood each other, we’d treat each other a lot better.

“I was becoming unable to function even minimally. I knew even people who loved me (never Larry) were saying, “Get over it!” Why couldn’t I “get over it?” A dear friends stopped by one day. She couldn’t have been more loving but her words cut me to the bone. “Lynn, it’s a beautiful day. You have Larry, Jennifer, this wonderful home, an incredible career, you need to let this go now and move on with your life.” Not one word had been said with malice. She had always been supportive of me but her words were so hurtful. If only she knew how desperately I want to move on. The feelings and emotions had become more than I could suppress or control anymore. The recovery process has nothing to do with willpower or choice.

I wish I had known that many–if not most–adults, sexually violated as children, are in their 40’s before they begin to deal with their childhoods. Just knowing that this is “normal” for many survivors would have helped me cope with friends and family members who were saying, “This happened a long time ago. Just move on with your life.” –Marilyn Van Derbur Atler former Miss America


Some people fall down and never get up and I wonder if that is because they have no *legitimate* support system. If you are surrounded by those who don’t get it and those who resort to condemnation, you might fall flat on your butt and there may not be a way to get up. We can be all about being nice to others until someone has a nervous breakdown and then we kick them when they are down.

I hope this might help others when it comes to dealing with those who are having a hard time. When in doubt, if you don’t know how to help someone and you REALLY care — as in — you’re not out to control them but want to sincerely help, please read this well written article.

Comments are closed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: