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Author Topic: Careful with words  (Read 5913 times)

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Offline PozJeepGuy

  • Member
  • Posts: 249
  • Facebook - Jacob Perry
Careful with words
« on: May 29, 2011, 12:45:53 AM »
I have to say i am touched by all those who are negative supporting friends and family who are positive.  With that said i would like to share my experience to hopefully better help you support your loved ones .  I have only been dealing with this for 9-10 months now.  Using the words I understand how you feel is a loaded gun.  These last few months have been some of the darkest emotional and mental days i have ever had.  I beg you not to use those words.  I now understand what the say you don't realize until you hear those words.  having a scare, knowing someone who is positive, or doing alot of research and chatting in chat rooms doesn't come close to understanding.  By saying this or portraying yourself as to understand only takes away from the support your trying to give. True support is just being there and listening.  Thank you
Jacob Perry

I refuse to wear my HIV as a badge of shame any longer.

Offline Joe K

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 3,180
  • 30 Years Poz
Re: Careful with words
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2011, 08:17:18 PM »
Sorry Jake, I could not disagree more with your comments.  The idea of telling someone how to provide you support, seems impossible to me, because you have no idea what they are also going through.  When you share your status with others, particularly those who love and cherish you, you are all experiencing life altering news.  Most people, when confronted with such news are often at a loss for words.  They are unsure of how they feel and are even more unsure on how they may help you.  If someone tells me they understand how I feel, I take that as they are empathizing with my situation and are trying to provide whatever support they can.  Logic tells me they do not really understand my situation, but that does not matter, because the message I hear is that they love me and they want to help.

I also believe that true support involves much more that simply listening, because sometimes, silence between loved ones, can be more powerful than any words to be spoken.  My entire point here is to encourage you to see that we all have different ways of coping and sometimes we verbally stumble, because we are facing an issue that we have never seen before and some things in life, you simply cannot gauge your reaction.  I find that the truest support is given from the heart and as long as their heart is in the right place... all the rest are just words.  It is not only what is said that matters, it is also the intent.
Life is what happens, when you are busy making other plans.

Though you may be only one person in the entire world, to one person, you may be the entire world.

I wish to become half the man, that my dog thinks I am.

Remember me with simple acts of kindness and I will live forever.

Offline PozJeepGuy

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  • Posts: 249
  • Facebook - Jacob Perry
Re: Careful with words
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2011, 10:17:06 AM »
Well folks there you have it.  Two different views what works for one doesn't work for another.   Still close words carefully. That is never a bad thing. 
Jacob Perry

I refuse to wear my HIV as a badge of shame any longer.

Offline pixie

  • Member
  • Posts: 7
Re: Careful with words
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2011, 03:27:24 PM »
When my boyfriend disclosed his Poz status to me, he followed with the words 'I understand how you're going to react, I understand you're going to be angry and upset' 'I understand you'll hate me and want nothing to do with me'.

Which just goes to prove a point, he didn't 'understand' the first thing!

There is nothing worse than someone telling you they know how you feel when they don't have the faintest clue. I would never dare to even attempt to understand what he has gone through, and he can't with me. Lets face it, I wouldn't be the first woman to say she loves her man, but doesn't understand him!

Offline spacebarsux

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  • Posts: 1,350
  • Survival of the Fittest
Re: Careful with words
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2011, 04:18:15 AM »
I tend to agree with Jake.

While I donít take away the fact that people close to you would be extremely affected by your diagnosis Ė tis true, that they are not poz and can in no way comprehend what YOU are going through mentally.

I recently had a huge argument with my mother and things got a little heated up. When I told her to leave me alone she retorted by saying ďIt is precisely because Iíve left you alone that youíve landed yourself in this situation.Ē

I do not for a second doubt that she too is hurting and that people are capable of saying nasty things in a fit of rage. However, words have the potential to sting badly and what she said will probably linger in my mind for a long time.


« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 04:26:54 AM by spacebarsux »
Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

Offline Joe K

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  • Member
  • Posts: 3,180
  • 30 Years Poz
Re: Careful with words
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2011, 11:55:56 AM »
I agree that someone telling you they know how you feel can be very unsettling and I understand how that can also be viewed as insulting.  My comments were not directed at the actual words spoken, but rather the intent of the speaker.  I've been poz for a very long time, so my frame of reference is very different.  All I am suggesting is that you consider the intent as well as the actual words used, because there is simply no one way to express your support of another.

As I read some of your comments, I can feel the hurt that words have caused some of you and I am not attempting to justify anything.  What I am suggesting is that sharing the news of your infection, is a horrible blow to everyone involved, especially those who hold you dear.  I am asking you to consider, what you would do, if the roles were reversed and that sometimes, we say things that may not be the most appropriate, because we really do not know what to say.

That is why I also rely on the intent of the speaker, because if they are there to support me, the words they choose are secondary to the intent.  I am not saying that words cannot hurt, or that you do not have a right to feel as you feel, I am just asking that you consider the feelings of others.  Nobody can prepare us for sharing such news and I believe that by considering intent, you can still get the support that you want, even if the words used are not the best.  Just because someone cannot tell you precisely what they are feeling, does not mean they do not care for you.

In times like this, it is not just about us.  Becoming poz affects you and everyone who cares about you.
Life is what happens, when you are busy making other plans.

Though you may be only one person in the entire world, to one person, you may be the entire world.

I wish to become half the man, that my dog thinks I am.

Remember me with simple acts of kindness and I will live forever.

Offline SunnyFlorida

  • Member
  • Posts: 176
Re: Careful with words
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2011, 10:49:26 PM »
Hello everyone... I've been gone for a few months, though I have checked in from time to time to see how people have been doing, catch up on the latest news and keep in touch with a couple friends I've made through this site. This site has been helpful in helping me to learn how to just "be there" for my HIV+ clients at the ASO I've been volunteering with. I just now noticed this thread as I had avoided this forum due to the explosion I feel like I caused in that one thread here. I thought that perhaps I would put in my $0.02 regarding this topic.

I have to say i am touched by all those who are negative supporting friends and family who are positive.  With that said i would like to share my experience to hopefully better help you support your loved ones .  I have only been dealing with this for 9-10 months now.  Using the words I understand how you feel is a loaded gun.  These last few months have been some of the darkest emotional and mental days i have ever had.  I beg you not to use those words.  I now understand what the say you don't realize until you hear those words.  having a scare, knowing someone who is positive, or doing alot of research and chatting in chat rooms doesn't come close to understanding.  By saying this or portraying yourself as to understand only takes away from the support your trying to give. True support is just being there and listening.  Thank you

I had no idea that these two words - "I understand" - would have that impact on some HIV+ individuals. I have some friends that I know in person (one of whom I met through this site) who are positive, and that's why I came here in the first place. I was with one of them when he found out about his status. I was with another when he took his first ever dose of Atripla. And yet, I will never, ever truly understand what it's like to be positive.

Please allow me to pull something I wrote from that other thread.

Quote from: SunnyFlorida
You do not have HIV. Period. You had a scare, much like the one I went through. Your mindset opened up a bit, just like it did for me. You sort of have a better understanding of HIV (I hope!), just like me when I started doing all sorts of research on it. I'm glad that the experience has made you humble, however. Humility is a good thing to have. You've still got a long way to go, and I do hope you continue on this path to better yourself so you can, in turn, better humanity.

killfoile, a longtime member whom I have the utmost respect for, responded with this post:

Quote from: killfoile
Sunny, you need to get a grip and read your own words. However noble your motives may be, you seem unable to grasp the idea that much of your experience has no bearing here, as you are not poz. I am not saying that your experiences have no meaning, rather they are often irrelevant to the issues that pozzies face. It is also an issue of fairness and this is a poz site, populated mainly by pozzies and we can speak for ourselves. I hope you can understand that we live in a world that is far removed from HIV negative folks. If I try, I can remember what it was like to be negative, however, no matter how hard you might try, you will never understand what it means to be poz.

I feel like I didn't word my statement correctly, or it was misunderstood by some people on the forums. I have never claimed to understand what it's like to be positive. I meant that I understand what it's like to go through a HIV scare and to be with someone you care for very much while he's going through the process of coming to terms with being HIV+, and in turn has given me a better understanding of HIV itself, but I don't understand what it is like to be positive. Not by a long shot.

To be honest, I'm not sure what I said that caused some people to "leap at my throat". Even after reading that thread and this one, I'm still really confused. Perhaps the post came off as too combative toward the OP. Maybe I'm dumb and clueless, but either way - I do mean well. At any rate... I've toned down my presence quite a bit and will remain so. Thought I'd put in my input. Thanks for listening! This forum has been a valuable resource not only for myself, but for my clients and everyone who have been a part of it.

Offline sam66

  • Member
  • Posts: 277
  • Keep The Faith ; Fight The Fight
Re: Careful with words
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2011, 05:22:04 AM »

 I think we can be little over sensitive sometimes, and we should not worry about exact literal meaning of words and phrases when someone expresses sympathy.

 

  If someone tells me they understand how I feel, I take that as they are empathizing with my situation and are trying to provide whatever support they can.  Logic tells me they do not really understand my situation, but that does not matter, because the message I hear is that they love me and they want to help.




   That's about sums it up. Totally agree with what Killfoile is saying.

  Nice to hear from you again Sunny F.
   
december 2007 diagnosed +ve ,

 


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