Wise Advice for Finding Emotionally Safe Listeners

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

It seems a healthy idea to think through our choices of confidants.  Not everyone is safe. 

So-called friends who gossip and speak insultingly of you behind your back are not trustworthy. Unfortunately, because they want to be in-the-know, you may find them close by when you need to share.

Don’t.

You can recognize them by their choice of words or tone when they talk about others. A woman asked recently about defining gossip. Gossip is talking about a person behind their back without his or her permission. One article, Bible Verses About Gossip*, says it  this way, “Whether the people talking didn’t mean direct harm, the result of gossip is always broken trust and hurt feelings. Gossip can be defined as information about the behavior or personal life of other people, often without the full truth revealed or known.”

I made a costly mistake confiding in a woman  who often told me about intimate troubles of other people.  Seeing the problem, I rationalized it away.  Later I realized she shared even the most private of confessions and admissions with her husband. She inserted negative judgments into half-true stories she told  mutual friends. 

It pays to feel out a person’s attitudes before opening up. With regard to mental health topics, simple questions like, “What do you think about all the talk on mental illness in the news these days?” will help reveal stigmatized views. 

Take your time. Look at character traits. What have you witnessed?  Does this person have control over her tongue or is she opinionated to a fault?  Does he patronize or condescend?

When we are in pain, or blinded by a desperate need to trust, we may rationalize the behavior of others.  This is normal. I encourage you to develop a carefully selected group of friends who over time prove they are safe.  It is also a good idea to have a therapist or pastor in your corner. 

Once you have a trustworthy support system,  take a risk. We do need each other, after all. 

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

*Bible Verses About Gossip. Compiled and Edited by BibleStudyTools Staff on 2/4/2015. Retrieved on May 5, 2018 from https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-gossip/

 

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