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Mar/Apr '18: Heart Berries > To share or not to share pain

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message 1: by Martin (last edited Apr 07, 2018 11:47AM) (new)

Martin Felando An interesting and important story; reading Heart Berries makes me want to share it.

What guidelines do you follow when sharing something? Do you use different guidelines when you wonder if you should share your pain?

The closer to the truth Terese Mailhot goes in Heart Berries, the more artful she gets.

The closer to healing she goes, the more mindful she is of how far she’s come.

Writing and therapy are her neverending progressions involving truth, authenticity, and self-improvement, and at times she writes for her friend Adrienne Rich.

Abusive narratives are important and with #metoo on our minds, we look to books like Heart Berries to answer any and all claims and questions involving what is going on and what to think, feel, and do about it.

Heart Berries must be known and shared and remembered for many reasons, including that it reminds us of what is wrong with abuse, expands our understanding of it, and helps people make better decisions involving abuse.

Pain isn’t something the author wants hidden. “Now we can speak it, and that’s true healing, not a problem – to admit there is some constant pain.”

Her pain and grief unfolds in many ways and she has thought-provoking takes on men (“You feed your dog more kindly than you feed me. That’s men.”), self-esteem and identity, romantic love, motherly love, death, transgressions, and historical retellings vs. personal recollection & artistic storytelling.

Her interview at the end is a must read. Here’s an excerpt, “I believe in the author’s right to tell any story, and the closer it comes to a singular truth, the more art they render in the telling.”

Other quotes I like: “How could misfortune follow me so well, and why did I choose.” “That’s how perfect love is at first. Solutions are simple, and problems are laid out simply.” “I learned that any power asks you to dedicate your life to its expansion.” “I wanted to hear the world, but the glass was too thick.”

And finally, with #metoo in mind:

“Nothing is too ugly for this world, I think. It’s just that people pretend not to see.”

If you haven't read it, see what you’re missing. Highly recommended.

message 2: by Cyn (new)

Cyn | 80 comments Very interesting points you mention, Martin. and I really like your review on the book.

About the sharing/no sharing issue... I think sometimes it depends on the situation and the people you trust. For me, I think sharing is important because it could help you feel better and put things into perspective AND it could help others as well (we never know who could be going through the same thing and needs a new perspective or just know that they are not the only people feeling or experiencing that way).

message 3: by Martin (new)

Martin Felando So true.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

If we're totally healed, I think it's always good to share past pains for ourself and others.

If we are not healed, others can use our weakness, so I think in this case, we can share our pains only with trusted friends and family.

message 5: by Martin (new)

Martin Felando Good thinking.

message 6: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Sharing pain - and stories in general...

It is very important to only share pain in a safe environment. Where YOU feel safe and know you don't have to face rejection.
Also, HOW MUCH you share is totally up to yourself and also, it is important to remember that you can share different pains to different extents with different people.
You yourself decide how much pain you share.

It is YOUR pain, and it is valid and real - and YOU get to decide what to do with it when it comes to sharing.

Sharing one's pain can help heal it, but it can be very difficult to share it for many reasons... because of stigma, because of having to think of it again, of what happened that caused the pain.

When sharing pain, it is also important not only to whom you share it, but HOW.
If you write it down, it can help you a lot in the sense that "it is written down, it is out in the open, it is real." When telling someone orally, at least I have for myself found a different outcome. It can be very hard, because you might even lose your speech of so much sobbing and shaking when you share pain by telling someone.

I just find that writing it down can really help someone to process it and work it through, but beware, it might be very exhausting and definitely not an easy experience.

message 7: by Martin (new)

Martin Felando Lots of authenticity and good advice, thanks.

message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 08, 2018 08:24AM) (new)


I agree with you MeederWörter, to be in a safe environment is important, in addition the fear of being judged or rejected is something to considered you are right!

I would add somethings: the fear of overwhelming the person to whom you are sharing your pain and to eventually hurt her/him. To prevent that, "controling" the flow you are sharing may be crucial but how to manage this when you are yourself overwhelmed? Not everyone is ready to listen to intense pains.
There is also the fear to become dependent and I believe this comes with the fear of rejection.

Are the best persons to share pain people who already overcame intense pains or can you talk with close friends?

message 9: by Martin (new)

Martin Felando These are good questions. I think it has to do with time spent with the person, and first get indication of their level of interest before diving into the deep end.

Sometimes it is a mistake to deliver too much information too early, and getting a grip on impulses and asking first is part of that.

message 10: by Shayesteh (new)

Shayesteh | 10 comments My opinion on your questions, Florian, is that only emotionally stable and strong people can empathize with one’s pain and suffering.
Having said that, I don’t mean anyone gets the right to invalidate someone else’s pain just because they haven’t experienced them, either. The best we can do is to listen and show each other sympathy, because I do believe that “no man is an island entire of itself”.

message 11: by Martin (new)

Martin Felando Yes, and I find it difficult after listening to find a remedy for the person, and after learning a few things, I discovered that trying to help solve the problem/reduce the pain wasn't what the person needed/wanted. I still have a hard time grasping that reality.

message 12: by Martin (new)

Martin Felando Yes, you make a lot of sense.

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Martin wrote: "Yes, and I find it difficult after listening to find a remedy for the person, and after learning a few things, I discovered that trying to help solve the problem/reduce the pain wasn't what the per..."


I may be wrong but I think nobody can help someone else to solve this type of problems, the answer are inside each person the only thing one can do is to be supportive or to ask questions.

I agree it is hard to grasp this reality because I think that usually the person does not know what she/he needs or wants.

@Keith: I am afraid there are not rules :( every situation is specific and needs adaptation.

message 14: by Benarji (new)

Benarji Anand | 153 comments @Martin People aren't looking for solutions to improve their lives, just for solutions to improve the moment. Most vent for relief. Just be a listener. Sometimes people need that more than a solution provider and it's good to know that we don't own all the problems in the world. Help those who wants to be helped, be a listener to the rest.

@Florian Motivational speakers exist, meaning help can exist from the outside. I think if people wants help, they will allow themselves to be helped. It's like dragging a horse to the water but we can't make it to drink. It's like you said, most are just clueless and they're comfortable with their situation. So nothing changes until they realize that they can improve their lives.

On the topic to share or not to share, I think different people have different tolerance level. The same problem can have different effect on two different people. It doesn't necessarily means that one is superior to the other.

I think naturally, people who doesn't find a method to discharge their devastations, they will turn toxic. So if it bothers you to an overwhelming point, you should find a way to release your frustrations. For me, personally, I rank my problems. If I find it to be at an amount that I can't manage, I'd share it. Otherwise, I'll just sing. I find it therapeutic.

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