Guest Post by Susan Moore: Top 20 Very Best Things to Say to Someone Who is Struggling

Dear friends,

I’m thankful for the privilege of hosting this guest post by Susan Moore. As the mother of a large family myself, I’ve always loved her old blog, Joyful Mom of Many
Now I’m delighted to present the most recent post from her new site, Susan Moore. Susan is the mother of 12, veteran of home schooling, writer, photographer, triathlete, and a domestic violence survivor. If you click on the title below, it will take you to the same article on her own blog. Please welcome Susan.

… because they just gained the courage to flee an abusive marriage.

[Virginia’s note added later… In case you don’t pick this up, Susan wrote this list facetiously. Before you scream, read further to see what she really thinks you should say.]
  1. Have you tried … (taking a nap, eating, medication, more prayer…)
  2. God never gives us more than we can handle.
  3. The sun will come out tomorrow!
  4. Whatever you do, don’t try yoga (or antidepressants)… #causesdemonpossession
  5. You just need to submit more… to God, to your husband, etc
  6. I know just how you feel… fill-in-the-blank with non-abuse related incident, like: “I know just how you feel… my middle child was *so* colicky!”
  7. If you just trusted God more then none of this would have happened.
  8. You just need to try harder (read your Bible more, pray more, etc)
  9. Think positively!
  10. Things could always be worse!
  11. At least you aren’t experiencing… (insert 3 hour long personal story)
  12. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and move on!
  13. You aren’t really struggling; it’s all in your head!
  14. You must be in sin.
  15. It was the Lord’s will.
  16. Have you forgiven him?
  17. I just don’t want you to become bitter!
  18. Just remember, God is in control!
  19. The Lord works in mysterious ways…
  20. The storms will relent if you simply trust God and repent.

Or, you could simply say something like, “That must be so hard! I can’t imagine what you are going through or how you are feeling, but I care and want to walk alongside you in this.”

Please know that it is not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings or to offend anyone with this article! I think that it is human nature to want to empathize with someone who is in the midst of a challenging time, whether they are recovering from an abusive marriage, or are reeling from a cancer diagnosis or perhaps dealing with the overwhelming grief and concern of trying to help a wayward child. It’s so hard to know what to say!

The fact is, I told myself many of the things on that list! It is quite possible that I was even harder on myself than others were. Also, most people do not have evil intent in saying these things. The vast majority of people really do care and want to help.

When you love and care about someone, it is only natural to want to “fix” the situation that they are in. Many of the 20 statements above are true, but not necessarily helpful. The most helpful thing I have experienced was friends who cared enough to simply be with me. They cared enough to check on me, and were okay with the fact that I wasn’t okay.

I didn’t have to pretend to be happily trusting God, when I could barely get out of bed. They lovingly came alongside me without judgement or condemnation and refused to leave me, even when I cried out in despair and didn’t feel like I was making any progress.

I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for these few faithful friends to play that role in my life. I can tell you this though: I don’t think I’d be here now if they hadn’t stepped in.

What about you? Have you been blessed by friends who have walked through dark times with you, or have you been able to be that faithful, steadfast friend for someone else?

Thank you, Susan, for all of your wise words!

If you would like to read related articles here at Watch the Shepherd:

Grace and peace,

P.S. If you leave a comment here, can you pop on over to Susan’s original blog post and leave the same one there? We would love to hear from you and make this a real discussion!


About virginiaknowles

I am a mother and grandmother of a huge family, and I still home school my youngest daughter. I write to stay sane. My WordPress blog is a combination of my Blogspot blogs, and may not be continually updated.
This entry was posted in Abuse in Families, Do Justice ~ Love Mercy, Domestic Violence, Gender ~ Authority,, Legalism ~ Spiritual Abuse, Problems in Patriarchy, Stress~Weariness. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Guest Post by Susan Moore: Top 20 Very Best Things to Say to Someone Who is Struggling

  1. Susan says:

    Virginia, thanks for including me in your lovely space here. I count it a privilege to serve alongside you in encouraging other DV survivors.

  2. My pleasure, Susan! I'm so glad you agreed to this!

  3. Buba4Turtle says:

    Thank you for the tips!

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