How Do I Deal with Unsupportive and Hurtful People?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

In the last few months my illness has taken a turn for the worse. I am struggling at home and at work. I have been unable to help out as a father, it seems that all I can do is cling on to my ability to provide. Which is something I fear I may lose all together.

There seem to be more and more people in my life who judge me without trying to understand what it is like to have a mind that fights everything you do. The thing I need in life to operate, to learn, and to develop is both sick and seems to undermine me in multiple ways. These people, instead of supporting me, pressure me about my inabilities.

I am not trying to victimize myself but I have a problem, something I can’t change or fix. Something science and medicine can’t change or fix, but only pacify. There are some things that I can’t do without serious repercussions. I can’t push myself beyond my capabilities without dangerous consequences. Becoming overly stressed is literally a life threatening for me.

In the past I have had both suicidal thoughts and plans when my illness is triggered, I have only carried out acts of self harm. I know there is a line out there where I would carry out more than that. That is why I am so careful about protecting myself from stress. I literally cut out anything that is moderately stressful in my life, I live in “survival mode” all the time.

So to my question. How do I deal with people who pressure me? Who refuse to try and understand me? Who would rather fit me into their mold of how they see the world than try to understand me? Should I cut them out of my life like I do the other stress’s? Do they even deserve my efforts to communicate to them? Please advise, thank you in advance.

A. It seems as though you’re feeling highly stressed by those around you. It also seems as though you have a good sense of your limits (i.e. how much you can tolerate). It’s good to know your limits.

Without more precise information about the nature of these interactions, it’s difficult for me to provide specific advice. Generally speaking, you should avoid people who make you highly stressed and could bring you to your breaking point. You can’t force someone to listen to you or to understand you. If you’ve tried and tried often, to the best of your ability, to explain your position to them and nothing changes, then stop trying; you’ve done all you can.

Conversely, even though you feel highly stressed by certain people, it does not mean that your reaction is warranted. Whether your reaction is an overreaction or the appropriate reaction is best determined by an objective third-party.

My recommendation is to consult a mental health professional who could assist you in handling your situation. In the meantime, it’s advisable to keep your distance from the people who are causing you to become upset. The fact that you are now living in “survival mode” means that your breaking point is possibly near and you might act out of aggressively either towards yourself or others.

This situation is resolvable, but I believe it requires the assistance of a mental health professional. I would advise you to make an appointment immediately. Don’t hesitate to call 911 or go to the emergency room if you feel as though you might harm yourself or someone else. Please stay safe and take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Aug 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). How Do I Deal with Unsupportive and Hurtful People?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/08/12/how-do-i-deal-with-unsupportive-and-hurtful-people/