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Thread: “Dismissive positivity”.....I read this phrase and knew you would immediately get it

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    Distinguished Community Member Lazarus's Avatar
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    Default “Dismissive positivity”.....I read this phrase and knew you would immediately get it

    A psychotherapist, calls having an unhelpful cheerful attitude “dismissive positivity.” She explained in an Instagram post how to better respond to someone who’s in pain.

    Instead of saying, “You’ll get over it” to someone in distress, instead say something to impart validation and hope: “This is hard. You’ve done hard things before and I believe in you.”

    “Think happy thoughts!” becomes: “It’s probably pretty hard to be positive right now. I’m putting out good energy into the world for you.”
    “Everything happens for a reason!” is updated to: “This doesn’t make sense right now. We’ll sort it all out later.”

    Once you become familiar with identifying dismissive positivity — also known as toxic positivity — it gets easier to correct. Instead of acknowledging my friend’s anguish, my chipper attitude minimized her anxiety. I can’t change how I made her feel, but I will strive to be more compassionate when people share their despair with me in the future.
    Linda~~~~

    Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says:"Oh Crap, She's up!"

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    "Dismissive positivity"--that phrase sums up a problem we've all experienced.

    Some of the alternative comments seem almost as dismissive though in a less flippant way.

    I have another way of turning off dismissive positivity. I don't give it a chance to get started. If I'm ever tempted to tell someone about a problem I'm having, I try to keep my lip zipped. Or if I have to say something about a problem, I make sure that I tell about it in a very offhand way, with plenty of dismissive positivity of my own thrown in.

    What is dismissive positivity, really, but the other person's way of saying, "Don't you dare come along with a problem for me to deal with right now! I already have more problems of my own than I can handle! Back off!"

    I get that. Nowadays I simply assume that everyone is really in that situation. I just don't want to bother them, not even to the point where they have to reply with a snappy comment like "You'll get over it."
    Last edited by agate; 12-23-2019 at 09:20 AM.
    MS, diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009.

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    Yes, I think we have all experienced "dismissive positivity". I find myself afraid to say much because I am afraid that is what I will get.
    Virginia

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    Distinguished Community Member Lazarus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virginia View Post
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    Yes, I think we have all experienced "dismissive positivity". I find myself afraid to say much because I am afraid that is what I will get.
    Virginia,
    I have spent way too many years not saying things and then stewing over social situations. If you say things pleasantly, just straight forward and truthful, people appreciate it. It is not understanding someone because they are hiding their true thoughts that causes distance in relationships.
    What is there really to fear? Honest conversation rather than stilted conversation would bring welcome results.

    On a related idea, a good friend once told menI looked so well. I blurted out a request for him to stop saying that. After a second I told him I was not sure why the comment was so irritating. He immediately told me that by telling me I looked so good that he was diminishing my illness and struggle with it. Bingo. That was when I realized why those cheery but essentially untrue types of comments were so frustrating. Toxic positivity is often all around us from well meaning but careless friends.
    Linda~~~~

    Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says:"Oh Crap, She's up!"

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    Distinguished Community Member Sunshine's Avatar
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    People do the best that they can do. For many, it falls short of the mark, but it’s the best they can do with a situation they are unequipped to handle.

    Just say, “Thankyou for your kindness. In a dark dark world, it’s nice to feel kindness”.

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