Why Emotional Support Isn’t So Supportive Sometimes

A reader recently wrote me with a concern about emotional support.  He has been very supportive and available for a person he loves, and has been there through the hard times to help pick up the pieces.  However, when he found himself in a stressful situation, this person was nowhere to be found.  At a time he really wanted a listening ear, the person he cared for left him alone to fend for himself. Naturally, this felt quite unfair and upsetting!

I’ve also felt this way sometimes, so my guess is there are a number of people out there who may struggle to find emotional support from time to time.  Sometimes, those of us who are in the business of helping others up find ourselves alone in the dark times-without a helping hand.

The thing is, most of us have been led to believe that having people to lean on is necessary.  When times are bad, we’ve been taught that talking about our problems can make us feel better.

To a degree, I do think this can be a good idea.  In moments of extreme sadness or anger, venting can alleviate some of the pressure and negative energy from your situation.  It can also help you feel connected, rather than lonely and isolated.  Additionally, talking to the right person can help you gain perspective and uplift you.

However, I feel that we largely overuse emotional support as a culture.  Often, we lean on too many people for too long.   We also often lean on people who are too negatively focused to actually help us find the hope and strength we need to move on to happier times.

Because of these factors, emotional support often causes us to wallow in our problems, and this only creates more problems.  Through the Law of Attraction, what we focus on, we attract. Therefore, by talking about our stresses and rehashing them over and over again, we actually bring more problems into our life.

As a result, having a support network to help you through hard times can actually hold you back sometimes.  The more people you have in your life who are willing to discuss concerns about health, family, career, money and relationships, the easier it is to become negatively focused.  As a result, these problems can grow and get worse (for more on this, check out “Why Talking About Our Problems Is Our Greatest Addiction“).

With that being said, where do we go from here?

On the one hand, if you have a support network of “listening ears,” you may want to be mindful of how often you turn to them to vent.

Of course, with a support network, it’s good to know someone will always be there!  It’s great to have people around to talk to, as long as the talking is genuinely supportive and guides you to a more hopeful place.  Just take care to share your problems sparingly, and only with the people who inspire and uplift you.

If, on the other hand, you are like my reader, and you find yourself lacking support during dark times, it may help to realize that this may actually be a good thing.

If you aren’t attracting people to listen to your problems, then you simply aren’t a “vibrational match” to problem-centered conversations about yourself. This may be a sign that you avoid negative conversations and tend to keep things positive, and that’s certainly a reason to feel good about the situation!

Even though it might feel lonely at times, lacking a listening ear may actually be the quickest way for you to overcome your problems.  Naturally, there’s a lot more incentive to dust yourself off and get back up when no one’s sitting on the ground with you!

So, how do you feel about emotional support?  Do you have listening ears in your life, or do you often feel alone during upsetting times?  How do you vent your frustrations without amplifying your problems?   Share your thoughts below in the comments.

All the best,


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  • Colleen
    Posted July 16, 2015 7:43 pm 0Likes

    I agree that not having someone to vent to can be a good thing sometimes. I went through a difficult time and was glad that I didn’t have someone to talk about it nonstop with because then I would have and then I would have felt like I was keeping the problem around. I have a relative who wants to talk all the time about her health issues to the point where people want to avoid her and I’m sure that she will always have health issues because she has had one problem or another for 20 years. It’s almost her whole focus in life. Sad.

  • Andrea Schulman
    Posted July 16, 2015 9:24 pm 0Likes

    Yes Colleen…I’ve had some similar situations like these myself. Sorry to hear about your relative, that’s always awkward when we feel pushed away by the negativity.

    All the best, Andrea 🙂

  • Sherri Vincent
    Posted July 17, 2015 3:56 am 0Likes

    This post really resonated with me as I have become increasingly aware over time that when I am experiencing emotional difficulties, I rarely find or experience emotional support from others. When I have explored this with my friends and family, both in anger and in healthy reflection, I have learnt a number of things; I do not easily accept emotional support from others; friends and family often lack the confidence to support me believing they have little to offer me in addition to “all I know” (of course, I am the considered expert) and I purposely isolate myself and retreat from others when I hit a low!!! Interestingly, I am a practising social worker in the field of Child Protection and very often both in and outside of my work I like to think I help to heal the emotional hurts of others, but experience incredible isolation when I too am struggling. Reading your post Andrea was a light bulb moment……and has given me greater confidence to know and better understand my own emotional struggles and how I manage and overcome them, which I always do by the way!!!! I am grateful for this insight and will use it on my onward journey……Namaste

  • jo
    Posted July 17, 2015 5:19 am 0Likes

    Hey Andrea, I think this is really interesting – in truth what we are actually wanting form someone else is to first acknowledge us by giving us a hug – because in times of struggle we need to have an external feeling of security and connection, so we can be brave to go inside. Secondly all we actually want is to find a solution – a way out, but we can’t see a different perspective because we are clouded by our emotions.. We need to first address the emotions but letting them out – that does have to be with someone, but often we can’t be self aware enough to notice we are angry, sad etc until we say it out loud. A good listener actually is able to reflect and connect on a body level – give the hug and eye contact etc and then able to reflect back that they seem angry. What a lot of people can be afraid of is irritating someone else by saying the truth – that is actually what there soul is asking you to do – not to join in the chaos! A drowning person does need you to jump in a join in the drowning – instead through them a ring and guide them to find their own way out. Be the calm one, the secure one and help someone find a solution – don’t solve to for them but give them clear options. We do need people to grow – to irritate, agitate us into action and inspire us. We need to be held and to feel the boundaries of our bodies when we stressed. Only when we are totally secure and confident and self aware and fully connected to Source can be more wholly self sufficient. Definitely though don’t be afraid to feel your emotions and let them go – this is not rehashing – as they are the blocks to clarity and solutions and attraction of abundance. If we stay trying to understand what went wrong and why it happened etc – this is rehashing and keeps us locked under the problem instead of getting over it and finding a solution and getting back in flow … Love Jo xx ( day job – hugging, healing, listening, solution guidance – people lover: http://www.rediscoverthemagic.com

  • Andrea Schulman
    Posted July 17, 2015 7:42 am 0Likes

    Thank you for your thoughts Jo, I think you are right. I like your ideas on how to be supportive and helpful 🙂 All the best, Andrea

  • Andrea Schulman
    Posted July 17, 2015 7:46 am 0Likes

    Thank you Sherri, I sincerely appreciate knowing this piece resonated with you. It sounds like you and I have some similarities in this department! Wishing you the very best, Andrea 🙂

  • Babs
    Posted July 18, 2015 6:11 am 0Likes

    I love how this article spurred some debate. The comments crystallized for me why I have felt let down by others when I needed them. I too am “the strong one” and tend to isolate myself when I have problems. and I’m sure my family does not know what to say to me about my recent relationship challenge. I think being able to vent and to feel heard and understood and accepted are keys to moving forward. I’ve found a good therapist is good for that, on a short term basis, but there are support groups as well for any situation. When I became bored with my dark story, I knew it was time to move on!! Yay for moving on!!

  • Andrea Schulman
    Posted July 18, 2015 8:48 am 0Likes

    That’s great Babs! It always feels good to put dark times behind us, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂 -Andrea

  • Eric
    Posted July 20, 2015 3:13 pm 0Likes

    Hey Angela I see a lot of women are commenting on your posts. Which makes sense,but as a male I’ve always felt like when the help or answers I’m looking for come from a woman’s perspective it’s more sensitive than it would be coming from a males perspective. I mean no harm writing this,I like your articles and advice if this is not the case I would like to stop thinking this way thing is I don’t know how. Is this a website aimed towards women?

  • Andrea Schulman
    Posted July 20, 2015 5:12 pm 0Likes

    Hi Eric! Thanks for commenting. I appreciate hearing your perspective on this.

    I created this website for anyone who was looking for this kind of information, but I do tend to get more female visitors than males. I am a bit more sensitive in my approach than many writers and I think perhaps my website graphics and colors also appeal more to women. What do you think?

    Anyways, I appreciate all of my readers (male and female!). The sensitive person in me would like to be as inclusive as possible. Do you think my male readers would appreciate a more cut and dry approach?

    All the best, Andrea

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