When Another Person Makes You Suffer

When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.

Thich Nhat Hanh

From: Beauty and Dreams


I realize I’ve written many times about this topic but as I’ve said EVERY time I return to a topic I’ve written about previously, it is ALWAYS good to revisit an old subject just to make sure we keep it fresh in our heads.

I’ve read several books by Thich Nhat Hanh and I come away with a new perspective on life, on love, on spirituality every time.  I highly recommend searching out Thich Nhat Hanh’s books.  I discovered him two years ago and found him to be a new favorite.  The above quote clearly resonates with me as I HAVE spent time here discussing it as well as out in the world.  I KNOW this is the case because I’ve seen it in action.  Another way of looking at this subject is to call it:
Psychological Projection. It’s really two sides of the same coin.   Thich Nhat Hanh takes it one step further though when he says, the projector doesn’t need punishment.  He needs help.

When someone comes in contact with a person who is lashing out, saying something negative, doing something negative, stop and think for a moment.  Don’t react.  By reacting you’ll definitely say or do something yourself that you may regret.  Think about why this person did what they did or said what they said.  I understand this will be a challenge, but it will diffuse the anger if you reach out to them.  As Thich Nhat Hanh says:
This person needs help.  So reach out and help them.

Don’t get angry back.
Don’t add fuel to the fire by reacting negatively.
React positively by diffusing the fire.  Throw water on it.  Throw a positive.
Reach out and help.  I guarantee they will NOT know what to do.  You threw them a curve.  They didn’t get the response they were looking for.  They will probably stare at you for a moment, taken aback.  That’s a good thing as you already have altered the trajectory of the situation.  No longer is it going according to their plan.  You changed the course of history, and the more often you can do this, you’ll also be able to keep your relationship strong.  And isn’t that the idea?

Don’t you want to be happy?
Don’t you want your relationships to be successful?

What can you do to create a peace in your life?

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.


Pick one from below to comment with:

Loading Facebook Comments ...


When Another Person Makes You Suffer — 8 Comments

  1. I found myself in this situation several years ago. When I failed to engage in the negative abuse hurled at me, all the wind was taken from my attacker’s sail. It certainly did diffuse what could have been an even more horrid situation.
    Thanks for this reminder and blessings always, Chris!

    • It’s good to see that others have mastered this technique as well, Martha. It’s certainly amazing to see the results isn’t it?

  2. I like this. It can be hard to do, but at least it stops the situation before it escalates. How are you supposed to help that person? This is the part I don’t understand sometimes. Sometimes your kindness is just missed by them. Nice post!

    • Hi Kate:
      I THINK to help someone simply means to reach out to them NOT to lash out. I’ve found that is always the best way to react. If you reach out when someone does or says something hurtful to you it will entirely diffuse the situation.


  3. Hi Chris,
    I’ve been in this situation so many times of having persons do things yes, that makes me suffer. It is bad enough when it is a family member, worst if not. I want to lash back at them – but I pull aside, I retreat, I pray for them and at times when it’s really bad I even vent the anger outside of air shot of anyone else and let it go in the wind. Later on that person comes back and humble themselves and do the right thing next time around.

    • Hi Yvonne:
      Thanks for stopping by tonight. I FINALLY learned this lesson after years of struggling w/it. It’s so nice to finally get it.


  4. I have enjoyed Thich Naht Hanh’s books too! He is a man that really understands the inner workings of the human heart and our nature. Loved what you had to say in this post..they are timeless truths and if one uses the lessons that Thich Naht Hahn offers, for sure they can help compassion and love blossom in their lives.

    I forgot which one, but one book I read from him talked about compassionate listening. How to just merely listen and be fully present even when someone might be yelling or being harsh. Oftentimes they just need to be heard and when they see you responding in that way they soften, lower their defenses, and are easier to communicate with and to understand. Sometimes, it seems, peace begins with one mindful breath.

    • Hi Jessica:
      You said:
      Oftentimes they just need to be heard and when they see you responding in that way they soften, lower their defenses, and are easier to communicate with and to understand. Sometimes, it seems, peace begins with one mindful breath.

      This is SOOOO true. I’ve used this tool so many times to diffuse a possible emotionally violent situation and it works EVERY time.

      Thanks for stopping by.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>