People’s Insensitivity: “Just Get Over It”

Over my life, I have come across insensitive people.

The sort of people who you confide in because you’re upset, worried, frustrated, or have a broken heart, and instead of replying with empathy, support, and words of love and encouragement, they belittle, criticize, or judge you.

This letter to the advice columnist “Ask Amy” (that I’ve posted below) reminded me of insensitive people I’ve met before, including my sister.

There’s also a fat preacher on TV who sometimes yells at his congregation (and I find this somewhat annoying),
“Are you still angry or hurting over something bad someone did to you ten, twenty years ago? Well, GET OVER IT!”

I do admit that there’s a grain of truth in that philosophy of “getting over it.”

I do believe that some people hold on to past hurts way too long (I’m guilty of this at times), and it’s better, for your own sake, to let old hurts go.

At the same time, I find it kind of irritating when people scream at other people to “just get over it.”

Being wounded and hurt by other people is something one has to work through, and it usually takes a long time to do so.

There’s usually no such thing as instantly “getting over it,” so anytime I hear someone bark that line (or something similar to it) at wounded people, I want to smack them.

Here’s the letter to Ask Amy:

    Dear Amy: How would you respond to someone whose answer for everything is, “Get over it!”? 

    I have a friend who throws that phrase around constantly. I can’t confide anything to her or describe a problem a friend may be having, because her response is always the same: “You need to get over that, and fast.”

    I feel as if she’s telling me that my worries or concerns are not real and that I’m wasting my time even thinking about them.

    Some of my other friends have completely dropped her because of her callous phrase. They got sick of hearing it. I’m almost at that point too! I would never tell her to “get over it” if she came to me with a problem or a sad story. How can I tell her how rude she is? — Almost Over Her

    Dear Almost: From time to time, readers will suggest that I should tell people who share their problems to “get over it,” but I maintain that people who reach out are trying to “get over it” by looking for some guidance and support. Sometimes they just want to tell their story in their own way and feel they’re being heard.

    You are correct that this person is diminishing and denigrating you. What you don’t know is whether this phrase is an accurate reflection of her low opinion of you or more a terrible rhetorical habit.

    Before you drop this friend, you should do her the favor of saying, “When you tell me to ‘get over’ every issue I choose to share with you, what I hear is that my questions and problems are very trivial and that you don’t really want for me to be in a serious friendship with you.”

    You should give your friend an opportunity to explain herself. Perhaps she will even try to modify her behavior. If she can’t (or won’t), then you will join the legion of her former friends.

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