It Feels Better to be Allowed to Feel Bad


Today discusses a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that found people with low self-esteem don’t like it when people try to make them feel better. Study lead author Dr. Denise Marigold of the University of Waterloo told Today, “What we think is well-intentioned support is really alienating for them. They feel as if people don’t understand their issues and don’t accept their feelings. It almost demonstrates a lack of caring.”

Stop cheering me up: Some people don’t want to hear it (Today, June 25, 2014)

You can’t always give what you want: The challenge of providing social support to low self-esteem individuals (Marigold, Denise C. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 107(1), Jul 2014, 56-80. doi: 10.1037/a0036554)


  1. I saw this issue get particularly twisted into knots of disrespect and avoidance in support groups. Discussing stigma was slated bogus, all problems of emotional types were just that chemical balance going wrong. Anything about identifying the point of the emotion or ongoing concern was treated like stupidity over and over at MHA until it was like talking about something that never happened and was a sign of your unworthiness. I noticed people just disappear into this group delusion about life.

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  2. That is so true. There is nothing better when you’re “depressed” and people tell you “oh, your problems are not so bad” (who the hell are you to tell?) and “it’ll get better” (any evidence for that? are you a certified psychic or something?).

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