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To think saying "other people have it worse than you" is unhelpful and twatty?

(34 Posts)
PiperChapstick Wed 16-Dec-15 19:03:28

I live in an area that was hit by floods last week. There's an extreme sadness in the community at the moment and I know various people who've lost everything. Most people round here do.

MILs colleague got flooded and lost everything downstairs. Even worse they've lost so much equity in their house they have had to pull out a sale, and their buyer understandably pulled out too.

He returned to work today and MIL said to him "It could be worse, it's only water, it's not like it's bombs." Well needless to say he wasn't happy and had a whinge to their boss, and MIL got a bit of a bollocking about being insensitive. She can't see what she did wrong. DH seems to agree with her.

AIBU to think that it's a twatty thing to say "it could be worse, you could be in (insert situation)" to someone suffering and that actually it's all relative when it comes to any situation - what might be a disaster to me may not be a disaster to you?

Duckdeamon Wed 16-Dec-15 19:04:37


Sameshitdiffname Wed 16-Dec-15 19:05:13

YNBU - it's a stupid thing to say it doesn't help the person at all.

They just shouldn't make a comment in the first place if that's all they have to say.

Sameshitdiffname Wed 16-Dec-15 19:05:32

YANBU even

HumphreyCobblers Wed 16-Dec-15 19:07:54

YANBU. It is a twatty thing to say. It basically shuts down the person who has suffered.

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Wed 16-Dec-15 19:08:31

It is a very twatty thing to say.

I've had it countless times after my children died.

'It could be worse at least you got to meet them x person didn't get to meet their child'

'It could be worse, they could have lived for longer and you would have been more attached to them like y person'

'It could be worse, at least you can have more, z person lost her child and is now infertile'

Do you know what? Yes it could be worse, I could be a fucking insensitive arseweasle with no thought or empathy for anybody else angry

It really gets on my nerves.

wasonthelist Wed 16-Dec-15 19:09:14

Yanbu - sounds like what my parents used to say sad

PiperChapstick Wed 16-Dec-15 19:10:12

I've had it countless times after my children died.


I'm so sorry Elsa that's truly despicable flowers

wasonthelist Wed 16-Dec-15 19:11:11

a fucking insensitive arseweasle

I'm stealing that - less politically incorrect than most of my insults.

Owllady Wed 16-Dec-15 19:11:46

How can anything be worse than losing your own child? sad

theycallmemellojello Wed 16-Dec-15 19:12:31

Saying it to a bereaved person is awful. However, while I agree it's an insensitive thing to say to someone who has lost a lot of equity in their home, it's likely to have been meant well, and it's completely inappropriate for the boss to step in over especially with a bollocking.

Paddletonio Wed 16-Dec-15 19:16:50


Mil is very insensitive.

I have family in Cumbria who have been badly affected, also need their house basically gutting downstairs. It's awful. Not a minor problem at all!

I saw a quote once that said saying someone shouldn't be sad because others have it worse is just like saying you shouldn't be happy as others have it better - ridiculous!

thelouise Wed 16-Dec-15 19:33:34

Of course YANBU for all the above scenarios. I feel differently about people who constantly whinge about minor things though. Depending on how well I know them and in the right context, it can be ok to tell them their petty squabbles are minor in the grand scheme of life.

bakingaddict Wed 16-Dec-15 19:34:37

When people say things like that it's breathtaking in it's arrogance and they must have the empathy of a gnat. How can they know it's worse when they themselves aren't in the position of losing their home or child. I'm astounded at the comments Elsa's had and how people could be so insensitive to say that to a bereaved mother. I think OP's MIL deserved a telling off from the boss as it might make her think twice before offering ill-judged platitudes

Senpai Wed 16-Dec-15 19:38:55

Yeah, it's pretty insensitive to say that.

But the boss doesn't need to be the playground referee between his employees.

EmilyPunkhurst Wed 16-Dec-15 19:40:19

See I grapple a bit with the notion of "meant well" mellojello. I get lots of things said to me which I find difficult (sometimes along the lines of "others have it worse", sometimes not) and they add up to making my life more distressing than it might otherwise be. Because this happens every day, several times a day.

So then when others justify it by saying they "meant well" I don't really know where to go with what I feel.

If someone says something crass and hurtful and damaging is the fact that they "meant well" a reasonable excuse?

I'm not sure it is. Which is why I grapple with it.

User543212345 Wed 16-Dec-15 19:41:10


I turn it round to arseholes people who say it. Ask why they're happy/content because other people have it better than them which tends to shut them up. Feelings are not a competition, they're feelings. Twatbadgers who question your right to feel them are beneath contempt.

BarbarianMum Wed 16-Dec-15 19:46:16

Depends on the context. If they are going on and on about not getting the tablet they wanted for their birthday (thinking of you, dniece) then I find it perfectly justified. In general though, YANBU - there is always someone worse off.

Having said which, I quite often say it to myself when I'm wallowing and need to snap out of it.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Wed 16-Dec-15 19:46:51

Ynbu. We all know there's people worse off than ourselves. But that doesn't stop you from getting down about your own stuff thats going.

hefzi Wed 16-Dec-15 22:42:29

No, YANBU at all: but some people are tactless/thoughtless and feel like they have to comment. My pain doesn't mean that yours isn't valid, just because it's over something different in scale.

FourForYouGlenCoco Wed 16-Dec-15 22:51:17

YANBU. As a pp said, in some contexts it can be appropriate as a gentle reminder not to be a spoilt little bitch that a bit of perspective may be needed, but when things are genuinely bad then it's just a shitty thing to say.
I find that people often seem to fall over themselves to come out with shitty, unhelpful platitudes though.

80schild Thu 17-Dec-15 00:06:41

Completely agree with you op. Whilst bombs are worse, saying it minimises the loss that you have experienced, which is significant to you and your community (and actually would be stressful and upsetting for anyone).

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Thu 17-Dec-15 00:13:48

I do wonder if this is a reginal thing? Where im from its something people say - not to be mean or down play it, but its just an OH well it`ll be OK, type comment. Its not meant unkindly at all.

elliejjtiny Thu 17-Dec-15 00:15:14

YANBU. I have 5 children with varying degrees of special needs and I get it all the time. "You're lucky they haven't got cancer" seems to be a favourite. Never said by parents whose children have got cancer of course. Elsa I'm so sorry about your children flowers and chocolate.

TheSecondViola Thu 17-Dec-15 00:26:26

Sometimes its appropriate. I used to work with someone who would drone on and on about how unlucky she was and hard her life was. It really wasn't. I did use to tell her about people with real problems and say you're pretty lucky compared to most.

In many instances its uber twatty though

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