Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
December 2, 2019
I’ve been asked a strange and disturbing question on the Internet: “Why are you such a damn fake?” Can you imagine how I felt? At first, I couldn’t understand the comment.
I post my blogs on my website and provide links to them on various Facebook Pages, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In some of my posts, I write about my unconventional cancer journey and how I emphasize a positive attitude and strive for a quality of life. One reader apparently felt that I am a “damn fake” after reading about my progress with bone marrow cancer. He wrote, “How could anybody really go through what you claimed to go through and see the bright side?” That same person said that I am “experiencing Hell”, and I “must be a liar to profess anything other than blame, disappointment, and guilt for the harmful life you must have lived.” I got the impression that he felt that I am experiencing “karma” for all my wrong doings in life. In other words, my incurable cancer is what I deserve for the type of person I have been.
Wow! I had no idea this is the way I should be feeling and responding. I am so glad that finally I know that I have been a fake and have lied all about my feelings along my unconventional cancer journey.
Of course, I am joking.
But this reader made me stop and think. What is happening in this person’s head that compels him to see all the bad emotions in humankind? What has occurred in his life to make him so depressed and hopeless? I can only imagine that he is going through some very tough personal times, which he cannot resolve. I empathize with his pain and wish I could wave a magic wand to immediately help him see how destructive he is being to himself and to all those who care about him.
How often do you encounter people who act like this? How do you relate to them? Do you just ignore them? Do you get defensive? Or, do you take the higher road and try to help understand them and become a sounding board for them?
When I was actively treating periodontal patients in my office, I would occasionally see patients who became irrational for no apparent reason. They would get angry and would make disparaging remarks to me and especially to my staff. Yet, when I took the time to listen to them and enquire what was bothering them, they sometimes relaxed their defensive wall and confessed a serious concern with health issues, children issues, spouse issues, or even financial issues. If I was successful to help them talk to me about their deepest emotional fears, their irrational outbreak became less confrontational and more apologetic.
I don’t have a degree is psychology. But over my 44 years in practice, I have come to understand some erratic types of human behavior. In my experience, most of these people just want someone to listen to them. It doesn’t require much effort to take the time to be empathetic and human. Frequently, these people are in a bad place in their heads, and they need to work it out. Sometimes, a sincere and caring person can make all the difference.
Unfortunately, I personally don’t know the person on Facebook who made the comment about me being a fake. It actually was a comment on a comment. I only hope that someone can be a friend to that person and uncover his emotional pain and help him get through it.