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.
I think you are a courageous man and I look forward to your posts every week. Thank you.
Great message today, thank you. 🙂
I can relate to this person; when I am down, I see dark. And although it may take a while to see light again, any attempt of reaching out and relating in kindness and understanding makes the dark journey brighter, even if it doesn’t lift me out of it instantly, it gives me hope to see that that people actually care about each other.
My best/most reliable/most consistent light bearers/bringers are still among the non-human species. Animals, plants, and miracles of nature. Maybe because I, like many have lost the ability to easily relate to other human beings, while non-humans seem to work on a completely different level of relating to life and others.
My instant mood booster is to play with our pups; just throwing their toys in the living room and seeing their happiness and excitement can drive out any doom and gloom mind scenarios. Similar but different is to ‘sing’ to our small parrots – they love it and it reflects right back to the ‘singer’. The cat really keeps me mindful of the moment, which is another thing that keeps my head from churning in circles. ‘Wild’ (non-pet) nature like trees, worms, bees or mushrooms, also has powers to lift me up; although this may come easier to some than others and sometimes, I do need an initial kick from another side to help me fully take in nature’s wonders which are always there for us.
Thank you for this post. It reminds me to watch out for the needs of others as well as myself to help keep the vibes high in our world.
The Bible includes the Book of Job. A possible parallel exists here.
In those cases I do as you have done; I take time to listen and draw them out, if I feel safe enough to do so. Sometimes the person has contempt for themselves and can’t deal with it, so out of delusion they project it onto someone else, so that they can berate that person and thus take the pressure off themselves. But sometimes the person is knowingly being malicious, for entertainment I guess. Thank-you for uplifting humanity and for sharing your experiences.
Dr Al, The spirit with which you responded to the person supposedly attacking you is the quality which has served you on your difficult journey. Thank you for your guidance, as always.
You are a hero to many. Tis the season my friend. I hear and see it every single day from people everywhere. The political climate is not helping too. There is much divisiveness among us. The good news? YOU help someone every single day with your raw courage and sense of empathy for others. Don’t stop. We all gain so much from you, even in the throes of this illness. Thank you for being our hero.