Expressing Frustration

Expressing Frustration

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  • December 28, 2018

We have learned that speaking negatively for the sake of one’s own emotional well-being is an acceptable form of constructive speech. It is reasonable for one to express anger and frustration about an individual to one’s parent, spouse or mentor to obtain sympathy, reassurance and advice, and it is the obligation of the listener to provide such support.

However, even in such situations, the listener may not decide in his own mind that the report is true, for as far as he is concerned, the information is only secondhand. It is therefore imperative that the following understanding exist between those who take part in such discussions:

Halacha permits one to occasionally “let off steam” and express his frustrations to someone else. However, it is obvious that one who is involved in a disagreement to the point of anger, or considers himself the victim of verbal abuse, lacks the ability to be objective. Any negativity expressed under such circumstances is to be understood as a description of the speaker’s feelings and not as an accurate account of what actually took place.

In this way, a husband and wife or close friends can rely on one another for emotional support without transgressing the laws of proper speech.

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