View Full Version : What do you say to cheer up an inmate?


CoNpal
04-09-2010, 11:05 PM
Sometimes my bf calls me really really down. I tell him that I love him and reassure him the best that I can but it doesn't always help. Seems like nothing I say helps when he's in a funk. He's been in 11 years.

So, I want to know what YOU say to your inmate to cheer him/her up? What do inmates want to hear from their loved ones?

I know actions speak louder than words and I am doing everything that I can. I just feel so bad for him when he gets in one of his sad moods on the phone.

decoprincess
04-09-2010, 11:21 PM
When R is down/bad mood nothing I say seems to help, but then he snaps out of it and I'm still a wreck. I seem to absorb his distress.
I look forward to what others have to say to you.

GoodBI_girl
04-09-2010, 11:30 PM
Sometimes my bf calls me really really down. I tell him that I love him and reassure him the best that I can but it doesn't always help. Seems like nothing I say helps when he's in a funk. He's been in 11 years.

So, I want to know what YOU say to your inmate to cheer him/her up? What do inmates want to hear from their loved ones?

I know actions speak louder than words and I am doing everything that I can. I just feel so bad for him when he gets in one of his sad moods on the phone.


I am a newbie at this inmate comforting but he was very down after he was denied parole this time. I wrote some things I knew would cheer him up, things we used to do like concerts or funny stories about his dad. It, for awhile allowed him to daydream (as he calls it) and let his mind wander back to a free and happy time.

I use stickers, like kids have, Hello Kitty and others and scatter them through the letters. Everything in there is so sterile and uniform it helps a little, he says it does so I continue. I too am anxious to hear what others do.

WaitingOnEddie
04-09-2010, 11:43 PM
Honestly? I don't really say anything...when he's in one of his moods, I just listen. Because I know there is nothing I can say that will make it any better for him and sometimes he just needs to get it out. Of course I do the 'normal' reassuring him like you described...but I don't say anything profound or anything that can miraculously take away his sorrows. Because no such thing exist or I would have already said it.

Maybe that will sound 'cold' to some...but in actuality it is really hard because I too wish I knew what to say because I would say it in a heart beat if it would make him feel better. It hurts my heart when he is sad and the only thing I can do is listen to him.

decoprincess
04-09-2010, 11:48 PM
That does not sound cold. Perhaps I should just try and listen also.
I like the "mind wander to a better time".

caribbeanblue77
04-10-2010, 04:59 AM
I listen, and I try to be as honest as possible.
He receives hate letters from time to time. When he is down and says "Maybe i should just do as they say and stay in my cell forever etc." I just say " No your are not, and if you do, then I come and drag you out of it, my dear!!!!"

irishcanuk
04-10-2010, 05:30 AM
Like the rest of you, I try to reassure my fella that I am standing by him and tell him things we will do when he gets out, like go to a football match, a concert or cuddle up on the sofa watching a dvd.... simple things to us on the outside, but these things are a 'dream' to him. Like someone else said, I too absorb his despair/sadness when he is down and may feel a low for a day or so afterwards. My fella says the prison environment is frought with social schizophrenia and that the collective 'mood' can change very quickly inside, which affects everybody's state of mind and emotions. My boyo maintains that no matter what how he feels there is someone (inmates or guards) always ready to try to negatively influence his moods. I can't imagine being surrounded by such negative energy, anger and despair all the time, it must be headwrecking.... :banghead:

BlueEyedEllie
04-10-2010, 07:06 AM
Like the rest of you, I try to reassure my fella that I am standing by him and tell him things we will do when he gets out, like go to a football match, a concert or cuddle up on the sofa watching a dvd.... simple things to us on the outside, but these things are a 'dream' to him. Like someone else said, I too absorb his despair/sadness when he is down and may feel a low for a day or so afterwards. My fella says the prison environment is frought with social schizophrenia and that the collective 'mood' can change very quickly inside, which affects everybody's state of mind and emotions. My boyo maintains that no matter what how he feels there is someone (inmates or guards) always ready to try to negatively influence his moods. I can't imagine being surrounded by such negative energy, anger and despair all the time, it must be headwrecking.... :banghead:
I can't imagine being around such negative energy either.my man has said more than once that it's the worst place on earth.(where he is) but says little else,won't give many details,etc I think i am his little escape from all the madness...:)Connie,if you haven't read the book,"the 5 love languages",you should....I know my man's love language is "words of affirmation".he really loves being encouraged and praised.he's always maintained my encouraging words mean far more to him than any amnt of money ever could...so when he's feeling down i really emphasize and tell him how precious he is,how he is one in a million,how dearly i love him,how proud of him of how far he's come...and that has most times always worked.I used to worry about him getting cocky if i praised him too much,but then i realized for much of his life he was NEVER praised or affirmed so i figure it can't hurt if i do it.:)and he knows i really mean it,too.:)also,the best,most deepest christian devotional out there (jmo) is called,streams in the desert.It is very deep,and good for the soul.I sometimes tear out and send him the day's devotions that i read and he REALLY appreciates that.hope your guy feels better soon.It's hard when they're feeling blue and we can't physically be there to comfort them.:(

Wobabi
04-10-2010, 07:38 AM
CoNpal your threads are always right on time,,,Boo is in the hole,,again :sad&blue:

I wrote him this AM and told him whatever it is we can get thru it. It cheers him up to know that Babi got his back no matter what!:pow:

thugwife
04-10-2010, 09:04 AM
I'm Naked :D

koala2000
04-10-2010, 09:39 AM
I try to reassure him that I'm behind him 100%. I let him know that I love him. I used to be cautious on how much I told him I was extremely proud of him because I was afraid it would go to his head, but it doesn't. He has come along way. The majority of his life, all he heard was negative things said about him so I let him know that he is wonderful and amazing, and how I could never find anyone better than him and spilling my guts I guess you could say about how I feel about him. For my man, he just really needs to hear these things.

MichaelsMaiden
04-10-2010, 09:58 AM
I'm Naked :D

LOL! That does seem to work for most men huh!!

Great thread btw!

With Michael it seems to help him to talk about what we are going to do when he gets home. He has already planned out what he wants for dinner, what he wants to watch on T.V. and what he wants to wear. And of course I do the reassuring him that everything will be ok. We talk about when we are going to get married, where, how, who will be there. We talk about his hopes and dreams and how we can make them reality (he really likes this one). No one has ever taken his dream seriously before and it makes him feel good when I tell him that we will make his dreams a reality. There isnt anything this man cant do, he has just never had the support he needed before. And finally I remind him of how strong he is on the inside and to always remember, If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it...

Mayone
04-10-2010, 11:06 AM
I can't imagine being around such negative energy either.my man has said more than once that it's the worst place on earth.(where he is) but says little else,won't give many details,etc I think i am his little escape from all the madness...:)Connie,if you haven't read the book,"the 5 love languages",you should....I know my man's love language is "words of affirmation".he really loves being encouraged and praised.he's always maintained my encouraging words mean far more to him than any amnt of money ever could...so when he's feeling down i really emphasize and tell him how precious he is,how he is one in a million,how dearly i love him,how proud of him of how far he's come...and that has most times always worked.I used to worry about him getting cocky if i praised him too much,but then i realized for much of his life he was NEVER praised or affirmed so i figure it can't hurt if i do it.:)and he knows i really mean it,too.:)also,the best,most deepest christian devotional out there (jmo) is called,streams in the desert.It is very deep,and good for the soul.I sometimes tear out and send him the day's devotions that i read and he REALLY appreciates that.hope your guy feels better soon.It's hard when they're feeling blue and we can't physically be there to comfort them.:(

Yep I agree. Affirmation, love, praise and a even a sense of belief in something better too in the future, maybe if you have goals or dates or dreams even. I am told that just hearing my constantly telling him to keep going, keep believing and keep strong and that I am there for him, that helps him a lot. I constantly reaffirm his life is precious and special, and that how ever crap he may feel at times, he must remember that always. I think it often can bring a person out of their down times to know how those closest to them do care, do feel and do love. Some of these men especially, to all the world they are tough guys but they still, maybe even especially need to feel they are loved and cared about. I know when I get my down moments, positive talking from others helps me. Just keep doing what you're doing, being there, listening being positive. Bringing sunshine and love to a bleak place. That may sound kind of cheesy but I honestly think that is the best thing you can do for him. That's what I do. I send him a little culture in a letter sometimes too. He's Mexican it reminds him of his home comforts. We talk about his happy Mexican times. That's what I call it anyhow. We discuss the light hearted and the deep and heavy stuff sort of in a combination. Sort of like tortilla fillings, cooking even light hearted things and the meaning of life all rolled in one conversation, if you will forgive the pun. It's my way of saying look I know it's s**t there but you are treasured and you have to think of you're happy times, past and future too, however bleak the surroundings may seem just now. I think to feel loved and cared about is the best thing an inmate can have. To have a person who cares and loves I think that is like Gold dust for a man/woman in prison. I once on here put up a post about what most prisoners like best in the mail. The most common answer was just mail and to hear their name at mail call that someone cares and consistency too. Just you being at the end of that phone call to hear him when he's down. Already you have done something to lift his heart. As he comes off that phone already the world is a better place. I feel sure of that :thumbsup: Sorry my reply is so long :(

Ronsbaby
04-10-2010, 11:32 AM
If my baby is down and in a funk, i always listen if he'll say and sometimes he'l just say talk to me baby, i need to hear your voice ad at that time iknow he's in a funk and i know that there isn't much i can say but i'll think of a funny story bout the kids to tell him, while it may not pull him out of his funk it gives him something to laugh bout, an then i will also tell him how much he means to me how much i love him... if he's told me he's in a funk thru an email, i will takl bout how i know there is no words majical enough to take away the pain or change the situation, but if i had a majical potion i would use it, and i wish i did. i always priase him, always remind him that i'm always here for him, and there with him. That i'm always holding him tightly.
the constant praise to these guys is not going to give them a big head, the thing is they have lived so much of their lives with NO praise, only negative things being said to them....(maybe not so much every guy in there but the majority ahve never had much praise) they need that and they may not express their need but reality is they do need it for their souls!
Remember too while your thinking that nothing you can say changes how they feel, believe me it does, it may not show right then, but the thing is when they hang up that phone, that conversation is going thru their mind and things will stick with them in their minds, or when they finish reading that letter there are things that stick with them.
We have been setting goals for certain things and working on projects for our future together, this also helps give them a new self worth, they already feel down bout not doing what they are born to do and that is to take care of us. So often they feel as though they are a burdon on us, and if they have things to do that could possibly help them realize that this is not a burdon it's a way of our lives for now --- like if you have projects to work on together, or giving them things to "handle" for you...i give my baby all my important dates to remember for me to give me the reminder that there is dr appointments coming up ---
one day i asked him, what's one material item you would have in there with you if you could have anything at all --- (this would be something you go and take a picture of for them and mail it in, he happend to pick something out that he had already had a picture of, which was the teady bear he had bought for me for christmas he wanted that cuz i hold it every single nite) and tell them they can not have you as that one thing they would have in, and it can't be a person so they don't pick the kids tell them it has to be a material object.
then in that same message i asked him if he could have 1 thing to eat right now what would itbe an where would it be from --but has to be in the county i live in.... he picked a meal from a resterant---so the kids and i got dinner from there one nite and what i did was ordered what he wanted, i didn't tell him the why's or what i was going to do until i knew what his wants would be --- then i was going to eat his cheeseburger sub with bacon exactly the way he would even if it meant only mustard (which it didnt lol) but anyways then when i told him what i was going to do h loved it, but he wanted to make it OUR thing then by telling me to eat that with what i would add to it so i did now it's OURS ---now because he had emails at that time i was able to include him even more by sending him a short email message thru my cell phone while we were eating --- but besides tat he thought that was the coolest thing ever that i wanted to do these things for him --- things that may seem very silly can brighten their day evn if it's a small moment it does help!
make plans together for your future together it helps give them direction and something to focus on, something extra to give them that something to look forward to --- i mean think bout it if they were out here we would still be setting goals and making plans for future so why not while they are away? then times they are in a funk, you can always talk bout those goals and dreams that your working together to make happen for the future!
ok i wrote a book, thanks for reading lol -----

smitty83
04-10-2010, 12:40 PM
Sometimes my bf calls me really really down. I tell him that I love him and reassure him the best that I can but it doesn't always help. Seems like nothing I say helps when he's in a funk. He's been in 11 years.

So, I want to know what YOU say to your inmate to cheer him/her up? What do inmates want to hear from their loved ones?

I know actions speak louder than words and I am doing everything that I can. I just feel so bad for him when he gets in one of his sad moods on the phone.

Talk to him about the future and what you guys are going to do together. Get his mind in another place.

CoNpal
04-10-2010, 05:09 PM
I'm Naked :D
Yes, that always works but I'm not always in the mood! :haha:

BeingStrong4CC
04-10-2010, 05:18 PM
I'm Naked :D
Good one...LMAO!:D

freyabta
04-10-2010, 05:21 PM
I tell him the timeline of how much longer he has and then I tell him the plans for our first night when he comes home.

Nas'swifey2010
04-10-2010, 07:56 PM
My babe was really down at our visit on thursday because the parole board hit him with a 9 month hit before they are letting him leave. they are making him do a 6 month program and 3 months to pay his Act-85. He was depressed but I just talked to him and told him 9 months is better than denying him all together. We just talked things over and he seemed to feel much better afterwords. I know it bothers him and stresses him out but you just have to listen and give the est advice that you possibly can give.

J&D7
04-10-2010, 08:11 PM
Honestly this is gonna sound odd, but I tell him that I'm praying for him. He's not even Catholic like I am but it seems to mean a lot to him to know that.

Other than that, I agree with thugwife - sex always makes my bf happy :) So do the next best thing!

MrsKrueger0728
04-10-2010, 09:07 PM
I'm Naked :D

Hee hee That always makes my hubby chuckle!! but I say random things like "I'm sorry you feel that way but at least i have boobs" Yeah its tupid and makes no sense but he is used to that! I always do stupid and crazy stuff when ppl are sad I hate when ppl are sad and are in a funk I need to makes ppl smile and laugh and stuff!!

Or I will tell him something like "You think you have it rough Mykalah had diarreah today and it was EVERYWHERE I had to throw the clothes away... speaking of which when you come home you are changing EVERY diper for 4 months cause mommy will be on strike!!" He always laughs at stuff like that!!!

Missingmyman76
04-10-2010, 09:44 PM
Well i havn't spoke to mine on phone yet and only got 3 letters so far, but i write him everyday. he hasnt sounded to down yet but i just tell him of "our" daughters daily antics and i know he laughs his a.. off. because she has some crazy moments sometimes. lol. plus he likes knowing that "our" son is being the man of the house why hes in there. Before Michael went in he told my 8 yr old son to be the man of the house and let me tell you ladies that boy has stepped right up. He had me show him how to wash dishes. When i'm having one of my crying jags he comes in and hugs,kisses me and tells me everything will be alright. Hes having to grow up to fast bc of all of this. But he cracked me up tonight and of course i knoew my bf would get a laugh out of this so i already wrote it in his letter to mail ouot mon. I was crying and he said oh no not again then he looked at me and said mom just be happy that hes not in there as long as uncle ronnie. my son knows too much for his age.. My uncle has been in prison for about 25 yrs and probably will never get out again and my son knows that-- and he knows my bf has only a little over a yr left. it was funny to me anyway when he said it the way he did and i know my bf will like it. Nikki P.S. sorry i get long winded sometimes

Mayone
04-11-2010, 06:24 AM
This is a good post. We've just had some difficult times ourselves, so this topic has been especially relevant to us also. him having just lost appeal, his situation is more drastic than most too. he's pulling himself together though. These last few weeks for me have been constant in my needing to keep reaffirming positive attitudes, and keeping up his spirits too, so I was quite interested to see what others have to say. Thanks :thumbsup:

JR09
04-11-2010, 04:54 PM
Honestly i fake happy....

If i know hes in a funk, wich i think a lot of long timers get because prison is mentally tiring, i try to be just completely up beat, like a freaking ray of sunshine, ill ask him for help with school, or ill talk about work, or talk about future plans.

But if i dont have the energy to be "happy go lucky" for him than i say hey well it makes two of us in a shitty mood, we both vent and call it a day ;)

You figure it out Con sometimes theres just not much to say:)

iloveyoumore
04-12-2010, 12:06 AM
When my husband called this morning he told me that one of his friends died this morning...he hung himself in his cell. He was understandably down today and I just listened. We talked about this person and he shared his memories of him with me. On a "normal" down day I try to steer the conversation towards something outside of prison. I work in a home improvement store and so we might ramble on about toilets or countertops or something random like that and before you know it he is sounding much better. When he calls me to talk he wants to go someplace, anyplace other than where he's at. I may be pooped out from the day but I know this is what he needs so I try to pull myself together for him. He would do it for me. We have a long time to go before he gets home. We talk about our plans for the future and even though it is a bit early yet we troubleshoot for when we get closer.

CoNpal
04-12-2010, 09:01 AM
I already do most of these things so I employed Thuggie's suggestion on Saturday even tho I wasn't in the mood. It worked like a charm. :D