When you don't have enough nerves to do something

A-friend

Senior Member
Persian (Farsi)
Hi there

Let's assume that doing something is getting on your nerves when you don't have enough nerves to do that. For instance, let's say a teacher who is in a bad mood and cannot teach because he/she cannot endure dealing with kids "for now". That is because the teacher does not have enough nerves and patience to do such that thing at that moment (let's say due to an unpleasant thing that just happened to him/her and they have just got to know it through a phone call.) So, how would you explain such a situation when he/she doesn't have enough nerves / patience (as well as being nervous) to do it ?

Please note that I am looking for an idiom/expression to indicate that "someone doesn't have enough "nerves" to do something."

I have found the expression "get up enough nerves to do something", but I have my doubts whether it works in this sense while no dictionary mentioned about it.


Example:

My mother was feeling very bad as she sat on the couch looking at all of her children, but she "didn't get up enough nerves to" tell us what was on her mind.

Source: A Silent Struggle
 
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    No, we don't use 'to have the nerve' in this way at all.

    to have enough nerve to do something means to be brave enough to dare doing it.

    e.g. I wanted to ask that new girl in class out, but I didn't have the nerve. (I didn't dare).

    In your example of the mother and children, we'd say: she couldn't pluck up the courage to tell us what was on her mind.
    It's not that she didn't dare, it was just that it was too much for her to cope with.

    Your teacher also 'couldn't cope with' teaching 'right now' because she'd just had some bad news.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Thank you Chez, but I am looking for an idiom/expression that I can use it not only for parental and children relationship, but also for other occasions too. For instance my own "teacher example".
    Why I cannot say as the teacher in my question:

    - I don't have enough nerves to teach now!

    Does it sound weird and unidiomatic to you?
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, that sounds weird and unnatural.

    Your two contexts require different expressions/idioms.

    The mother, she can't pluck up the courage, but the teacher's 'problem' is nothing to do with lack of courage - he or she can't cope with teaching because he or she has had some bad news.

    Forget 'nerves'.
     

    WestSideGal

    Senior Member
    English, US
    I agree with Chez and heypresto. In your teacher example a circumstance has challenged the motivation to handle teaching for the moment. There isn't one set expression to convey this. She/He can say: "I just can't deal with them/the class right now" or "I'm just not in the mood to have to teach...".

    Secondly, to "get up enough nerve to" do something, and being nervous are two different things. The meaning of the first is as the previous posters have stated, which is to get up the courage to follow through on an action. "Nervous" on the other hand means being fearful, frightened, anxious, etc.

    I'd have to second heypresto's suggestion to "forget nerves". :)
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Thank you elroy. Is it a common expression in Current AmE?
    Meanwhile, I forgot to ask whether "pluck up the courage" means "compromise with oneslef on something" or not. I wonder if you could let me know about it too.
    Thnk you.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Yes.
    No. It means "gather up" or "muster up" the courage; when you find yourself lacking the courage to do something, sometimes you have to make extra efforts to "make yourself have the courage."
    And finally, I wondwer "not to be in the right frame of mind" is associated with patience or nervousness or both of them?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Mmmm...it means that you don't have the "mental capacity" to do something. Maybe it's because you're distracted, or upset, or irritated, or worried,... It could be for any number of reasons. I suggested it because you seemed to be looking for a relatively all-encompassing expression.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Mmmm...it means that you don't have the "mental capacity" to do something. Maybe it's because you're distracted, or upset, or irritated, or worried,... It could be for any number of reasons. I suggested it because you seemed to be looking for a relatively all-encompassing expression.
    That's the stuff. Point taken elroy and thank you very much for the helpful posts. :) 🙏🏻
     
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