Family and friends of clients often say they don’t know what to say when their son, daughter, mom, uncle, partner says they’re not ok and so they might just ignore the answer.
Sometimes we can feel that no matter what they say it seems to be the wrong thing because the interaction ends in tears or an arguement for either or both of the people.
Over time the repetitive interaction becomes draining and relentless. The family member or friend feels like they can’t do anything to help and it makes perfect sense that this can leave us feeling angry and resentful towards the individual.
When interactions go like this the individual can feel like no one’s listening to them and/or they’re a hopeless, lost cause.
If you ever find yourself in this situation then these are tips I’ve given people and people have given me over the years... -stop trying to problem solve for the individual, you will be less likely to feel rejected and they probably aren’t looking for you to resolve things, they just want to tell you about it
-just listen and try to understand their point of view, but don’t agree with what they say if you genuinely don’t!. You can say “I’m trying to understand” or “I don’t see it like that but I can see that you do”
-be boundaried by telling them you will support them and listen to their difficulties but try to put a time limit on how long you do this for
-encourage them to seek support from a professional because allowing them to be indefinitely dependent on you will probably bring you down over time and will make it less likely that they will try to find help and support from somewhere else
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