How do you emotionally support your loved ones? Do you spend unconditional time with them? Do you give them your undivided attention or do you multi-task when you’re sharing space? Do you second-guess their story or do you accept what is told and try to help?
There is a common communication from the women whom I interface with that have been beat by their partners and/or sexually assaulted, “No one believed me.”
A good friend will listen, get upset with you (not at you) and extend a helping hand. The conversation doesn’t start with, “I know him and he’d never do that, you’re crazy.”
I am learning that when you support someone emotionally, you stay away from the why questions. Why did you do that, in the moment of recovery, doesn’t offer support, instead, it puts this individual on defense. Whatever happened, however he or she responded, is what this individual thought was necessary in the moment of distress, and, in the here and now, it can’t be changed so moved beyond it while you’re comforting and strategizing support.
If you are wondering how to help someone who, in the moment, isn’t willing to help his or her self because danger doesn’t seem to be this person’s number 1 concern, believe their testimony, provide information to them about community help, and question them in a way that leads this individual to discovery of his or her own solution. Think of it as planting a seed that they can nurture into self-help instead of forcing your solution.
It is proven in counseling that when a client is empowered through questioning and emotional support to come up with their own solution, ownership of this self-thought solution, offers a stronger probability that the resolution will be embraced.
The best thing you can do for your loved ones is to stop being the “Dear Abby” of their world by giving advice in an attempt to fix them and instead prompt and lead them to their own insight.