Ever been in a situation where someone asks for your help, yet everything you suggest, offer or do is rejected for one reason or another? Further, because of the request, you realize they’re in trouble and you’ve been turning yourself inside out trying to help.
Recognize that the single biggest reason for not viewing possibilities and/or accepting help and suggestions is fear-fear of judgment, rejection, failure, success and ultimately change. So unless you are their therapist-and you can certainly make the suggestion that they consult one-consider the following when you realize your hitting your head against the wall:
• Stop and detach emotionally from the situation. Don’t take the continual “no’s” personally and recognize that your self worth isn’t based on resolving their problem. You aren’t a bad person, friend, less compassionate or less loving because your help is discounted, ignored or rejected.
• Let them be who they are, trying not to judge or change them. These can be very stressful situations, and you can take on a burden “to help” that’s not yours, let alone appropriate. Remain mindful and foster contentment within yourself. Don’t fall down “their rabbit hole.”
• Be clear about who you are. If you are a “change agent” type of person, and the individual you’re dealing with wants to talk about their problems, with no real intent to change, that’s not a good mix.
• Depending on your relationship with the person, as well as the nature of the problem(s), you may find a very direct approach is appropriate, where you kindly let them know that you’re out of suggestions, aren’t willing to take on their problem etc. Reframing and recapping their concerns (why they asked for your help), along with proposed solutions and the reasons for rejecting them, may help them see an underlying problem, which they can correct. For example, “It’s clear you are wearing yourself out taking care of your Mom. We’ve discussed a number of possibilities including talking to mom’s medical provider, case manager, and your sister about respite care but you rejected that and other ideas because you believe your mother doesn’t want anyone in the house but you.”
• While most people muddle through somehow, if you really think they are a danger to self or others, report it to the proper authorities-adult protective services and/or police.
Bonus: Healing the Whole Person: Ways to Increase Well Being has been updated for 2015.