Tags: Health Topics | Emotions | Support | Victims

Support When You Need It Most

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Thursday, 07 Apr 2016 08:21 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Callers to my daily radio program often ask what's the best way to support someone in their lives. But at times their idea of support is misguided.

They want to know how to support a family member or friend who was arrested for DUI after many attempts to direct that person to rehab.

Or how to support someone who is abusive despite advice and assistance. Or how to support a friend who had yet another child out of wedlock, shacking up with yet another man.

Or how to support an adult child who won't commit to work or school and expects to be supported. Or how to offer support to a friend or family member who met someone online and is abandoning a family to follow a romantic dream. The list goes on.

For these matters I suggest no such thing as support. That is probably shocking to many of you. If someone burns down their own house, you must differentiate that from the house burning because of a wildfire.


Victims are to be supported; perpetrators are to be pitied and dealt with through tough love — if there is love left at all. Perpetrators drain everyone around them who feel what I think is generally misplaced moral obligation, sympathy, compassion, and human concern.

Perpetrators operate with no concern for the well-being of others, nor do they much care about the misery they bring upon others — especially children — with their self-centered search for gratification or release from responsibilities.

Support is a more appropriate for those who develop serious illnesses, get physically hurt, lose a family member or dear friend, are damaged by others (rape, assaults, burglaries, betrayals) and experience just plain bad luck.

For those truly needing support, don't try to make it all better. You can't.

When people have to get through life's serious ordeals, they will be going through many breaking waves of emotions. The type of support they need at any one moment changes with the ebb and flow of their feelings.

One friend of mine knew her adult son was soon to die of cancer. She was not the type to talk much about her feelings in general, and when he finally died, she went through a storm of emotions.

One night she called me and described how inept people were in their attempts to console her. She didn't want to hear, "He is in a better place," because the best place she could think of was with family. Many told her about their current or past tales of woe and she was not helped at all in her search for serenity.

She didn't like when people said, "Call me if you need anything." She couldn't think straight enough to know what she needed. And she definitely didn't like it when anyone told her that her pain would pass — that made her furious.

She told me she just needed someone to sit in the mud with her. So that is exactly what I did. I just sat with her and let her talk. I didn't try to make her feel better in any way. Of course she would one day be able to care about getting up in the morning again, but right at that moment she just needed company in the mud.

My husband died last November. It was an ugly three weeks leading up to Lew's body giving out. I remember coming back home that day from the Hospital rehab unit with two of my dear friends who helped me those three weeks with trips to the hospital, grocery shopping and cooking, taking care of four dogs, and just keeping me company.

I remember standing in the kitchen, saying, "What do I do now?" I felt completely lost — ompletely confused as to how life was now supposed to be.

Neither answered because there is no answer. They just hugged and hugged and hugged me some more. I would then rehash the misery of those last weeks that just kept replaying in an endless loop.

Think of support as one more brick to hold up a crumbling building.

Support adds to what is there; it is not creating that which cannot yet be. My next-door neighbor brought over a huge pot of amazing chicken soup and told me when I wanted to walk with the dogs to ring her bell and she'd come with me.

Many friends texted or left messages each day telling me how much they loved me and were thinking of me during this time.

One of my dearest friends just came over and cleaned out and organized my glass fused art room so when I felt like working again I would have a clean slate. Other friends went to the grocery for me and stocked up my refrigerator and cupboards.

None asked, What can I do for you? They just found something and did it. Real support comes from understanding that the suffering person is going to be suffering for some time and that their love can be shown by making their load a little easier.

My friend who lost her son had pulled herself into a dark hole; nonetheless, when she found out Lew died, she was over in a flash with avocados in hand.

That is support.

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Dr. Laura (Laura Schlessinger) is a well-known radio personality and best-selling author. She appears regularly on many television shows and in many publications. Read more reports from Dr. Laura — Click Here Now.

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Callers to my daily radio program often ask what's the best way to support someone in their lives. But at times their idea of support is misguided.
Emotions, Support, Victims
912
2016-21-07
Thursday, 07 Apr 2016 08:21 AM
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