So often people come to me to ask for help for a loved one or a friend who they fear is going down the path of a burnout, or have burned out. They know it is the case, they see it, but the person does not!
And my response is simple: I can not help them!
I always hate that answer, because I want to help, but I have learned that in order to be able to help a person, the person needs to acknowledge that they have a problem to start with.
It is not that I don’t want to help them, or that I am indifferent!
No, I care and I can see that they are in a downward spiral that is going to push them into the wall. I feel the pain of the parent, spouse or friend who sees the train wreck approaching but can do nothing to prevent it.
You can not help somebody who does not see that there is a problem to start with. They are likely to be offended to be offered help when they don’t feel there is any need or they will be disappointed at the person who suggested that they may need help and they will isolate themselves even further.
I tell all those parents, friends, spouses that I can help THEM! I can help them learn the tools and have the awareness to support their loved ones the best they can. Understanding the stress that people are going through and regulating their own response to the situation will allow them to be more supportive of the person going through the cycle.
It is not to say that the cycle can not be interrupted and that the person can not break the pattern but it will take a lot of time and effort. So supporting them, when they are physically and mentally getting weaker and weaker is quite often the only thing to do.
It takes a lot of courage and strength to be the shoulder, the rock in a person’s life. And I can help them be that.
It is always humbling to support people who are supporting others. It is such a strong reminder for myself about what people around me went through and I did not see at the time. And I am so happy I can indirectly give back to those who have helped me then!