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One of the hardest things in the world to do is simply walk away from someone you love when they don’t want your help. It may not be because they don’t want help but rather don’t want to admit they need it. But the rejection can be painful.
You may feel powerless when someone close to you needs help but keeps rejecting your offers. This may lead to frustration and stress to yourself.
Why are your offers of help being rejected?
It can be really difficult to admit that you have a problem, and you can’t resolve anything unless the other person admits they have a problem and they want the help. Coming around to the realisation that someone is going through a hard time can be scary and difficult and often people take the time to consider before offering to seek help for them. When you are feeling powerless like that is can be really awful and frustrating but you can at least still be there for your friend or loved one even if they won’t seek help. Maybe you just need to take a different approach to their problem.
Whatever means you have been trying to get help for the loved one or friend that keeps rejecting your offers, don’t try to force the issue or put undue pressure on them. When you put pressure or undue force on a loved one or friend in need, it usually comes from your heart but it can actually have the reverse effect to what you intended – and maybe even turn them off seeking help at all. Avoiding them is also not a great idea as it’s likely to make them feel worse and really isolated. It means if they do become ready to seek help, they might not feel comfortable about going back to you for support.
What can you do to be supportive?
You can supportive to your loved one or friend by these suggestions:
- Be available to listen to your friend when they need you and know when to back off.
- Offer help or suggestions if and when your loved one or friend reaches out to you and asks for your advice.
- Get informed. Do a bit of research into what help is available in your area that could be useful.
- Talk to someone yourself.You need to look after yourself as well, and feeling like you can’t help someone is really frustrating and can make you feel pretty helpless. Talk through how you’re feeling with someone you trust.
- Set boundaries.You need to look out for yourself, and you’re not going to be able to be there for someone at every moment of every day. Set some limits on things you are willing and not willing to do – and stick to them! (e.g. work out if you’re comfortable accompanying them to appointments).
For most situations, your loved one or friend should be allowed the appropriate time (and this will vary greatly from one to another) to seek help themselves. But if you think they are in danger or at risk as a result of what may be going on, then you need to intervene and seek immediate help. Even if they don’t want help but their life is at risk or there is a strong risk of self-harm, then you should seek help. It may be better to have an angry friend or loved one than no friend or loved one at all.