In tune with this week’s theme, let’s talk harmful habits. Being involved with someone who is battling their own demons can put a strain on any relationship. Anything from substance abuse to mental health issues that can cross over into the relationship territory can be tricky. These situations often put you in the uncomfortable position of not knowing how to help the person you so deeply care for.
1. Talk it out. Step one, as you may have noticed from previous columns, is always talking it out. This is sometimes the hardest part because it is very likely that your significant other is going to get extremely defensive or react in a complete state of denial. Regardless, it needs to be done.
Plan out all the main points you want to communicate and make sure you are ready with multiple examples to back up your arguments. Make sure to set aside a sufficient amount of time to express everything that you need to and also be ready to have multiple conversations. It is likely that your point might not sink in after only one conversation so be ready and willing to repeat yourself.
2. Don’t condescend. No one wants to feel like their flaws are being put on display so make sure you are coming from a good place with the message that you are trying to communicate. People often immediately react defensively to a condescending tone, which is a sure way to turn them off to listening to anything that you have to say. Let the person know you are approaching them because you care, not because you are better than them.
3. Find out what is best. For the both of you. Try to take an objective point of view and think of what is truly best for the both of you. It is often easy in situations to convince yourself to stay in the relationship to support your significant other, but you may actually just be enabling them. It isn’t worth hurting yourself or putting yourself in harm’s way to fight someone else’s battles. However, if it truly would help your significant other heal by having your support, and you are willing, then it would be best to come together to find a solution. Make sure to assess all aspects of the situation so that everyone involved is working toward a proactive and progressive situation.
4. Don’t do it alone. It is very probable that the issue at hand is bigger than the both of you. It is crucial to get other people involved including family and professionals alike. Support for everyone involved is going to lead to the most help and maintain everyone’s sanity throughout the entire process. Surrounding your significant other with a positive environment and reason to “get on the right track” will serve as a beneficial motivating factor.