Strong Family Support Can Relieve Stress
Your family can either create
more stress for you or it can be an effective relief from stress. Keep in mind that sometimes family members enable the person with the problem to stay
stuck in their situation, despite their good intentions. It's easy to baby someone we love or to not be able to give
"tough love" when it it's needed. This doesn't mean that a family member won't benefit by knowing there is love and support around them.
Keep in mind that certain issues lend themselves to manipulation by the person under stress. "Enabling" is a
term discussed a lot in alcoholics anonymous as family members often make a lifestyle of enabling another person in
unhealthy patterns unknowingly. Though it feels to be genuine concern, the enabler has their own psychological
issues for having someone rely and depend on them for assistance.
Just as carrying a child around because you don't want them to fall while they are learning how to walk is not helpful,
so are certain types of help with someone who has psychological issues. For instance, a mother who writes her
child's college papers so he doesn't get anxious is not helping him stand on his own two feet and ultimately is
Healthy support shows someone you care and by listening you help them to share what they are going through. It's
important though to be able to question and even gently challenge someone if they are involved in blame or fault
findings so they can look at themselves to see how they may be contributing to their own stress. A big part of undoing
stress is learning the ways we perceive that we can change.
A good support person will be sympathetic but not agree with the excuses that someone makes. When someone is stressed if
you affirm their point of view when it is distorted or when it exaggerates a situation out of proportion you aren't
helping that person reduce their stress but instead keep them in a pattern of thinking that isn't productive.
Because we wish to be liked by others, we can find it difficult to challenge a family member's or a friend's
point of view.
Note: Some statements in this
article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational
purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.
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