Ways to support someone when they are really struggling: Therapist shares tips
From validating their perspective to avoiding comparisons, here are a few ways to support someone when they are struggling.
The route to become a fixer for others stems from the fact that many of us did not have an adult or a caregiver to soothe us when we faced troubles in our lives. Hence, as adults when we see others in trouble, we start to jump to become their rescuer. But do we know the real and the helpful way to fix someone and help them when they are struggling? Addressing this, Psychologist Nicole LePera wrote, “Many of us grew up in environments where adults didn’t help us cope or calm our emotions, so as adults we cringe or jump out of our skin when someone is struggling emotionally. We go into fixer mode. Or, we start saying things to make (ourselves) feel better - everything is a lesson, life doesn’t give us more than we can handle. One of the most important life skills is learning how to actually support someone.”
Nicole further noted down a few ways to support someone when they are really struggling:
Resist: Jumping in to save the situation can cause more damage than known. The first step is to resist giving unsolicited advice or trying to save the situation.
Ask: The worst thing we can do to a person struggling with something is by not taking their consent and jumping in to save them. It is always better to ask if they need some help and how they need it.
Perspective: A person who is struggling already knows his/her perspective. Trying to give them new perspectives may take the focus away from the pain that they are facing.
Validation: We should always validate their perspective and their troubles and only then they will know what they feel is not unimportant.
Presence: Sometimes, a struggling person needs to know that they are not alone. Just being there for someone can be a beautiful gift.
Comparison: It is important that we do not mention a comparison and make them feel low for the way they are handling it.
Offer: We can always offer to make the situation easier – but before taking any action, we must take their consent.
Taking it personally: Sometimes people can shut down and not accept help. We should not take it personally.