There’s nothing worse than seeing someone you love suffer. Sometimes, good people do bad things. It may have been unintentional or the person may have changed since then. But when something like this happens, the guilty party is usually the last to forgive themselves. And it can be painful to watch.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand you can wave to fix someone else’s perspective. The only thing we can do is wait and be supportive while our loved ones work things out for themselves.
Here are a few ways to support your significant other while they are overcoming demons.
Be a good listener
When you love someone, your first instinct is to take their pain away. We tend to do this by making excuses. “Anyone would have done the same in your shoes.” or “everyone makes mistakes.” These things can be comforting to hear at times, but sometimes, your role is just to listen.
If your efforts to comfort your spouse are having the opposite effect, switch gears and simply listen. Stop trying to downplay what he or she has done and just listen to her feelings about the event.
You’ll find that this is easier said than done, but it gets easier with practice.
Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, not just for the event in question, but for how it makes them feel every day. There would be moments you’d want to spend alone and moments you’d want a shoulder to cry on. You may even act out in anger at times. Try to understand where the other person is coming from and exhibit some patience.
Help them get help
Sometimes, it’s difficult to know when you’ve gone too far. Depression can take over someone’s thoughts to the point where they don’t want to get help. If you think your loved one is depressed, start talking about counseling sooner rather than later. Most people have a tendency to hide their feelings, so by the time you notice a problem, it may already be bigger than you realize. Either way, it’s never too early to talk about getting help.
And if your problem is something like addiction, it’s especially important to get help sooner rather than later. Instead of going to a psychologist, consider investigating rehabs in your area. It’s best not to be too pushy (it has to be your loved one’s choice), but do what you can to encourage help. Being married to an addict isn’t easy, and it only gets harder as your spouse falls deeper into addiction.
The best way you can help a loved one overcome their demons is to let them know you’ll always be there. You can do this with actions and words. It’s important not to enable bad behavior, but you can show support in other ways. Listen, offer encouraging words and help your loved one get help when the time comes. It’s so difficult to watch our loved ones struggle, but you both should know that there will be a light at the end of this tunnel. Just keep supporting each other through the hard times.