Have you ever got too close to a cactus or rose bush? It can be hurtful if you are not careful. Sometimes trying to help a friend or someone else can get sticky too. Especially, if they are feeling overwhelmed. It is important to stay calm. Resist the temptation to rush into trying to solve their situation without getting the facts. Take time to listen before you respond.
Keep in mind, that you do not have all the pieces to the puzzle in someone else’s life or the difficult situation they are facing. The truth is, we don’t even have the perfect capacity to be the answer to every problem we face ourselves; so how can we realistically expect to be and do that for someone else?
Your role should be to do what they can’t do, if you can…but you should not do for them what they can do for themselves. Avoid the trap of Enmeshment, where you become so emotionally attached and involved in their issues to the point that is unhealthy. That is when you find yourself constantly basing your happiness and well being to how they are doing. If they are up, you are up. If they are down, you are down. It can get to the point that you can’t enjoy anything or function very well yourself…because of their difficulties. There is also an inherent danger in these co-dependent type of relationships. That is when you become an enabler for their continued problems and in the long term you end up hurting yourself by trying to help them.
Be a catalyst and connector to help them identify some good options for their particular need. Maybe, suggest connecting them to someone you that you know has been through something similar or someone who has more expertise in these issues they are dealing with in their life. This helps them to take responsibility for their actions and reactions in learning how to cope in a positive way. We also need and seek God’s help in helping others. After all… God who created them, knows all about them. God loves them and He should be involved in our process of helping them. Pray for His wisdom in your conversations with this person. Pray specifically for discernment in what to say or not to say to them. Pray consistently for guidance in what to do and not to do in trying to help them. Also, pray for grace as you attempt to help them. This will help you as you help them… without harming yourself.