Watching a loved one suffer

One of the many problem we face as individuals is watching someone we love suffer.

Sickness.  Injury.  Worse yet, something self inflicted.

Drugs.  Violence.  An abusive relationship.

We’ve all seen someone in a situation like this.  Perhaps all these situations.  I pray that you, Gentle Reader, are not in a situation like this.  If you are, please seek help.

In the meantime, someone is suffering, what do we do?

As experts in behavior (and we are, that’s why we’re here), we are faced with this sobering truth.  We can’t help them.  It’s true.

The only way someone can escape from suffering, when that suffering is created by their own behavior, is to change themselves.  And that change has to come from within.


We can support them, send them money, express our love, and encourage change.

We can lecture them on occasion, but that makes them run away.  We can send them a membership to Alcoholics Anonymous, but that makes them angry with us.  We can yell at their abusive partner, but that only makes the bond between them even stronger.

We have to wait.  We have to support.  Worse yet, we have to watch.

And if that spiral has begun, if we see them continue downward into oblivion, we have to pray that they take no one else with them.  If there are children involved, I suggest that we rescue the kids as soon as possible.  For the children, there is always hope.

But for those whose own behavior is taking them down the path of perdition, we must hold our breath, hold their hand, and keep silent.  For after all, it is their choice.  And in a universe where free will exists, we must respect their choice.

To Amy.  And Megan.  With love.


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