Supporting change – image thanks to bipolarcaregivers.org
Watching a loved one go through a crisis, at any age, is painful and confusing, particularly if it changes the dynamic of your relationship and you are unsure how to cross the divide and help them. For the person experiencing that crisis it is like an earthquake has happened and they are left clutching to any small piece of solid ground they can find as their lives shift and fall apart. It can feel quite scary for those involved as they begin to question their lives and even their own mind. But a crisis doesn’t have to be a negative experience or an end. If given the right room and support you can both come through the process transformed and stronger for facing change together. If you are in crisis or know someone who is, read on for some ideas on how to give change a chance for a more positive outcome.
- Rebadge it – the word crisis has negative connotations around breaking, falling apart and pain. This often overspills into personal relationships as you both try and cope with the fear and insecurity that change can bring. However a crisis doesn’t have to be about a break if you can see the process as a positive transformation. Transformation is part of life and so a positive step you can take to support a period of crisis is to focus on the positive aspects of change and transformation so that it can bring you closer together.
- Let go – your instincts might be to hold on tight to the loved one going through this period of change and try and be there for them at all times. Sometimes though this can do more damage than good. This is a time of self-reflection and exploration and this can only be done positively if your loved one is given the space to do it. Try and avoid putting any timescale on it or imposing your boundaries; allow your partner to lead the way and support them by letting go with compassion. You can then be there for when they feel they are ready for your support.
- Stay healthy – this is important for both of you. It is easy at this time to fall into negative health patterns such as drinking and drugs to try and escape the reality of the situation. This can be very dangerous however as this can lead to feelings of dependency and substance abuse. If you think you or your partner might have dependency issues you should consider drug and alcohol rehab so that you can face this process without any barriers. For strength of body and mind you could take up a relaxing hobby such as yoga, which when practiced together has the added benefit of bringing you closer both body and soul.
Remember this is an important period of your lives together and could be the defining moment of your relationship. Change is inevitable but when approached with an open mind, heart and inquiry it can build strength and resilience that is both joyous and everlasting.