Our expert says:
It's good to offer emotional support to friends and relatives in straight-forward situations. But where the situation is emotionally complicated, insist that they see a properly trained psychologist for counselling. If they had appendicitis, you'd similarly get them to see the appropriate specialist, rather than getting out your steak knife and trying a little sincere surgery.
Similarly, I think it's really important to provide support that enables them to get and follow proper expert advice, not support that is unconditional and enables them to continue to be foolish and to continue to inflict very avoidable suffering on themselves.
The aim needs to be to encourage them to solve their problems, not to make a lifelong career out of them. I think of someone I know who demands "support" by which she means absolute agreement, as a sole criterion of friendship, who insists that people must fly to her side whenever she feels upset, or she accuses them of "abandoning" her.
She has been seeing a counsellor for 8 years with no noticeable benefits, except that this counsellor soothes her and agrees with all her most self-damaging beliefs, does not want her to change, and uses discredited methods to justify her profound self-pity and confirm that she need never change.
It sounds as though you are responding realistically and sensibly to someone who has been making unfair demands on you and expects to continue to do so, in ways that are bad for you and bad for her. You do not need to accept that invitation.
You can tell her that you understand her situation must he most upsetting for her but that it is complex and way beyond your ability to be useful. And so you strongly advise her to get proper professional assistance from a qualified psychologist. You can mention that you have your own important problems to deal with, as you need to deal with them on your own and that you don't want to burden her with these. Wish her well, and say you're confident that if she follows the advice of a real expert, she should begin to gain control of these situations that are troubling her.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal
advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.