Written by Austin Page
Every separation is painful and difficult to handle. It makes you feel incomplete and lost. And it can be most challenging to find just the right way to start—you'll be asking yourself questions. For instance, what to do when your loved one goes to jail or when they leave for other reasons.
However, separation doesn't only affect the parties involved. It also puts the people around them in a somewhat difficult position. If your loved one is going through a separation, you'll probably feel the urge to help motivate and uplift them while they navigate the difficulties that lie ahead. And usually, taking sides and giving advice is our first response, but every separation is different, so we must acknowledge that. While there isn't a quick remedy to take the weight off your loved one's painful situation, you may offer proactive support that does more good than harm.
Here are some steps you can follow:
1. Be There For Them.
When a loved one confides in us, we may feel pressured to provide excellent advice to show that they did not put their trust in us in vain. However, this is different from what they're usually asking for. In fact, our loved one may object to unsolicited counsel or the assumption that we already know the answer to a complex problem.
Most of the time, they just need to be reassured they have someone with them to get through the tough times. We all know that facing difficulty can be challenging, but knowing you have at least one person along the process will motivate you to continue. You might not be aware of it, but sometimes, your presence can be more than enough for a person dealing with separation.
2. Listen And Hold Space For Them.
The next step would be listening to them. A person dealing with problems will always need an outlet, and sometimes sharing what they feel with important people is what they need. That said, showing up and listening to do can be the best response when a loved one is going through a separation.
While it may seem that you need to provide the best advice or tips to get motivated every day, you have to acknowledge that each person processes grief and handles problems differently. And separation, by nature, will involve a massive shift in their reality. Commonly, they can act out of character or even go into a downward tailspin as they try to make sense of everything. In light of this, hold space for them.
But how can you do that?
You can do it in two ways: allowing them to process their grief and not shaming them for their missteps. Give them a safe space as they walk through all the stages of grief. And don't press for details when they start opening up with you or push them to move on quickly. If you have judgments, make an effort to keep them to yourself and only show compassion. By doing so, you can point them to the right path.
3. Empathize And Show Your Support.
When a loved one is going through a separation, you can expect the unexpected from them. Since they are bound to feel a world of emotions, there will be times when they will beat themselves up with a self-critical inner narrative or show destructive behaviors. However, as a friend or family, all you need to do is to empathize with them and show kindness and support.
Try to understand the waves of their emotions and uncertain feelings. And if you have plenty of time, spend quality time with them. You can help them with chores and do other things they love. By simply empathizing and offering support, you can help them walk through the road of self-love.
4. Consider Getting Them Professional Help.
It is unlikely that you will really understand the depth of what your loved one is going through unless you are a qualified specialist or have gone through a separation identical to theirs. An accredited mediator, Jack Whelan, once said that taking advice from friends and family who don't understand the law is one of the biggest mistakes people dealing with separation make. Although he believes that getting support from people that matter is important, getting help and advice from a professional is best. After all, we want to uplift our loved ones struggling through separation. So, instead of giving unsolicited or uneducated advice, get professional help to manage the situation well.
The Bottom Line
Any kind of separation is never easy. And the worst part about it is that it can also be a traumatic experience. Therefore, as a friend or family of the person dealing with that difficult position, you have to make sure that it wouldn't be a complete catastrophe for them. Uplift and motivate them in a way that won't aggravate the situation. The simple steps in this article will help you along the process.
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