When your loved one is overwhelmed from work, do you wonder how you can help? You may have seen a variety of ways they try to handle those work demands, with differing degrees of success. Addictions Therapist and Founder of Love With Boundaries, Candace Plattor, explains what you can do to help.
Some things you might notice could include:
- Increasing complaining, irritability, anger, and resentment at any requests you make for help;
- Isolation and withdrawal from friends and favourite activities;
- Emotional sensitivity in response to the slightest provocation (“What do you mean, the game isn’t on???”; “Don’t you know how important this is?”; “You don’t have any idea what I’m dealing with!”);
- An increase in using alcohol or other addictive substances or behaviours, and the direct negative side-effects resulting from those;
- Your loved one may become more emotionally unavailable;
- They may experience a domino effect of emotional and mental exhaustion. This could lead to poor sleep and concentration, which can lead to increasing anxiety, inferior performance at work, and other poor lifestyle choices.
Any or all these things can be happening to your loved one. You may also experience them happening to YOU, as you try to compensate for what is happening for THEM. The result? Everyone suffers.
There is often more going on than just their problems at work. Your loved one’s issues can become personal issues for you and other family members (including your children), and can be affecting the health of your relationship. At the extreme, these difficulties may even develop into serious health problems for your loved one.
It’s quite probable that you’ve seen this dysfunction developing for some time, gradually growing and growing, until it’s having more and more noticeable negative effects.
How can I help?
Let’s look at the first of Three Success Strategies you can implement to help your loved one deal with their emotional overwhelm at work.
If you haven’t been talking about it, break the silence. Open up a conversation about your concerns and re-establish that you are committed to creating the best path for all, moving forward.
Here are 3 steps to create success with this strategy:
Step 1: Get clear on what you’re concerned about, and what you want to see happen. Either write it out or get together with a trusted friend with whom you can talk about your concerns.
If you’re talking with a friend, remember: Don’t bash! Your loved one is likely doing the best they know how to do and bashing them will only have a negative effect for everyone.
If you know what you want to say, writing it down can help you say it successfully. Remember: because you care so much, you could begin talking about it with accumulated emotional intensity – which could have exactly the opposite effect of what you want. Writing out your thoughts could really help!
When you do take the time to write this out, you can accomplish these four things:
- Honouring your feelings and thoughts – for yourself.
- Having the chance to rehearse what you want to say, including how you feel, what your thoughts are, and how you think you can work together to achieve the most productive results.
- Giving yourself the opportunity to feel more clear, confident and strong – which can often lead to a less emotionally charged conversation.
- Showing them how much you care, and that you want the best for them – as well as for yourself and the rest of their “Circle of Love.” This will help them to really hear you when you talk with them.
Step 2: Prepare yourself by making the following lists:
- How you see that their external behaviour has changed;
- How you know that they may be feeling hurt or overwhelmed;
- What you’d like to see for them instead – because you care.
Step 3: Set a time and open the discussion.
Ask them to just listen to what you have to say – and let them know you’ll listen to them after that. If you’ve written it, you may want to offer them a copy of that so you can both be clear about what is being said.
Doing it this way is more likely to result in healthy, respectful, and ongoing communication.
What Should I Avoid Doing?
Things to definitely avoid doing:
- Issuing ultimatums
- Telling them how to fix it.
Instead, DO encourage them to come up with their own solutions, by offering your possible ideas and listening to theirs.
If you try these strategies and still don’t see an improvement, please reach out for skilled guidance from someone who knows how to help both you and your overwhelmed loved one.
Candace Plattor is an Addictions Therapist in private practice, where she specializes in working with the family and other loved ones of people who are struggling with addiction, in her unique and signature Family Addiction Counselling and Therapy Program. As a former opioid addict with 34 years clean and sober now, Candace has learned that overcoming addiction is a family condition: everyone in the family is affected by addiction and everyone needs to heal. For more than three decades, she has been helping both addicts and their loved ones understand their dysfunctional behaviours and make healthier life choices.
The results Candace achieves have been astounding: addicts stop using and families regain their lives from the ravages of addiction. Not only has her success led to a waiting list of clients but she is a sought after leader in the field of addictions. As the developer of the LoveWithBoundaries Family Addiction Counselling and Therapy method, Candace now works with her team of top counsellors and coaches, helping both the families and their addicts break the devastating cycle of addiction for good. For more information, please go to https://www.LoveWithBoundaries.com