We fall into habits of talking to family members over time that doesn’t include listening. We predict what they’ll say and intervene with our own opinion and advice. While it may be good advice, our loved ones rarely appreciate it.
Think of how powerless someone feels when they’ve been put in a mental institution against their will? And then later told what medications to take and that they are doctor’s orders. Pretty soon they feel they are not in charge of anything. What’s more, loved ones don’t take medication because they truly feel they are not sick. We think of them as stubborn. Why can’t they see? When in fact, the denial is part of the disease.
What if you learned a way to communicate that would change your relationship? Recommended by NAMI is a book called, “I’m not sick. I don’t need help.” It’s a book that can help you stop the yelling and build a better relationship with your loved one who lives with mental illness.
While it’s intended for members of the family who suffer severe mental illness, I find the communication suggestions worthy for those with addiction and even less severe mental illness. It focuses on allowing your loved one to save face and meeting them where they are.
We can’t make them see our way but by honoring them enough to hear them out and respect that their opinion may be different than ours, you can alter your relationship for the better. This is the only way we can influence their decision to take medication or help them find recovery is to see and appreciate things from their point of view, too.
The program developed from the book is called LEAP. It is backed by science and the author, Xavier Amador PhD had a brother who lived with schizophrenia so his recommendations come from professional and personal experience. And his method has been out there for more than a decade with proven results.
I’ve read it and highly recommend the book, “I’m not sick. I don’t need help.” Because we can’t change others until we change ourselves. It starts with us.