Ditch the guilt: It's not your job to change someone. Besides, a break help them move on.
If you're someone who gets caught up in other people's suffering, please take this story to heart. If this isn't an issue for you, but you know people who do, then you may want to direct them to this article.
A woman named Jessica hired me for a one-hour coaching session. When she called me, she was at her wits end after a year of supporting one of her friends through a very difficult time in her life. Jessica became emotionally drained, explaining that no matter how much she was there for her friend, nothing made a difference.
She was hoping that I could give her guidance on what else she could do to help. "Nothing," I said. "It's time to back off. It's not your job to save this woman. Until she does something to help herself, it won't serve you or her to continue being her leaning post."
This is not what Jessica wanted to hear. She believed you don't turn your back on people in their time of need. We talked a bit more about that and she came to understand that her belief wasn't serving her at all in this circumstance. Not to mention, she already had resentful feelings toward her friend. By the end of the call she agreed that it was time to back off, no matter how hard it would be.
Fast forward to the present—five months after our coaching session, I received a call from Jessica thanking me for the insights she gained during our session. She said she did exactly what we talked about and it was the best thing that she could have done.
She went on to explain that her friend recently called her after not speaking to each other for four months and told Jessica, "I've turned my life around. I'm volunteering my time to help others. I'm feeling stronger and I'm happier, thanks to you. When I no longer had you to complain to, I had to face myself and it wasn't pretty. I realized I'd better stop being a victim or I'll have no one in my life."
They're getting together for lunch in a few days and needless to say, Jessica is looking forward to seeing her dear friend knowing their time apart gave them both an opportunity to grow. Now, they can reconnect their friendship in a deeper way.
There are no guarantees that anyone you back off from is going to have an awakening like Jessica's friend did. If they don't, it's critical to remember that it's not your problem. It's not your fault and it's certainly not your responsibility. Until people are ready to make changes, nothing you do or say is going to make a difference. One of your jobs in life is to pay attention to whom you have a difficult time standing up to or whose drama you allow yourself to get dragged into over and over again.
Linda Salazar, founder of Your Heart Is In Your Hands, is a Relationship Coach, author, speaker and media personality working with smart, proactive, spiritually open women who are ready for remarkable relationships. Experiencing heartbreak? Struggling to find a relationship that makes your heart sing? Download Linda's free report to discover your innate relationship style. Contact Linda here.