How to encourage someone you love to make positive changes.
Now that Lance Armstrong has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his years of cycling and Tour de France wins, it’s been brought to media attention that Sheryl Crow may have lied to protect his reputation. Although she denied it in public interviews, sources are convinced Crow must have known about his drug use because she was dating him for two years during his Tour de France racing days, and the two were even engaged during one of his wins.
Although Armstrong never mentioned Crow during his admissions, he did note that his ex-wife Kristen knew about it--and also that he credited her with making him promise that his comeback in 2009 would be drug-free.
So should you defend a liar you love? Well, it ultimately depends on what that person is lying about; and, in the case of Armstrong, it appears Sheryl Crow’s denial of her mate’s drug use didn’t help move her relationship forward, nor did it help her guy get his life back on track.
So should you do like Crow did and keep your mouth shut, or should you let someone you love know that they need to adjust their values or risk losing the relationship?
Based on Armstrong’s story, it sounds like his ex-wife had the right idea. When you defend a liar you love, you are, for the most part, an enabler. When you enable someone who’s doing something harmful to themselves or others (and in this case, EVERYONE was affected), they don’t know that they need to take steps to turn things around.
What are some ways you can encourage someone you love to make positive changes?
- Let them know that you’re here to support them.
- Offer educated guidance if you have it; if not, refer them to a professional who can help.
- Speak to a professional yourself to get some direction about what you should be doing. There are support groups for both men and women who need to detach from the behaviors of their partners while still managing to be both loving and supporting. Setting boundaries without taking the backlash personally is often difficult. Getting outside help is critical so that you don’t end up making choices that ultimately not only sabotage your relationship but leave you with feelings of regret and remorse.
- If necessary, step back and let them know they need to want to make the steps independently of what you want. You will be available if they need you, but they probably need to be on this journey alone (especially at the beginning).
Defending someone you love for the sake of protecting their reputation is in general not a great idea if you do not take care of yourself first. It can hurt them, you or even the public, as we saw from Armstrong’s recent interview with Oprah. Encouraging someone who has a problem to get help and offering your support is a great first step to help someone you love.