Monday, April 1, 2013

Friendly Follow-up & Your Best Advice

Thought I should follow up to my last blog entry regarding the woman for whom I've been trying find services and housing in Fort Worth.

Your comments were so insightful, I thought posting them here might help someone else.

But before I do that, I must share a few life lessons I've learned through this situation:

First and foremost, it finally clicked in my pea brain that sometimes truly helping someone may require giving them tools and resources--and then stepping back, allowing them to use those aids. Otherwise, we can end up hurting the very people we're trying to help.

Second, I learned how truly difficult it is to find affordable housing, especially if one has bad credit--even when she has a full-time job. What a struggle. It was incredibly disheartening to me, and I had access to  excellent contacts and a car!

Third, and I learned this years ago from a counselor, just because someone calls you on the phone, does not require you answer! My fellow pleasers understand this. Experts will tell you that simply picking up the phone can enable abuser types--whether that's a jilted lover, spouse, or abusive boss, or a pressuring coach or negative parent or coworker. In my case, I logged 17 calls in a 36-hour period from this clearly desperate woman. It was affecting my work and bled into my emotional state. I finally told her no more phone calls and communicated via short texts only.

Bottom line? If you're starting to feel manipulated or taken advantage of, take your power back. Demand boundaries.

In the end it will free up more space in your heart to love.

Below are a few of the Facebook comments I found valuable after posting my previous blog. Whatever your circumstances, wherever your heart is lead in regards to helping others, I hope you find the following advice helpful. 


Tracy.... if she really wanted your gracious help, she would be grateful for what you have done for her. She has to help herself now and unfortunately, you have put yourself in an awkward position. You must stop and tell her that that is all you can do for her. If I was in need (been there) I would be sooo darn grateful... and quietly would accept anything you (or anyone else) offered. 
--U. Boettcher

It looks like people have been helpful already. But when I've been in similar situations as an teacher/social worker/friend I am very clear with them, as I try to be from the start, with what I have done, what I won't be able to do more of until they take ownership of the plan, and I tell them what I see from my perspective. I let them know I will be there for them when they are ready (so they don't have that excuse), but I remind them that these same opportunities may not. I advocate, but I have them do the leg work. I recommend counseling to try to learn how to move beyond the issues that are keeping them from moving forward. She's afraid and doesn't feel worthy. It can make a person angry, but this isn't personal.
--J. Holland

 I am wondering if the things she is complaining about really warrant complaining ( in the current housing situation). Where is her appreciation for what she has? It has to be better than what she had. I agree with what your friend said about giving her tools and now she has to want it and fix it herself. Otherwise, she will be back where she was sooner than later.
--T. Blakeman

1 comment:

  1. Excellent blog. I'm involved in a similar situation and the woman we're all trying to help has such a victim mentality that she ends up rejecting much of what is offered to her. When we tell her about potential jobs there's always some reason she couldn't do that job, and doesn't apply. When it was suggested she move to a cheaper home (and help moving was offered) she resisted because she "needs" a five bedroom house, even though she's a single mom with two kids and no job. She has rejected offers from professional resume writers, and complains constantly on Facebook. It does test our willingness to help, but we're all concerned about her kids so we press on. Hang in there.


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