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How to Solve Complex Situations ? 9 Best Tips


The arguments at home, the demands for Complex Situations, and the summers (and later, the school years) the kids spent with their grandparents had been going on for years. Finally, the frantic call for help and rescue

All of a sudden, Claire*, a middle-aged mother of three, wife, and daughter with a great job in the past, was reliant on the support of her family and the narcotics that were ruining her life.


It is a tale that could be told of addicts, criminals, victims, and perpetrators everywhere in the world. But neither Claire nor them are the focus of this tale. Because there are families, friends, and communities involved with each person at the centre of these ongoing, never-ending dramas, Because people around the world don’t just have their lives flipped upside down by Claires.

For Claire, her ailing grandparents were first, then her mother and loving stepfather, who took her in after her grandparents passed away. Her children, who were also battling addiction, struggled with how to support their mother when she needed cash, a car, or to be freed from jail.

Her first grandchild, who was born during one of Claire’s numerous incarcerations, was raised by her brother, and she was unable to attend the child’s first, second, or fifth birthdays. Her requests for financial assistance were repeatedly granted by her aunts. She was alternately taken in and thrown out by her spouse. She stole, lied, and pulled herself together, only to be drawn back into the way of life that she hasn’t yet learned to control.

Nobody is sure what to do either.

“You still feel like it’s your obligation, and you don’t know how to solve it,” Stephen*, Claire’s stepfather and a retired preacher, adds.We could send her down to live with those folks beneath the bridge, or we could let her stay here.

Managing denial and poor decisions

Knowing how to assist someone in a crisis that wasn’t their fault, such as a cancer diagnosis, a partner’s infidelity, a layoff, or the loss of a loved one, is challenging enough. However, we are at a loss when the individual in question is contributing to the issue, whether it be addiction, criminal activity, immoral behaviour, or a bad life pattern.

How can we offer support without giving in? How can we act in the capacity of a dependable friend or relative while still pointing them in a different direction? Is even that a component of what we do? How can we tell if our efforts are making the situation better or worse? And how can we maintain our mental health throughout the process?


You’d be shocked at how many individuals don’t know where to start, says Steve Wildsmith, an ex-addict who has been sober since 2002 and now works at Cornerstone of Recovery, a programme for addiction recovery close to Knoxville, Tennessee.

According to him, dealing with the problem is difficult from the start since people who are fighting addiction or other poor life patterns frequently live in denial.

If a friend or relative has cancer, Wildsmith explains, “You’re not dealing with someone who says, “I don’t have cancer.” On the other hand, people who are struggling with addiction or bad decisions hardly ever acknowledge the issue. And how can you assist them in finding a solution to an issue they deny having?

Dealing with a friend or family member who is experiencing dysfunction on a long-term basis adds to the difficulty of the situation.

According to Jennifer Gless, a marital and family therapist in San Bernardino, California, “the role when dealing with addiction or poor choices tends to be more long-term, but dealing with a loss or illness is frequently viewed as short-term, relatively speaking.” Additionally, she adds, “When someone is struggling with a death or illness, we tend to tolerate more “bad” behaviour because eventually the grieving will pass, or if someone is unwell, they will get better, etc.” This isn’t always the case for people who are addicted or have trouble making decisions.

The unspoken problem

Recognizing and accepting the issue for what it is is a crucial component of dealing with someone who is in a crisis.

Everyone is aware of what is happening, but according to Wildsmith, no one wants to bring up the elephant in the living room. The bank was asking, “Did you make a $500 withdrawal today?” by the time my parents were compelled to confront it. Be aware of it, and don’t be afraid to face it.

When Franteenage *’s son’s behaviour reached a breaking point, she knew it was time to take drastic action as a single mother and throw him out of the house.

“I don’t know all he was doing, but drugs were involved,” adds Fran. “He had gotten physical with me in his rage, breaking my collar bone, and he was already on probation for another incident.” His senior year, when he was arrested for distributing “look-alike narcotics,” was the tipping point. I didn’t want to save him.

In the end, the boy was taken in by a young pastor, who helped him change his ways.

Admitting the issue is the same as admitting personal failure for many families. Consequently, it is simpler to say or do nothing at all until it is too late.

This is due to various factors. Experience has taught family and friends that these conflicts are difficult and frequently don’t produce the intended outcomes.

People do not desire that assistance. Robert Hayes, a retired professor of psychology and counselling at Ball State University, predicts that they would fight it or sabotage it. When a close family member or friend tries to help, the person in distress frequently turns the situation around, saying, “They can strike back so rapidly.” They are too familiar with you. They are skilled at hurting you verbally. Often, a family member or close friend may not be the ideal choice to handle the situation.

Chris Lowe, a therapist in recovery from addiction, promotes open communication amongst family members and friends at Cornerstone of Recovery. This may eventually result in a group intervention on behalf of the person who is experiencing a crisis.

Contrary to the television programme Intervention, such an approach should engage as many individuals as is practical, with 25, according to Lowe, being the ideal number.

“It should be a buddy or a colleague.” According to Lowe, everyone should be aware of what is going on because it should be so obvious.

This kind of community action, which should always include a qualified therapist to help coordinate and mediate the process, not only drives home the idea that change is necessary but also conveys “that there are that many people who care,” according to Wildsmith.

Such collaboration addresses isolation, which is the main impediment to healing.

According to Lowe, “it’s an illness of isolation for us.” The better it is for everyone, says Lowe, “the more we communicate, the more we alleviate families and churches of that stigma.”

Discretionary speech and listening

The call from a friend or family member whose life is collapsing (for the first time or the hundredth time) due to their own doing can happen at any time, even in the middle of the night or on a perfectly normal afternoon. And we struggle to express our feelings, act, or say the right thing.

The most crucial action is probably not to take any at all.


Sandy Tracy, a chaplain who regularly deals with families going through difficult times, says that the first thing she does is basically just listen and let the situation sort itself out. “Untrained individuals desire to converse with and help people.” It’s challenging, but you just need to pay attention.

According to Tracy, you can play a supporting role by just listening to what the other person has to say without taking sides or passing judgement.

Hayes concurs. He asserts that “presence is one of the most valuable things.”

Through these listening sessions, you may be able to refer a person to additional help, such as their pastor, a counsellor, a social worker, or—in more serious cases—to call Mobile Crisis Services.

Defining limits

Instead of just being at their beck and call, setting boundaries in relationships actually helps the person in distress more.

When the oxygen masks come down on a plane, Gless advises putting the mask on oneself before putting it on the other passenger. “How can you help the other person if you are not healthy?”

It can mean refusing to lie to the husband or kids on behalf of a friend who is having an affair. Setting a departure date and then keeping to it can be the solution for an adult child who is still living at home and lacks motivation. A loved one who is struggling with addiction may decide never to give money to someone in need.

Gless agrees that it can be challenging to determine where to draw the line. Asking yourself how you will feel if you comply with the request is a good rule of thumb.

“Will you experience resentment or anger?” Gless advises against it.Do the task if you can complete it without expecting anything in return (i.e., without expecting a thank you, without anticipating that they will owe you a favour, without anticipating that they will adore you, etc.).

“Don’t anticipate getting it right the first time,” she adds.

Experience may teach us about boundaries, according to Gless. “Mistakes are acceptable; there is no ideal course of action.” It might be messy for everyone.

Drawing boundaries in the sand can act as inspiration to stop engaging in the damaging practice. The decision made by their parents to evict them served as the catalyst for Wildsmith and Lowe to enrol themselves in treatment.

But according to Lowe, you cannot rely on it, so one must make personal decisions with the knowledge that they cannot force others to change.

According to Lowe, “it’s different for everyone.” “Things won’t change until we’re ready,” said the speaker, “and we can be locked up, beaten up, and prayed over.”

Schedule self-care time.

In any crisis, managing the situation at hand may frequently take precedence over maintaining one’s mental health.

The carer frequently needs to practise self-care but is unsure of how to proceed, according to Tracy. Lowe and Wildsmith first advise families in prolonged crises to seek counselling for themselves and seek assistance from others going through comparable situations.

Even if it’s only walking to a bookstore after dropping their loved one off at an AA meeting, it’s crucial for members of a person’s support system to find their own hobbies and endeavours.

Lowe suggests finding some activities that you enjoy doing on your own.Families must relinquish control and give up.

According to Tracy, it might be simple to ignore the fundamentals, such as eating healthily and getting adequate rest. The most crucial element of her self-care routine is a spiritual connection. She asserts that in order to provide spiritual support to others, one must also possess it.

4 Questions to Consider When Deciding Whether to Assist or Assist a Loved One

It’s true that a friend in need is indeed a friend. Wait a minute. Even with the best of intentions, we might occasionally end up hurting ourselves by making a bad situation worse for the same individuals we are attempting to help. Here are some traps to avoid as you go across this treacherous landscape.

1. Are you offering a helping hand or a handout?

You could be fostering an environment where someone can carry on making bad decisions without having to face the consequences if you give money that ends up being spent on drugs, lie to hide an affair, hide how bad things are from other family members and friends, bail someone out of difficult situations, or always make yourself available no matter how unreasonable the demands. On both sides of the relationship, it also fosters anger, irrational expectations, and mistrust. Dependence just leads to further dependence rather than to devotion.

2. Do you have a dependency on giving?

It makes us feel good to serve others because we like to feel important to someone. Nothing about that is fundamentally bad. However, our own desire to be needed can push us toward codependency when assisting the other person becomes as much a need for us as it is for them. As a result, bad behaviour becomes more ingrained, and two people become complicit in a single issue.

3. Do you overlook other individuals in your life in favour of helping this one person?

Of course, there are situations in which it’s necessary to put everything else on hold. However, dealing with folks who stir up trouble all the time drains us all and may cause us to neglect others who want our attention. It’s time to reevaluate if everyone else—spouse, kids, friends, and family—takes a backseat to the person in “need.” You shouldn’t focus all of your attention and energy on one person. Period.

4. Do you feel burned out?

It might be detrimental to your own mental and spiritual health to carry other people’s problems on your sleeve and in your heart. Be aware of the symptoms of mental stress, such as insomnia, sadness, exhaustion, and physical health problems. Make time for counselling, rejuvenation, and rest. Always keep in mind that you can’t properly assist someone who is experiencing a personal problem until you are well yourself.

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