It can be really challenging to remain positive and optimistic when you have to watch your loved one destroying their lives. Sometimes, it seems they are hell bent on destroying your life with them. There are times they do really crappy things to you and it can be so difficult to say anything nice or positive to them.
However, reminding them of how strong they are, how smart they are, how much you believe in them, how you will always support and help them (not enable them) can make a huge difference. If you say it enough times, you may actually start believing it too.
Yes, this still requires really strong and firm boundaries. They shouldn't be able to take advantage of you, steal from you, manipulate you, etc.
But showing them unconditional love by communicating in a loving way even when they are cussing you, blaming you, sharing their sob stories, can make a huge difference in their decision to eventually get help. And believe me, they remember that stuff when they start healing. It's more important than you think.
Now, when they ask you for money, the answer is still no, but no with "No I'm not going to give you money because I believe you are capable of figuring this out on your own."
When they ask you for a place to live, it's still a no but no with "No, you can't live here because living with your parents/grandparents isn't going to support you being an adult. You can figure it out, we believe in you."
When they want you to bail them out of jail, still a no, but a no with "We are going to leave you in there and allow you to get yourself out of jail. You are incredibly strong and we believe you can get through this on your own and we will be here when you get out."
Remember, tough love isn't about being tough on them, it's about making decisions that are tough to do. And if you can balance making tough decisions that are in their best interest along with communicating how much you believe in them and have faith in them that they can and will get better when they make that decision will give them the confidence and faith in themselves to take the actions they need to take.
It won't happen overnight, but we hope they make that decision before the drugs/alcohol kills them. And having a strong family support system is priceless in their willingness to get the help they need.
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