I Can’t Save You if You Won’t Help


We all know someone that could use some help, but what do we do for someone that always needs help but isn’t willing to change their situation? I’m talking about someone that seems to be in a perpetual sense of crisis, always needs to be bailed out, but isn’t willing to do the work to get out of the situation that leaves them in crisis.

For me, it’s a family member. I talked about her in a previous post where I addressed Borderline in the Family. By no means am I unsympathetic. I really do feel for her and how hard it has to be existing in such a dire situation. However, I also don’t want to contribute to the cycle.

For example, she contacted me about a new medication regimen that wasn’t going well, and I certainly sympathized with her plight. I’ve been there and know how hard it can be to get the help you really need when no one believes you. The difference between her plight and mine was that she was using it to manipulate me into giving her money for drugs and/or alcohol, and that wasn’t the first time she’s tried that.

Anyone that’s ever had a loved one with an addiction knows that the last thing you want to do is to contribute to their addiction by giving them money. Why? Because addiction drives them to feed it, and if there’s money available to feed it, it will get fed.

While I wish there was a way that I could help, I know that when conflict arises with either her treatment such as confronting issues that she doesn’t want to address or challenges delusions she holds about herself… she’ll either quit or make herself a victim. It’s her go-to modus operandi and very much in the vein of untreated Borderline Personality Disorder. So, how do I help a no-end situation without making it worse?

There’s nothing that can be done unless she stops abusing substances and helps herself. I know that if she reads this, she may vilify me. Borderline Personality Disorder leads to distinctly polar classifications of people. Someone is either all good or all bad when in reality there are very few people that can be categorized as such. Throw in addiction and the gulf widens. Really, actions are what can be classified not necessarily the people that do those actions.

Part of me is putting this out there for me, and part of me is putting this out there for everyone else going through the same thing including my other family members that are hanging their heads wondering what can be done.

In the end, we can push, pull, cry, shout, and metaphorically shake the person we want to help, but unless they want to change, there’s nothing we can do. It isn’t giving up. It’s just understanding that there are limitations and necessary boundaries to what can be done if anything at all. How can we help anyone if we don’t protect our own psyches?



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