Question of the Week #158

You notice a self-destructive behavior pattern in a friend who is clearly unaware of it. Would you point it out?

I would probably try to point it out, yeah. Because if it’s someone I care about and they’re doing something that’s unhealthy or unsafe, I’d want to keep them from harm.

However, I would only try to point it out once. Because the cynic in me is of the belief that when one tries to point out another’s self-destructive behavior, that other is likely to lash out. I feel like the most common response you would get is something along the lines of, “Mind your own business,” or, “Butt out!” If that was the case, I’d give them what they want. I’d butt out. You’re an adult, clean up your own mess.

And then there’s the tiny optimistic voice inside me (that usually gets drowned out with a healthy dose of realism) that would love to believe that this friend would thank me for my concern and would take my advice into consideration. At that point, it’s still up to that person to make a change or not. If they make that change and work toward climbing out of that spiral of self-destruction, I’d be more than happy to provide whatever support I’d be able to provide. If they choose to keep sinking further, I’d probably wind up pulling away. Why should I be dragged down because of someone else’s negative choices?

I hope that doesn’t make me sound heartless. When it comes to my close friendships, I’m loyal to a fault (and I’ve taken the personality tests to prove it). Relationships like that have to be give and take situations. If I offer a friend my help and they reject it out of some sense of pride or addiction to a destructive habit, do they really view me as a friend anyway? Or am I just someone who’s trying to tell them how to live his or her life?

But what would you do? Let me know in that nifty little comments section down below! Do you think I’m a bad friend? It’s okay, you can be honest.

*The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.


3 thoughts on “Question of the Week #158

  1. You said all the right things. When it comes down to it- you can only save those who truly WANT to saved. It’s pointless to go down with a sinking ship because you want the captain to change his mind- he’s already made up his mind that he’s supposed to go down with that ship. That was a sucky analogy. Whatever I haven’t had coffee ok? LOL. Being self-destructive in the process of helping someone who is self-destructive, doesn’t help anyone in the situation and doesn’t make you heartless at all. I have been self destructive and I remember pushing people away who were persistent, and then when they’d finally back off, I remember begging them in silence to come back and keep fighting for me, but when you’re in so deep in this darkness- pride is a devil inside of you.
    So on the opposite end of the spectrum, sometimes being MORE persistent will weaken a person and get them to cave in and listen. It really depends on who you’re dealing with I guess right? Everyone is so different… ugh! Life is tough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That kind of reminds me of a joke that I used to like to throw around when I was working as a counselor. How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, but the light bulb has to want to change.


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