“My family thinks I am crazy!”
So the topic today is My Family Thinks I am Crazy. Too many people report feeling dismissed by family members who lack an understanding of mental health issues and expect individuals who suffer with emotional issues distress to “snap out of it.” The frustration extends to everybody the individual who is being dismissed and the family members who don’t have the answers. How do we stop this pattern of negativity and find a solution? First we need to recognize a couple of things:
- Family members typically do not have a clear understanding of emotional health, mental illness, and how to support an individual who is struggling.
- The individual who struggles with emotional issues typically lacks the solution to their problems. If they knew the solution they would use it.
- Clear and productive communication is the path to support and problem solving.
So here’s an approach one can take to improve the situation and hopefully change the outcome.
- Always come from a position of love and respect. Remember that everyone typically has similar goals of compassion and agreement. That being said, goals may be different but continued conflict is not the solution.
- Clearly identify and state your needs, here well-developed communication skills are necessary. Ultimately it is up to each individual to get their needs met on their own but good communication and cooperation can help lessen the gap.
- Accept that individuals are different which may include the perspective in which they see things. Emotions in their true form are not arguable, if I have certain feelings advising me not to have them doesn’t make sense. For example, if I told you I felt physically ill and I was going to vomit telling me not to feel that way is not going to help.
Work together instead of against each other. Focus on agreed upon outcomes and acknowledge feelings. You may think differently but that doesn’t mean you can’t find common ground. Remain supportive with a solution focused mindset and it will bring you closer to the desired result.
If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, please call us at 949-629-3730.
Gerald J. Grosso, PsyD, LMFT
Nsight Psychology & Addiction is a National Leader in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment