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How do I tell my family that they aren't helping, rather, hurting me in my recovery

17 Answers
Last Updated: 05/22/2018 at 4:14pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Tara Davis, Doctorate in Counselling Psychology


I have worked successfully with a wide range of difficulties. Nothing is more important than developing a warm, compassionate relationship with someone you can trust

Top Rated Answers
September 7th, 2015 7:31pm
You can tell them that you need some time to help yourself out. That you just need to work on it by yourself, sometimes that is all we need to do.
January 11th, 2015 12:52pm
Telling them how you feel and how everything affects you might be a way. At the moment they might not understand how you're feeling because they're simply not you.
January 12th, 2015 4:24am
Be VERY direct. Family often has difficulty listening to other family members. Be respectful, but be direct.
June 19th, 2017 9:57pm
You have to be very conservative with your family because you have to put into your mind that they love you very much and they only want what is best for you. The best you can say is to put them down easy and show some empathy by saying quotes such as: "I understand you are trying to help me and I appreciate that but..."
February 17th, 2015 10:03pm
Maybe a good way to tell them is by stating what it is that you would prefer them to do. When people worry about someone, they can be slightly unhelpful, though they feel they are doing their best. But if you feel that there are some things they shouldn't do, then don't be afraid to speak up about it.
April 8th, 2015 3:43pm
Directly and honestly. Many people, including family, mean well when they try to help people in recovery, but most have no real idea how to help, so they fumble with their words or say things that hurt but that are meant to help. Educate them. If you go to meetings, take them with you to one. I did that a few times. It's good for parents to see others going through the same thing.
April 10th, 2015 12:21pm
you can find a good time to tell them how you feel about their behavior and what its doing to you. you should talk about it and find a solution together. as a family
October 26th, 2015 1:35am
If you are feeling this way, you need to do what is best for you. And for starters, if you know they are not helping you in your time of need, you need to be honest about your feelings with them. Good luck!
October 26th, 2015 3:54pm
Tell them how you feel about their help. Don't straight up tell them that they aren't helping, but ask for a different perspective. Most people don't know how to help because they have never been through what you are going through, so get them to realize your situation.
November 9th, 2015 4:50am
Tell them nicely that you appreciate their help but because it only made your problems worse, they should just do nothing and support you in their hearts.
December 7th, 2015 1:29am
I've tried many things but the most effective is when we are not in the middle of a heated discussion, where my voice isn't raised. when im feeling calm I'm able to convey more emotion.
April 25th, 2016 2:04am
Tell them the truth about what is happening, how u feel about it and what they can do to help you make the process easier.
July 4th, 2016 12:24pm
Very Patiently and politely. Expect a little impatience on their end. Anticipate it well in advance. Rather I'd already accepted they would behave in certain way not just while listening but after listening too. One thing is you cannot control anyone's thought process so let them stay the way they are. Your recovery means growing, changing if needed for your growth. So, you're ready to change don't expect them to change too because you're. Gradually they will know. Its okay. You've to be your friend when no one else is. You're the best companion of yourself. Realise it.
August 15th, 2016 6:43pm
What I would suggest is sitting them down and really talking them through your problems. It can be really hard to understand what someone else is going through, so make sure that they get you. If you put yourself in their position you'll find that actually they might be trying to help you they just don't know how
December 27th, 2016 12:49pm
I know that for the most part, our families always want the best for us. They can see when we are pain, and if you ask me, if one individual is suffering, the entire home atmosphere is effected. However, although our family member want to help out, sometimes their actions, even if with the purest intentions, do more good than bad. In a way, when they get a hint that someone in mentally disturbed, they start giving that person more time, or start treating them special, which sometimes may come off as fake or unnecessary in the eyes of the effected individual. Some family members start to blame themselves for everything that happened. These are all natural reactions. Its important to understand that everyone processes grief in a different way and even if we wish to, our families cannot stop caring about us. Most of us choose to distance ourselves from our family when we are going through a tough time. Whatever the reason maybe, I guess the best way to tell them is to acknowledge their support, and earn their trust back that you will be alright on your own. Tell them that you appreciate everything they are doing for you, but you need your own personal space and assure them that if anything goes wrong, or if you need anything, you will let them know. I know its hard to see your family going to distress because of what you are battling through, but please do not blame yourself for this. No matter how hard the road to recovery may seem right now, it will get easier with time. You are doing the best you can and that's all that matters. I hope this helps.
January 9th, 2017 12:40am
Just say what you need from them. If they can't change to do that then it'll be easier to tell them they're not helping. If you ask them for specific things then you can be clear when they let you down.
May 22nd, 2018 4:14pm
Drop subtle hints at first, but if they don't get, then just telling them might be the best way. Easier said than being done, I know, but plan before you tell them so you can plan what you're going to say and rephrase words and think about it, so it's not going to offend them or anything.