When do we stop accepting people the way they are and intervene? When the 85 year old family member insists he/she can live alone but ends up sick repeatedly from poor housekeeping, from loneliness and depression, do you intervene?
Of course these are adults, people who drink too much and yet despite the consequences still drink. How about people who eat and overeat again and again,
overweight with diabetes and in pain? And the people who spend money they don’t have. Know any gamblers who borrow to gamble just one more time?
Is there a way to accept them and leave it alone? It must be a big, on-going problem. Recovery programs have pages and pages of prayers and advice in their literature on acceptance.
Sometimes showing we care means saying no, this can’t go on any more. The elderly must move to assisted living or the addict must go to treatment (or go to jail).
Who decides? When? Why is this so hard?
Why is it so hard to accept the irrational, self-destructive behaviors of people we love? Why do we spend so much time and energy “helping”? Do we just keep praying for their well being? Why can’t we leave them alone? Let them do as they choose.
We’re independent, as Americans we expect and defend it. We’re raised to become independent. And it works until mental illness strikes, addiction ruins a life, or aging catches up.
Seems we’re not equipped, not trained, and not prepared to step up, say no more and intervene.
This must be why there are “Intervention Specialists”. There are books on how to step up and do what is necessary for those with dementia, or psychotic breaks or agoraphobia. Have you read any? Have you gone to a workshop?
Seems we do it only when desperate for answers and for assistance. It appears we are greatly lacking in social, emotional and medical knowledge and awareness in this culture. The cultural norms tell us adults make their own decisions. Don’t pry into people’s lives.
The problem is too huge to resolve here. Maybe questions are enough to stimulate thinking. Maybe thinking leads to action. It’s urgent though, before one more old person lies at the bottom of the stairs unnoticed for days, or one more car accident for the uninsured lover of marijuana, or another person with bipolar disorder disappears for a week while chasing windmills.