By Brian Lynch, M.D.
It is often said you have to be “ready” to get help. “The person is not ready.”
I deal with people many people that are addicted so drugs and in this area of treatment it is very common to say that the person was or was not simply ready or not ready.
If one is not getting help what can anyone do?
A very important perspective to take to help anyone is that why should the person think they need help when the reason they are having trouble is not their fault?
Yes, yes, yes there is the “abuse excuse.” It is the only excuse. People are “bad” because they have been treated badly. There is a great deal of “proof” now that this is indeed fact. There is in fact an “abuse excuse.”
At some level we know that we have been harmed and many of us know that we have been greatly harmed. Now what are our responses to this harm? Well, we have been able to classify these responses into some generic reactions. It seems that humans can only do one of five things we can try and run away from the problem, we can abuse ourselves even to the point of suicide, we can lose ourselves in addiction, we can blame others, hate others. Finally we can face the problem, the pain, and try and solve the problem.
Now, if you have been harmed it is very hard to see the need to “solve” the problem as you did not cause the problem. But then what? Well, what we do not know is that we are simply left with our pain and if left with our pain and with the four not so good responses mentioned above. These not so good responses will throw us into more confusion.
Basically, the logic here is that mostly people do not have much of a chance if the abuse is significant. I like to say how do you get a “positive” out of a “negative?” Well, you don’t. Many give the retort “well I had it bad and I am ok.” I say your not ok just because you say that! Yes we can overcome adversity because we want to connect but the argument is like saying a wiring system in a house is always going to work without being maintained. That you can abuse it all you want and the current will flow. Not true. So to with humans, human interest will not continually flow if it is abused sufficiently.
So it is quite a thing to “be ready.” Magnificent in fact. The person is having a birth. They somehow are able to birth into an independent world. How this can take place is somewhat miraculous. They have to trust themselves to what is a completely unknown world. Indeed “Better the devil you know than the angle you don’t.” That is until it isn't
Joy, love, kindness and trust have to be lived and experienced. Because you have enjoyed them does not mean that person next to you has any concept of that experience. And so why should they trust you or me if we ask them to change?
Once again staying the course, not punishing, not being negative not confirming their world is the only way.
Tomkins, Silvan S.: Affect Imagery Consciousness NY: SPringer Publishing Company, 1963.
Shame and Pride : Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self by Donald L. Nathanson Paperback (March 1994)
W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393311090
How To Get Where You Want To Go Brian Lynch, M.D. 2000 PageFree