My 32 year old daughter will frequently say, you don’t understand, when she is going through an issue. Most of the time I do understand as I have gone through similar incidents. She insists nobody understands, she is the only one experiencing a problem. If I try to tell her what worked for me, she immediately rejects anything I have to offer. Example: her 2 year son had his tonsils out, he was fussy, not drinking, spitting up his medicine. She was frustrated, sleep deprived, worried. I told her what I did when she had spinal meningitis, how I dealt with similar issues. She responded, “You don’t understand, I can’t talk to you about this.” She wants to do everything by herself, (she is a single parent with a non-involved father). She has a strong support group with offerings of help, but turns down every offer but then says she has to do everything herself. I was as single parent so I do understand. I did have to do everything myself as I had no support.
I am pretty savvy in mental health issues but I can not understand what is happening. What is she getting by turning down offers of help? How can I support her, help her, help my grandson. What can I do to help make her life easier? Thank you.
Sometimes when people are in pain what they really need and want is someone to hear them. Rather than offer direct suggestions to your daughter you may need to listen and be empathic to her situation. I know this sounds like you are doing less, but at the end of the day what you are offering to her isn’t being accepted and isn’t helping.
The key to understanding how to listen is by using something known as active listening. It’s requires that you let your daughter talk, and then respond back letting her know what you’ve heard. That is the essence. Here is an excellent article on this Remember, the original name given Freud’s therapy was the talking cure — not the advice cure. For right now being a sounding board for your daughter and be the best thing you can do.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Best Way to Provide Support ?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 26, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/09/09/best-way-to-provide-support/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.