Friday, April 18, 2008

When Help is Harmful- A Few Quick Tips for Friends and Family

How to Avoid Help Hazards:

  • When entering a trigger situation, don’t mention anything about the anxiety to the worrier. It may seem like a nice supportive thing to do to ask “How are you feeling?” “Are you going to be ok?” etc, but for all you know the worrier isn’t even thinking about it and you will make them realize that others may be thinking about it and watching them which alone can cause anxiety and panic. The best thing to do is to ask the worrier later once you have left the situation. You can let them know then that you were thinking about them.

  • Never say something like “It’s not a big deal, just stop worrying about it.” Believe me if we could we would in a heartbeat. Just being supportive is your best bet.
  • Not inviting the person to an event because you know it may cause them anxiety. Give the worrier the option whether he or she wants to go instead of making the decision for them. That way you aren’t enabling them to avoid their fears and you are giving them an opportunity to grow and work on it. Even if they turn you down, they will know that you thought of them and treated them like a normal person and that is loving and supportive. Exclusion will only cause feelings of resentment on both ends for many different reasons, even though you are doing it to make the worrier and maybe even yourself more comfortable.
Anyone else have some tips to share? Anything someone has tried to do in an effort to help you but has really backfired?

Related Posts:
Breaking the Stigma
Helping or Hurting: What People Around Me Should or Shouldn't Do

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Robert said...

Is there anywhere that a carer of an anxiety sufferer can get advice?

When I look back on my years as a carer, I can see that on some occasions I unwittingly became an enabler and made the situation worse. But I couldn't find any information for carers. Local health professionals, when I asked for advice, looked at me with blank faces and mumbled platitudes such as "It must be difficult for you..."

So if anyone can point me to a good site...

(Btw, I have checked out "" but didn't find that it helped me.)

Oh yes, I totally agree with you about spammers. I'm glad I haven't sunk to their level to make a few $'s.

Aimée said...

Unfortunately the websites I've listed is really the only research I have done on the subject. I too would love to hear if anyone else has found any good information.

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