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My Loved One Says They Don't Want Help

Home Help & Advice I'm Seeking Help for a Loved One My Loved One Says They Don't Want Help

There is Comfort in Old Behaviors

Change is hard, and scary, and uncomfortable.

While bad behaviors do not necessarily serve us well, we learned that they can protect us from hurt, shame, anger, and much more; thus, we become comfortable in those bad behaviors.

While it hurts to see the consequences of our negative behavior (especially when we hurt those that we love), it hurts even more to face the reasons why we are acting out.  So much so that we avoid getting better. 

My Loved One Says They Don't Want Help
My Loved One Says They Don't Want Help

Why is it so scary to get help and experience healthy change?

  • We found that our behavior protects us from what hurt us in the first place.
  • We do not want to feel the emotions we have worked so hard to protect and hide from.
  • We have not yet learned healthy behaviors to replace old behaviors.
  • While we try to “do better” we also have experienced failure to “do better” – making it easier to not try.
  • We are tired of letting the people we love down, so we stop making the attempt.
  • Our self-esteem has been so damaged by trauma and our subsequent behavior that we do not believe we can change for the better.
  • We feel like we are a burden to those that we love and our need to get healthy further burdens them.

We have engaged in the “bad” behaviors for so long that it is what we know; asking us to change those behaviors would be like asking those with healthy behaviors to stop what they know and engage in unhealthy behavior.

My Loved One Says They Don't Want Help

How Can I Help My Loved One Who Does NOT Want Help?

Nearly everyone who is in pain wishes that they could break free from it.  But many things can prohibit that from happening, such as:

Lack of Resources (or, the Knowledge of Resources Available)

At The Bridge to Recovery, we often hear folks say: 

“I didn’t know there was a program out there like yours!”

We often feel like our issues are unique to us, and the idea that a program may not exist for us, while improbable, is a common misconception.  Learning about what resources are available is crucial in helping someone who may not present as not wanting help.

Here are some tips for searching for quality resources:

  • We caution anyone not to begin their search by jumping online and finding a “rehab search” engine.  Many rehab search engines sell their leads (which is what you become when you reach out to them) to the highest bidder – not the best quality program or best fit for your loved one.  
  • Make sure if you are using online searches that you visit the webpage for the program you are searching.  It is easy to find yourself caught in a rehab search engine, as they will often pay the most for clicks, putting them at the top of the search results.  
  • Reach out to Therapists in your local area and ask them what programs they recommend for your loved one’s situation. Reach out to those that they provide you and ask questions. Be sure to research their webpages as well.
My Loved One Says They Don't Want Help
My Loved One Says They Don't Want Help

Lack of Funds

Many of those who object to receiving help are fearful of the financial burden.  Learning how to help them put the financial burden in non-shaming ways can help.

  • Research the programs that may be a good fit for your loved one and be prepared with the cost questions from them ahead of time.  
  • Learn which programs are within your family’s financial level of affordability before-hand so that when you begin talking to your loved one, they do not agree to get help only to run into a financial issue, giving them reason to back away.
  • Use healthy, positive, and shame-reducing discussion points.  This often starts with helping your loved one see their behavior and issues as a health concern, just like any other; and, if they were diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, or other chronic illnesses, they would likely take the steps needed to get or stay healthy, despite the financial burden.

If your family is in a place where there are no financial resources available, it can be tough to find care for your loved one, but certainly not impossible.  That being said, do NOT let a lack of financial resources become a barrier to getting care.

  • Search for local NONPROFITS in your area that work with the issues your loved one is struggling with.
  • Do NOT fall for programs that promise you “free” stuff to get your loved one into their care, such as free airfare, hotels, or “comps” (such as cigarettes, cash, etc.).  It is illegal for programs to offer such things as a way to get your loved one into care, and could be a sign that the program is not reputable (and could prove very dangerous for your loved one).
  • Do NOT fall for programs that offer your loved “free care” until they can “get them signed up for insurance.”  This can often be a sign of insurance fraud or unethical motivations to profit off your loved one, rather than help them.
  • Reach out to local Churches, Social Service Agencies, and other programs that may be available which budget funding for community mental health support.
My Loved One Says They Don't Want Help

Lack of Support

Often, families reach out to us to say that they want to help their loved one, but cannot do it alone for various reasons.  In these situations, we encourage you to enlist a support network that can help you navigate these challenging waters.

Enlist the help of an Interventionist.  Their job is to work with the family from start to finish, including setting your boundaries, addressing your loved one, transporting to care, and case management.

Get help for YOU! Sometimes, if your loved one is not willing, you have to make the decision to keep or get yourself healthy. At The Bridge to Recovery, we work with family members of loved ones who are not willing to get help.

Find supportive family programs that are designed to help the whole family. We recommend programs such as Structured Family Recovery.

Just an hour and 20 minutes North from Nashville, Tennessee sits our healing refuge.

Hidden away on 115 acres of rolling Kentucky hills.

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The Bridge to Recovery is a transformational residential program located 45 minutes north of Nashville, Tennessee in beautiful rural Kentucky.  We provide hope, healing, and happiness to those suffering.
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