Thursday, 24 June 2004 - 12:29 AM BST
Okay, I'll bite. I'm not totally sure of what you're asking, so I may well interpret your question wrongly - I apologise. These are just my opinions, they're not right, or defensible, or gospel, but they're what I think about your questions at this point in time.
My paranoia, of course, made me worry about who could be writing this, so I have to safety valve it by saying that if you're* the last person I've hurt badly, then, firstly, hey you learned to spell necessity! and secondly, I didn't do it to hurt you, I did it to stop it all hurting me.
How do you make yourself a better person when all you do is hurt someone who loves you and who you love,
I agree that that means you should probably leave. It always stuns me how we can feel able to say things that are appalling to those we love, when we'd never say anything so vicious to the newspaper shop lady, the neighbour, or the bloke who mends the car. But we do. If you feel you're trapped in a fixed routine of behaviour, then you need, somehow, the space to allow yourself to change. To grow. I don't think anyone changes easily - it's not nice, we don't like it, it actually is hard. If comfortable alternatives are available, we'll mostly take them, no matter who it hurts. That's not a sign of your deep viciousness, that's human. That shows you need to grow, and you know where you are right now, you're not growing at all.
It takes a life to understand who you are, and while you're still working it all out, you have to live it. On the way, it's inevitable that you will be mean, nasty and louse things up for other people at some point. Nobody expects anything more. But if you see you need to change, then make a space for that change to occur.
A wise man once said to me that he saw people who were willing to put up with a living hell every single day, because it was easier and safer than trying to change.
Don't think it's going to be easy.
How do you help them not to hurt and not to fritter their life away which is the worst thing of all?
It's very subjective, that idea of frittering your life away, though, isn't it? I could wish that I hadn't spent two years working in banking in Swindon when I could have been enjoying the last of my teens in latin america, but it taught me things I could never have learnt in any cerebral fashion.
I may have worried that my schoolfriend, Dumpling, should not be spending five years in abject misery and having children under the bootstrap of a violent jealous man. But she came out the other side, and she is who she is because of it. I could wish I hadn't ever hurt people. I'd never wish they hadn't hurt me, though. I needed the pain and trouble I've experienced - all of it. I needed it to become me.
We can't have lives that are unremittingly positive safely engaging experiences. The mistakes and hardships we suffer are what make us who we are.
It's not for anyone else to decide that someone is 'wasting' a life. Half the time we can't even decide that responsibly ourselves, without the benefit of time's perspective.
How do you do the right thing when it is the worst thing of all?
You have to square it with yourself - this bit = one of the worst parts of being an adult - how much will you gain? How much will you lose? How much will, rather, they gain or lose? Sometimes the right thing to do is nothing, other times it's to scream as loudly as you can, yet other times the absolute right thing is to just listen and promise not to judge.
Nobody ever knows when each of these is the right thing. They just guess. You just have to be ready to help clean up the mess if you're wrong.
But I'd say more often than anything else, people need other people to listen without prejudice - not to provide a solution, or an answer, or practical help. They don't necessarily need you to hear, they need to be talking. It's them who has to do the thinking, not you.
How do you help someone who is afraid but in denial which is the worst of all?
[First off, I take a slight issue with the word 'worst'. I don't think that's the worst of all. I think a bad situation can sometimes be helped by talking it up as worse, as it gets us motivated to move on the problem. But if it doesn't work to exaggerate the situation, then stop. You're only stressing yourself out and preventing further action if you keep on assuming every situation is the worst. Believe me, it can always get worse.]
If someone's in denial, it's my belief that you'll find it very hard to un-deny them. They're in denial for a reason, and if you really really want to help them, you need to work out what those reasons are. That may or may not give you leverage, but simply contradicting them with the facts as you see them won't.
We all harbour literal truths and instinctual truths. If we're alone at a party, say, and feeling inadequate, we see the sheerness of the gap between them. The ability to bridge the gap depends on so many factors - self-confidence, support, motivation, interest from others, opportunity, previous experience, mood, psychological state, etc - and none of them are 'the ability to see the truth'.
It's my belief that if someone is in denial, you need to find a way of letting them know that you're ready to help them, to take their problems on if they need you to.
Getting them to that stage? I don't know. I play a waiting game, myself. But I just don't know.
Hope some of this rambling response hits a nerve in a good way.
* Not you, Tybalt, I don't care if I hurt you. You deserve it.