Helping Others in Moments of Crisis - E&OC
Helping others in moments of crisis comes with a lot of terms and conditions. It’s interesting to dissect the conditions we put on those people in our lives. You often hear people say, ‘they haven’t reached out to me, so why should I reach out to them?’, ‘I did XYZ last, why should I do it this time?’ Often, there are valid undercurrents of dissatisfaction or feeling like our kindness isn’t returned, but we don’t know how to bring it up. When there are times of crisis, it is burdened with this feeling of, ‘well, why should I?’
Last week, my brother’s partner was in severe pain and was by herself. Her father had to work, my brother had to work, my mum had to work, and I had to study. Helping her meant shifting the day around and being set back for other work and study. I was already behind on the week, and we don’t have the closest of all relationships. However, it also didn’t sit right with me that she would be by herself.
Since my brother was always sick, ambulance and hospital are very touchy subjects. The most important thing to know is that no matter what has happened in our lives, we would band together for my brother. One of the first few years they were dating, my brother needed to go to the hospital, and my brother’s partner didn’t tell us he was there until after the fact. To me, that’s a betrayal. Please understand that when my brother’s been in hospital before, we have been told to say goodbye to him. She had known how we felt but still respected his wishes not to contact us.
However, she still did what she thought was the best thing for my brother for her anxiety and fears about the situation. In my brother’s moments of crisis, she helped him.
Last week, I knew if I went that to the house, I would be a good mediator of calm. My mum panics, my brother’s partner panics, and my brother can only take so much. I’m the queen of calm in stressful situations like that. I knew that in her moment of crisis, I could help her. But, at the time, I was split in my decision: to go or not go. If I went, it would be supporting her, and if I did not, it would still be supporting her because I’m not a doctor nor a close friend. On the flip side, if I went, would that mean I forgive what I don’t think she does right? And if I didn’t go, was that widening the gap of our relationship?
Helping others in moments of crisis should be a no-brainer if they are good people. And apart from dictators, rapists and select other groups, I believe the majority of people are good people. I did the right thing in going.
I want to explore why I had that initial reaction to doubt if I should go. When we have difficult relationships in our lives, I think most of us try to avoid them. In avoiding them, we don’t have to deal with the interna. conflict we feel ourselves. Whether it be because we can’t set boundaries or we can’t communicate our needs. In my experience, avoiding conflict means a bigger blow-up when the patience fuse runs out.
But the issues I have with both my brother and his partner are not easily resolved, mostly because of the relationship I have with my brother. For both my brother and I, avoiding the conflict in our relationship means ignoring our childhood. My brother has no interest in handling our childhoods with anything other than his faith in God. We fundamentally will never agree.
I have no choice but to take his lead because you will never be able to help someone who does not want to help themselves. He has made his decision about his mental health. You all know that I am all for exploring and deep diving into it. What should I do then, in his life and his partner’s life? Not be involved? If they have children, I won’t know my nieces or nephews. That is awful.
So, I think that in moments of crisis, helping others means that the terms and conditions of the relationship get thrown out the window. Anger, pain, discord – it all goes out the door. And I think we do it for two reasons: we think how awful it would be to regret, and we think how awful it would be to be alone if we were in their situation. I went for both reasons, but also for a third. That is, in going, I extend my olive branch.
I don’t know how to fix the terms and conditions in all of my friendships, but I do know that the people I have in my life, I would do anything for them. I’m much better at not needing a tit-for-tat, and that has only come as I have gotten better at communicating my needs and my boundaries. If you have that tit-for-tat in your life, my advice is to work through it by working out what you need first.
Finally, I believe that one of the biggest things wrong in this society is individualism. Simply, that means that we care for ourselves and no one else. To exist in society, we need to work with each other together for each other. It will always be the right thing to help others in their moments of crisis.
Of that, there is no internal conflict.
Tea of the day – Whiskey.
Stay safe, be kind, and feel free to reach out below!
With love and eternal optimism,