this week's manfive friday #91 topic of the week: how to support a man, without overdoing it...know when to BACK OFF.
you gotta know when to hold him, know when to fold him, know when to walk away....and know when to run...i did a topic similar to this manfive friday #61, informing you ladies on certain times it was necessary you support your man. but this topic was requested by my girl ( @FATAL5Star). so i'm gonna share with you some tips to supporting without overdoing it.
#5: don't assume he wants your help and/or you have the answer to his problems..
when dealing with other people, it's always a guessing game. you may be with someone who welcomes your concern. you may be with someone who HATES when you try to pry. you may be with someone who secretly wants you to step in, but would never tell you. how are you supposed to know what's going on in his head?
and after you ask him, respect his answer. if he tells you "i'll handle it". leave it alone. he is in the "i hate when you pry" group. if he seems receptive but just doesn't want to talk about it at that moment...leave it alone. if he starts crying..stop laughing and cater to your cry baby.
the biggest thing with this isn't to assume you know how to fix things. it's hard enough trying to fix your own problems, let alone thinking you can troubleshoot & minimize his. don't take on more than you can handle. don't think rome was built in one day, it wasn't. if you have to chip through his stubborn, hard headed, wall laden exterior...it's going to take time and understanding. he may want & need your support but he wants and needs it at his own pace. he'll open up and be more inviting to your help when he feels like you're not trying to be the hero. it's part trust, part pride, part being difficult.
#4: bite your tongue....
ok, so he lost his job. he's upset. he comes home tells you, and immediately you go into a frenzy.
"how are we gonna pay the bills." "how are we gonna eat." "how are we gonna make it"
....and it stacks so much on him that he pretty much gets more worried and upset. time out.
the man JUST lost his job. instead of reinforcing his fears. instead of making him feel like he's not only failed himself, but you as well. instead of flipping out at his time of need. listen to him. let him tell you what his fears are. let him tell you what he needs to say. offer your ear. offer some words of encouragement ("we're going to be alright", "you're going to find something else..", etc..). do not flip out before he can share with you his disappointment. do not start coming down on him right after he's had a awful day. sometimes you have to bite your tongue, hold your thoughts, and think carefully about your gut reactions to what he's telling you. do NOT make a bad situation worse because you didn't think before you spoke.
#3: it's not about you....
a lot of times you ladies get mad, he's mad. get upset, he's upset. get sad, he's sad. and after awhile it's a bit confusing who's supposed to be supporting who. women by nature take on every one's problems. you take on your parents. your children. your friends. your own..as well as your man's. this is why you're considered the backbone most times. but it's a hard job. and sometimes while taking on his problems, you get so immersed you begin developing problems of your own due to his problems.
he's upset...he snaps at you. now you're upset. you're REALLY upset, because all you were trying to do was help his ass. and he got pissed off and started talking out the side of his mouth. or he was sad, was trying to be all tough...you asked him what was wrong and he stopped talking to you for a minute "to get himself together" and now you're PISSED off, because after all you were just trying to ask him what was wrong.
now he's trying to play nice & apologizing to you because you're mad. completely throw his actual problem out the window, because there is no longer the focus. you are. and that's unfair.
–verb (used with object)
sup·port[suh-pawrt, -pohrt] Show IPA
- to undergo or endure, especially with patience or submission; tolerate.
- to sustain (a person, the mind, spirits, courage, etc.) under trial or affliction: They supported him throughouthis ordeal.
yes...it's unfair for him to snap at you. yes...it's unfair for him to take time away from you because he's trying to man up. but you know he's going through something right now. you knew it before you were mad, but now the only thing either one of y'all are focusing on is you. sometimes to be supportive you have to take some of that anger wrongly projected at you and force him to direct it at the problem..not you. but you can't do that when you're not speaking to him. when you're not returning his phone calls. when you're on twitter, facebook, and all over gchat telling everyone how pissed off you are at him. it's a selfless action that's extremely hard to do....but if you're trying to support him through a real difficult time you have to be understanding. and let some things roll off your shoulder in order to get to the bottom of the problem.
#2: you have to let it go...
it's hard to understand, but sometimes you won't be able to help him. if he's extremely depressed. incredibly violent. or irrational...you can't help him. you have to know when to run. and this means letting go. sometimes you get with a guy. you love him. you want to be there. you want to give him the support you need. but you don't have the capacity to do that.
if you're with a guy who is on the verge of killing himself every time anything remotely disappointing happens. realize he's unstable and any help you're giving him will go unnoticed. and i know i said be able to tough it out if he gets upset...but if he's taking it out physically or verbally violently you need to walk (run) away. if he can not be reasoned with. if you listen to his problems, talk it out with him, suggest things, give him space....and he still can't get it together. it's time to let him deal with his issues on his own. you can't take on something for someone is incapable of helping themselves. helping someone starts with their ability to help themselves. once you've established that they are unable to do so, then your help/support is no benefit to them. not telling you to add fuel to his suicide attempts for leaving him. just saying, any guy who says.."if you leave me, i'll kill myself" and actually is planning on doing it...would have did it for any other number of reasons as well. don't be afraid to walk away from an extremely unhealthy and dangerous situation. if someone is not in their right mind, all the support in the world couldn't help them. they need a Valium & Jesus. not you...
#1: get to know him...(it takes time)
one of the biggest problem with couples...they don't know each other. almost like the real world slogan, "you think you know me..but you have no idea". you have to learn that person. you have to learn their ways of dealing and processing things. you have to pay attention, don't step on toes, cross lines, or offend them.
it's hard. like i said in #5..it's a guessing game. it's like playing double dutch, you're waiting to jump in there to help...but he's just all over the place. you have to rely on the relationship you've built. meaning it takes time. you may find yourself getting snapped at in the beginning. you may find him distancing himself or trying to deal and work through his issues alone. but after you build the trust, the patience and the NON-JUDGEMENTAL understanding. he'll open up to you. you'll start recognizing the warning signs. you'll know when he's in one of his moods. you'll recognize the tone of his voice. you'll know how to walk away, not say anything, hug him, just listen, or offer support.
the trick isn't "not to care". it's to care enough to realize that you may not be able to make it better, right now. don't give up trying to support and help him because he's not receptive at first. you have to give him time to be able to be vulnerable around you. men love to confide and talk to their women. but he doesn't want his fears being confused for weakness. he doesn't want his issues causing unnecessary drama. he doesn't know how to begin to share things like this with you. so give him some room, and your relationship so time before you start trying to save the day. support = love. in this situation..so just let him know you love him and you're there IF/WHEN he needs you.