Supporting a Struggling Family Member with Problems

Offer unconditional love as a soothing support for a struggling family member.

It’s hard to watch a family member struggle with problems. Whether you’re a parent, aunt, sibling or grandparent, witnessing a loved one troubled by difficulties is heartbreaking. There is a natural desire to jump in and save them from their turmoil, if only you could. Or if the problems are chronic and repetitive, there may be a tendency to shut down and look the other way out of futility.

With the mounting chaos in the world today it’s not uncommon to have a struggling family member. Perhaps it’s a brother dealing with money problems, a sister battling a drug addiction, a nephew with an undiagnosed mental illness, or a daughter caught in an abusive relationship. Whatever problem the family member is experiencing, it’s helpful to remember that it’s their life path, not yours. And behind their personality and problems is a powerful soul that has all the answers and solutions they need.

Within each person is a spiritual being embarked on a journey of discovery, healing and growth. Some are living a life of ease, joy and abundance. Others have chosen a more arduous path. Who knows what deep lessons lay beneath the surface of turmoil. Just as a butterfly struggles to break free from its cocoon, thereby strengthening its wings enough to fly, each person on this planet has the ability to learn, heal and soar as a result of their life difficulties.

To truly support a struggling family member with problems try the following suggestions.

Be in a state of compassion. Viewing others through the eyes of compassion is more healing than treating them with sympathy. Compassion is a form of empathy where you understand the other’s pain, but you also see their strengths at the same time. Sympathy is a form of pity, where you see the other as powerless. Saying hello to a loved one’s inner resources (even if they are not visible at the time) helps him or her to step out of victim hood and own their power.

See positive possibilities. Rather than focus on your family member’s problems, envision all the positive possibilities that may result. For example, once a person with alcoholism or substance abuse hits their bottom, they may join a recovery group, have a spiritual awakening, and become a more responsible, loving and empowered person than they were before.

Allow for mistakes and learning. Family members often want to give advice, help out or in someway interfere with their loved one’s difficulties. This can be a form of enabling and end up preventing the other from discovering their inner resources, answers and healing. You may be able to offer a temporary fix, but only they can find a long term solution. Remember that mistakes are the best way to learn in life.

Practice unconditional love. It’s painful to struggle with a problem and the last thing a person needs is to be judged or rejected. Love is a soothing balm that heals all wounds. While you may have to set healthy boundaries with your family member, you can still love him or her unconditionally. They will feel this loving support near or far.

As you shine a loving positive light on your struggling family member, trusting they will find their way, your perspective of their situation will change, and so will they.

Do you have any questions or insights on how to support a struggling family member with problems? Please share below.

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Dear Readers,

I am not able to be on the computer much these days due to my current activities, so I won't be able to respond to comments very often.

I encourage you though, to use the comment section as a place to share your experience, read about others' and to respond to and support each other with your situations.

Take care,


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