Being vulnerable, open, and honest with others can yield various responses, not always what you need. Loved ones may struggle to see your distress, wanting to fix it, yet their attempts to rescue may miss the mark. Sometimes, all you need is someone to listen and empathise, providing comfort and reassurance.

Rescue attempts can inadvertently can shut down opportunities to be fully heard, to express yourself openly and process how you feel which can be frustrating and isolating. Concerned about their well-being, you may end up prioritising their needs over yours. Working together in therapy can provide relief from this dynamic, allowing you to focus solely on your own needs.


What else can you do? Tell them what you need. It sounds so simple, but remember, they can’t read your mind. Translate your inside to your outside and let that person know how they can be for you. Being honest and vulnerable strengthens bonds and reduces anxiety. Seize this opportunity to cultivate positive relationships by expressing your needs openly.

What to say to people to let them know how to help you:

  • I’m struggling at the moment and feeling defeated/worried/upset etc. I don’t need you to fix it for me. I just love for you to listen and to know that you understand. Would that be okay?
  • ‘When I’m feeling upset, I appreciate words of encouragement and reassurance. Could you remind me that everything will be okay?”
  • Simply having someone sit with me in silence can be comforting. Would you be okay with just being present with me for a while?
  • Taking a break from responsibilities and doing something fun can help lift my spirits. Would you be up for doing something enjoyable together?
  • I appreciate practical help when I’m feeling down. Could you assist me with [specific task] to lighten my load?

Remember, they may not always understand immediately, and it might take a few tries for them to grasp how to support you best. Stay patient and allow them the opportunity to learn. This is just one conversation among many, and you’ve been on a journey of self-development, becoming more aware of your needs. Give them the chance to catch up with the new you. Understand that they won’t always get it right, but don’t lose hope. Draw upon your resilience, let your nurturing instincts guide you, and persist in fostering clear communication


Action Step

Now consider the following in your journal:

  • Think of a time when you felt let down and consider what you actually communicated to them either in your actions and your behaviour or in your words. Be honest with yourself.
  • What did you need in that moment?
  • Did you make this explicitly known to them?
  • If not, what stopped you?
  • What could your inner parent or source of wisdom have done or said to support you and remove this hinderance?
  • What did the other person need to know in order to be able to support you effectively?
  • What could you have don’t differently and what could you have said to express your needs clearly?