When Your Support System Fails

Editors note: This is Melissa post for this week.  Her post last week was just what I needed to hear and I am so glad I have her in my life!  She has gotten me through rough times even though she doesn’t even know that she has!  As always enjoy!

I believe having an emotional support system is extremely important. No matter who you are, what your state of mind is, or even how emotionally healthy or unhealthly you are. Our emotional support systems often act as an anchor. Keeping us grounded when we are not at our best. Lifting us up when we are down in the dumps and sad. Bringing us the comfort and encouragement we so often seem to need.

Support systems come in all shapes and sizes, they can be found in our real lives and in our internet lives. No matter where we find our support or who we find our support in, the general purpose is the same. Its members are there to help us, provide us with encouragement, and show us tough love when we need it.

The biggest problem with our emotional support systems is that they are filled with people. Real. Live. Human.Beings. Who are imperfect, have their own struggles, misunderstandings, and often built in judgments and excuses. Because of this, they will fail us. Not might fail us, they WILL fail us.

They fail us when they do not notice we are struggling. They fail us when they lack the proper words to encourage us. They fail us when they are going through their own struggles and do not have enough emotional reserve for us. They fail us just because. When the people in our support systems fail us, it hurts. Sometimes it can even be a devastating pain. It is extremely difficult to not become angry. Especially, when some of those people are in our own family.

Before we get angry at anyone in our support system – including family – we need to ask ourselves if we have always been there for them – in the capacity they have needed – when they have needed it. I do not think that any one of us can truthfully say that we have been. We are human too, and are prone to the same faults that the people we rely on are. I am not saying that because we have not always been there when they needed us that it negates the pain they have caused. What I am saying is we should try to examine why someone has not supported us the way we have needed. It is very likely that at the time we needed them, they were involved in their own emotional doings and simply did not realize that we needed them.
So….What do we do now?
Just like most everything else in life, we have choices. When can choose to be angry, or we can choose to get over it. Since I hate the way being angry makes me feel, I try and go for the “get over it” option. There are a list of things I do, to try and move past the hurt that I am feeling.

  1. I try and figure out why a person or people in my support system may have failed me. Maybe they have something going on that interfered with their ability to be there in the way I needed.
  2. I try to understand and realize that there may have been times when I have failed them. Understand that they may have been hurt by it or are even angry about it. As a result they may feel hesitant to get involved in what I have going on.
  3. If I realize someone in my support system is going through their own emotional/mental/physical turmoil at the same time I am, I try and support them rather than have them be there for me. Sometimes taking my concentration off of myself and my own troubles helps me more than waiting for someone to be there for me.
  4. Especially when I feel that a family member has failed to meet my needs, I express it. For example, my husband and I have worked out a code phrase when we need to express something with one another, but at the same time do not want to upset the other person. It simply is “I need to express a frustration.” When one of us says that the other knows to not take personally what is about to be said. We have found it a good way to tell each other when we need more than what the other person has been giving us.
  5. Sometimes no matter what I do to understand, and even support the person I need support from, they are just not in a place to help me. When that occurs, I reach out. I have even been known to reach out to someone I may not have considered a part of my support system. Each and every time I have reached out, there has been someone there encouraging me and building me up. That person becomes part of my emotional support system.
  6. As sad and difficult as it can be, there are times when I have to remove someone from the group of people I have chosen to be a part of my support system. That does not mean I know longer talk to them, or are their friend, it means that I fully realize that for whatever reason they cannot provide me with what I need, and it is time to let that part of my attachment to them go. It does not have to be permanent, in many cases it is only until they get through whatever they are going through.

Just because our emotional support systems will fail us, does not mean we have to be discouraged by it. We can use it as an opportunity to learn how to better be there for the people in our lives. We can use it to create a better support system for ourselves.

You can find me and more of my posts at Sugar Filled Emotions

Margaret Tidwell

I am a 33-year-old blogger. I write about my life and my struggles with Multiple Sclerosis. I also am a huge bookworm, and I have been doing book reviews for years now. I even blog about adoption, Multiple Sclerosis, and things that go on in my life.

Margaret Tidwell

Margaret Tidwell

Margaret Tidwell

Margaret Tidwell

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  1. I think to err is human and to forgive is divine. In forgiving, we do not have to forget and repeat the same mistakes, we just forgive with an open heart and a vigilant mind.
    You are right, people will disappoint us from time to time and that is why I hold unto God's feet.
    Sometimes, I wonder where the pettiness and viciousness comes from. And you know what, people act that way when they are hurting…
    I love the color purple as it is a healing color.
    Hey Shannon,
    Finally making the rounds even though tis' late night… Got to finish. I love that picture of you in your tribal gear… just kidding. Thanks for the list though we have grown to 22 members now. Lots to keep us busy right? Looking forward to more chats!
    I'm a Team Hare member and have subscribed and more.
    Have a Happy weekend!