It’s OK to Confront Someone About Their Mental Health

It’s always hard to confront someone with your concerns about their mental health. Failing to do so maybe an act of collusion. Speaking the truth in love is what we need to do.

Sometimes you’ve got to have the hard word. To say things that you wish you didn’t need to.

Who likes confrontation?

But at times you just have to confront the problem. If you care, then you will say something even if it isn’t accepted that well by the other. 

The Bible has some interesting advice.

Proverbs of old

Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts,
    but profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
                                                                Proverbs 27:6

If you want to know who your closest friends are, identify the ones that are willing to confront you. The ones who don’t care about you will be those that flatter you and feed your foolishness.

Iron sharpens iron,
    and one person sharpens the wits of another.
Proverbs 27:17

For a piece of steel to be sharpened, it has to submit to the abrasive action of another piece of steel. Without that submission, the knife, which was meant to be useful, will lose its edge and become dull. Rust will form on it, and the knife will eventually become useless.

To be sharp and useful in life we need others who are willing to be abrasive at times.

Speaking the truth in love is what we do when we truly love and care about others.

Confront or Collude

Those in a relationship with a depressed man are themselves often faced with a painful dilemma. They can either confront his condition -which may further shame him-or else collude with him in minimizing it, a course that offers no hope for relief. Terence Real

This painful dilemma applies to anyone in a relationship with someone who is being kissed by the enemy. The enemy of illness, addiction, personality disorders etc.

Confronting maybe hard for you, but colluding may have even worse consequences.

  • A downward creep in the person’s wellness.
  • A decline in your mental wellness.
  • Abnormal behaviours become accepted as normal.
  • Bad behaviours form deeply ingrained habits.
  • Potential regret that issues weren’t faced earlier.
  • Loss of self-dignity and self-worth.

Why don’t we confront?

Perhaps it’s because of the whole shame aspect as Terrence Real suggests. You don’t want them to feel shame.

Perhaps it’s because you don’t have the skills, the confidence, and the belief that your concerns are valid.

Maybe you have tried talking about this before and got shouted down. Clobbered emotionally with words, threats and possibly physical violence.

Codependency – I’m OK if you’re OK, with me. Michael Cusick 

Possibly you have lost all inner emotional strength to confront the problem.

Perhaps you are finding some need met yourself with the person being the way they are.

Maybe you believe that helping them and being kind is beneficial.

Confrontation needs community

You can’t confront without a community of support.

We need others around us that can link arms with us. An awareness that we are not alone in our commitment to confront.

It may be family members, friends, professionals such as doctors, nurses, social workers, counsellors etc. It could also be the police.

In this space of community, you will grow in courage. You will gain the word power needed. You will get to know what is available out there to help you. There are others who have been through exactly what you are facing and want to help.

Stepping out of collusion and into confrontation requires a gradual slow building up of inner strength, skills, knowledge and wisdom.

You can do this.

You may want to read this posts.

Quotes to consider

  • The death by which we enter into life is not an escape from reality but a complete gift of ourselves which involves a total commitment to reality. Thomas Merton
  • ‘Peace at any price’, is priced at resentment, anger, and ultimately, alienation and loss of self-respect. David Riddell
  • We all like a nicely padded delusion, only to find eventually that it comes with a sting in its tail. Stay in reality to stay safe. David Riddell
  • There is no intimacy without honesty. Genuine love does not want ‘peace at any price’, but will ‘rock the boat’ when honesty is being compromised. David Riddell
  • Truth is a cruel and persistent chisel upon those who stubbornly cling to their prejudice and delusion. Sooner or later reality is going to crash in on their denial. David Riddell
  • When I believe my feelings and those feelings misrepresent reality, I am headed for a self-referential pit that will get deeper and darker as I dig myself into my home-made delusion. David Riddell
  • Every moral choice we ever face asks us the question, “will we conform to reality, or go on creating our own delusional world?” David Riddell
  • Life is the result of choices, but choices are determined by beliefs. Be sure your beliefs are in harmony with reality, or your choices will merely reinforce your delusions. David Riddell
  • The journey into total mental health begins with a commitment to come out of delusion into reality, no matter what the cost. David Riddell

Questions to answer and leave a comment below or anonymously

  1. In your opinion what do you think is the most valuable skill required to confront someone about mental wellness?
  2. What other reasons could there be for not confronting?
  3. What is your response to the proverb ‘Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts, but profuse are the kisses of an enemy’. Proverbs 27:6

Barry Pearman

Image cc: Ethan Sykes

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