Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Paula Renaye - What To Do About It?

A recent letter from a reader of my blog touched on a topic that is something we all struggle with—helping those we care about—so I wanted to address it here too.

Hi Paula,
I´m writing for some advice. How far do you think you can interfere in someone else’s life'? I see my eldest son unhappy and depressed, and I believe it´s the relationship he´s in (long-term) that is making him this way. Am I wrong to suggest a separation and advise him to try and get back to the happy and funny person he used to be?

My 6-year-old grandson is in the middle of all this, but I still think he would be happier with two happy people separately than two miserable ones together. I’d love to hear what you think.
Best regards to you from across the miles.

- - - -

Thank you so much for writing! Your question is a really good one, and something we’ve all faced—and wondered what to do about. Our natural response is to want to help when someone we care about is in pain. But how? What do you do when someone is obviously miserable, and yet he’s not doing anything to change the situation?

The short answer is—nothing.

Even though “you’re the mother” is a phrase that’s embedded in our psyches, we aren’t responsible for the choices of our adult children. But regardless of whether it is family or friend, getting in the middle of someone else's relationship isn't a good plan. It simply isn’t up to you to fix things for someone else, and when you try, several things can happen:

  • You can become far more invested in things being different in his life than he is—you want him out of his misery more than he does.
  • You can find yourself constantly looking for solutions for him—that he will reject—which could keep him stuck even longer and put you in the category of…
  • Aiding and abetting the misery. When we try to ease someone's pain—particularly by listening to chronic complaints and taking on the role of “fixer”—we can actually become part of the problem. We give the “happily miserable” person a way to relieve some of the pressure of the situation, which makes it easier to continue to tolerate it—and not make any changes. And...
  • You give the couple a common enemy to come together to fight about or against—namely you. Suggesting a separation, or really, recommending any specific action at all, puts the responsibility for his choices—and the consequences thereof—in your hands. Then, when things go bad, which they probably will, he can blame you and be no closer to taking responsibility for his situation. And that fallout can result in…
  • Loss of communication with everyone, including your grandson.

I know it sounds harsh, but unless the child is in danger, there really isn’t anything you can do to change the relationship of his parents.

And yes, I’m going to suggest counseling because it works. Whether the couple stays together or not, a good therapist can help with the emotional needs of each person involved. Also, since these things can have roots in family patterns, you might take a step back and consider how the situation might be a replay—in one way or another—of something you have experienced yourself. Again, talking with a pro can help find a perspective on the situation that you might not otherwise.

From personal experience, I can tell that some of us will choose to stay in pain for a long time and nobody can talk us out of it—I know, I did it, and I’ve witnessed it many times. We simply can’t do what we may know we need to until we’re ready.

One thing you absolutely can do that can make a huge difference is to spend extra time with your grandson—without asking any questions about his parents or making any suggestions. Just be there for him as his rock-solid, guaranteed-to-love-him, go-to person. Even a few moments on the phone each day can help him cope with the turmoil he’s feeling.

So, the bottom line is to let your son know you love him and just want him to be happy and that you support him in whatever decision he makes.

All the best to you!

* * * * *
Paula Renaye is a tough love media expert, certified professional coach, empowerment speaker and award-winning author. Her acclaimed self-help book, Living the Life You Love: The No-Nonsense Guide to Total Transformation, was named Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012 and is endorsed by health and mental health professionals. To learn more about Paula Renaye and read more personal development articles, visit



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom



Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife


My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo



Powered by

Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun


Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

Powered by

Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max

Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry


My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

Book Blogs Community

Indie Author Blog Hop

indie author blog hop
Previous | Home | Join | Random | Next

In Support Of

In Support Of

Support Me - KIVA

Celebrating Authors

Book Signing @

Read Me - E.Zine Articles


Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Software