Use Empathy to Help Your Loved Ones in Recovery

 Recovery | Lakehouse Recovery Center

Support Helps Those in Recovery

Often, family members of those who are in recovery have a hard time knowing how to support them. They might know how to care in the obvious ways, like bringing their loved one their favorite socks or taking them out for the afternoon. However, knowing how to care on an emotional level might be more difficult.

One way to provide your support is to be empathetic. Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s situation and the feelings they might have as a result. Empathy is like feeling what it’s like to be in another person’s shoes. It is understanding another person and what they may be going through.

However, empathy is not sympathy. As you may know, sympathy is the experience of feeling bad for someone. For some, sympathy might be looking down at someone for the situation they’re in.

In fact, there’s a good chance that you might have felt some sympathy for your loved one while he or she was still addicted to alcohol or drugs. It’s not a pleasant feeling to have. However, it can be a natural reaction to have in some situations.

Why Sympathy is Not The Way To Go

Nonetheless, sympathy is not what you want to express to your loved one now, especially if he or she is in addiction treatment. Now, the best way you can respond to your loved one emotionally is through empathy. In fact, you may want to listen to your loved one with empathetic ears, meaning try to listen to what they are saying without rushing to form a judgment about it.

Try to understand their feelings and their situation. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were in their shoes. In order to really understand the way that someone else is feeling you might have to look for cues in their body language or listen for the meaning beneath the words.

Some people don’t know how to express their feelings but they’re good at describing events and actions. Because of this, if you really want to understand what your loved one is going through, try to listen empathetically.

Being Empathetic Brings You The Following Benefits

  • Empathy can help improve relationships.
  • Empathy can increase the level of communication that goes on between two people. There are fewer misunderstandings.
  • Many people do not feel understood by others. Empathy can help people feel seen and appreciated.
  • Empathy can reduce the amount of conflict that people have in their relationships.
  • Empathy helps reduce self-absorption.

Supporting Your Loved Ones

If you wanted to support your loved one and his or her recovery, you might want to develop your empathetic skills. You can do this by imagining how others might feel. You might also imagine how you might feel if you were in another’s person’s situation. You might also avoid thinking about what you’re going to say next when a person is talking.

Instead, put your focus on what your loved one is trying to communicate. Lastly, be open to allowing silence in your conversation. Sometimes, it’s in the silence where a greater understanding can be experienced.

If you’re looking for ways to support your loved one, the above suggestions on empathy might be the best tools of support.


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