Why Trying to MAKE Someone Change Will Make YOU Miserable
People are who they are, and acceptance is a huge part of our relationships with other people. Without question it is difficult to even try completely understanding each other 100% of the time, but humility lies in trying to look within for change instead of trying to change those around us. When we over-reach into the lives of others to try and change who they are, we are not only creating more chaos for them, but we are inviting more misery and misunderstanding into our lives.
The following are just a few examples of the ways that trying to MAKE someone change will make YOU miserable, especially trying to change someone dealing with substance abuse or addiction. If you have tried forcing your will on others you can probably relate.
Creating Friction in Relationships
When trying to make someone change, you are inviting conflict and arguments into your relationship. If changes need to be made for your own sake then it is true you should bring your feelings to their attention, but it should be done in a way that promotes supportive change.
Applying pressure to someone to push change just gives them more of a reason to resist the change because they are less likely to see it as something they want or something helpful for them, and more likely to see it as something you are aggressively forcing upon them. Or they become defensive and lash out against your efforts. This can cause devastating friction in your relationships.
Trying to MAKE someone change that has issues with substance abuse or addiction can cause even more misery because they often tend to act more on their addictions. They will sometimes revert to using drugs or drinking to cope with the feelings of persecution, and then repeat the cycle of intoxication and arguments about their habits.
False Feeling of Failure
When trying to make someone change it usually does not work out the way you planned it to. Either they resist and lash out, or they crumbled beneath the pressure and reject you or the idea of change. Regardless of what happens, if the change you are trying to overpower someone else with does not take hold, then when they fail it is also harmful to you too.
If you are trying to inspire growth or understanding, but you behave in a way that is over-bearing or selfish, then when the person is unable to meet your unfair expectations or unwilling to bow to your will, it can make you feel a false sense of failure. Feeling as though you have failed that person, or that hope is lost because the change has not worked out how you hoped can just propel more misery into your life. Be able to accept peoples attempt to change, and be accepting of any outcome.
If you are trying to MAKE an addict or alcoholic change, you are asking for repeated feelings of failure. Addicts and alcoholics have a hard enough time trying to give up their addictions, if they even want to. By constantly trying to force them to change by your own influence, you are putting yourself up for a good deal of disappointment.
You’re Welcoming Criticism
If you are a human being, you are not perfect. None of us exists without any character defects or faults of our own. And even these can vary on our personal preferences and experiences. Trying to force someone else to change can mean to that person that you are focusing and pointing out the things wrong with them. People who are struggling with things like substance abuse or addiction can see this as judgment, and they will be more than happy most times to point out the you are not perfect.
You welcome criticism openly when you chose to try and pick the things about others you feel they need to change. Regardless of if you want them to change these things because of their health, they future, or your own selfish reasons, if you go about trying to demand change and obedience than you are asking for someone to point out your problems, or the things they dislike about you.
Being directly criticized is something that makes most people pretty reasonably miserable. Especially when you feel like you just wanted to help someone, and all they offer is harmful feedback. Criticism is another part of our defenses that we do not get to turn off.
Trying to MAKE another person change is almost always counter-productive. Forcing ourselves and our will into situations that are not under our control hurts everyone, especially the ones we want most to help. Change for life comes from understanding and moving forward. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588