One of the most discouraging things that a therapist must face is another person's denial and refusal to change. I think everyone who is trying to help someone else out of a difficult situation can feel discouraged. Some people may offer help by giving advice, money, or even with a desire to walk in and pull them from that difficulty. Unfortunately, all too often, the one who claims they need to be rescued is the one who goes right back into the unsafe situation over and over again. I saw this repeatedly with domestic violence victims and addiction. Habitual denial has created an epidemic of victimization across the world. When people refuse to acknowledge the danger, and would rather live in denial of it, they choose to be more comfortable with their abuser than uncomfortable alone. To break the cycle of abuse, you must create a new cycle of change. But it requires personal responsibility and acceptance of the fact that the change must start with you.
There is an old saying, "Misery loves company." It's not fun facing adversity and challenges alone. Some people would rather sit in their misery than make the effort to change. They say, "I'd rather be miserable with you than miserable without you." Sigmund Freud, the father of psychology once said, "Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility." It is the fear of responsibility that keeps people stuck, but what they truly are afraid of is the unknown. They don't know how much effort it will take to change, what consequences might result of it, or if change is even possible for them. And what if they do change? Who will they become? But they are not happy with the person they are either because they are not living as their authentic self.
"How much of myself am I willing to sacrifice to appease other people
until I am no longer the person I thought I was?"
Codependency plays an evil trick on people that causes them to lose themselves in a pattern of unhealthy relationships. People who have been raised in an unhealthy family, as an adult, will seek out other unhealthy people because that feels "normal." The thought of doing something that does not feel familiar or pushes them out of our comfort zone is scarier than the situation they find themselves. There is a false sense that somehow, they think they can control this situation, but they may not be able to control the unknown situation. Until they are willing to be stretched, they will remain stuck.
Until someone is willing to get stretched a little, they have no perspective that anything could be different. The amazing thing about people who are eager to take the risk of change, they are the ones who change most dramatically. It's how a new pair of boots feel uncomfortable until they get broken in and become your favorite pair of shoes. People can love the new person they are becoming so much that the thought of change is no longer scary, and they begin to seek out change. They are successful because they overcame their fear of the unknown and learned to fly. They soar above their circumstances and have gained a new perspective that allows them to see more clearly. They allowed a new possibility to take flight and they are better for it.
"A man who hurts people tempts his neighbor to do the same,
and leads him in a way that is not good."