Helping Others When They Don’t Want Help

From students to friends to adults. How do we help those who don’t want our help? Such a difficult spot to be in, and there is no good answer.

In the Wiccan practice it is unethical to cast a spell of healing or help for someone who has not given permission. In the mundane world we help all the time without permission, even sometimes pushing ourselves into situations just to offer help. Is one better than the other? Is there really a right and wrong?  

As a teacher of high school students I am constantly placed in situations where my job is to help. Often students ask for help, sometimes I ask if they need help and sometimes I just sit down and help. Today I was in a meeting with a student and his mom (along with some other school adults) and we asked the student what more we could do. We had already been doing all the things previously outlined to help him and yet he continues to be unmotivated, unfocused and unengaged. His response “I don’t know.” This is a student I regularly redirect, stop by his desk and check-in, ask him to participate in class and get a blank stare. Yet, when asked if there was more I could do he said, “No. Ms. S already does all she can, I just don’t do it.” How do I help him? There is very little more I can do, and I can’t just let him slide and pass him, which I think is what has happened in the past.

I have a very dear friend who texted me this weekend because she was having a difficult time. She didn’t want to talk, said she was disappearing and that I should “run while I can”. She was easier. She didn’t want help in her kind, yet when I said “okay” and then asked what I thought was an off topic question to check-in, it led straight to the heart of what was wrong. Helping her became more of a conversation, and it wasn’t until some other things happened that she even realized the role I had played.

There is no easy answer. If you’re a fixer, like I am, this can cause undue stress on you. Migraines, lack of appetite, tummy issues…sound familiar? Learning to let go of things when you can’t fix them is an important skill. Knowing you tried your best and can do no more is how you know when to let go. It can hurt, but there comes a time when you need to take care of you.

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