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  • Writer's pictureAlisa Collins

How Do You Love a Self-Destructive Person?

Loving someone who doesn't love themself

We all have people in our lives whom we desperately want to help.

We see that they are doing self-destructive things that harm their health, finances, relationships, or mental health.

Whether it's a drug addiction, gambling problem, drinking too much, spending money they don't have, sabotaging relationships, or a thousand other ways people ruin their lives, THEY continue to do it over and over again.

Often we judge them because they keep doing it (to themselves).

THEY won't accept help when offered.

THEY won't seek help themselves.

And WE stand by, with a broken heart, watching it happen.

We want them to be better because we love them.

We also want them to do better so our hearts can heal. And so we don't have to worry so much. We don't understand why they aren't different.

I was discussing this with a friend, and she asked if WE believed THEY aren't physically incapable of changing.

Would we feel any differently about them if we stopped believing THEY are stubborn and won't listen and started to think INSTEAD that they want desperately to change (which is probably true), but their mind and body won't cooperate?

What if we believe THEY actually CAN'T STOP the pattern of self-destruction.

Much like someone with a terrible disease, our loved ones didn't consciously set out to be like this.

They didn't choose to be someone filled with shame and guilt.

They didn't want to be the person predisposed to make bad choices.

This wasn't a path they wanted.

Does thinking different open us up to more compassion for them?

Does that open us up for more love for them?

Loving someone who is self-destructive is hard, but it is made even harder by our judgment of their actions. However right and well-intended we may be, we end up also suffering.

What if WE loved THEM, no matter what.

What if there were nothing that they could do that would make us love them one once less?

What if we told them that?

What if we told them that, for our own sake?

Have a beautiful week,


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