Joe always kept a spare wallet of £200 in £20 pound notes in his bedside drawer ‘for emergencies’. One day he noticed that £20 was missing. He didn’t recall taking it out but in the rushed pace of his life he presumed he must have. Several weeks later he discovered another £40 was missing. He left a note in the drawer to tell the thief that he knew they were taking his money. Despite that another £20 went missing.
Finally he spoke to his wife and they decided to have a family meeting. Everyone denied knowledge of the money or the theft, but after the meeting his daughter, Amy, confessed in private that she had taken the money.
Joe was very hurt by Amy’s behaviour. He discussed it in a coaching session and got in touch with his deeper feelings around the event. He realised he felt betrayed, disregarded and taken for granted. It was suggested that the very same feelings had driven Amy's behaviour and she felt them as a result of his behavior to her. Often how we feel as a result of someone's actions is a reflection of the feelings that drove their behaviour.
As Joe explored his behaviour around Amy he recognized he had taken this loving, gentle daughter for granted and paid less attention to her because she was so undemanding. There were so many calls on his time and attention from work and the rest of the family that it was a relief that she was so quiet and unassuming. With new insights he could see that Amy's taking money was a cry for attention and an expression of her hurt.
Whilst Amy was still asked to repay the money, the event had helped Joe see how his life was off-balance, that the people he cared most about were suffering, even though the reason he worked so hard was to provide for them. He made changes to his work/life balance and re-visited his values and beliefs around work and family. Joe and Amy did a coaching session together to talk about what had happened. Their relationship is growing stronger because there is more honesty and trust.
What needs to happen for you to see someone's challenging behaviour as a cry for help? Relationship Training will give you the skills and tools you need to help not just yourself but to support those you love.