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“Helping someone in emotional pain”

I have a family member who is estranged from others in my family. I've tried to stay in touch - I so desperately wanted to love and support this person, because I love and care about them and want them to be ok. I've sent supportive messages, listened (really tried to listen and ask questions), tried to make plans to see them. I think in any scenario there's always more you could have done - and I want to be open and willing to be supportive in the way this person needs me to be.

Yet, I do feel like everything I say and have done, however honest and loving my intentions, have been taken badly - it's almost like everything has got twisted round into a negative. I can sort of understand this - when you're in pain nothing anyone says or does really helps. I've been through a traumatic grief and had that feeling then. I'm struggling to cope with all the unfriendly, hurtful and angry messages and letters though - I feel sick and shaky when I see one waiting to be opened. I want to keep the focus on this person and what they're going through but inevitably I have said how hurt and upset I feel too.

I'm feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the situation, and almost like perhaps the best thing to do is to step back for a bit, give them space. But that feels somewhat hurtful thing for me to do and I feel quite worried about doing that - won't that just create more distance and another reason for them to be upset with me? My family and friends think I should step back, that if a friend treated me the way this person is you just wouldn't put up with it. But I can just see how hurt and upset this person is, the anger and hate directed towards me isn't really for me, it's the turmoil of what they are going through. And yet, if I'm not helping by what I'm doing, if I'm worsening their upset, if nothing I do is right, I just don't know what to do...

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