From one of our anonymous writers
There are numerous posts about how people can support their loved ones who are incarcerated…so I’m going to switch that up a little bit and share how to support their loved ones on the outside!
10 tips on how to support your loved one – from the inside, out.
1. Acknowledge that they are doing your time too.
That comment might sound crazy right? But it’s not as crazy as you may think.
They are having to grieve the loss of the person they had there for them day in, day out. Just like you, they deal with that loneliness and pain from the separation.
Not only that, but more often than not.. they end up putting their feelings aside for you. They don’t want to burden you with how they feel because they know your situation is worse. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling too, it’s just different.
But more importantly… acknowledge that you have become dependent on them. They have to cope with the financial strain of paying their bills, taking care of themselves and any children they may have. And now, on top of all of that, they have to take care of you.
2. Always show your appreciation.
Acknowledge and appreciate the things your loved one does for you. A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way with making someone feel appreciated. Remember.. they don’t have to be there for you, they are choosing to be. So always appreciate them for that.
3. Call them regularly.
Those phone calls mean a lot, especially on the days they are missing you the most.
However, if your loved one is paying for the calls.. always be mindful of how much those calls are costing. They aren’t cheap!
If your loved one cannot afford for you to call them often…write them letters instead.
4. Give them your undivided attention when you speak.
Now I know there will be exceptions to this one, however if you can give them your full attention when speaking to them…then please do! This will help them feel important and wanted by you.
5. Keep the conversations positive.
You are living in a hard and stressful situation and you have every right to want to vent about that to your partner (and you should!). But don’t allow the emotion of your situation to affect that time you have to talk. Instead, look at your conversations as your escape from the stresses in there. Emerge yourself in your connection with your partner and enjoy it! It will do wonders for your mental health.
6. Be consistent.
If you say your going to do something, then do it. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep!
7. Acknowledge their feelings.
If you don’t already, ask them how they are feeling every once in a while. Not only that, but really listen and acknowledge them if they are feeling down. They can go through hard times too and still need your support as much as you need theirs.
They are just as important as you are.
8. Write letters!
One thing that is ‘outdated’ but so under appreciated is letter writing. If you are someone who struggles to express how you are feeling or you don’t like those uncomfortable moments.. write it down! It’s a great way to work through any emotions or thoughts you may have and helps your loved one to better understand you.
But also.. make your letters fun and be creative! There’s so much you can do with them.
A few examples would be..
‘Open when’ letters
Creating a bucket list
Individual or relationship goal setting
Would you rather questions
Ask lots of questions!
Plan your future dates together
Discuss a subject
Create your relationship playlist
9. Don’t forget..
Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and any other special occasions…
Do you see a resemblance here to the post ‘7 WAYS TO SUPPORT SOMEONE IN PRISON’? That’s because this applies to you too.
Send them cards! They are cheap and always available…but they are a sure way of making your loved one smile. Especially if you write a sweet, meaning message inside. (Hint, hint!)
Lastly, and most importantly…
10. Always end each conversation with ‘I love you’.
This is probably the one most significant thing that I adore about my partner. The fact that even on our worst days when we really don’t want to talk to each other anymore, he will never leave the conversation without ‘I love you’ being his last words. Why? Because life is unpredictable, especially in prison. So you always want to make sure that no matter what, your last words are always special. You don’t know when they may be your last.