Reality Check: Mirror, Mirror continued

Last time, I introduced you to Sam, who has been having conflicts with just about everyone, most recently including the law. As you care about Sam, you want to help.

Sam has already told you that he doesn’t want to be told what to do; he wants to be independent. It’s clear to you, however, that if Sam continues his current direction, he’ll more likely end up with a life in custody than a life of freedom.

While we can’t control anyone other than ourselves, we can offer information. Because Sam may perceive any discussion as an effort to control him, you could suggest that Sam “hold up a mirror.” That is, ask Sam questions that help him evaluate his own behaviour, for himself.

Why? Telling Sam that his behaviour is counterproductive likely won’t be effective. If Sam is going to make a change, he needs to hear it from himself.

Here is how a conversation might go as you help Sam look in his own “mirror.”

“Sam, when you chose to go out and party with your group of friends, what did you expect to happen?”

I expected that we’d have a good time.

“Looking back, what actually happened?”

There was a fight, and the neighbour called the cops.

“So, there was a problem with the party?”

We didn’t have a problem. It’s the neighbour that has the problem.

“And when the police came, what did you do then?”

They started picking on us, so I told them exactly what I thought of them.

“When you told them what you were thinking, how did you talk to them?”

I think they’re jerks and not fair. 

“But how did you talk to them? What did you say?”

I told one of them off real good.

“When you insulted the police officer, what message were you trying to send?”

That he can’t tell me what to do.

“How did the officer perceive your message?”

He wasn’t really impressed, I guess.

“Did it have the effect you hoped for?”

I guess not. He did end up telling me what to do, and I had to do it or be arrested.

“Sam, are you now more independent, or less independent, than you were before the incident?”

It’s not fair. Nobody should be able to tell me what I can do.

“Maybe it’s not fair. However, the question is, did your actions during that incident lead you closer to the free life you say you want?”

No. Not closer.

“Did it lead you closer to not being free at all?”

It did look kind of dicey there for awhile. I thought he really might arrest me.

“So, are you now more independent, or less independent, than you were before the incident?”

Less, I guess. He said he was going to keep an eye on me and he’d better not get another complaint. So I guess I’m not as free as before.

“Do you think that changing your approach might be more effective for you?”


What do you think of what Sam sees in this first look at himself in his “mirror”?

This entry was posted in Helping Others and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.