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  • Writer's pictureAnnon

Being Supportive Makes a Difference

Are you on my side?

Shani was extremely thin and hated the way she looked and the way that others looked at her. She was never a big eater and when she was anxious or depressed she would eat even less.  This made her feel even worse about herself. She always compared herself to her twin sister who was a different shape, and who seemed to radiate confidence. Shani had a Kav L’Noar mentor, Bella, who was trying to be supportive.

Shani was sweet and funny and had friends, but she still felt that she didn’t really fit in and she was too shy to socialize with them outside school. Instead, Shani started online relationships with older boys. She started privately drinking more and more alcohol. Eventually, the relationships became sexual.

Shani’s friends were alarmed by these developments. At first, they tried to help, but when she refused to stop seeing the boys, they became judgemental and distanced themselves from her.

Supportive and Empathetic

When Shani told Bella what was going on, she had to tread a fine line. She wanted Shani to feel comfortable confiding in her, and so she had to be supportive and empathetic. And yet, she also wanted to do her best to steer Shani away from these self-destructive behaviors as quickly as possible.

Bella was a reassuring presence while Shani dealt with the anxiety of testing for pregnancy. But afterwards, she persuaded Shani to tell her parents about what she had gone through. Bella also encouraged Shani to get professional help from a Kav L’Noar therapist to help her navigate away from this downward spiral. Meantime, they continued their mentoring relationship.

Throughout this tumultuous period, Bella saw her role as to be as positive, supportive and consistent as possible, so that Shani would always feel like there was someone truly on her side.

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