Earlier on the show, we talked about ways to rebuild your life after a public scandal, which is what Johnny Depp and Amber Heard will be doing now that their defamation trial has ended. Now, we want to move in a different direction. What if you have a friend or family member rebuilding their life after an embarrassing scandal? How can you help them? Here are some ideas.
If there's someone who you want to support that's been through a tough public scandal, then it's a good idea to talk with them. Don't wait for them to say anything to you because they may not know what to say. Or, they may not know if you want to be a part of their life. Before you have a conversation, make sure that you know what you want to say and have ideas of how you want to help. Here's an idea to get you started. You might say, "I've admired how you've handled that tough situation. You showed strength and pulled through when it seemed like all the chips were down. I want you to know that whatever happened doesn't matter to me. I'm here for you. You can count on me." Now, whatever you say, make sure that you stick with it because when you do, you're building trust with them.
Realize that rebuilding your life after a public fall can take time and can be an emotional roller coaster. This means that they may have days where they seem to like their old self and other days where they don't. You need to be there for them. You don't have to understand everything that happened to support them. If they want to talk, then listen. Many times, they want to process their feelings or what happened. This isn't the time for you to be judgmental or critical of what happened. Instead, reframe the negativity into something positive or neutral. Acknowledge how they're feeling, so they know that you're listening and understand them.
There might be times when they shut down, withdraw, and may not want your support. This can be confusing if they initially wanted your support. Don't take it personally. Instead, if they're willing to talk about it, point out what you've noticed. And ask them for their take on what's changed. Sometimes, they might pull back if they feel that they're pulling you into their drama. It might be their way to protect you. If you think that that's the case, tell them how you feel. No matter if you're there for them. Explain what you're doing if you think it's better to give them a little space. You can say something like, "I'm getting the sense that you might want some alone time, which I'll honor. I'll be back to check with you or call you (give a specific time/day). And make sure that you follow through. If you follow through on what you say, then they'll know that you are there for the long haul.
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