The Exchange Principle is something I use to navigate a lot of my decisions when it comes time to help someone. I want to make sure I am helping, and that means I can't put more energy into something that the other person is willing to. When people ask for favors, help, or anything that involves putting my energy or money into the equation, I run through this thought process first.
Welcome back to the unbreakable boundaries podcast with your host, myself, Jennifer Maneely. In today's episode, I'm wanting to go through a very helpful, helpful principle that I use, when I'm navigating my own relationships, people have substance abuse, or even people in recovery. I use this a lot like when I mentor people, even in recovery, I use this to navigate my own energy to make sure I'm taking care of myself, to put the boundaries up around how much help Am I willing to give, especially, you know, I want to make sure that I'm helping people that are willing to help themselves. And that's not always very clear, it's very clear to say it like that, it's not always very clear when you're in the situation. And you don't know. So a lot of times, and this is just one example of many. And this is where I call the principle, the Exchange Principle is because there's got to be some sort of an exchange, in any situation, going in where there is an exchange of energy and exchange of financial means any sort of thing, there has to be some sort of an exchange. So this is one of the most common examples, especially my world is someone calls me up and gives me a sob story, which may or may not be true, we don't know yet. But they give me a story about how they're starving, and they need money or whatever, maybe a place to sleep or, you know, in anything helps five, $10, whatever. And seems like, oh, well, I don't want people to starve or sleep or like, have to sleep outside or whatever. So of course, I want to give it to people who are, who really need something like that, I'm more than happy to do that, if I can, financially, knowing that I'm probably never gonna see that that's the first thing that we have to take into consideration. More than likely, I'm never gonna see this money again. So it would be giving them money, they could say how much they're going to pay you back and all of that stuff. But come on, like we know, we know, we're never going to see this money again. It's not always very helpful just to give someone money, when they even know themselves, they're never going to be able to pay it back. It actually strips a little bit of their confidence away from them, even though they're like they're saying they need it. But it kind of strips their confidence. So this is the first this is the first thing to understand is, in order to help people, we can't put them in a debt that they can't pay back in some way. Because that doesn't actually help anyone. So one of the things and I tell other people to do this is it's like, Well, is there something is there some way or something that they can earn the money, if they really need it, they're going to be more than willing to earn the money, right? So maybe it's something like, especially if I don't want them necessarily over at my house. One of the things I'll do is be like, Hey, I mean, I'm more than happy to come and meet you at a carwash and let you clean my car. You know, I'll even pay like I'll pay for like it can be a coin carwash, or, or whatever because they can sit there and vacuum, I'll pay for the the the cost of the carwash, right, they'll have to do all the work inside and out, depending on how much time or money they want. Maybe it's just the outside, maybe it's just the inside, or maybe it's both. So if it's like 4050 bucks, it's probably both because they're gonna need to spend a couple hours doing this, right, because then they really feel like they've earned the money. And if they need it, they'll be more than happy to pay for it. If it's something that they need, like, right then and there. Ah, there's a good chance that money is going into places that we don't want it to go to be honest with you. You know, anybody can put together a few pennies to go get something to eat at a grocery store. But if they're asking and demanding 40 or 50 bucks from you right then and there, that's a red flag. So by saying that you will be doing this, or hey, you're more than happy. I'm more than happy to let you go like clean up my car. It's kind of like a debt free exchange, right? They're actually you're actually paying for their services and their earning it. So they don't owe you anything later. They don't have to feel bad like this, just say. Now, first, I want to say this. Rarely, if they are just looking for drug money, they are not going to take this offer more than likely I can't always make that promise. More than likely they are not going to take this offer. So that's one thing to consider. The other thing to consider is, is that they do that it's their money, they have earned it, you are paying for their services, and they can do whatever they want with their money. And that's how I have to live with that. So if they are, if they clean my car, or they do whatever it is, I mean, if you're, if you're okay with him being over at your house, and you want them to mow the lawn, if you want them to clean the kitchen, if you want them, you know, to clean up the garage, or whatever it is, at that point, you have no say so over what money that they use it for, but at least they've earned it, you know, and that's the thing. Generally speaking, though, if they're just looking for drug money, this is not how they go about it. But what we'll do is teach them very quickly that they cannot come to you, without them having to put work in. So here's the great thing. They won't ask for money anymore from you, if you uphold this, even just once or twice, this will take away all have the burden of them constantly coming to you and nagging you and telling you it, it also takes away the conflict. Because they're not signing, it's like, Hey, I'm saying to you, I am happy to give you the money, if you do this, you can't get mad at me if you're not willing to do that. So they actually generally won't get mad at you if they turn it down. But they have to accept the fact that they are turning it down. That's the other great thing about this. So it kind of sets up the conditions under which you are willing to help. And a lot of the fights in the battles in the horrible pieces of, you know, think that horrible things they will say to you, when when you just say no or whatever, it just kind of goes away all of that just all of that just goes away because they know they can't ask you for those kinds of things. So it's great. This is a great way to look at life. So the second step further into another really common example of how this can work and how you can help yourself and navigate the conversations. Without making you put so much energy into someone who's not willing to put energy into themselves. So someone calls you up says, I am ready to go to rehab, will you help me? Yes, yes, I will. However, what is that help look like? Right? Maybe you can afford rehab, maybe you can't, maybe the insurance companies like depending on the situation, but this is how we think about it. To start with. And I mean, there's 1001 different possibilities, I can't go through them all. But here's how you can manage yourself through this situation. Without feeling like you put in so much energy and effort into finding a place for them. And then just being really ungrateful or not showing up or going in with a really bad mindset. So let if you're willing to do this, and I'm not saying that you have to do this, I'm just saying if you are willing to put the energy into finding a rehab, so getting, you know, numbers and stuff, great. I would go with choosing three. Now this probably should already be done before they ever come to you. So always just have three rehabs or three, detoxes or whatever, ready for them to start making phone calls to but here's that that's just it. You give them the choices. And then they can make all of the phone calls to help them get themselves into these places. That way there they are making a choice. So what you've done is you're setting up the condition under which they are you are narrowing that down, so it's not so overwhelming for them. And I like the number three because it makes people feel like they have a choice. And yet it's very it's contained. So when they get to choices, they're not so overwhelmed with how many choices are really out there because if man you can't hardly throw a rock anymore without having choices of rehabs and detoxes and who knows and all this stuff. So that's what I would invite. By the way, I do have a podcast about how I think about rehabs and how I go through vetting and, and choosing rehabs you can go a couple of back, I don't actually remember exactly which one, um, it's like number 49, or something like that. So I'd invite you to go back and listen to that one, if you're in into that phase of things where you're having to navigate that world and choose a rehab. But anyway, so, you know, narrow these things down to two, three, and then let them do it. And that goes for anything, right. So let's say if one of the conditions that you have is, they have to go see a therapist on a regular basis, allow them to do the choosing of their own therapist, you can narrow it down again to three, but allow them to do all the heavy lifting. If they don't want to do even that minimal of work, then they're not really ready. There's some other motivation behind why they're asking for help. And maybe it's a lot of times, it's just a con, you know, more money. Yes, yes, I'll go to rehab. Now, in order for me to get into rehab, I need to borrow like 100 bucks to clean, you know, a couple things up or whatever, right. So if they're not going to start doing all the calling and stuff, then there's, there's some, there's something else going on, there just is I had to do the calling to get into my rehab. Initially, my mom started doing the calling, and someone politely or not so politely from the rehab was like, um, she's gonna have to make these phone calls. And thank God that they did that. But But I think that, that's always just a really good place for you to start is they need to put the energy into this stuff. This is going to help them with their mindset of going in, because they got to choose where they're going. So they're going to go into it with a different mindset, and they're not going to be able to blame you if they don't like it, or if it's weird, you know, because there's all sorts of excuses that people will come up with about why the rehabs not any good. And it usually all continues to, you know, blame you. So everything should be around, involving their choices in this stuff. So they can't come back and blame and they just have a different mindset going in a different perspective going in to the to these things. And so, like I said, there's so many different ways, the exchange principle can help. But there's, I mean, it's just too much to really go through all of the different scenarios on how this, this can help. But this can solve a lot of your conflict. It can solve a lot of your exhaustion of your resentments. This can solve a lot of things, and it will also help you navigate your decisions on how to best help them. Are they ready? Are they not? Here's the thing is if you are a person that's looking at investing into them, say it's a rehab or sober living or whatever it is, you want to make sure that they're ready. And we can't always know that and maybe they're ready and something happens along the way that gets them unready. But we want to at least set them up for the best possible outcome we can. And this is how you can determine how ready they really are. If they're really ready, and I can tell you from experience, that they're really ready, they're going to be willing to jump through some hoops to get there they are, if they're desperate enough, they're going to do whatever you tell him to do. Pretty much and they're gonna be happy about it. I mean, as happy as one can be when they're thinking about going into rehab or an early recovery, but they're going to be happy, they're going to be grateful, a whole lot more happy and grateful than if they go kicking and screaming. That's just it that just doesn't serve anyone. And it doesn't serve you to you know, kind of push them into something before they're ready. But sometimes, you know, people they get really desperate and they'll be like, Yeah, whatever. Whatever you tell me to do. I'll do as long as I can have like a place to sleep it at at night doesn't necessarily mean that they're ready. So I would really invite you into into considering and thinking about how to use and implement this principle into your life, because I think it's gonna save you a lot of time and energy. And if you need help, like, say you have a particular situation, you're like, I'm not exactly very clear about how this how this principle applies to this situation. Let's go through it together, you can reach out to me, you can email me at Jennifer at Maneely consulting.com. That's my email, or you can go check out my website, Maneely. consulting.com is another place that you can get in touch with me from, and I would just invite you to do that if if you're like, I really like the idea. I'm just kind of unclear about how this may work. This principle will solve a lot of problems, but it won't solve them all. So we can even go through is this the principle? Or is there something else that we can get like some other tool or some other principle that we can apply to the situation, so you can have a clear understanding of, of where to go next and how to think about the situation in terms of, of helping because one of the things that we don't want to continue to do is unintentionally, stripping away opportunities for themselves to get themselves out of trouble, to gain the confidence that they need to know that they can live their own lives. Without the help, really, because sometimes it's like, the best help you can give them is supporting them and realizing that they are capable of helping themselves because here's one thing I know about your loved one. They are really, really smart, capable people. And maybe they forgotten that. And maybe you have even forgotten that at some points because man do they make some dumb decisions. But they are smart, and they are capable. And they have to remember that and sometimes so to you. So this is the friendly reminder that, you know, they're a lot more resilient than you think. And they're a lot more capable of living their own life. And they need to see that. So that was something that was really helpful for me is learning how to live my life and not having that kind of support where mom came in and made all my problems go away. Because what that taught me was is that I couldn't live my life without her. That's what I believed. I believed that I couldn't do it on my own. And that wasn't anywhere. And I needed to believe that I could do it on my own. And when I started believing that my life changed. So anyway, I hope this was helpful. And one thing I like to remember is and remind people is that tough love is not about being tough on them. It is about sometimes making decisions that are tough to do. And always remember that even when things seem the most hopeless, there is still always hope and I hope that you remember that. So anyway, I hope you have a great day and I hope to be hearing from you soon.