Today a coworker lost it today and after asking them what’s wrong I got the terrible story of their drug absuing step child who ran away (step child is 17) and how they’re in the middle of finding a solution that lets keeep everyone their sanity.

That’s the background. After they told me, they broke down and I let them go home a bit earlier. The thing is that this plus a completely unrelated unexpected problem lead to a stressful shift and me thinking about how much I should let private problems influence the way I manage a shift. It’s also not helping that a coworker who is super fast judging other people did just that, judging her colleague very hard.

One of my superiors is already voicing the opinion that I’m too nice and let myself distract too much from what matters and sadly their opinion matters a lot.
The thing is...how? It’d mean ignoring the plight of a colleague in a dire situation. In this case not asking them what’s up or just ignore their breakdown, like give them time to compose themself and continue working.
There is for sure an “inbetween”, but I have trouble striking a balance.
So, what do you do when you think that a private problem of a coworker is interfering with work? I’m super empathic and activly shielding myself against such situations seems so wrong, but I’m also a manager and have to keep in mind not to burden other coworkers in order to help someone else. 
Though I have to add that this particular coworker is one of those people who seem to attract misery and much of it is absolutely selfmade.

Can’t think straight.