Updated: Aug 29, 2020
You: “Listen I need to talk to you. Do you have a minute?”
Friend: “Umm..can I…”
You: “Okay, so I’m really upset with how my manager spoke to me today and it’s not only about today, I just feel like she keeps demeaning my work and humiliating me in front of other colleagues. Even things at home aren’t that great, my parents have such high expectations of me, I just can’t deal with everything anymore.”
Friend: “I’m really sorry, I’m in the middle of something, can I call you back?”
You: “I just told you I’m not doing okay and you’re saying you’ll call me back?”
How often do we vent out to friends and family? I’m sure your answer here is, “All.The.Time”. While it’s a great thing to have supportive friends and family, it’s also important for us to realize that these support systems can also get exhausted, resulting in resentment. These systems are there to support us but they may also have their limits, just like ‘Friend’ in the hypothetical conversation you read at the start of this article.
Are your friends and family becoming your therapists by-default? It’s okay to talk about your feelings, problems and thoughts with trusted, loved ones but at the same time, you must also understand that they are not always responsible for resolving your issues and giving you advice. When you overload a relationship with several roles, there’s a higher chance that the relationship will succumb to the pressure, leading to unnecessary tiffs that could have been avoided. You may think that talking to a friend is a natural response when something even mildly unpleasant happens and I agree with you. However, it’s also about drawing the line and gaining some unbiased perspectives on your situation.
Our friends and families would never do a thing to hurt us, unfortunately, even when it’s for our betterment. When it comes to a point where you need some guidance on certain aspects and problems in life, the best option is to seek therapy from an unbiased but trusted therapist. A great thing about therapy is that your information remains completely confidential and trained therapists can help you take on the best objective views towards your problems.
Are you becoming the Therapist By-Default? We all feel lucky and blessed to be able to help and support our dear ones in their times of crisis. However, it’s important to evaluate your mental capacity and position before taking on a mission to solve their problems. This may sound a little selfish, but trust me, it’s important for you to be in a good mental space before you try pulling someone out of the dark.
As a friend or family member of someone whose reflex is to call you up as soon as they meet with a problem, it can get difficult to draw boundaries. Also, you must acknowledge the fact that you may not be able to help them out every single time, mainly because you’re not trained to do so. In such a case, you need to have a health conversation with them, letting them know that you might not be the best person who could help them out and that they could consider speaking to a professional. It could be possible that you fall under both the roles- the helper and the person with the problem. In any case, go ahead with the more sure-shot route – therapy!
How do I tell them that they need to see a therapist?
With all the stigma around mental health still floating around, you would have to keep certain things in mind before telling them that a therapist would be of great help to them. Here are some things to keep in mind when you want to tell a friend or family members to visit a therapist:
1) Break the notion that therapy is only for serious illnesses Partly, the reason why the stigm