Do you live in constant anxiety around certain loved ones? Do you feel miserable or angry around certain family members? Do you have a friend you find yourself continually having to take care of?
Do you feel like you “have to” do things with friends or family? Do they control the relationship? Does the contact you have with them bring you down or make you feel worthless or not good enough?
Cutting ties with family or friends may be one of the most difficult decisions we face. We may spend years of our lives forfeiting our emotional and mental health in abusive relationships under the belief that we “have to” because “they are family” or “an old friend.”
No one wants to be the person that doesn’t speak to their family. Nobody likes to be the one who pulls the plug on a 20-year friendship. We are conditioned to believe that there is something morally or inherently wrong in terminating a relationship with family or friends.
Therapy is a place to learn to set boundaries. Boundaries are the lines you draw that teach people what is OK and this is what is not. Sometimes you have to limit the time you spend with them, the information you give them and the frequency of contact you have with them. You can also learn how to better control yourself in your communication, behaviors and responses.
Often, people will fight to keep acting in poisonous ways towards you, despite what you say or do. If they have a history of mistreating you they will resist new rules. Standing your ground is critical. This is where therapy is extremely helpful. It teaches you the “how.”
If you find yourself constantly expressing the same needs and setting the same limits over and over again to no avail, therapy will help identify the areas you need to master. It can also help you determine whether or not to end the relationship altogether.
Let therapy help you find your courage and your voice to address these relationships honestly and head on.