Day 39 of 365 Days of Being
Sometimes the line between being a supportive friend or a partner and being a free therapist is a hazy one. We want to support the people around us, we also want to be our highest selves, be mentally and physically healthy. We are consciously or unconsciously influenced by negative energy, having healthy boundaries is imperative. This is especially important if you're an Empath who feels energy like none other. No one needs to be a therapist to anyone else for a genuine relationship to occur. A professional therapist bears the duty of support with education, knowledge, experience and skills. Boundaries of time and professionalism are in place to avoid draining even the professionals.
Here are some signs to watch out for.
1. Only sharing bad times. A meaningful relationship involves sharing the good and bad times, not just the bad ones.
2. Expecting support 24/7. You're expected to be at someone's beck and call, outside of emergencies. We all need our downtime to recharge, reflect and regroup. Taking personal time doesn't make you less of a supportive person.
3. Not taking ownership. Healing can only occur when full ownership of the situation is taken. If not, co-dependency occurs.
4. Difference in loyalty. Meeting you one-on-one makes sure others don't know how you contribute to the friendship. You will find that the same person doesn't show loyalty in front of a group of people. You seem so close when it's only the two of you, when it's in a group, it's different.
5. Initial assurance. This may initially seem like appreciation. Someone can tell you, "you're kind", "you're nice", trust you immediately. It can be rather flattering until you weigh the times you have shown support and no support is showed in return. We all need support as much as we would like to be supportive.
6. Playing the victim. The difference between someone who is genuinely going through a hard time and playing the victim is the help they have rejected. If you find that they have indeed gone to a professional therapist, even many but complain about all of them. Or they complain about all the other friends not providing support when you know other friends have indeed been supportive. They often don't value the support you offer as well. The chances are they are determined to reinforce current habits and not make changes that can benefit them.
7. Temporary therapist. Sometimes you find yourself unwittingly becoming a temporary therapist to strangers who offload their problems onto you. On a plane, on the train, at a party, etc. You're under no obligation to listen when you're not ready.
8. Mistaking kindness for weakness. Projecting their angst at you, when it has nothing to do with you. Someone can do this in the middle of offering support, or at random times. You don't see them doing it to others.
9. No reciprocity. Reciprocity can be in other forms, like a home cooked meal or a ride home. Listening might be your strength and not so for everyone, it's important to accept reciprocity in other forms to maintain a balance.
10. Not understanding the value of support. Providing support requires not just empathy or compassion. It requires a combination of knowledge, skills and experience. It can range all the way from temporary comfort to insightful solutions. It's an act of care, a conscious investment of time and energy to build a relationship.
While someone might not have all the 10 signs, if someone exhibits some of them, it's time to renegotiate your boundaries, you are the people around you, proximity is power.
If you constantly find yourself surrounded by people who are unsupportive, chances are you're a nice girl or guy. A supportive friend is a rare treasure, when you're around like-minded people, both parties fly higher. Having one narcissistic person around can disrupt your energy badly, narcissists are energy vampires that drag you down. A like-minded person understands your worth and would be eager to contribute to your life as you do theirs. There's a natural reciprocity that flows, creating deeply meaningful relationships.
Love Light Peace
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