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Boundaries vs The Therapy Friend

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

I can't hear you out right now, I don't feel up for it.

Not entirely familiar with this phrase? Always find yourself being your friend’s or even acquaintances' personal therapist? Well, welcome to the club of the unofficial group therapists. It is quite the position; you get to hear the most draining and depressing thoughts of the people around you oh so often. And without a doubt, It will take you by surprise when the forever sunshine shows you their gloomy dark. Now, helping a friend by lending an ear and guiding them in the right path is definitely something a good friend should condone, but doing it all the time with no regard to one's own emotional state is basically running towards a disaster and teary eyed break downs.

Finding the courage to say no to a friend that so obviously needs desperate help has always felt like a stab in the heart, like you are somehow deceiving your friend and yourself. So invariably you sit down and have hour long talks about the new issues at hand, all while putting on the most sophisticated mask of all, pretending you have it all figured out when in reality you are seconds away from bursting into a tearful monologue about the latest, tiniest of events that has sent you into a spiral. And why something this insignificant affects someone, one might ask. Well it's simple. Holding onto the bigger mental blocks, out of an inability to open up, will inevitably lead to everything becoming just a little too much. With no outlet for your worries and hassles from god knows how many days, weeks, months or even years, you basically turn into an overfilled water balloon; just one gentle prick away from bursting open.

So what does one resort to? Well it has been my observation that most therapist friends

(including myself) realize the obstacle in front of them. But there's this inert feeling…rather, fear inside some of us that if we open up to someone we will unintentionally put them in the position that we are trying to get out of. A hogwash thought that opening up to someone will put this “unnecessary” burden on the other person.

This harmful mentality makes it quite the mental rollercoaster to convince yourself that you too, deserve to be heard and acknowledged. You too deserve to be reassured that your problems indeed are real and it is truly admirable that you are putting so much effort to make everything around you just a little better, even though it goes unnoticed sometimes. Well it is understandable that a novice writer behind a screen telling you this will not suffice, thus it is something you should learn to tell yourself. Even when it appears that the entire world is telling you the exact opposite. Empowering yourself with the ability to love and appreciate all parts of you is the key to understanding when you need a break from humans and their complicated emotions. Setting boundaries to protect your mental health is not selfish, but actually the best thing you can do for yourself and the people around you.

So the next time you are mentally exhausted and overstretched, take your time to heal and deal with your inner fears and insecurities. Learn to say no when it is needed because we both know you’ll be back on your feet comforting even a stranger in little to no time. But not to worry about this small setback because, as cliché as it may be, slow and steady heals the best (yes this is the original phrase with absolutely no changes :) ).

Until next time,

Keep growing, Keep loving

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