Are you currently in a toxic relationship or friendship?
- Do you feel emotionally drained or exhausted after talking with this person?
- Do you feel like you cannot do anything right in the relationship?
- Do you often feel like you are walking on eggshells around the person?
- Do you struggle to establish and maintain helpful boundaries?
You can’t pinpoint exactly when it started. Maybe it has been this way for a long time, or maybe it started recently, but you are now realizing that the person you thought you had a positive and supportive relationship with now feels like an emotional vampire. This may be a romantic partner, close friend, or family member. You stress about upsetting this person and have found yourself worrying more about their wellbeing than your own. You feel responsible for their joys and concerns at the detriment of your own happiness. You experience frequent discomfort and anxiety with them, especially related to guilt or feeling like you are letting them down. You have noticed their behavior can be unpredictable and erratic, but aren’t sure how to approach that with them.
In the process of dealing with toxic people, the first and most important thing we can do to take care of ourselves is to establish and maintain firm boundaries. Boundaries give us the opportunity to communicate to others what we are comfortable with and, more importantly, what we are not. They allow us the opportunity to feel heard and understood by our partners, family and friends.
Boundaries Can Be Very Difficult to Establish
Although it may feel that way sometimes, you are not alone in this struggle. Many people find it difficult to uphold firm boundaries and tell those they care about NO in times of need. It is easy to fall into a cycle of caring for others for so long and spending your time and energy focusing on them. But then who is spending time and energy on your needs?
So, what are boundaries exactly? You may be reading this, saying to yourself “this sounds familiar” but wondering what I mean when I say establishing and maintaining boundaries. TherapistAid defines personal boundaries as “the limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships”. Boundaries typically fall into 3 categories: Healthy (firm but flexible), rigid (avoiding close relationships, detached) and porous (oversharing, difficulty saying “no”). Another way to think about boundaries is: too strong – too weak – just right.
While it may be hard to pinpoint exactly when or why these issues with setting and keeping boundaries in this relationship began, sometimes looking back at your experiences as a child or adolescent can be helpful. You may have grown up in an environment that did not model good boundaries and are struggling now as an adult to learn to establish them for yourself. Or perhaps the environment you grew up in had very strict, harsh boundaries and you vowed to never live that way again. Finding healthy, stable and appropriate boundaries for yourself is important. Not only can it help reduce feelings of fear, panic and guilt, but it can also help you feel a renewed sense of emotional energy and empowerment.
Working on boundaries may seem difficult now, but there is hope for helping you feel happier and healthier. You are reading this because you recognize you may be struggling with an unhealthy, toxic relationship. Working with a supportive and compassionate therapist can help you work through those issues and start to find balance and self-appreciation again.
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” – Brene Brown
Therapy Can Help You Focus On Your Own Needs
At one point or another, we all struggle to establish firm boundaries, care for our own needs, and put ourselves first. It can be particularly challenging for women as well, who may have fallen into the caretaker role for much of their lives. If you are feeling like it has become unmanageable and aren’t even sure where to begin, R & R Mental Health Counseling can help.
Our sessions will implement effective psychotherapy methods to gently guide you towards self-awareness, understanding and acceptance. We will work together, starting with your strengths and natural talents, to explore the feelings of guilt and pressure you may be having about setting boundaries and saying no in this relationship. We will collaborate to develop a plan that meets your unique and specific needs, while creating an opportunity for you to feel empowered to make your own choices and be the expert on your own life and relationship.
I have experience working with many modes of therapy, including interactive, activity-based therapy as well as mindfulness practice. My therapeutic style is direct, compassionate, strength-based and person-centered. I enjoy finding unique and creative ways to relate to my clients and help them recognize some areas of growth or change to focus on. We will work together to help provide you and your journey gentle guidance and forward movement.
You are looking for therapy services because dealing with toxic people or relationships has started to feel unmanageable or out of control and you don’t know where to start. Some days it feels like everything you do is wrong, and nothing will make it better. You want to feel more balanced and in control but aren’t even sure where to begin. Engaging in therapeutic counseling can offer you a safe, confidential place to discuss and process through your feelings and troubles related to dealing with toxic people. It can also provide you the opportunity to more closely examine how you are interacting with those around you and work to establish healthier relationships in all areas of your life.
You will start to notice changes in yourself and the way you interact once you feel safe and secure, knowing you have a supportive, reliable person you can talk to and confide in. You may begin to feel more energetic, hopeful, and empowered. You may also begin to see that your actions and how you choose to channel your thoughts and feelings can have an astounding impact on your overall health and well-being.
You Are Considering Starting Therapy, But Still Have Some Questions . . . .
I Know I Need Some Help, But I Am Worried About the Cost?
Getting help for yourself and valuing your own needs enough to reach out is an important investment in your future. It represents a change in the way you see yourself and the significance you place on self-care. The effects of a positive therapeutic counseling experience can be far-reaching and meaningful across many stages and areas of your life. Additionally, therapy can also help you create stronger, healthier and more well-balanced relationships for yourself.
I am committed to making therapy affordable for all who are interested. I work with the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective to offer sliding scale options. I also currently work with multiple insurance companies which typically cover some or all of sessions.
Can’t I Just Talk To My Family and Friends About My Problems?
This tends to be the most common question from people who are considering starting therapy. I know sometimes it can be tempting to use our friends and family as our therapist. However, it is important to remember that, to really get the most out of therapy, we have to keep our boundaries strong and well established, especially when it comes to who we are relying on for guidance or feedback. This can be a really great way to practice implementing healthier self care and keeping the therapeutic space and relationship sacred for yourself. As someone outside your family and friend group, I am able to offer an unbiased perspective and objective feedback on things we discuss in sessions that your friends and family can’t, based solely on the nature of those relationships and the connection and investment that comes along with those relationships.
What If I Come To Therapy But It Doesn’t Work?
Part of the magic of therapy is trusting the process. Deep down, you know yourself well and can feel when you are struggling and in need of some guidance. Though it may be hard at times to admit, it is also difficult to refuse the help when it is right in front of you. Some people may take longer to open up and establish trust with their therapist than others. However, in my experience, many describe an almost immediate feeling of relief to have found someone that can help guide you through a difficult time and will develop the openness and trust necessary to make therapy helpful and successful for you over time.
Get Help Living A More Balanced Life
Providing 24/7 online scheduling and offering afternoon and evening appointments, you can find a convenient time for your appointment to fit your busy schedule without the hassle. We will work together to help meet your specific needs. Call (773) 706-7907 or click below to schedule your first appointment today!