1. They love and care for you on deep emotional levels.
You might be thinking, “huh? – how can it be a problem if someone loves or cares for me on a deep emotional level?”
It makes it more challenging for them to be objective.
Objectivity is so necessary. So crucial to this process. It’s not easy for them to separate out their feelings.
They love you. They want you to feel well.
But that can sound a whole lot like a bunch of linear questions and suggestions.
Short-term linear solutions that you’ve probably already come up with on your own, such as:
“Why do you feel that way?”
This only makes you feel worse about yourself. If someone doesn’t understand why you feel the way you do, it can contribute to feelings of shame, anxiety, embarrassment. And then, you’re back to many of the feelings you started with in the first place.
Other times they’ll say, “you shouldn’t feel that way.”
Now you’re left thinking you’re feeling a way you think you shouldn’t.
Then the thought becomes “something is wrong with me AND now people I love know about it.
Then there’s, “don’t feel that way.”
… “oh, okay, I’ll just stop.” Ha.
2. They aren’t trained to understand their bias.
Your friends and family have schemas. A technical term used to describe a way they see things. A way they see themselves. A way they see others. You. The world. Relationships. And they make sense out of your problem by using the schemas that they’ve been born into and nurtured throughout their own lives.
They aren’t trained to recognize how their experiences and feelings create their schemas. They don’t know how their schemas are impacting their advice when they’re trying to help you to feel better.
Therapists are. Deeply so.
Especially if they’ve gone through a Psychodynamic training program. (More on training orientations some other time, though!)
3. They only get the parts of you that you reveal to them.
You are more varied and layered than any one person can understand.
Heck, you are more varied and layered than YOU understand.
You can’t know all the ins and outs of yourself. And even the ones you do know, do you really share them all with one person?
4. People get worn out and relationships weaken.
If you’re really talking about a long-term, perpetual problem, you’re talking about something that comes up over and over and over again. This poses two new problems.
It doesn’t really matter how saintly or kind the person is, they’re going to get sick of hearing about it.
They may not say that to your face (or they might!).
But they’re going to get sick of it.
Before you know it, they’ll be right there just as bewildered as you are.
Out of options.
Then they start feeling like a failure.
Which makes you feel like a failure.
And now you have a new set of problems in addition to the problem you started with.
It’s going to wear down your relationship with the person.
I see this most often in couples.
Lots of expectations for Partner A to help Partner B.
To mirror them. Enlighten them. Teach them. Evolve them.
While this is a fabulous part of a healthy, intimate relationship – it gets over-utilized.
It can become a pattern of relating.
It can evolve into the ONLY way of relating.
Right under your nose. And you didn’t even see it happening.
Next thing you know, the power balance is off.
All sorts of other manifestations take place in an attempt to balance the power.
New problems emerge. Distraction a’plenty.
And none of it is sexy.
Or any of those amazing things that we ideally want love to be all about.
5. Your go-to person might be part of the original problem.
This is a very tricky one. Because the root of what’s going on for you in the situation will most likely require the other person to also be willing to change. Require the other person to be as open to changing as you might be.
And if they aren’t ready, guess what?
It ain’t happening.
Which is why a lot of people stay the same.
Which is why the short-term solutions continue to feel like THE ONLY solutions.
So what’s my point here?
I hope I’ve made this point: the support of friends and family to engage in long-term, permanent solutions to your problems is very limited.
I hope I’ve made the point that therapists, well-trained and deeply experienced, are an amazing option.
To be objective.
To honor and respect you.
To care about you, your past, your present, and your future.
To sit with you in the repeated “yuck” that you are struggling to get away from.
It’s your power.
You get to choose.
Til next time…