We know… your friends love you. They truly do. And your family members will drop whatever they’re doing at the first sound of a crack in your voice when you call them after a break up like “Can you talk?” .
And even, at some points, they just might have some profound thing to say that talks you right off the ledge and makes you question why they haven’t pursued that masters degree in counseling.
But let’s face it, licensed psychologists your friends are not. They haven’t even Google’d themselves into the self-proclaimed, not quite expert status of “help my homegirl out with her relationship problems-ology”.
They’re probably just as
f**ked up confused as you are with this dating crap. And while talking to a trusted friend or family member before, during, or after a numbing breakup is the least expensive choice, it can cost you a lot in regards to your mental health if their advice is all that you have to fall back on.
And we’re not talking just about breakups here. Who hasn’t needed a listening ear and some keen advice when you’ve just started dating a new person…
…. before you decide to make things “official”
… when something happens during your relationship that shakes its foundation to the core (ie. cheating)
… when you just need help on being whole before dating again (Because your ex really did a number on you mentally)
We’ve all been there and we’ve all found ourselves wanting to talk to someone to help us sort through our emotions and our confusion.
Now as some of you may know, or may not know but here goes, I’m not officially “The Single One In The Group” anymore. I know right. Yes me. I’ve been in a blossoming relationship for what will be a year next month. And this year has challenged me mentally and emotionally in so many ways!
The funny thing is that the man that I call my boyfriend has been the best boyfriend and friend that I have ever had. In many ways he’s like the final piece to my life’s very unique puzzle. BUT… I have never felt like I needed to seek the services of a licensed therapist more than I have while being with him. Interesting right?
You see, before him and several months before doing a lot of internal work on myself to balance and claim back my happiness, I was in love with a very toxic person. In fact, I have reason to believe that I was in love with a narcissist. And if any of you self-proclaimed, not quite experts on narcissistic behaviors know a little something then you know that I WENT THROUGH HELL with that man.
I won’t go into it (just read a few of my old post where I reference him as “Libra”) but just know that it took a lot to pull myself out of the damaging cycle of loving someone who only loved themselves.
I did A LOT of self work to get back to feeling normal again but what I failed to do, and sometimes regret, was seek the help of a therapist/relationship therapist to help me through the emotional trauma.
I’m a pretty strong woman, as I’m sure many of you are as well, but I have started to realize that I still harbor a lot of fear and anxiety when it comes to love, closeness, and vulnerabilities.
Trusting someone completely scares me. Sharing those fears in a productive way scares me and these are things that I didn’t know were challenges for me UNTIL I tried to love again.
I know that I’m not alone here, and I’m sure that there are many of you out there who owe yourself a lot of credit because you overcame the unthinkable with an ex boo, bae, fiance’, or husband/wife. You survived heartbreak, or infidelity, or just plain ol’ emotional turmoil from someone that you loved.
The sh*t hurts. Badly. But you survived.
Or did you?
I have reason to believe that there are many of us walking around here smiling and taking selfies and ish with ya Starbucks cup in ya hand, and ya banging a** career, and fly a** car, and fine a** man who gives you forehead kisses and tags you to his posts on social media.
And although you’re happy, are you HAPPY?
I was talking recently to one of my friends who just reconnected with a guy who she really liked. They kinda fell off because, in his words not mine, she wouldn’t open up and she was too serious… she took stuff too personally.
She told me that she ended up reaching out to him and he was open to hanging out again… which when they did it felt like no time had passed between them. Things flowed just like they used to. In the midst of this conversation though I said to her “I really liked ya’ll together”, and she said something to me that validated everything that I was feeling but couldn’t quite admit out loud because –I was truly happy in my current relationship–.
She said to me: “I liked us too. But he was right, I was hard to communicate with. I had left over PTSD from –insert f**ckboy name here– that I never sorted through.”
(Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.)
Her telling me that was sort of like a revelation. I mean, we rarely look at relationships as a source of PTSD but let’s be honest, heartbreak is traumatic as f**k.
And how do you truly avoid bringing that right into your next relationship or romantic encounter?
I truly hope that seeking therapy or having habitual therapy sessions is still not seen as taboo or something that “crazy people do”. Because honestly, we’re all crazy and for that reason we all need therapy at one point in our lives or another.
It’s truly not fair to YOURSELF, or to the unsuspecting person who will have to deal with your unresolved sh*t, if you go through these dating cycles depending on your friends and Instagram memes to help you through the confusion.
I’ll be the first to admit that my friends have given me some jaded, questionable advice in the past based on bias and their own personal sh*t…. that by listening to them sometimes made my own situation worse.
And taking your mom’s advice isn’t the move either because a therapist she IS NOT, and it’s a lot of variables that deems her advice outdated. She grew up in a whole different generation where they didn’t know if they were being curved or if the person they wanted to talk to just happened to not be near the house phone each time they called.
Their advice just isn’t enough anymore, and the state of your crumbling mental health is proof of that.
Seeking out a therapist will help you to put things into perspective without the bias. Someone who is trained to deal with your situation will be able to listen to you and help you develop a plan to come out on the other side of your problem as a complete, whole person.
Your girl offering to have a “Men Ain’t Sh*t” party and watch Waiting to Exhale over and over won’t help you. Neither will your boys giving you shots until you pass out and inviting over a bunch of women who are down to f**k won’t help you either.
Therapy will help you, and I hope that you guys are out here being honest with yourselves about the status of your emotional and mental health.
Until we be transparent about what hurt us and what scares us, or prohibits us from loving fully, we will be trapped in the prison of our past relationships.
We owe it to ourselves and to the relationships that we seek to have to heal ourselves.
It’s too many hurt people walking around here hurting others, whether intentional or not.
And don’t think that because you are happy or in a happy relationship that you are healed and that you are the best version of yourself. Sometimes all you’re doing is suppressing issues that will eventually rear it’s ugly head.
Handle that now, don’t wait. There’s nothing taboo about therapy anymore except how much that sh*t costs. (Ha!) Many insurance companies cover it though so check out your policy and get your mind right for the new year. You deserve it!
I know that I will! 😉
Happy 2018 my loves! Ciao!