How would you describe your relationships with family and friends?
Depends on the side of the family and the set of friends. It really is a loaded question for me. My parents divorced when I was young, so out of 8 sibling, 7 have the same dad as me and their own mom, and 1 has the same mom as me and her own dad. I’ve always felt like nobody understands or relates to me, so that makes me feel extremely alone and isolated. Neither one of my parents are very touchy or emotionally expressive outside of texting, so I tend to over express or attach myself to the first person that shows love in a way that I crave or recognize.
I have a few close friends, but most of them live back in the state where I went to college. I moved to be closer to my mother and maternal side. Although I feel more complete in the family sense, I feel completely broken in the sense of having true friends. I’ve lost two best friends this year, one because I am engaged to a woman, and another because I did not want to put up with her toxicity anymore, but life moves forward. As a taurus I am extremely loyal and protective of those that I love, so when I decide to walk away, it’s because I have truly had enough. Both of those friendships where 15 plus years of my life, so it has definitely been a season of loss and hurt for me.
Have you ever had to set boundaries with family and friends?
This year in particular I have had a determined focus to strengthen myself mentally and emotionally. With that, I have had to walk away from friendships that I thought I would have for forever, and even cut off family members. Has it been easy, no…do I get tired of being considered the bad guy, of course, but I have had to do what’s best for me to be happy and healthy.
Do you believe your boundaries are respected by your families and friends?
No, not at all. They don’t get me, so it’s easier to say I’m mean, or I just like to be alone, when really I like to be around people that bring me peace. I like to laugh and have a good time. I like to feel light, and not always immersed in other peoples problems and burdened by their issues. The phrase you can’t pour from an empty cup is completely true.
Are you treated differently because of your mental illness/disorders?
Mostly just misunderstood. When I’m depressed, I lose a lot of friends since I tend to be the one always checking in. When I have anxiety, I tend to still isolate myself because I’d rather spend time thinking, writing, or appreciating nature.
Are your family and friends supportive and understanding of your mental health?
My mom definitely is. My father is another story. He doesn’t have much emotional awareness. I could spend my life resenting that or accepting that that is just who he is. I’ve placed boundaries where I see fit, and don’t waste my emotions on people that I know either don’t understand or don’t care to understand.
Describe a “For instance” of how you handled setting boundaries with family or friends?
I don’t always handle it well. It hurts, so there is a lot of emotions that go into setting boundaries. It sucks because you feel more isolated. It hurts because again you are misunderstood. It brings peace because the people who are bringing you pain, you get to decide to not allow access to your emotions anymore. It brings sadness because you can’t help but want the people to just understand so that you all can have a happy healthy relationship.
You can’t make people see you. You can’t make people understand your pain. You have no way of seeing their pain or what keeps them from being able to empathize with you. So you move forward until you find your people, who may or may not be family.
You go to therapy. It helps to not feel like you’re crazy or alone. It helps that even if it’s a stranger, it’s someone that tries to relate to your feelings and pain.