Once Bitten, Twice Shy—The Practical Side
If you are of high school age or older (maybe even middle school age or older) I bet you can answer “yes” to at least one of these questions. Ever had someone you trust intentionally try to hurt or sabotage you? Ever had someone act like your friend only to find out they were not? Or, have you ever come to the realization that someone is jealous of you and that their jealousy fueled them to be unkind to you and maybe even get others to do the same?
Relationships are incredibly powerful. Just as they hold the power to heal us, they also possess the potential to harm us. I have shared in past blogs how I experienced extreme emotional turmoil at times during my grade school years due to peers who betrayed me, spread lies about me and did many other hurtful things to try and discourage me.
And what I have found as a middle aged woman is that people will continue to try and discourage you even as you grow older through backstabbing, lying, pretending and a host of other dark measures to dismantle your emotional health. This terrible “game” is played not just on women. I have seen it happen to men too. One example is this, my friend’s husband is a very lucrative salesman. He never went to college, but has worked very hard and acquired much wealth over the past 20 years. He lives in an affluent neighborhood and is truly one of the nicest, most outgoing people I know. However, the men in his neighborhood exclude him from all neighborhood social gatherings and have even spread rumors that he must be doing something illegal to have so much money. As a therapist, I tell my friend that these men have their own problems and that is why they target him. However, as a human being, I know it hurts and can be confusing to be treated so badly, especially when one has done nothing wrong.
I will speak more to dealing with such situations in the personal blog on this piece. For now, I would say take inventory of your relationships. Who has proven their trust to you? Who has hurt you? Who do you feel is an essential part of your life and who is on the perimeter. For example, while it hurts my friend not to be included in the men’s neighborhood group, it is less painful than a close friend betraying him because he was never able to get close to any of them in the first place.
If you are struggling with a difficult relationship, a licensed mental health counselor can help you. She can help you identify what you want and need in your relationships. She can also help you learn and practice healthy boundaries that invite positive people in and better protect you from those who may try to hurt you. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.