If you’re reading this, chances are your relationships often feel one-sided, like you are the only one doing the heavy lifting, listening, connecting, reaching out, being supportive, while the other person just never seems to reciprocate.
We see this in all kinds of relationships from friends, family, romantic partners, and even coworkers, bosses, and trusted colleagues. So, why does this seem to happen so much? Is it something you’re doing wrong? Are you just a magnet for emotional vampires?
Maybe it’s you.
People develop unconscious routines of not speaking up for themselves for a number of reasons. Usually, they are replaying messages that they got when they were growing up. “Relax, you’re being dramatic.” “You’re too sensitive.” “Why does everything have to be such a big problem?”
The reason you might not be regularly speaking up for yourself is something we can dig into and work on together, but in the meantime here’s something to keep in mind: The only one-sided relationship that you should ever have is the one with your therapist.
This is what I do. As a therapist I am the one who listens without judgement, who knows what questions to ask without worrying that you’ll hurt my feelings, and who knows what you need to do in order to change those routines or habits that got you here in the first place; without the pressure of my personal opinions getting in the way. It is my job to take myself out of the equation while remaining genuinely authentic and personable.
Yes, I learned all about theories of psychotherapy, developmental milestones, and have conducted thousands of therapy sessions. But the main thing that makes a therapist different from all your other relationships, is that I don’t take your growth personally. Of course, I’m invested in your wellbeing and I care about each of my clients. But you get to take up all the space in the relationship without worrying about my feelings.
Relationship issues typically come up because one or both parties feel judged, hurt, rejected, afraid to share their true feelings, disappointed, angry, or some combination of these things. But in therapy you can let loose, let your true feelings out no matter how uncomfortable, embarrassing, vulnerable, petty, or terrifying they may be at first. It is NOT my job to judge or ridicule you, but instead to be present, give you the right suggestions on how to work through it and how to learn to live with greater joy and ease in your life.
Together we’ll work on creating a new way for you to practice relating to those in your life. I will help you practice saying what you’re really feeling in “that” moment, or what you really wanted to say during a difficult situation. We’ll talk about how to do this in a way that feels comfortable and natural for you and the person you’re struggling with.
You could practice with me by saying something like, "I disagree," or "I don't think you understood me," or "I feel like you're not really listening," or any other awkward thing that makes you cringe. The things that you wish you could say to others in your life. We’ll see that the world hasn’t fallen to pieces after all. Then we’ll talk it out, come to a new understanding of what just happened, and then talk about how you can start doing this in other places of your life too.
If you need to practice learning how to speak up for yourself in your relationships therapy can be a great place to get started.
Prospect Therapy is an LGBTQ+ affirming practice welcoming individuals and couples of all genders and orientations in Long Beach, Seal Beach, and surrounding areas. Click below for a free consultation about how therapy can help you get the most out of your relationships.