Don't Tie up Your Mental Health to Other People
Whether it is your partner, a friend or your therapist, it is important that you don't tie up your mental health and your healing to another person. Healing your mental health is a personal journey, and although others may help you along the way, the responsibility to heal is yours.
Becoming too attached to your therapist
When you go to therapy, there is a relationship and talk aspect to it. But you should also be learning coping skills that you can use at home so that you don't become overly dependent on your therapist.
According to Sober Recovery,
If your therapist is the first person you want to talk to about it and you hesitate to take action before talking to her, you may have become too dependent. If you feel like you cannot live your life without your therapist’s involvement, you may have an unhealthy attachment.
Being too dependent on your therapist can be unhealthy, and lead to resentments if you don't feel like your therapist is helping you enough. In therapy, it is good to have a bond with your therapist, but it is also important that you can continue your healing on your own outside of sessions.
According to My Shrink, being overly attached to your therapist is called transference:
You may also know that as an infant you're totally dependent on your parents for your survival. Your connection to them figures strongly in your day to day activities.
Alongside those heartfelt feelings towards your therapist will reside similar memories of your life when you experienced the same strong emotions as an infant/toddler. (That's what being triggered is all about.)
Since your therapist has been "taking care of you" you may have cast them mentally in the role of a surrogate parent. This isn't always a bad thing for your healing, but it can make you overly dependent on the therapist and afraid that you won't be able to heal on your own.
My Shrink continues,
If this proves to be a roadblock for you, you can learn how to find safety within yourself. You do so by attuning to your own body. That way you can learn to manage your fears enough to open up and experience what you need to in your therapy.
Once you learn coping skills that can help you emotionally self-regulate, and learn to feel safe within yourself and your environment, your over-attachment to your therapist should resolve itself.
If you are feeling overly attached to your therapist, you can bring it up in one of your sessions and work through these emotions, to find out what is at the root of your feelings.
It is good to have some attachment to your therapist so that you are able to freely open up about your feelings with out fear. It becomes a problem when you feel you can't do the healing work out in the 'real world' on your own. What you learn in therapy should be applicable to your daily life.
Becoming too attached to your partner
If your partner is also helping you on your healing journey, it is easy to become too reliant on them as well. Perhaps you always delegate difficult tasks to your partner, or rely on them to keep track of all your appointments or your medications. If this is the case, you may be putting too much of your mental health in your partner's hands.
Partners are meant to help each other, sure, but you want to make sure that it is a two way street. That both of you are giving equally in the relationship.
If you come to rely too much on your partner for mental health support, then you aren't using your own coping and self-soothing skills. You are relying on them to soothe you and make you feel better when you are feeling down. This creates a problem because your partner can't be around all the time, and it may cause feelings of resentment when they aren't there for you.
Try little by little to solve your own mental health issues. If you are feeling anxious, do some yoga or journal it out. Don't always rely on your partner to reassure that things are going to be fine. The more you develop your coping skills toolbox, the less you will need to rely on your partner to help you cope.
Relying on yourself
Learning to be self-reliant will also help you in the times that your partner isn't around to reassure you. If there are things that your partner does to make you feel better, try doing those things for yourself. This way, you are taking responsibility for your own healing.
Relying too much on one person for your mental wellbeing can become exhausting for them as well, and they may need to take breaks from caring from you to care for their own mental wellbeing.
Whether it is coping with Anxiety, Depression, PTSD or something else, there are many coping skills that you can use on your own, without the assistance of a therapist or your partner.
There are always going to be times in life when you are on your own, and you will have to take control of your own mental health. This means, it is important to develop as many coping and self-soothing strategies as you can on your own.
This can include deep breathing, self-care, journaling, yoga, meditation or anything else that you have learned in therapy that works for you. If you are used to talking things out, you can write it out instead. That way, you are still getting your thoughts out in a way you can do on your own.
You can read more about your specific diagnosis and learn coping skills specific to the issues that you suffer from. This can help you learn to develop coping skills that you can use when you are on your own.
Learning to cope on your own will also give you a sense of self-efficacy and increase your self-confidence. You will know that no matter what happens, you will know what to do to make yourself feel calm and safe.