2. If they’re not in therapy, then ask them to go to a therapist with you.
You need a third party to navigate this terrain, who can offer objective observations and give both of you support. If they refuse, you can meet with one a couple of times by yourself.
Hopefully, that therapist can give you ideas about how to either get closure or to adjust how you’re interacting with your loved one.
3. Read some material on how to handle feelings of abandonment or emotional manipulation.
I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me. Stop Walking On Eggshells. Disarming The Narcissist. Understanding The Borderline Mother.
All these books are wonderful resources and might help you make adjustments in how you communicate. You might not have to leave the relationship if you learn how to step out of the responsibility they are attempting to give you and create more solid emotional boundaries yourself.
4. Tell Others.
You may have to tell your friend that you can’t keep their secret. If it is too much and you’re shouldering this burden silently, it might be time to open up about it for your sake as well as the one overly dependent upon you.
The more they know their plight, the more spread out that burden is. Additionally, keeping that individual’s secret isn’t healthy for you, so begin to talk about it with trusted family members and friends.
5. Look at your own need to be needed, or in control.
It may be that you have your own emotional reasons for creating this kind of relationship. Be honest with yourself and consider if you have the need to be needed, or maybe being seen as having it “together?”
Those needs may be fueling your end of the problem and you may have had a level of participation in this situation greater than just being a recipient of their issues.
In the end, you can’t fix someone who has mental health issues that require professional intervention, and you can’t be the only “reason” someone who struggles with the concept of suicide decides to not go through with an attempt. It’s their very difficult battle to fight.
You can support, listen, love. But not fix.
Check out Dr. Margaret Rutherford’s bestselling book Perfectly Hidden Depression on Amazon. Her book will be translated into seven different languages and will be available this year.
Written by Margaret Rutherford
Originally Appeared In Dr. Margaret Rutherford
Helping people deal with their painful and uncomfortable emotions is one of the best things you can do for them. But sometimes, when someone needs you too much and gradually becomes emotionally dependent on you, you need to put a stop to that. You need to put yourself first after a point, and decide how it is affecting you, and your emotions. When someone needs you too much, they tend to ignore the fact that you might be getting overwhelmed. So, how can you support someone if you don’t support yourself?