Unsupportive Relationships

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Is it time to say goodbye to someone?  Is it time to cut the ties?  Why do we find it hard to get out of relationships with those who don’t support us?

I think, for one thing, that we as humans maintain a “herd” instinct.  It’s comforting to be one of the tribe or pack.  To have family, friends, others near us to help us grow.  These relationships can be particularly strong especially at the beginning of a journey. But what happens as we grow and change?

The reality is that some of these people we feel the closest to don’t really support us.  This lack of support can be quite subtle yet we hang on for years before we accept, realize or really see that the relationship is not helping us but rather holding us back.  Why do we stay then?  Maybe it’s the comfort of the longtime relationship and the history you have with the person.  Maybe we are afraid of what will happen to ourselves or the other person if we disengage.  Nonacceptance and subtle putdowns can be powerful deterrents to our growth.  When we don’t get the love and support we need we can lose our inner peace.

If you feel that you are ready to move on, even if the other person is not, you may have to simply retreat with a smile, and gradually but resolutely reduce their presence in your life.  When we accept and realize that all ties and friendships are there for a purpose and not always meant to last forever we free ourselves and live more authentically.  It takes a certain grace to recognize when the time for a disabling is over and bow out and move on.

Now maybe we are not at the point where cutting ties is the right thing to do but we still feel a level of lack of support that cause us strife.  What then?  Well first, I think we need to look at what kind of support we are desiring. Is it,

  1. Moral support (support in terms of spirit)?
  2. Physical support (spending time with you, physical presence)?
  3. Emotional support (listening to you, understanding your problems, encouraging you on)?
  4. Intellectual support (ideas, recommendations, analysis)?
  5. Resource support (sharing contacts, loaning money, providing valid resources, etc)?

For the people whom you really want to show active support (for example, from your partner, your best friend, your parents) but who aren’t giving you that, a heart-to-heart talk is in place.

Let them know that this goal you’re working on now is something that’s very important to you. Because of that, you want to share it with the people who are most important to you, which would be them. Let them know you are currently in a crucial place in your goal (such as if you’re in the beginning phases), and their support would mean the world to you in helping you succeed.

While you’re doing this, let them know specifically the kind of support you would like to get from them. This should be support which only they can give you, and no one else can. As per my suggestion above, it’s not realistic to expect your friends and family to be the sole providers of all the support you need for your goal – your support requests should reflect the absolute kind of support you need from them.

When those closest to you do discourage you remember to focus your energy on your goals.  Whether others provide support for you or not should be a secondary factor, not a primary one. Great if they can give you support — cherish that and make the best out of it!  If not, appreciate what you can get from them, while at the same time learn to redirect your support needs elsewhere. And don’t be afraid to move on!  It may be their fear that is coming through.

Now go make your dreams a reality!

 

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