To quote the great sage Hillel, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?” While there are numerous interpretations of this idea and it certainly does not convey the idea that a person should be selfish, it does represent the essential concept that there is a healthy space to be found between taking care of our own needs and helping others. When that balance shifts to the extreme of worrying about another’s struggles to the exclusion of all else, an individual will find him/herself constantly fighting for equilibrium in his/her own life. Some of the cases we deal with are not always about helping one person in crisis; rather, we are also here to support those who need to refocus their attention on their own mental space.
This is the story of Lisa*, Ariella’s* best friend. Ariella was struggling with depression and had no support system in place. She is single, estranged from her family, and had just lost her job. Lisa felt like she was Ariella’s last hope and did want to abandon her friend; but she also felt trapped and under a tremendous amount of pressure, which is when she reached out to us. Lisa was juggling her own personal and professional needs, and some of the balls were beginning to drop.
Our case manager assessed the situation and began working with Lisa on understanding and setting healthy boundaries and limits to what she could provide. She also counseled Lisa about having to let go of the things she could not control and referred her to a therapist who would continue working with Lisa on developing these tools.
Lisa and her case manager have remained in contact; and Lisa finally feels like she is living a happier and more complete life that is not always tethered to her friend. We wish we could tell you that Ariella has reached out to us for support, but she is not interested in getting help right now. While we hope that Ariella will one day be on the other end of our phone line, for now we are happy that Lisa is feeling better.
Amudim is here for anyone who is struggling and willing to reach out for assistance.
*Names and details have been changed for privacy purposes.
Each week, Amudim fields calls covering a wide range of crises and addressing various human concerns, including addiction, depression, abuse, health and domestic emergencies and many others. We track the calls and breakdown of issues for many reasons, foremost of which is to consistently improve and strengthen our knowledge and ability to address community’s needs.
Boundaries are important for any healthy relationship, it’s important to set boundaries that protect your basic human rights.
Examples of Basic Rights:
I have a right to say no without feeling guilty.
I have a right to be treated with respect.
I have a right to make my needs as important as others.
I have a right to be accepting of my mistakes and failures.
I have a right not to meet others’ unreasonable expectations of me.
What are your boundaries and how do you set them?