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Looking For Strategies for Dealing with Family Members During Tough Times

Greetings, Forumites!


Around the middle of last year, a very close long-term friend of mine decided to suddenly cut ties with me (do not fret loyal readers, I got better). Obviously, I was very distraught over this and decided to seek help with my university's counselling services. What really surprised me during this period was my family's reaction to finding out I had decided to seek counselling. First, my Dad said things like "what if someone runs a background check on you one day and finds out you sought mental health assistance? Do you know how that will hurt your employment prospects?" and he continued by saying I had inherited "the softness and weakness," that runs through my mum's side of the family.


Additionally, a cousin (female, on my Dad's side of the family) of mine who I am quite close with said "oh my god, you blew this out of proportion by seeing a counsellor, you always get triggered by the tiniest things." This cousin would continue to say things like "she [referring to my former friend here] wasn't even your girlfriend, sure losing her was inconvenient, but losing an overdue library book is inconvenient too, you better man up because you're failing at being a man." I was particularly shocked by these statements because I'm usually able to talk about anything with this cousin.


I love my family a lot, and they are wonderful people. But I was amazed at their insensitivity during this troubling period. I also understand that I cannot force them to be more compassionate. I was just wondering if other forumgoers have strategies to deal with insensitive comments from family members during tough times?

Re: Looking For Strategies for Dealing with Family Members During Tough Times

@Supreme-Leader-Sun I just want to reflect that the loss of a friendship is actually a really significant thing and sadly I think it can be underestimated by people who might not have gone through that experience. In some cases, in my opinion it can actually just as bad if not worse than a romantic relationship breakdown. 


As far as family is concerned, it sounds hard to have had your experience invalidated when I would actually say that it's a huge sign of strength to get help. It's still something that can sadly still have a stigma but overall it is changing I think. That is also a fear a lot of people have which is misinformed that we do actually have privacy laws with our health records and employers cannot simply access that information without consent.


You could still possibly reflect your discomfort of the response from your family but that's your call. Family can be hard work! I tend to pick and chose who I talk to in my family and have had some similar experiences to you. It's just a personal boundary that depends on the situation. I'd also be interested to hear what others might do to mange in these kinds of situations. Anyway I'm glad to hear you're better after that friendship incident too!