Quantcast

How To Set Boundaries With Your Family Members About Your Mental Health

Because choosing to not over-explain yourself to those family members who tell you that you don't need therapy is self-care.

Love & Relationships

As a culture, the conversation surrounding African-Americans openly discussing therapy, mental health, and mental illness is fairly new. According to a study on Mental Health America, the stigma and judgment prevents Black/African-Americans from seeking treatment for their mental illnesses. It also indicates that Black/African-Americans believe that mild depression or anxiety would be considered "crazy" in their social circles. In tandem with that, many African-Americans find that discussions about mental illness would not be appropriate among our family members and that they'd fall on deaf ears.

Our parents are the generation of what goes on in our house stays in our house; meanwhile, their millennial children are openly tweeting about their therapy sessions. While there's freedom in owning your experiences, our families aren't always welcoming to how we heal out loud. If you find yourself struggling with setting boundaries with your family members, keep these self-care reminders with you.

Don’t argue with relatives that don’t see the value in therapy.

Shutterstuck

To understand the nonchalant attitude towards therapy, you have to hold space for the fear and distrust of doctors for African-Americans that dates back to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, and current health disparities that we face. Many people don't trust their primary doctors, let alone a psychologist. Being of a different generation, we have the privilege of seeing doctors in a light that our parents and grandparents don't, so you have to be mindful of the reality that while they might reject therapy because they don't understand, it could also very well be their trauma talking. You need to be mindful that you're not just talking to your relatives, you're talking to the generations that came before them that all but drilled in their heads how strong they had to be.

Remind them that therapy is not just for times of crisis, many people use it as a maintenance.

Contrary to what we as a culture can often assume, therapy isn't just something that we should explore when we're in crisis, you can (and should) 100% go just for self-care. My therapist is someone that I enjoy talking to; we discuss ways to strengthen my relationships, healthy coping mechanisms, and she shares tools with me to overall help me navigate life. I like to look at it from this perspective, if you're ill, you see your doctor more, but once you're in recovery, your check-ups aren't as often; that's how I view my relationship with my therapist.

Note to self: You don’t have to go home and tell your family what your therapist thinks about your childhood.

Shutterstuck

One of my favorite episodes of Girlfriends was when Toni brought her mom to therapy and had her white therapist explain to her mother all of the issues she had with her. Her therapist suggested that she write a letter to her mother as a mental exercise, and she took it a step further and invited her mother to her next session to tell her how she felt in the flesh. While it made for comic relief, seeing Jennifer Lewis give that white lady and her daughter the business, the reality is that the work you do in therapy is for you. Conversations with your parents at some point where you share how your childhood trauma has impacted you can be helpful, but that shouldn't be the goal going into therapy, your healing should be.

Remember that your perspective is valid. 

You'll often find that beyond healing from trauma, you'll leave therapy unlearning and seeing the world differently than your parents and ready to educate them on your newfound ideas of the world, all to be shut down at the dinner table. Despite how they may report back to you, remember that your perspective, emotions, and experiences are valid. Embrace the newness that comes with your growth, and allow yourself to feel every emotion attached to your healing process - even if they don't understand it, or you.

Take judgment off the table as you unlearn.

Shutterstuck

Our families didn't have the privilege to explore mental health awareness the way we do, so it's imperative to practice mindfulness and realize that the very people that you're judging, see the world differently because of their lack of resources. As you explore inner child healing, you'll soon realize that your parents/family members are just people who like you are trying to understand and unlearn as they grow.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here to receive our latest articles and news straight to your inbox.

Featured image by Shutterstock

Gabrielle Union is not here for the label stepparent. While she became a stepparent after marrying Dwyane Wade in 2014, that doesn't mean that she wants to be defined by it. The actress spoke about the dislike of that term during her appearance on Glennon Doyle's "We Can Do Hard Things" podcast.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

It was actually pretty close to this time last year when I penned the piece "How To Get Through The Holidays If You Don't Observe Them". Unlike some of the other articles that I write for the site, I pulled that one from very personal experience. Being that my personality is very wired to "be good" on something once I know its origin, holidays are something that I tend to take a pass on; this includes Thanksgiving (some insightful reads on its origin are found here, here and here). Still, this doesn't mean I'm not aware of the fact that many people use this time of year to reflect on their blessings and to say "thanks" for all the good that has come their way. Since I like to write on relationships a lot, I thought to myself, "Why not come up with ways for people to show gratitude to their significant other?"

Keep reading... Show less

I didn't want to say that I was having bad luck. That's not something I'd ever want to speak into existence over my life. But I will say something wasn't right. I had a few coins stacked in my purse from a one-time project as well as from an ongoing one. Then I received emails from not one but two publications within days apart asking me if I'd like to contribute a few articles every week. Opportunities and money were flowing in. If you follow the law of attraction, you'd say I was vibrating on a high frequency.

Keep reading... Show less

Tinashe has learned a lot about her mental health while growing up in the entertainment industry. The singer/songwriter began dancing at four years old and had her first movie role at five years old.

From there, she went on to be in a girl group The Stunners and act in TV shows like Two and a Half Men. Now as an independent artist focusing solely on her music, the "All Hands on Deck" singer opened up about the struggles she faced in the industry.

Keep reading... Show less

My favorite time of the year is the start of the official boot season which begins during the transitional period between summer and fall. What's most exciting about the sudden drop in temperatures is stepping back into those sleek pair of boots for the first time in months. Whether zipping up oldies but goodies or investing in a new fall 2021 boot trend, this year is all about the calf boot. Specifically, this is the best option when easing your summer clothes into the appropriate fall looks.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

'David Makes Man' Star Arlen Escarpeta Believes Love And Accountability Go Hand In Hand

"While we are quick to judge others, we really have to look at ourselves and call out some of the things that we do."

Latest Posts