Requiring difficult people to go to therapy as a condition of continuing a relationship with you can make all the difference.
So, you’re trying to reduce your level of contact with someone who you think may not be that good for you, but they want to keep the relationship. They’re pulling you back in and bargaining with you even though they mistreat you, you’re feeling confused and guilty, and you’re even doubting your thoughts and feelings.
You know you want space, but every time they talk to you, your clear head goes out the window and you feel your confidence about what you want and need deteriorating. They may deny there’s anything wrong and try to convince you that everything’s fine, or worse — all your fault. They might be telling you how much they need you and making promises you’re not entirely sure they’ll keep.
You may also be getting told you shouldn’t feel the way you do, and you may be told everything’s fine – that the problem is all in your head, so stop acting crazy and go back to the old you. Despite the fact that this person wants a relationship with you, you’re not sure they’re capable of making an effort to resolve the issues you’re concerned about. They tell you they love you, but they don’t seem to be making your happiness a priority. And although you don’t want to give up on someone too easily, you’re just not sure how easy “too easily” is. You feel confused.
Enter the Magic Therapy Ultimatum…
In healthy relationships, if you have concerns about how someone treats you, the other party, whether family, partner or friend, cares enough to address them – period. Results may take a while; however, genuine effort will be made.
Toxic and problematic people do things like make false apologies and gaslight all the time. A quick and easy way to determine whether the person in question really wants a relationship with you is to tell them that if they want to continue the relationship, they will need work on the issue you’re concerned about in therapy. No therapy, no relationship – their choice. If you’re dealing with someone who is having challenges but is willing to work on them and isn’t lying when they say they care about you and want to keep their relationship with you, they’ll go. If not, your concerns were well-founded.