It’s never easy when two of your biggest loves don’t interact well. Sometimes, it’s your partner and your best friend. Or your sibling and your partner. Or your best friend and your sibling. None of that is easy. You feel you can’t talk about the great times you’ve had with one while spending time with the other. You know they don’t want to hear about it. You feel that you have to choose between dedicating time to one or the other but never both at the same time. When you struggle with one, you feel like you can’t go to the other for comfort, for fear of hearing “I told you so.”
This can also feel true when your family doesn’t support your career goals. Your career isn’t a person, but it’s a major part of your life. It gives you the highest highs but also the lowest lows. It’s a manifestation, through actions, of your values and passions. Of course, it’s painful not to feel like you can share about it with your family. But it’s more common than you may think. In fact, most people you speak to could probably tell you that their parents wish they did something else for a living. Maybe they wish it just a little, and maybe they wish it strongly, and bring it up regularly. If your family exists on the latter end of that spectrum, you may be struggling to manage that relationship. We spoke with Kiara Hartwell (@KJHartwell), a psychotherapist and owner of KJ Hartwell LLC which offers psychotherapy and coaching to new therapists. Hartwell specializes in working with teens and millennial women and gave insight on how to deal when your family doesn’t support your dreams.
Family is rarely just one thing
“Family can be loving, complicated, toxic, or all three,” says Hartwell. “I’ve worked with many clients whose family members struggle to support their identity, goals, dreams, and aspirations. When it comes to your family not supporting those areas of your life, you will have to work on a few things.”