No man is an island, Thomas Merton wrote. Much of the satisfaction and enjoyment in our lives stems from our relationships. Family. Friends. Colleagues. Romantic partners. They are central to our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Relationships are also incredibly challenging, problematic and, at times, painful. Because at the core of every relationship are human beings who make mistakes.
As a young adult, Sara felt like the roles had been reversed in her immediate family. Difficulties in her parents’ relationship and their actions spilled over to the entire family. “Parents are supposed to protect you. They’re not supposed to abandon you. I had to deal with that,” Sara says.
Instead, she felt like she had to protect her brother and sister. Like she had to be the rock.
She ended up being strong for too long.
That was when Sara first reached out for help from The Village Family Service Center. Through The Village, Sara learned tools that helped her survive the difficult times, including when her dad later passed away from cancer.
“If I didn’t have The Village, I don’t know where I’d be,” Sara says.
Her counselor, Chris Bietz, MS, LPCC, taught her how to communicate more effectively with her loved ones, using an approach called DESO – Describe. Explain. Specify. Outcome. Sara learned about healthy boundaries and assertiveness, techniques that served her well during conflicts with one of her co-workers. She learned how to forgive.
Counseling also improved her marriage. “You’ve given us tools. You’ve saved us,” Sara says.
Most importantly, Sara says she learned it’s OK to not be OK. “Depression, mental health stuff is hard. You can’t do it by yourself,” she says. “Asking for help is a sign of strength.”
Sara describes herself as The Village’s “biggest fan.”
“You walk in and it feels like home. There’s no judgment. It’s safe from the get-go,” she says. “The Village is genuinely there to help people.”
The Village strengthens individuals and families across North Dakota and Minnesota through behavioral health services. Call 800-627-8220 or a location near you to make an appointment.