Relationships & Boundaries
Relationships can be challenging for numerous reasons, let alone throwing in the complexities of shift work, erratic sleep schedules and exposure to critical incidents and trauma, in the way First Responders and Emergency Services Members are.
Romantic relationships, friendships and even familial connections can change drastically when someone takes on one of these roles. They are exposed to parts of society that many others don't even consider, let alone think about.
This can affect how people think, act, behave and respond and in turn, alter the dynamic of some of our relationships.
It's important to maintain and put time and effort into our relationships. When your free time is limited and precious, you need to prioritize who you choose to spend time with. Try to balance out time with work colleagues, to decompress or debrief, as well as a partner/spouse, family and outside of work friends.
An important relationship that is often overlooked is the one we have with ourselves. Maintaining your mental and physical health, working on yourself in terms of personal development, healing from issues related to our childhood or past relationships, improving your levels of self worth/self respect and learning to have self compassion, are all worthy of your time. You can't help others if you are exhausted and depleted.
If you are a spouse, partner or loved one, in a relationship with a First Responder, it can be a unique kind of challenge to love and support that person. You can be aware of the difficult things they deal with at work, but be left in the dark if they choose not to talk to you about it. This can be painful and cause a distance between you. Your family life is also affected, by erratic hours, extedned absences and missed special occasions. Their First Responder status impacts every aspect of your life together.
Alternatively, it can be incredibly difficult to balance your own concerns and fears about something happening to them in the line of duty and not burden them with that fear.
It's a lot to deal with, as our relationships dictate an enormous amount of our lives, affect our everyday interactions, our levels of happiness and all other emotions.
Open and honest communication is key to a successful First Responder or Emergency Services relationship. As are boundaries. Being upfront and honest about what you need from that person, from either perspective, is crucial. It's also important to be able to respect when someone says they don't want to discuss something and need some space to process an incident that occurred at work.
You also don't have to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm. A healthy relationship doesn't involve walking around on eggshells for the one that you love. Care for and support them, but if they need more help than you can provide, it's important to reach out to someone who can.
I am fortunate to have a unique understanding of what it's like to be a First Responder, as well as the supportive partner and spouse of one. Every dynamic is nuanced and different, but I find having someone culturally experienced and informed to talk to helps, given the challenging nature of the roles you play.
If any of this resonates with you, I encourage you to reach out. I'm here to help First Responders, Emergency Services Members and their loved ones have happy, successful relationships, support you through making healthy changes, positive improvements in your lives and achieve those goals you didn't think were possible.
More importantly, for a population that is used to taking charge of a situation, as a coaching client, you set the agenda. You are in control of what we discuss, what goals are set and what we focus on.
The choice to act and engage with me is now up to you...I'm ready when you are.