What’s Your Crutch?
Do you have something in life that you frequently rely on to prop you up and make you feel comfortable, but you also feel like it holds you back? You’re not alone in having what many people call an emotional crutch. Most people have such a thing in their life upon which they have developed a dependency. While these crutches might seem harmless, and some even are, some people use their emotional crutch in dangerous ways that prevent them from developing, as people. For this reason, it’s important to identify what emotional crutch you have in life, and whether or not you are using it irresponsibly.
A crutch is usually a coping mechanism
Most people use their crutch as a way to cope when bad or stressful things happen. If you tend to eat a lot when you are stressed out, then you are using food as an emotional crutch to deal with difficult situations. Sometimes, these crutches are harmless habits that positively help people deal with instances that evoke anger, fear, or sadness. However, they can just as easily be destructive habits, or even people who you are hurting, or are hurting you. When you’ve identified what your crutch is, take the time to think about what you are actually using it for, and if you are running from situations that you should be facing head-on.
People blame their failures on their crutch
While crutches make people feel better in difficult situations, they can also be used as a place to put people’s insecurities about themselves. For example, if a person feels like they could have been an excellent musician, but avoided taking risks that could have led to greater opportunities, then it may be easier to blame these failures on the thing they use to cope. In a way, crutches can actually hold people back, but it is an issue that lies in the heart of the individual and how they are using their emotional crutch, and not in the specific coping tool.
Don’t depend on relationships
One of the worst things that people can do, when it comes to emotional crutches, is use their significant other as such a coping device. While couples need to be there for each other in difficult times to help each other through the storm, they each need to be their own individual selves and have a degree of independence. A person who is entirely dependent on their significant other will have a hard time living a balanced life, and this will almost certainly lead to a toxic relationship, where both participants are codependent on each other.
Substances are horrible crutches
Another one of the most popular emotional crutches, and the ones that we hear most about today, are illicit substances. At its essence, alcoholism is merely people using alcohol as their emotional crutch. This is often how other individuals end up on a road towards addiction to other substances. Nobody ever sets out to be an addict. Addiction is something that tends to creep up on people, before they even realize it is there. If you are depending on the feeling that something you eat, smoke, drink, or inject gives you to get through the day, then you are only one short step away from developing a problem that could last much longer than you think.
Emotional crutches prevent us from reaching emotional maturity
Emotional crutches are dangerous comfort zones. This is because using a type of safety blanket mentality to develop a coping mechanism often prevents individuals from taking the time they need to get insights about how they need to change. This can be especially devastating for a person’s emotional maturity. However, this doesn’t have to be a permanent problem. Emotional intelligence is something that you can develop, provided that you can let go of your crutch and have the motivation to be an independent individual.
Self care and coping techniques are different from crutches
Of course, we all need something to help us get through hard times, and to everyone, it will be different. Remember that there aren’t quick fixes for emotional pain. However, living a lifestyle that supports mental and physical health can help you weather the storms of life. Here are some traits of things that are healthy to have in your life as an outlet:
- It’s sustainable: If your coping technique is costing you exorbitant money, your financial and professional stability, and your peace in relationships, then it’s problematic. However, a budget put towards a much-needed vacation is actually a great idea.
- You feel good about doing it: If it’s something that makes you feel guilty or angry at yourself, it’s not healthy. On the other hand, if you come away from it feeling good about yourself and life, it’s good.
- You can practice it in moderation: Some people manage stress by going for a run, or buying themselves a nice new pair of shoes. This is a great idea. However, if it’s something that you can’t practice in moderation, it can actually become something akin to addiction. Make sure that you can manage these treats or coping techniques in moderation.