Wednesday 23 March 2022

No Pedestals

No Pedestals

No relationship can flourish if there is a perceived difference in stature or status. It is important to remember that we are all human, all fallible, all flawed. As Fran puts it so well, “We are all perfectly imperfect.” Despite recognising the dangers, we have each been guilty on occasion of putting the other on a pedestal. I am a great support to Fran, and offer a degree of commitment she has rarely known. It was easy in the early days of our friendship for her to see me as some sort of hero or saviour figure.

Fran: you are my world.. you are.. my life.. the reason.. of it.. all.. how how how.. do i deserve you..?

Martin: Don’t make me into more than I am, Frannie.

Fran: ok ok.. for you no pedestal.. you are an oak.. rooted.. grounded..

Fran’s spirit, courage, and resilience have occasionally led me to put her on a pedestal of her own, a situation complicated by her inclination to compare herself unfavourably to other people in terms of health, relationship status, financial security, and social standing. I counter her sense of unworthiness and inferiority, but I have sometimes overcompensated, boosting her mood and self-image unrealistically.

At such times, “No pedestals!” reminds us we are in unhealthy territory. It is worth highlighting that there is a difference between putting people on pedestals and the distinction of client–therapist or patient–clinician roles in professional relationships. But I am neither Fran’s therapist nor her doctor. I am her friend. We work best when we stand side by side, feet planted firmly on the same ground.


Excerpted from our book High Tide, Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder.

Photo by Levi Meir Clancy at Unsplash.


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