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It’s risky to open our personal lives to others.

Sometimes we just have to do it when we’re overmatched by our internal struggles and need a trusted ear to vent the pressure. It makes sense to find a release valve. Life demands it from time to time.

We have free will to choose our audience but free will brings responsibility. Responsibility to make thoughtful judgement on who we’re sharing with, and the responsibility to respect others who are part of our story. The decision to share details of our personal life or life decisions with other people should not be taken lightly. That said, qualified, fully trained licensed therapists, operating in a controlled environment, offer us a safe place when we need help to move ahead. They have saved many of us from thoughtless decisions and impulsive behavior.

The risk of opening up outside of that structured professional therapeutic relationship is dangerous and fraught with red flags. Personal bias, preexisting resentments, or bitterness, any documented history of past mental instability or illness, and of course, the lack of any professional credentials.

There’s lots of people out there who mean well when a friend comes to lean on them or vent some steam. The best are those who always listen, but politely decline guidance, presumption of facts, or blind support. Most people are not like that. Caution flags for every one else.