When you don’t love yourself, it’s hard to show someone else the love they deserve. This is why relationships during active eating disorder and addictions may not last. Unfortunately, most individuals struggling with these types of mental health conditions experience unhealthy relationships. Of course, everyone deserves to be loved and love themselves. But, without establishing new relationships skills to encourage a healthy relationship, many people may return to past behaviors even after getting treatment for eating disorders or addiction. So, during treatment and recovery, it’s important for these individuals to learn the characteristics of a healthy relationship so they may develop healthy relationships in the future.
Codependence is a behavior most individuals struggling with addiction or even other mental health issues may portray. Basically, codependent relationships are ones that are one-sided, meaning that one partner is expected to do all the work. Often, those struggling with mental health conditions without establishing skill sets to gain recovery will portray codependent behaviors, which can strain a relationship and make the other partner feel stuck. Fortunately, being able to identify codependent behaviors and finding healing in oneself can help these individuals to learn how to create and maintain healthy relationships in recovery.
To overcome codependency, you’ll need to know how to set healthy boundaries. Not only with your intimate relationships, but with every relationship you have. Basically, boundaries are lines you don’t cross, or lines you expect others not to cross. When a relationship doesn’t have healthy boundaries set, they’re bound to be crossed eventually. And, when this happens, imbalances levels of respect, making it more challenging to maintain healthy communication.
To set healthy boundaries in your relationships, know what yours are. For example, you may not like when your significant other goes through your phone, as you feel that may mean your partner doesn’t trust you. Or, you may not like when your coworker places his hand on your shoulder when he asks you a favor. Whatever your boundaries are, make sure you voice them to the people in your life. This way, they understand how to maintain a healthy relationship with you and respect your boundaries as guidelines for a better relationship.
On the other hand, while it’s important to know what your boundaries are in each relationship, it’s also important to understand others’ boundaries. So, make sure to ask what your friends, family, and loved ones’ boundaries are by either asking or taking notes on their body language or how they respond to certain situations. This way, you can maintain a healthy level of respectful boundaries on either side of your relationships.
Certainly, knowing how to communicate in a way that’s healthy is imperative to healthy relationships. Without healthy ways of communication, relationships are bound to suffer from a lack of respect and even resentment. The reasons why individuals struggling with mental health issues like eating disorders and addiction may differ from person to person. Some may have dysfunctional families which don’t portray healthy communication, so these concepts have never been learned. Others have developed unhealthy communication techniques throughout years of self-abuse and neglect. Either way, it’s best to understand what healthy communication looks like so it can be practiced during recovery.
Some examples of healthy communication may include:
Some characteristics of unhealthy communication may include:
Finally, the last characteristic of a healthy relationship to incorporate during treatment for mental health issues is respect. Without respect, any relationship is doomed to fail. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to cultivate respect in every relationship you have. Truthfully, when you practice healthy boundaries and healthy communication, you’re already cultivating mutual respect in relationships. But, this also includes giving others their privacy and space when it’s needed. Furthermore, respect must be mutual, meaning it should be coming from both sides in a relationship. This means you deserve to be respected too. So, make sure the people you allow into your life are people who respect you by allowing you to be yourself.
If you want to be able to make and keep healthy relationships during your recovery, consider a treatment center that incorporates therapy that helps you to understand the characteristics of a healthy relationship. To learn more about how Willow Place for Women helps individuals maintain healthy relationships throughout their recovery journey, contact us today.