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Communicating our Needs and Boundaries in Unhealthy Relationships

Communicating our Needs and Boundaries in Unhealthy Relationships

Often when we are living with addictions and mental health issues we are also struggling with unhealthy relationships that are codependent, toxic and abusive. When we are in these relationships, we often have a hard time communicating our needs and boundaries, for various reasons.

In unhealthy relationships, we very often don’t have our needs met, and our boundaries are crossed all the time. Our fears understandably keep us from being able to safely and comfortably communicate within the relationship. We are afraid of how our partners will respond to us if we assert our needs. We are afraid of their anger, retaliation and abuse. We are afraid they will leave us. We’re afraid to be alone. All of our fears can silence us and stop us from communicating what our needs and boundaries are.

When our boundaries are crossed, we often don’t know how to respond. We might react with sadness, anger, complacence or revenge. We might shut down and stop communicating altogether. When a relationship is unhealthy, its entire system of communication is often unhealthy. It’s pretty hard to have our needs met and boundaries respected without healthy, productive communication between both parties.

Sometimes we simply don’t know what our needs and boundaries are. Oftentimes when we are in an unhealthy relationship, we’ve experienced similar relationships before. We might have had a string of unhealthy relationships. We might have learned similar behaviors from the relationships we witnessed growing up. Many of us haven’t yet taken the time, or had the opportunity, to do the healing work, soul searching and self-analysis it requires to figure out what we need and want in our relationships. We haven’t yet learned healthy ways of communicating. We haven’t even learned how to love ourselves. Without a foundation of self-love and self-respect, we will continue to experience breakdowns in communication and other difficult issues in our relationships.

When we are afraid to communicate about who we are and what we need, it is often because subconsciously we don’t believe in ourselves. We don’t believe we deserve love. We don’t believe we can have healthy relationships. We might have grown up witnessing unhealthy relationships and been programmed to continue certain relationship patterns. As we recover from our unhealthy relationships, addictions and mental health issues, we learn more about ourselves and what we want and need from our relationships with other people. We start to foster our own inner peace, and we learn how to communicate with our inner selves, giving us the strength we need to prioritize respect and kindness in our relationships.

Treatment at Vista Taos incorporates therapy, mindfulness and other therapies to as part of the recovery process. Call (575) 586-5078 for more information.

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