Healthy relationships, whether romantic, family or platonic, make sure that both parties’ needs are met and that both people feel safe, comfortable and supported in communicating their needs. When we are in unhealthy relationships, we often find that our needs are not met or respected. Often out of a desire to preserve the relationship, we forget our own needs. We often will prioritize the relationship over our own individual needs and sacrifice our own wellbeing. Why do we do this, and what happens when we do?
When our needs aren’t met, it’s both the other people and ourselves who aren’t caring for our needs. This can often be a result of depression or other mental health issue. We often don’t love, value and respect ourselves, and this can cause us not only to neglect our needs but also to choose relationships with people who don’t fully respect us.
We often will sacrifice our health and wellbeing in various ways in order to prioritize a relationship. We might not get enough rest. We might fall behind on our responsibilities. We may stop making time for our spiritual practice. We might stop going to therapy because we are busy dealing with the relationship, or because our partner told us to. Our hobbies and interests might slide down our to-do list as we prioritize the relationship over our individual health. We stop meeting our own needs and as a result can feel unfulfilled and unhappy.
The more we don’t meet our basic needs for things such as being heard or feeling respected, the more depressed we can become. We are seeking connection with other people, and we want to feel understood. When we don’t, it can make us increasingly more depressed and anxious. We might start engaging in our addictive behaviors even more in order to try to escape the pain. We might try to distract ourselves from thinking about it by burying the issue under our toxic thought patterns of anxiety and obsessive thinking. All of these emotional responses add layers to our unhealed pain and exacerbate them.
It can become a vicious cycle where as we become more depressed, we neglect our needs even more, causing more pain. We don’t take care of our mental, emotional and physical health, and it can spiral out of control causing a major breakdown or crisis. Prioritizing our needs is crucial to our wellbeing. Let’s learn from the times when we ignored our needs and commit to treating ourselves with more love, compassion and respect.
Getting treatment for our addictions and mental health issues means addressing the relationship and behavioral patterns we’ve grown accustomed to. Recovery is possible, and we’re here to help. Call (575) 586-5078.