Many of us living with addictions, depression, anxiety and other mental and emotional health challenges can say we’ve been in unhealthy relationships that were codependent and/or abusive. As we’re recovering, we can learn from our past relationships in order to create healthier boundaries for ourselves, have healthier relationships moving forward, and experience better, more self-loving relationships with ourselves.
After ending a toxic relationship, one of the things we need to analyze is how and why we didn’t create healthy boundaries for ourselves. Looking at ourselves and the mistakes we’ve made can be difficult. It can be scary! It requires emotional courage, honesty, humility, vulnerability and openness.
We sometimes find it easier to blame the relationship’s problems, toxicity and abusiveness on the other person. For example, it can be easier to say things like “the relationship was unhealthy because he was disrespectful” than to say “I didn’t demand respect,” or “I didn’t create healthy boundaries for myself around respect, and I settled for less than I deserve.”
When we start to think about why we weren’t able to set boundaries, we often come to realize we were not yet acting from a place of self-love and self-protection. We didn’t fully respect and value ourselves. We were self-destructive and self-sabotaging. These are all very common truths for those of us with addictions and mental health issues, and our relationships often reflect them.
We learn a lot about ourselves from our relationships with our family members, friends, romantic partners, acquaintances, even people we meet or interact with just once. There are lessons to be found in all of our interpersonal dynamics. Our positive interactions and experiences teach us what we want to have in our lives, and our negative or challenging ones teach us what we don’t want to have. We can learn to create boundaries with this information in order to have healthier relationships, and to treat ourselves with more love and respect.
As we work to analyze ourselves and our relationships, we can look at our choices and decisions, our behaviors, thoughts and emotions. Everything contains valuable information on the boundaries we set or didn’t set. We can use what we learn to create healthier boundaries moving forward. As we heal and work to establish these boundaries, we develop more self-respect and a greater sense of self-worth. We love ourselves more. We prioritize healthy relationships. We decide we want to be happy. We make the choice to be free from the inner turmoil and relationship conflict that accompanied our years of addiction and mental health issues.
Relationships are an important part of our lives, and learning from them is a huge part of our recovery. Vista Taos is here to support you in the process. Call (575) 586-5078.