As soon as you take your first steps in recovery from an eating disorder, your relationships will likely start to change. By the time you enter into the maintenance stage of living in recovery, you may focus more of your efforts on dealing with this. By now, you’re feeling more comfortable about your day-to-day eating and you have many tools to reach for and people to reach out to when things come up.
With the people who have been in your life for many years, there will likely be communication and relationships patterns that no longer fit with your new version of self. Now that you are more confident and comfortable speaking your mind, people may not quite know how to handle that.
Perhaps you used to be controlled by people pleasing, doing anything to avoid the guilt associated with letting someone down. Perhaps people aren’t ready to accept an interdependent relationship with you, rather than a codependent relationship. As you change and grow, not everyone in your world may jump on board, because guess what?
Recovery is a big adjustment for them, too.
If you’re not paying attention to these relationship issues, other people can easily trigger a “lapse” into unhealthy food behaviors, or even a full-blown relapse. Watch for sure-fire signs of relationship struggles, such as talking about other people’s faults or wishing they would change.
You will have more peaceful relationships if you remember that you can only change yourself. You are lucky enough to have these recovery tools at your fingertips—others are not as well-equipped. Practice compassion for others and healthy communication strategies that protect your recovery.
Your relationships can grow with you, if you give yourself and others the time and attention that are needed for long-lasting change.