Thursday, April 18, 2013

What is a Healing Relationship?

This post is a going to be a little different. I would like some audience participation please! Feel free to remain Anonymous.

Borderline Personality Disorder is often referred to as a disorder of relationships. Relationships take two and both people are responsible for their words and actions. That said, having BPD brings a lot of additional complications, stress, and outright problems to our relationships. That’s not what I want to focus on today though. What I want to start thinking about is: What exactly is a healing relationship? This is something that is going to be as individual as the person experiencing it.

I’m not talking about building that idealized dream relationship here. I don’t care if Prince or Princess Charming has perfectly white teeth, long flowing black hair, and a master’s degree in basket weaving. These aren’t the things I’m talking about.

It’s good to think about the things that we want from healing relationships and some basic things that we should strive for.  Strive for in ourselves, in what we bring to our relationship, and how our relationships contribute to our growth.  

I think it’s important to think about, because if you’re anything like me, you may not have a great idea of what a healthy, healing relationship is. Or any idea at all.

 So what are some things that can comprise a Healing Relationship? 

  • When relating to someone in pain, you have to extend yourself and yet remain within your own boundaries at the same time. A healing relationship maintains the proper balance without becoming too enmeshed or too shut down.
  • Mutually Empowering: Both partners should support each other and build each other up. No one should tear the other down. This is especially important for those of us with quick tempers and outward acting anger issues that tend to lash out in frustration.

  • Authentic
  • Trusting
  • Respectful
  • Compassionate
  • The ability to look to one another for help and support. Cooperative.

  • There is no blaming! This allows people to feel safe to speak up, make mistakes and learn from them. Having a relationship where you feel safe to speak your mind, assert your feelings, and therefore work to meet each other’s needs is pretty essential.

I purposefully don’t want to make this list very long. Once you begin to tally up to many items, the more unobtainable that list becomes to fulfill. I want to think about those big, main things that are necessary for you.

For me personally a healing relationship is:

  • One I feel safe within.
  • One that allows me to grow. 
    • To grow within myself and to become the best version of myself. 
  • One that accepts me. Not one where I feel stifled or feel that I need to hide who I am.

Really that’s what I want at the base. I need to be accepted. I need to grow. I need to be safe.

Healing relationships can be any sort of family, friends, or romantic partners. They can also be temporary. Sometimes we meet people and for whatever reason they have to leave our lives. Just because a relationship doesn’t last forever, til death do you part, does not mean it can’t be meaningful and healing.

So! How about you? What do you need in a healing relationship? What have you found in your previous or current relationships that you find to be very healing? 


  1. I always thought that communication was on the of many pillars in which an healing relationship should be based on. I tried having that in my previous relationship, but it failed... and it wasn't an healthy relationship. Another thing that I think makes an healing relationship, is the common interest in psychology, but that could complicate more things.... That alone isn't good enough. But basically, understanding and patience is also needed. I am afraid of not being healthy for the another person in a relationship.... got some intimacy issues, I can be quite controlling.... and I am aware that it's really bad....

  2. I think a huge thing is believing in each other. We all have goals in life and having that person next to you makes it feel okay to chase your dreams is always great.

  3. Communication is the most important thing for me. But within that communication, there needs to come understanding and asking questions if you don't understand, and answering the questions that are asked in a nonjudgmental way.

    I'm lucky enough to have a relationship that has let me accept who I am and strive to be better.

    Both parties need to compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses, it allows for them to balance each other out, and I think that's pretty important.

    Both parties need to be able to call out the other on their stuff in a way they know will not hurt the other.
    and in this, we need to understand that we can't be too sensitive about the way things are said

    I find it very helpful for me that there are consequences for my actions. That way I don't have to deal with the real life consequence of pushing someone too far and actually losing them or hurting them. After years of trial and error, my friend and I have come up with a healthy way to deal with my triggers, and I've found that many of them no longer fire when pulled.

    Communication, desire to understand, compassion, radical acceptance. For ourselves and for others.

  4. Allow for change. In a couple of my least healthy relationships, stuff I did when I was 12 still gets brought up (I'm 30.) This does not motivate me to keep working, healing, maturing, etc!

    1. oh, wow! that crystallized so many things for me! I think i need to work on my relationship with myself a bit more--give myself permission to change (in healthy ways) & trust that my changes will be accepted...

    2. I've never really thought about that but that is a big issue in relationships. Thank you for putting it into three simple words.


Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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