How do you define a 'relationship'? I would guess that there are about as many types or levels of relationships as there are people on the Earth. Almost.
Your relationship with each person in your life is uniquely different.
I'm not sure I ever thought about how my relationships with people in my life were different, because I tried very hard not to have relationships. I didn't and still don't consider my first marriage a 'relationship'. But that's another story altogether.
I have been thinking about the intense fear that I felt as I progressed in my recovery from an eating disorder, and got to the point where I was informed that I needed to work on my 'social' life...i.e. relationships.
The fear I felt was about being rejected, and the fact that I didn't know 'who to be' with people. You see, I began to realize that my entire life had been an attempt the 'be' whatever and whoever people wanted me to be at that moment. The way I chose to act or 'be' depended on the situation and who I was with.
I had come far enough in recovery to realize that it was time for me to present myself for who I am, and I truly did not know what that meant.
I did not know who I was yet, and I certainly did not feel comfortable yet with what I was discovering about myself, or how I was changing, both physically and emotionally. So how was I supposed to walk up to someone and present 'me'?
"Just introduce yourself and tell them you are nervous and afraid of being rejected." Right.
The good think about this scenario was that I was not alone in my fears. I was around other people in treatment who were also working on similar fears and issues, so there was a certain amount of safety in my 'assignment'.
Thank YOU, River Centre Clinic!!
Another 'small' issue I had was that I was older than almost every other person in treatment, so I feared a lack of 'connection' or 'understanding'. I used that excuse for quite a while, and I had myself pretty well convinced....until....
the loneliness threatened to take over. I began to realize that I WANTED to know people, and be able to communicate and laugh and well, have relationships!!!
I found out that I didn't have to have a script, or have it all together to approach someone and talk to them. I also found out that my worst fears were not realized! I was not rejected, however it took a while for me to stop 'reading' everyone, and assuming that anything negative was my fault.
Then came the dilemma of how much do I share, and how to stop censoring or 'weighing' every word out of my mouth, for fear of saying something 'wrong'.
It took much less time than I imagined for me to be comfortable around people, and to stop all the 'head talk' about what others think about me.
This aspect of recovery was very similar to most others. I had to face the fears and take action. And each time, the fear was reduced and my own confidence was stronger.
What I have discovered is that this 'relationship thing' has been one of the most rewarding parts of recovery for me. I love people. I am no longer afraid of who I am, or what others think of me, which has given me a freedom that I had never known. I strongly believe that none of us is meant to go through our lives alone. I also believe that we have every right to approach other people and life in general,