Rebuilding Relationships: Tips for Healing Damaged Connections
It is no surprise that having mental health or substance abuse issues can put a strain on some of your most important relationships. Having these struggles can certainly cause you to act a certain way that may be out of character or not reflective of your true self and those that care about you most can start to form negative opinions about you and perhaps try to distance themselves from you. These individuals are justified to feel the way that they feel, but if they are truly important to you and you to them, there is always room to make amends.
The first and most important step in healing a damaged connection or relationship is to take accountability for yourself and own up to anything you may have done to hurt this person, whether it was intentional or not. If you are on the receiving end of an attempt to make amends with someone you care about, it is equally important that you be open to forgiveness.
If both parties are on the same page and each has agreed to repair the relationship, you should begin to discuss some ways to rebuild trust within your relationship. This can be different for everyone, but the ultimate goal is to feel safe. The individual you are making amends with may want certain things from you to feel that safety, like regular check-ins or some extra transparency. On the flip side, the individual attempting to make amends may need some support from you as well. It is important that you remain consistent with delivering on any agreements made to rebuild that trust.
You both may also choose to move forward with some extra help in the form of couples, family, or other forms of joint counseling. It may help to have the perspective of a neutral third party to discuss expectations, set boundaries, and hold each of you accountable. It is important to remember that rebuilding a relationship is never a one-way street and both parties need to actively participate and be open to change. Again, if both parties are willing and commit to repairing the broken connection, a new and beautifully restored relationship has room to flourish.