Friendships That Were Part of My Disorder – The Past and Holidays

Friendships and holidays

The holiday season has a way of bringing people together. Most times, this can be a good thing, but in certain circumstances, this has the potential to draw out painful pastimes. When friendships and family come together, especially across distances, from different backgrounds, cultures, and pastimes, there is the potential for both unity and conflict.

As someone who might be recovering from an eating disorder, it is important to consider this in relation to your recovery efforts, understand how to establish healthy boundaries in relationships, and know when it might be time to let go of a potentially toxic friendship.

Approaching a Painful Past

There are inevitably things, circumstances, and people who may have triggered certain eating disorder thoughts and behaviors. However, it is important to understand that no single factor can be blamed for the development of an eating disorder. In light of this though, it is helpful to consider the different aspects of your life in the framework of your recovery. What things, people, relationships, and situations are supportive toward your recovery? What aspects of your life, past or present, are not conducive to your recovery efforts?

Friendships and the people that you regularly engage with are an important aspect of how you see yourself, feel about yourself, and will largely influence your recovery efforts from an eating disorder. If you have had any associations with individuals, through a friendship, who have had a negative impact of your recovery and how you feel about yourself, it is necessary to weigh the benefit of an ongoing relationship with such a person. You may not necessarily realize this until you are met face to face, and this is a common occurrence during the holiday season.

Making the Difficult Decisions

snowman-574714_1280Sometimes, the best decision that supports your recovery means letting go and/or saying goodbye to old friendships that you understand can no longer be part of your future. This may be a person that is an ongoing source of triggers, negative, toxic, or abusive in any shape or form. Your life and recovery are dependent on the foundation of an environment that is positive and nourishing to your own recovery journey.

Letting go of the past, no matter how painful, is always difficult because it involves change and transition. Know that you are not alone in your decisions. There are people around you who love and care for you and want to see you stay well. Choose to surround yourself with these people, and stay connected to support throughout the process. Letting go of a painful past or toxic friendships makes room for more positive and encouraging people to come into your life.

Community Discussion – Share Your Thoughts Here!

What do you think are red flags of a toxic friendship to be aware of?


Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on December 4, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com