Dealing with Relationships Effectively In Recovery From Eating Disorders & Addictions

Friends giving each other support in their relationships

Relationships – ”can’t live with ‘em and can’t live without ‘em.” We find our deepest joy and fulfillment often in connecting meaningfully with others. Yet, the same folks we bond deeply with and find happiness in their presence, also can cause us pain and suffering. What to do?

Here are some ideas to consider to create more fulfilling, supportive, and loving relationships with those in our inner circle. These are 5 essential relationship tips to help you create deeper friendships and closer family relationships:

1. Accept Others & Offer Unconditional Positive Regard
Carl Rodgers is to thank for his wise advice to fully accept and love another in their essence. Offering empathy and understanding of another’s way of being provides the framework for relationships to develop. Refraining from judging our friend or loved one allows them to share their true self with us. It is by fully seeing and accepting another person that we experience intimacy and emotional connectedness.

2. Listen & active listening
We all long to be heard, and very few people actually put their own filters and agenda aside to fully listen to us. When we offer another truly active listening, they feel heard, understood, respected, and validated. We give a tremendous gift to another when we honor and accept all that makes up their unique personhood.

3. Forgive and let go
We all are imperfect and growing. So, we might as well forgive others as we are also flawed and fallible as humans, too. If we allow others to make mistakes, and sometimes screw up royally, and still allow them compassion and understanding…we then grow in our own self-regard and capacity to find a meaningful connection with others even in a troubled world.

4. Communicate what you need and want from the relationship
If we askfor what we need, we are more likelyy to get it. Simple fact. Issues arise around our fears about asking to have our needs met and then the other rejecting us or telling us they cannot meet our needs. This may happen, but by asking, we also open the door for more fulfillment in our relationships.

5. Enjoy the here and now fully and be present
Our friends and loved ones need us to be with them and not distracted by phones, other issues, mind tripping overwork, etc. It is an enormous gift to our fellow human beings when we are present, look them in the eye with openness and curiosity about what they have to share about their experience of being in their skin. Go ahead, give them your 100% attention and watch them love it and gravitate toward you.


What is Unconditional Positive Regard in Psychology? (2019, July 10). Retrieved May 24, 2020, from

About the author:

Jacquelyn EkernJacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC founded Eating Disorder Hope in 2005, driven by a profound desire to help those struggling with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. This passion resulted from her battle with, and recovery from, an eating disorder. As president, Jacquelyn manages Ekern Enterprises, Inc. and the Eating Disorder Hope website. In addition, she is a fully licensed therapist with a closed private counseling practice specializing in the treatment of eating disorders.

Jacquelyn has a Bachelor of Science in Human Services degree from The University of Phoenix and a Master’s degree in Counseling/Psychology, from Capella University. She has extensive experience in the eating disorder field including advanced education in psychology, participation, and contributions to additional eating disorder groups, symposiums, and professional associations. She is a member of the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), Academy of Eating Disorders (AED), the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC), and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp).

Jacquelyn enjoys art, working out, walking her dogs, reading, painting, and time with family. Although Eating Disorder Hope was founded by Jacquelyn Ekern, this organization would not be possible without support from our generous sponsors.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a 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.

Published June 30, 2020, on
Reviewed & Approved on June 30, 2020, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.