The Unhealthy Other

The basic feature of the unhealthy other is an unwillingness to allow us to own our experience, to determine how our disease affects us, to feel free to express ourselves confidently and with an expectation of respect. These people may label us, or see only how we affect them, ignoring how they affect us. They might appreciate that we own our words and actions, but they will not do the same for themselves.

The acceptance of imperfection is not always enough to allow this sort of behaviour to exist in our lives. We all have to make compromises just to get through our lives, and we all need friends who will tell us things that we do not wish to hear, who will challenge us as well as encourage us, but we have to be aware that the quality of some relationships can have a greater toll on us than we realise. The impact of the unhealthy other seeps into us, affecting the way we see ourselves, and can ripple outward into all our relationships.

Identifying the unhealthy other is a first step to limiting their power over you. The final step might be to let go. In fact, many would say that there is no space between the first and final step. Only you can decide that.

Whoever you are, whatever your circumstances, remember that you are not your disease, not the bruises you carry, not the bad person that you might think you are: you are bigger than all of it. I encourage everyone not to lose hope, to keep moving forward, and to look for the power of good relationships in helping us to be more than we can be alone.

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