Self-Neglect is a Barrier to Healthy Intimate Relationships

Self-Neglect is a Barrier to Healthy Intimate Relationships


By Kyle Benson

Several years ago, I was in a relationship that, in retrospect, was pretty unhealthy.

I was consistently putting my needs last. I slowly disappeared and became a shadow of my partner – all in an attempt to make absolutely “certain” that she continued loving me and didn’t leave me.

It would be great if I could tell you that this worked in keeping my relationship alive and well, but like most relationships where codependency takes the driver seat, that isn’t what happened.

I dropped things that were important to me – hobbies, friendships, interviews – all so that I could be in the same space as my partner.

Instead of having a happy, healthy, and wonderful relationship with my partner, I was miserable, anxious, resentful, bitter, and lonely. My needs weren’t getting met, I had ignored parts of myself for so long that I didn’t know who I was outside of my partner or my relationship. I was burdened with feelings of inadequacy and an urgent need for approval and validation from my partner.

As you could probably guess, my relationship eventually fell apart and I was on my own – left with the harm and damage of codependency.

Through a lot of hard work in therapy and introspection, I began to learn from this situation. I learned that dependency isn’t inherently bad, but codependency (not being authentic) can result in a lot of negative consequences for individuals and relationships. I had to learn and adjust my habits and thought processes to approach relationships, and my role in relationships, in a healthier way.

I spent a lot of time engaging with myself about what I wanted, what was important to me, and what my boundaries were. This can be so difficult, but understanding and expressing your boundaries can make relationships healthier and more intimate.

And you can do these things too. You too can move away from these unhealthy tendencies and move toward healthier relating. Stop sacrificing yourself for others and step into your new life of empowerment, freedom and healthy relationships.

Childhood trauma can lead to codependent behaviors like people-pleasing, perfectionism, caretaking, guilt, catastrophizing, self-hatred, control, and more.

The need to let go of love addiction and obsessive thoughts, and reconnect with your inner peace and wisdom cannot be over-emphasized. Value yourself without taking care of others and learn to love and respect the most important person in your life…YOU!

Set clear boundaries, let go of guilt and shame and experience the rewards of putting your needs first. You may need to stop enabling others, stay in your lane and practice loving self-care.

Heal past wounds by releasing trauma, learning to trust yourself, honoring your feelings, and more. Move your focus from outward to inward, reconnect with your passions and purpose.

You can have intimate relationships while simultaneously letting go of enmeshment and entanglement.

It’s time you let go of people-pleasing, harness your own approval, and step into your empowered self.


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