Very few people manage to be islands of isolation.  It takes a great deal of personal effort, skill, and geography to pull that off.  Not just because you need to be able to live off the grid, live off the land, and be fully self-sufficient in everything you could possibly need, but because we are visual beings and isolation requires that no one can even see you, because being seen is still interaction.

So for the majority of us, we live in relation to each other in one form or another and usually in a great many forms at any given time.  Which means that our lives impact others and theirs impact ours.  And with all of this interaction and interrelation going on plus all of the internal and external stimulation we get every minute of every day, with the only constant being change and change constantly being thrust upon us, we seek to make stability, structure, and meaning out of the things we have some control over such as our homes, our jobs, our vehicles, and those who are most important or ubiquitous to us.

It’s most often true that we know inside ourselves we are ever-changing creatures trying to surf through the day-to-day, but we see others as stable, static, and consistent and we note when others are not, regardless of seeing that as a positive or a negative.  It’s not rational, it’s just coping.  And healing throws a spanner into those works.  When we heal, we change.  Not just a little, but usually quite perceptibly and usually permanently.  And those changes effect others.  There’s no way around it and no way to predict what their reaction will be.  In unhealthy family situations someone getting help or getting healed can be a threat to the status quo.  It is not unusual for an alcoholic family to try to sabotage a members recovery, a co-dependant family member to resist the independence of their favorite person, or an abusive parent to try to prevent a child from gaining self-esteem.

Becoming healthy, however that occurs, challenges others.  Not only does it remind them that everyone else is changing just as they are or as they are trying to prevent in themselves, but it challenges them to examine their own life and start the healing process.  And a great many people do not want to heal whatever is going on with them.  Weird but true, many people create dysfunctional and unhealthy habits and lives to support their internal identity, to foster a situation that feeds a need, or to prevent something from happening that they cannot cope with.  And someone close to them getting healthy pushes all their ‘Warning: Danger’ buttons.  So they will reach out to try to prevent the healing or to push away the person who is getting healthy.

And sometimes someone’s dysfunction pushes others into health.  Being confronted with the facts that a person absolutely does not want to be healed and works strenuously to prevent it and to maintain their unhealthy lifestyle can be a wakeup call that helps those around them make other, different, healthy choices for themselves, perhaps for the first time.  In the medical profession there is an understanding that healing doesn’t always mean getting well or even surviving.  Sometimes it means letting go and letting the process move forward naturally.  And this can also be true of relationships.  Sometimes healing means knowing that the relationship has to change and may possibly need to end.  Because healing is relational and sometimes the healthiest thing to do is say “I can’t be in this relationship any more.”