Toxic relationships are unhealthy and dangerous for those in addiction recovery. People who are toxic are often not supportive of your recovery and cause you to become exhausted and drained emotionally, which can put you at a higher risk for relapse. Here are Tips for Overcoming Toxic Relationships.
Signs of a Toxic Relationship
Recognizing a toxic relationship is the first step in healing from one and moving forward in your recovery. According to WebMD, a toxic person is someone who is difficult and causes conflict in another person’s life. A toxic relationship can exist with a partner or spouse or with the following:
- Other relatives
Some signs of a toxic relationship may include:
- Lack of Trust: Trust is a foundational element in any healthy relationship. If there is a consistent lack of trust, suspicion, or constant questioning of each other’s actions, it can be a sign of toxicity.
- Poor Communication: Healthy communication involves openness, honesty, and active listening. In toxic relationships, communication is often marked by constant criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, or outright avoidance.
- Control and Dominance: One partner exerting excessive control or dominance over the other is a clear sign of toxicity. This can manifest as controlling behaviors, jealousy, possessiveness, or attempts to isolate the partner from friends and family.
- Frequent Arguments: Disagreements are a normal part of any relationship, but in toxic relationships, arguments may be frequent, intense, and unresolved. There may be a pattern of blaming, shaming, or manipulating during conflicts.
- Manipulation: Manipulation involves trying to control or influence the other person’s thoughts, feelings, or actions in a deceitful or insidious way. This can include guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or emotional blackmail.
- Lack of Respect: In a healthy relationship, both partners respect each other’s boundaries, opinions, and individuality. In a toxic relationship, there may be a lack of respect, constant belittling, or demeaning behavior.
- Unhealthy Power Dynamics: Healthy relationships involve a balance of power and decision-making. In a toxic relationship, there may be an imbalance, with one partner consistently asserting control and the other feeling disempowered.
- Emotional or Physical Abuse: Any form of abuse, whether it’s emotional, verbal, or physical, is a clear sign of a toxic relationship. This includes insults, threats, physical violence, or any behavior that causes harm.
- Constant Criticism: Continuous criticism, whether it’s about appearance, abilities, or choices, can be damaging to self-esteem and indicative of a toxic dynamic.
- Isolation: One partner may try to isolate the other from friends, family, or support networks. This isolation can make it more difficult for the victim to seek help or perspective from others.
- Unresolved Issues: In a toxic relationship, underlying issues are often not addressed or resolved. Instead, they may resurface repeatedly, contributing to ongoing stress and conflict.
Dangers of a Toxic Relationship in Recovery
A toxic relationship can be dangerous for those in recovery. Being around someone who does not respect your sobriety can take a toll on your emotional health and well-being. The stress of a toxic relationship may be a trigger for relapse and can lower your self-esteem. The toxic person may consume your life, and when you are not together, you may feel lonely and depressed. This is just what they want.
Any relationship that causes you to want to use drugs or alcohol is one that needs serious intervention, and you may need to walk away from it completely. A healthy relationship will encourage your sobriety and make you feel supported.
How to Overcome Toxic Relationships
Not every relationship is meant to be. Once you recognize a relationship is toxic and unhealthy, you’ll be able to decide whether it can help with therapy or whether it needs to end.
Letting someone go can be extremely difficult, especially if they are a spouse or close family member. This is why it’s very important to have support from others in your life, including professional therapists or counselors, who can help you work through and navigate the decision to end a relationship.
We offer the following tips can help you avoid toxic relationships:
- Just because they’re family doesn’t mean they’re allowed to hurt you. You are not obligated to spend time with family members who are draining you emotionally or trying to sabotage your sobriety.
- Express how you feel. Don’t be afraid to speak up. If a person is making you feel angry or sad, tell them. You can speak up and say how their actions make you feel. It may often be the case that the person doesn’t realize how toxic their words and actions have become.
- Talk to someone. You may find help by seeking professional relationship advice. Attend counseling alone to deal with the toxic actions of another person or as a couple to deal with the relationship if you want to preserve it. Don’t feel alone when you can reach out for support.
- Stand your ground. Once you decide to cut the ties with the toxic person or create new boundaries, stand your ground and stick by the decision you made. If you’re struggling with guilt, use it as an opportunity to work with your therapist to explore where the guilt comes from and how to let it go.
- Stay accountable. Confiding in a close friend or your sponsor can hold you accountable for your decision to step away from the toxic relationship. This can give you the support you need if you start questioning yourself or feeling like going back into an unhealthy relationship.
Are You or Loved One Struggling With Addiction?
Are you or a loved one struggling with a substance use disorder? Twin Lakes Recovery Center, a leading Monroe, Georgia treatment center, is here to help. We can assist those with substance use disorders, alcohol use disorders, and co-occurring disorders by offering a wide range of programs, including medically supervised alcohol and drug detox, inpatient residential treatment, intensive outpatient program, relapse prevention, and more. To find out more about what programs and services are available at Twin Lakes Recovery Center, contact us online today.