One of the biggest challenges for those in recovery is handling toxic family members. Toxic people can destroy our recovery efforts in addition to creating a lot of emotional strife for an individual. Here are some tips on dealing with toxic family members.
If it’s at all possible, one of the best ways to handle those who are toxic to you is to avoid being around said people. Create emotional distance from those who cause you strife. There is no shame in looking out for your own emotional best interests. The distance can be just emotional, though removing yourself from situations where the toxic family member will be there can also be helpful.
Not every situation where a toxic individual will be present may be avoidable. Be honest with other family members about how this person affects you and that person’s role in triggering your addictive patterns. Many times, you’ll find that people will be understanding of this. However, sometimes this can cause more conflict with new family members. It might be good to enlist a counselor or your sponsor when it comes time to talk with family members about another family member who is toxic.
Stop Looking for Approval
With toxic family members, approval can be hard to come by. It’s important to stop looking for the approval of those who are not themselves healthy for you to be around. It’s not your job to make others happy. It’s your job to ensure that you are healthy and happy. Looking for approval, even when in recovery, can trigger addictive behaviors and bad feelings.
Set Strong Boundaries for Yourself
While in recovery, you will hear a lot about boundaries because they’re important. If you cannot create distance from an individual, you can create and maintain boundaries that will help you to be strong in the face of contact with toxic family. Don’t allow others to disrespect you and be firm when enforcing them.
Consider Cutting Ties
Unfortunately, some people won’t respect boundaries or distance that you’re trying to create. This can actively work against all recovery efforts that you’re making. Rather than continue to allow yourself to be upset and hurt by toxic family members, it may be necessary to cut ties with said family members completely. This can be hard for some people but finding the strength to cut ties can give you the courage and energy to rebuild the life that you want.
Find a Support System
No matter how you handle toxic family members during your recovery process, it’s important to surround yourself with those who do fully support you and the efforts you are making to live a more positive life. Whether you need to create this group from scratch or you build this group out of your close sober friends and supporters, this support system is where you will turn when things get hard. If you would like help foraging together a new support system to support your sober life goals, you can turn to our team at Turning Point Recovery Center.