Are you concerned about relationship setbacks during recovery? Even with good interpersonal skills, you should think twice about who to hang out with after treatment. Besides individuals who use substances, there is another group of people to avoid: toxic personalities.
What Kinds of People Are “Toxic”?
The word “toxic” has become widely used. Although it has an overly negative meaning, people with toxic personalities are not inherently bad. They lack self-awareness about how their behaviors affect others around them. What defines a toxic personality is that the person has harmful or destructive influences on people, intentionally or otherwise.
Making new friendships is exciting, but you must also “read” people and be cautious. After a few exchanges, you may recognize some red flags. The most common ones include being overly critical of others, being obsessed with oneself (e.g., narcissistic personality disorder), and displaying manipulative behaviors.
Everyone runs into people with these behaviors and must learn to deal with them. However, when you are in recovery, it is often best not to engage with these people as they can be distracting from recovery at best and destructive at worst.
Disengaging From Toxic Behaviors
When you are still working to establish your recovery, it is critical to surround yourself with supportive and healthy people. You rely on them to help you rebuild your life. The last thing you need is people who come in with a critical, judgmental, or harmful posture.
You may know this logically, but how can you avoid negative people? For example, it can be difficult to avoid such personalities if they are found in some of your coworkers. Here is a straightforward step: When you sense negativity or toxicity, try to keep interactions with them at a minimum. Don’t exchange in small chats or emotional conversations. Keep your interactions strictly to work-related issues.
What to Do About Toxic Friends and Family Members
Regarding relational toxicity, we all know that the battle lies nearby. Family members and even close friends can be detrimental if they do nothing but exude negative energy or talk down on your progress. So what can you do about it? It can be hard to disengage from people you are in such close relationships with. This is especially true if you count on them to help you maintain sobriety.
Open and honest communication is the foundation of all healthy relationships. Point out in a kind and calm way how this significant family or friend is affecting others with their negative ways of doing things. That person may not be aware of it. Suggest starting family therapy or couples counseling together. A therapist has plenty of tools to improve communication and help the other person let go of toxic behaviors so they can be more supportive.
Toxic People at Support Group Meetings
Even in recovery spaces, peers may struggle with mental health issues and exhibit toxic influences. For example, at 12-Step meetings, people feeling negative may need to express themselves. This is a moment for you to practice some compassion. View this person just like yourself, and offer to listen.
If facing another toxic personality in recovery adds more emotional challenges than is healthy, speak with the group facilitator or a therapist about it. They may make some arrangements so that your needs can be better accommodated. Remember to avoid adding to the toxicity by remaining friendly and nonjudgmental.
Rebuilding Relationships That Were Toxic
The strategy of disengaging from toxic relationships does not mean that you must avoid all people with negative influences. Some toxic relationships must be mended. Such relationships can include estranged parents or children. When your recovery and sobriety stabilize, consider reaching out and spending more time with them.
Some toxic patterns can become challenging or triggering even when you try to rebuild these relationships. Allow yourself time and be patient while you work through issues with them. Additionally, make sure you engage in self-care during this time. Neglecting one or the other will not get you too far. If you invest in rebuilding the relationship at the expense of self-care, you may set yourself on a path to heartache or even relapse.
Resilience in Relationships
The ultimate solution to managing toxic relationships is building up your resilience. To do this, you must become an expert on your mental health awareness and self-care. No external criticism will shake your core values if they’re founded on self-love and self-worth. Know that despite past addiction, you deserve to be in respectful and rewarding relationships.
Managing and rebuilding social relationships during recovery can be challenging. Are you prepared for this critical step? Apart from mending past mistakes and rebuilding trust with loved ones, it’s also important to be alert to toxic personalities. How do you detect early signs or determine when to keep your distance from toxic people? You can work with recovery specialists who are also relationship experts. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our team of experienced and compassionate health experts can support you to succeed in every way during recovery. Alongside customized treatment plans, family therapy, and support groups, staff at Laguna Shores Recovery can also teach you how to build and maintain healthy relational boundaries. Call us today at (866) 229-9923.