You may get caught up in toxic relationships in active addiction. It can be hard to discern which relationships or traits are healthy and which are not, even once you enter recovery. However, with the proper explanation and help from relationship and addiction experts, you can better grasp how to deal with toxic relationships in your life.
What Is a Toxic Relationship?
It can be hard to discern toxicity because no one thing makes a relationship toxic. It can be many different things. One common toxic trait is codependency. A codependent relationship is highly unhealthy. It can put you in situations or make you do things that you usually wouldn't. This may look like cutting off friends that your codependent doesn't like, needing to be together all the time, or being unable to accomplish much without the other person around.
What makes codependency so complicated is that there are usually deep feelings involved. You love and care for this person, which is why you have the relationship in the first place. This can be further complicated through the addiction process. Maybe this person helped you get sober or supported you at your lowest. Saying that the relationship is toxic does not diminish those truths. The relationship may need some rebuilding.
How to Handle a Toxic Relationship
There are a lot of things you can do to mend relationships. The first step is acknowledging that there is a problem in the first place. Of course, doing so is easier said than done, but if you can make that first step, you're ready to start taking corrective actions.
Boundaries are critical. This will help both people in the toxic relationship.
Let's say, for example, you and this person are always together. A host of problems can arise from never spending time apart. It can breed paranoia that one of you may find someone else that you'd rather spend time with. It can also get to the point where neither of you sees other people who should be involved in your life.
Setting a boundary where you can't spend every moment together is essential. This doesn't mean that you care for the person any less. It means you must take time for yourself or see other friends and family members to stay healthy. Both of these are entirely normal and necessary.
Having the Difficult Conversations
In doing things like the example above, you may receive some backlash. However, you may need to have a complex and serious conversation about the relationship's future. Such discussions are meaningful because they not only set expectations but also improve the strength of the relationship. Effective communication leads to more satisfaction in relationships.
If you are in a toxic relationship, it can be challenging to set boundaries and communicate so you can move the relationship from unhealthy to healthy. Setting boundaries might not be what the other person wants. This is also normal, and you should be prepared for them to push back. Be prepared and fight for what you need, even when it's hard.
Cutting People Out
You face a tough choice if the other person refuses to respect your wishes. First, ask yourself whether this person is worth keeping in your life. That is not an easy question, but you must be honest and realistic with yourself.
Making a pro and con list of the relationship may be helpful. Another option is a give-and-take list, which examines what you give to the relationship versus what you get back. These lists help remove the emotion from the decision so you can be objective.
Emotions are what make ending toxic relationships difficult. Through list-making, you can view the relationship as it is. If you put everything you have into the relationship in some aspect and you're not getting anything back from the other person, it's time for a change.
Is the Relationship Fixable?
The short answer to this question is yes. Every relationship is fixable. However, fixing only happens if both people are willing to work. If you or the person you have this toxic relationship with are unwilling to make changes, it might be best for the relationship to end.
It is okay for people to go their separate ways when the relationship is no longer a source of joy or health. That doesn't mean it won't hurt, but it's what's best for you and your recovery in the long run. With all that said, the relationship can work if you and the other person can make changes to be healthier, whether setting boundaries or seeing the other person for who they are.
Undoing relationship toxicity is not easy to do on your own. Support groups and relationship counseling are always good options for improving relationships. You can overcome the toxicity in your relationships. You have to believe in yourself and your ability to make changes.
Once you enter recovery, toxic relationships can be more noticeable. However, just being able to identify them does not mean that you know what to do. Fixing or removing toxic relationships from your life can get complicated and should be handled with care. If you don't know what to do, consider reaching out to NorthStar Transitions. Our experienced staff is more than willing to help you through this challenging part of your life. Our professional guidance has helped many people, and we can help you too. There is hope if you or someone you know needs addiction treatment and support to navigate toxic relationships. You can take the first steps by calling us today at (303) 558-6400.