Dealing with Toxicity in Our Lives and How to Rid Ourselves of It
Figuring relationships out is incredibly difficult even when you are not in the recovery process. Trying to keep in mind the needs and expectations of another person, along with your own, brings on an amount of stress that can be a large load to carry. Add your own recovery into that mix and it makes it feel near-impossible. Recovery, and the process of changing who you are, requires a lot of time and focus, not to mention a lot of love, to get through. The last thing you want is to have someone in your life who adds to that stress in a significant way. You can’t erase that stress entirely, and in fact, it can be good to have; if you don’t feel stressed about something, does it really matter to you? But when that stress is causing you to sink or keep you from working on yourself, that’s the point of unhealthiness. A loved one shouldn’t be what’s keeping you under the water; it should be the life vest helping keep you afloat.
So how do you identify if your relationship is toxic?
It starts with a look inward. Reflect on how you feel in the relationship with your path to recovery. When you think of your path to recovery, do you feel held back by the relationship, or do you feel encouraged? When you reach a milestone in yourself, do you feel excited to share in that accomplishment with the person, or do you feel fear that they won’t care? And, most importantly, what is it that you need and have you communicated those needs? It can be easy when going through all of this, when you are constantly experiencing these struggles and triumphs, when you have frequently voiced your needs to someone else, to forget that you haven’t shared those thoughts with that person. Remember that they are only human, and can’t read your mind or know exactly what you need. Understand yourself, what it is that you want, what it is that you need, and tell the person that. This kind of thing isn’t a one-way street and we have to remember our own role in the relationship. We must keep our sense of responsibility in it if we are going to ask them to do the same.
Which brings us to seek out what their needs are. Do they feel overwhelmed by our experience? Is there something we can do better to help them feel equal in the relationship and not feel like a lower priority? It’s easy to forget that they are affected by your pain too. It’s true that you must focus on healing yourself in order to better love another person, but there is room to help each other within that. With a mutual understanding and focus, the relationship as a whole can improve and benefit. Let the other person speak to what they feel is necessary and don’t be afraid to hold yourself accountable. Struggles are a reason but they are not an excuse. Understand how you can improve without feeling blame.
When you have all these things laid out in front of you, after you have listened to the person and had them listen to you, then you can look at it together. Figure out if the needs of each person are compatible, are they able to exist and be attended to at the same time? You may find that they are, and that the toxicity you have been experiencing is simply from a lack of communication or understanding. But also be ready for the possibility that they aren’t. You may find that what you need just can’t work with the person in the relationship, and you can’t sacrifice your own mental health in order to make the relationship. We know it’s difficult and terrifying to come face-to-face with the morality of our relationships. The truth can be a hard pill to swallow. The truth may be that the relationship just can’t work, and that’s okay. It’s hard but it’s okay. It doesn’t mean that you have done something wrong, or even that they have done something wrong. A lot of people identify toxicity as being synonymous with being a bad person, but that’s not necessarily the case. A person can be exhibiting toxic behavior but that doesn’t mean they are a bad person. In a lot of cases, they may just have their own struggles they need to work out. It’s important to remember that they are someone who deserves what they need, just as much as you, and just because those needs can be met somewhere or with someone else, isn’t a negative reflection on you.
When figuring these things out, it’s important to be ready for anything. Don’t assume that everything will be okay, but also don’t expect the worst. Know what it is that you need and are willing to do, and be open-minded. Toxicity doesn’t need to be a constant when you have the ability to address it head on.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction, do not hesitate to contact the team here at TrueRecovery.com. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 and [email protected]