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Separating Ourselves from Toxicity
Relationships with people who bring toxicity and turmoil into our lives can disturb our peace and disrupt our recovery efforts. People who are toxic rob us of our energy, our joy, and our feelings of stability and calm. They can add to our sadness, confusion and overwhelm, contributing to our depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. When we are embroiled in toxic relationships, we find it harder to focus on our well-being and our recovery work.
In order to separate ourselves from toxic relationships, we have to start prioritising wellness over the obligations we feel towards other people. Ultimately, relying on others to help us feel better about ourselves can derail our progress. Recovery requires that we build up our feelings of self-love and inner strength through solution-oriented actions, so much so that we no longer settle for poor treatment from other people and co-dependent relationships that cause us distress. These types of behaviours can be learned through mindfulness training or techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy. As we make healthy changes, we discover amplified feelings of self-worth that help us act with honesty and integrity. We want to eliminate the self-rejection, delusion, and insecurity that are cause us to choose relationships that aren’t good for us.
Part of this process is learning to create healthy boundaries. We want to be able to appropriately identify our needs and voice them to the other people in our lives. This involves the development of healthy communication skills that allow us to honestly express our truth. Family counselling or group therapy can allow us to test and practice these skills. As we move forward, we may realise that our toxic relationships continue because we’ve allowed ourselves to be overpowered by other people. Other times, we find that we’ve hung onto relationships because of the “payoff” we feel as a result of the drama and chaos. If we are trauma survivors, we may find that past experiences played a role in the relationships we’ve chosen. Through guided practice, we can unravel these dynamics in a safe and supported way.
When we put healthy boundaries in place and stick with them, the people and things that can’t abide by those standards naturally fall away
As we progress through recovery, we learn how to be respectful and kind toward others, and therefore start to have less tolerance for disrespect and unkindness. We realise that our recovery is worth protecting, and we start to prioritise sanity over the conflict and turmoil our toxic relationships were bringing us. The more we establish healthy boundaries and separate ourselves from toxicity, the more we can focus on our recovery and create the lives we want for ourselves.
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