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12-28 When the ties no longer bind – Coping with toxic family members

Posted in Recovery

When the ties no longer bind – Coping with toxic family members

In the lives of addicts and other mentally ill people, quality support systems can help make or break recovery. Rising above negative influences may be a critical component of staying sober and mentally healthy, especially during a critical time like the holidays. Some people may be faced with the choice of either handling these harmful people or avoiding them altogether in the future.

The idea of creating permanent distance from family can feel forbidden, but certain specialists deem it necessary in some cases.

We can “spend years sacrificing our mental and emotional health in abusive relationships under the notion that we have to because these people are our family,” said Sherrie Campbell, a psychologist and author of the book “Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person.”

Campbell also said that, at the end of the day, family members are just people and some of them will never be healthy influences. She listed several reasons for parting ways with hurtful relationships:

  • Money – Some toxic people maintain a presence just to ask for money, shelter or other necessities. The person could resort to emotional manipulation to receive these services, making this relationship difficult to end.
  • Abuse – The most recognizable toxic people resort to various kinds of physical, psychological and sexual abuse toward individuals around them, Campbell observed.
  • No reciprocation – She also iterated that certain relationships are one-sided, with every achievement, disappointment and any other event made to be all about one person, not both people. A healthy relationship has mutual respect and autonomy.
  • Negativity – Campbell found consistently negative relationships unworthy of continuing most of the time. Generally, people do not benefit from feeling worse at the end of each interaction, and relationships consistently existing on these terms will not often survive.

Some individuals may want to salvage the relationship with certain toxic people or cannot get rid of them. In those cases, Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., in a Psych Central article titled “What’s a Toxic Person & How Do You Deal With One?” agreed that setting boundaries is critical for maintaining mental health around a hurtful person, especially during the holidays when social obligations take precedent over personal histories.

Self-care is always critical for mental health and recovery from mental illnesses. Tartakovsky concurred that this principle is double important when dealing with hurtful people. Their needs come second to the person in recovery.

Mental health professionals always puts the patient first. Counselors with Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego follow this rule with passion and knowledge. Find out more about our treatments by calling our 24/7 helpline.

Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer

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