RECOGNIZING AND LETTING GO OF TOXIC PEOPLE
Everyone deals with toxic people from time to time and some people may have a consistent relationship with a toxic person without even realizing it. It is never healthy to have a toxic friend but it is especially dangerous for people in addiction recovery. A toxic person may not only bring them down emotionally, they could be the major cause of a relapse. At some point, an addict who wants to recover must examine their relationships and determine which ones it might be best to simply let go of.
This can be a tough decision to make especially if you have known them for years but once you are better able to recognize what is toxic about the relationship you might have an easier time limiting or even cutting off contact with them. The most important thing is to focus on recovery and build positive relationships that provide support and compassion.
The Signs of a Toxic Person
While some toxic people may be easy to spot, others may be able to hide it so well that you don't realize how draining and negative your relationship with them can be. There are some obvious signs that a person is toxic that can help you identify people that it might be best to minimize interaction with.
For example a toxic person may show many signs that they are selfish including talking about themselves at length without listening to you or asking questions, manipulating or trying to control you to get what they want and having a general lack of concern for other people's feelings.
A toxic person also seems to be surrounded by drama much of the time and they may actually enjoy the attention or sympathy that they get from playing the victim. Dealing with a toxic person's drama all the time can be draining for the people around them and it is not something you need to take on when you are in recovery.
A toxic person may seem to attract drama or thrive off of it because they are often very negative. Someone that is truly toxic will talk negatively about the people around them and find it hard to say something good about someone. Although a toxic person can be very charming when they choose to be, it is only when they feel someone can be of use to them.
To recognize a toxic person try to notice how they treat others, especially those who they aren't useful to them in some way. Someone who is toxic will often choose to be nice only in certain situations instead of having an open attitude toward everyone. Once you notice some of the major signs that someone is toxic then it is time to make a decision about the best way to handle your relationship.
Setting Boundaries with Toxic Friends
In many cases it may be too complicated or impossible to completely cut off contact with someone who is toxic. If this person is a family member or co-worker you may have no choice but to see them once in a while and maintain some functional interactions with them. The key in this situation is to set some boundaries and stick with them.
Just because someone is toxic doesn't mean you have to be rude to them or avoid them at all costs. You can still be polite but simply maintain certain boundaries with them such as avoiding long or personal conversations or saying no to hanging out with them in a social setting if the opportunity presents itself.
Although toxic people may seem charming and will try to manipulate you into getting their way it is important to be firm and maintain a certain distance so that you don't sucked into their toxic world.