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How to Recognize Toxic Relationships

Monday, January 7, 2019

There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. Everyone has flaws, and accepting that fact is part of what makes us human. However, some relationships cross the line between merely problematic into full-fledged unhealthy status. For someone in recovery, toxic relationships can be especially challenging. What is a toxic relationship, and how can you learn to spot warning signs so you can steer clear of them?

Any Relationship Can Become Toxic

Though most of the horror stories we hear about unhealthy relationships are those that have formed between romantic partners, it’s important to realize any relationship can become harmful – those between co-workers, friends and even family members can spiral into toxicity and become both mentally and physically draining to maintain.

Toxicity comes in all forms: demeaning language, physical abuse, deception and gossip, just to name a few. Toxic relationships can result in severe inner conflict that might eventually lead to mental health issues such as anger, depression or anxiety, which is why they can have such devastating effects on your life – especially if you are already struggling with the burdens of addiction.

Top Three Signs of Toxic Behavior

Anytime someone who claims to care about you routinely behaves in a way that doesn’t take your best interests into account, it can chip away at the foundation of your relationship. Here are three red flags of toxicity, though there are many more.

  1. Narcissism: Though a narcissist may not always act out of malicious intent, their self-centeredness can still take a severe toll on you. For narcissistic people, maintaining the worldview that they are superior requires them to see everyone else as being beneath them. Narcissism is characterized by a sense of entitlement and a tendency to exploit others, in addition to heightened sensitivity to criticism.
  2. Abuse: Physical abuse leaves an obvious mark, but verbal and psychological abuse – such as when someone constantly puts you down or makes you feel diminished – can be dangerous, too.
  3. Manipulative behavior: Manipulative individuals take advantage of you by convincing you to do things that only benefit them. They do not respect your boundaries or your opinions. Instead, they find and exploit your weaknesses.

When to Leave a Toxic Relationship

Some people remain in toxic relationships because they think they must. They worry about what the other person will say or do, or they tell themselves they can make the relationship work if they try harder. The truth is that cutting ties with toxic people – even if they are relatives – is often the most constructive thing you can do. Never feel guilty about loving yourself and taking the necessary steps to preserve your well-being and sobriety.

Sober Living at Canyon Crossing

Canyon Crossing provides a structured, women’s-only rehabilitation facility in Prescott, AZ, where our clients learn to live a fulfilling life without substance dependency. Contact our admissions specialists to learn more about the benefits of our unique programming.

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