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Is My Family Stifling My Recovery Progress?

Developmental trauma can cause many long-term problems. People with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) often find themselves struggling with mental illnesses, substance use disorder (SUD), or both. When you decide that you want to heal, toxic family members may resist your recovery journey. Are they stifling your progress? It’s important to address this part of your life as you work to recover.

9 Signs of a Toxic Family

Sometimes, when you interact with a dysfunctional family of origin for so long, it becomes difficult to identify toxicity. Commonly, you may realize something is wrong but be unable to put your finger on the exact problem. Here are nine signs that you’re dealing with toxicity:

#1 Your family belittles your recovery journey.

#2 They call you names like “crazy,” “druggie,” “drunk,” or “insane.”

#3 You walk on eggshells around them.

#4 They try to control your choices, actions, and behaviors.

#5 Your mental and emotional pain points are used against you.

#6 They treat your healing as a personal offense or attack on them.

#7 Your family is critical of everything you say.

#8 You feel scared of their unpredictability.

#9 They’re invested in you remaining sick.

If you relate to many of these signs, you might want to start distancing yourself and creating boundaries.

How to Set Boundaries

When you’re in recovery, you must put your health and sobriety first. You don’t necessarily have to cut off people who put these things at risk, but it’s smart to set healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries can take different forms. The key to setting them is focusing on your needs.

Examples can include saying, “I can only see or speak to you [x] amount of times every week.” Also, you may decide you are only willing to share specific information with toxic family members. This is an internal boundary. You might tell a person that you won’t speak to or see them when they’re using substances of any kind. All of these boundaries are reasonable and focused on your well-being.

Identifying Your Other Family

In addition to distancing yourself from toxic people, you can find other types of family to lean on. You might find that extended family members support your journey. Additionally, you could rely on cousins that support you or adopted siblings that have your back. Moreover, your chosen family may also fill in for your toxic family. The important thing to remember is this: you are not alone.

When you grow up with toxicity and adverse childhood experiences, you can begin to view this dynamic as normal. Unfortunately, it’s often detrimental to your recovery journey. You must identify the problems in order to improve your chances of a successful recovery. At The Guest House, we treat trauma as a central aspect of mental illness and addiction. We can help you identify unhealthy family dynamics. From there, you can begin to set boundaries, process your trauma, and heal. When you’re ready for help, call The Guest House at (855) 483-7800.