Before we dive into today’s post, I have some BIG news to share:)
This Friday-July 28th-at 1pm Eastern, I’ll be hosting Growing Up Chaotic’s first ever Facebook Live show.
And you my friend are officially invited!
To watch live, all you need to do is come to Growing Up Chaotic’s Facebook page at 1pm Eastern this Friday.
During the show, I’ll dive deeper into this week’s topic – How To Deal With Toxic Relatives At Any Stage of Recovery – as well as answer any questions that come up along the way.
As of right now, I’m testing out the idea of creating a weekly Facebook Live show. So, this may be something I continue doing or it may not. It really just depends on the feedback I get.
I’ll keep you posted going forward and of course if you have any suggestions or questions, please don’t hesitate to send them my way. You can email email@example.com.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, if you can’t attend the live show, a replay will be available. Also, Growing up Chaotic’s Facebook page is public not private. Anyone with a Facebook account can watch the live session.
So, mark your calendar for this Friday-July 28th-at 1pm Eastern for our first ever Facebook Live show!!
I hope I’ll see you there LIVE.
Now, onto today’s topic which is a really important one.
It’s an area that many people new to recovery struggle with and it can, unfortunately, derail your recovery, growth and progress if you don’t handle it with the right mind set.
I’m talking about toxic relatives.
And not just the relatives you know that have drug and alcohol problems. This includes any relative that interferes with your recovery, turns reality on it’s head and whose unwanted comments or advice leaves you devastated and confused.
Today, I’m sharing 2 major lessons I’ve learned about dealing with relatives who don’t support, acknowledge or respect your recovery. These are tips I wish I had when I first got started years ago.
Once you’re finished reading, in the comment section, tell me how you deal with toxic relatives. And if you have been at this recovery game for awhile now, what advice would you give to someone new to recovery on how to deal with or let go of toxic relatives?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section.
Remember, your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read. And that someone could be you.
As always, thank you for being you!
Until next Tuesday,
#1 Take Approval And Participation Out Of Your Recovery Equation
Soon after I began my recovery and officially cut my toxic stepmom out of my life my grandmother passed away. After the reality of her death set in, I realized that going to her funeral would mean running into my stepmom.
Given that my grandmother was one of the few people in my family that supported me unconditionally, there was no way I was going to miss her funeral.
So I packed my suitcase and boarded a train from New York to Philadelphia and braced myself for all that could erupt over the next few days.
To my surprise, despite several uncomfortable yet completely manageable moments, I survived being in close proximity to my stepmom. But just as I was about to get in a car and head back to the train station, an aunt of mine pulled me aside and basically forced me to get my picture taken with my stepmom.
Now I didn’t get in that picture without a fight, of course. I told my aunt no several times and instead of respecting my choice, she stomped her feet like a five year old child and started crying.
At that point I didn’t know what to do. My aunt was completely aware of the choice I’d made to remove my stepmom from my life but clearly she wasn’t either ready, willing or able to accept my choice.
So I did something that I regret to this day and I gave in and stood next to my stepmom to have our photo taken. And afterwards, I felt horrible for it.
I felt horrible because I allowed my aunt’s reaction to diminish a deliberate choice I’d made for my health and well-being and as a result, I put my need for her approval above my recovery.
In that moment, I wish I would’ve known and believed what I’m telling you now. And that’s that you do not need any family member’s approval or participation in your recovery in order for your recovery choices to be valid.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I would’ve loved if instead of forcing me to get my picture taken with my stepmom, my aunt, even if she didn’t understand my choice, respected it. But regardless, whether she accepted my choice or not, I now know that I don’t need anyone else to approve of or participate in my recovery in order for it to be okay. And that applies to family, too.
#2 Respect Your Boundaries First
There’s already loads of information being passed around on the Internet on the topic of boundaries. And although I agree that understanding the importance of creating and maintaining boundaries is important, I don’t want to just add another layer of more of the same advice to the pile.
But I do want to say that as important as it is for other people to respect your boundaries it’s just as important, perhaps even more so, for you to respect the boundaries that you create FIRST.
I think what happens with most people, when they initially set boundaries, is they wait for other people to accept them before they do. I know that this has been the case in my life.
For example, if we go back to the situation I shared earlier about my aunt forcing me to get my picture taken with my stepmom, I can see now that I had a boundary in place but because I didn’t feel confident about it, I allowed my aunt to basically bulldoze right through it.
Now, that’s something that I allowed to happen because, at that time, I wasn’t completely sure that the boundary I created with my stepmom was okay. I wanted someone else to show me or tell me that what I was doing was acceptable before I could completely endorse it.
But that’s the thing with boundaries, you have to respect them FIRST before you can expect anyone else to.
The boundaries that you create can go a long way in dealing with toxic relatives but you have to believe in them first and always, even if no one else ever does.
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