Navigating Relationships With Family
Navigating relationships with family or other loved ones is rarely an easy experience. If you are in recovery, navigating relationships may seem even more difficult. You may wonder how you can work to mend strained or damaged relationships or reach out to family members after going a while without any contact. Wherever you may stand in your relationships, know that you can take steps to have healthy and beneficial interactions to help heal them.
You may want to develop several skills as you learn to understand your relationships, and many recovery programs will help provide you with these tools and other resources to do so. When it comes to family, interactions may be even more overwhelming. Here we will offer you valuable tips on understanding your relationships and how to move forward with them during your recovery.
Before addressing your relationships, you must engage in self-care and self-discovery. It helps to have a new, healthy outlook as you try to mend your relationships. Be sure that you learn how to forgive yourself for your past mistakes before expecting your family to forgive you likewise. Discover new things about yourself that foster personal growth.
Identifying Harmful Relationships
Relationships with family members can be intimidating. When you feel it is time to address your relationships with your loved ones, be sure to consider what relationships are healthy and what ones could be harmful to your recovery. Just because someone is related to you does not necessarily mean that they support and contribute to your recovery success. Types of behaviors to look out for and be cautious of might include:
- Belittling. These people may often make fun of you for what you do or say. They cause you to feel bad about yourself, which does not contribute to a safe and positive recovery. They may question your ability to stay sober or trigger you to use.
- Enabling. Enablers are people that do or say something that makes it easier for you to engage in harmful situations. An excellent example of this would be someone that enables you to use drugs or alcohol when you are openly choosing to abstain.
- Shaming. These individuals try to control your behavior or view of yourself by shaming you for your past or present actions.
- Blaming. These individuals cause you to focus on any family dysfunction, even when it has nothing to do with you. These individuals do not see any harm or dysfunction in themselves, so they use other family members for blame.
These behaviors are toxic to your well-being and your recovery journey. You may recognize toxic behavior in others through the awareness of your own emotions and feelings. For example, if you have a loved one that makes you feel ignored, insecure, or constantly irritated, you may want to distance yourself for the sake of your own recovery.
Mending Healthy Relationships: Engaging in Important Conversation
On the other hand, there may be many people in your family supporting your recovery and willingness to stay sober. There are numerous values in mending healthy relationships. The process of recovery is enhanced through social networks and the relationships that we have with one another. It is essential that your relationships provide you with not only support, but also friendship, love, and hope. Once you can recognize what relationships need mending for the sake of your mental and emotional health, it is time to get to work.
If you feel it is time to sit down and have an intimate conversation with a loved one about your recovery process, you should be proud of yourself! You are recognizing that you are more than your past mistakes and are working towards being a better version of yourself. It may help you write a list of things you would like to bring up during the conversation so that you do not feel overwhelmed and forget something. Try to sit family members down one by one instead of all at once to minimize feeling overwhelmed or judged.
Look Towards a Brighter Future
Be confident in addressing the mistakes you made in the past, and assure your loved one that you are working towards lasting recovery every day. Tell them about the wonderful skills you are learning in rehab or at therapy. Try to bring up points in a way that is not meant to sound convincing but authentic and genuine. You are not convincing your loved ones that you are in the midst of change; you want to show them through your actions that you are serious about recovery.
The most important thing to remember is to be patient with yourself and be patient with your loved ones. You now recognize that your substance use has not only impacted you but it has also impacted your family. During this process, you must have self-love and understand that your family members may be hesitant to mend relationships, especially if they have been mended in the past. Forgiveness takes time, just as it has taken time for you to learn to forgive yourself. Work on establishing new and improved trust while offering your family space if necessary.
Navigating relationships with family and other loved ones while in recovery can be an overwhelming challenge. You may need to take time and learn how to forgive yourself before reaching out to your loved ones. It is crucial that you take the time to identify healthy and harmful relationships, even when it comes to family members. You want family members by your side to support your recovery journey and contribute to success with your sobriety. When you believe it is time to make amends, reach out to close loved ones one-by-one. Be confident in the person that you are becoming and be genuine about addressing your past mistakes. It is essential that you are patient with yourself and your loved ones during this process. South Florida Intervention recognizes how challenging it can be to mend family relationships. We will help you develop skills crucial for establishing long-term relationships. Call us today at (202) 390-2273.