Sooner or later, it’s bound to happen. A snarky comment here. A condescending look there. We all know the benefits of healthy support in recovery, but not everyone is capable of providing that. And at some point (if it hasn’t happened already), you’re going to run across someone who knows exactly the wrong thing to say at exactly the wrong time. Let’s get into how you can manage it.
Keep Realistic Expectations
Nobody is going to care about your recovery process the same way you do. That isn’t meant to be harsh- it’s simply the truth. This is your journey; you need to honor it, defend it, and work for it, even if it feels like you’re alone in the struggle.
Don’t expect people to change just because you want them to change. That’s not fair for everyone, and it’s a surefire way to feel disappointed or resentful. Some examples of unrealistic expectations in relationships include:
- Believing that everyone needs to like you
- Believing that everyone is going to understand (or want to understand) addiction
- Believing that people will forgive you automatically
- Believing you are owed an apology
- Believing that people can read your mind or know what you are feeling
- Believing that conflict shouldn’t happen (or that it’s catastrophic if it does happen)
You’re allowed to have preferences and boundaries in your relationships. However, if you hold people to an impossible standard, you tend to be the one who gets hurt.
Manage and Control Your Interactions
You are not obligated to have a relationship with anyone in your life. At any given moment, you do have the power to change or end a certain dynamic. That said, this sentiment is often easier said than done!
If you know someone is unsupportive, it is helpful to establish the parameters you want to set for this relationship. Can you limit how often you see them? What about keeping certain discussion topics off-limits?
You should also have a set plan-of-action in case interactions become toxic. Maybe you will need to let the person know right away. Perhaps you will need to leave the scene altogether.
Lean On The Supportive People
Supportive people can counteract the unsupportive people in your life. That’s why it’s essential to maintain and cultivate a healthy network. This network will help you stay sane and grounded- and you can reach out to them when you’re struggling with those difficult people in your life.
Remember that you need to be a good friend to attract good friends yourself. Healthy relationships are a take-and-give, and you must be willing to practice compassion, empathy, and integrity if that’s what you hope to receive in return.
Nourish your healthy relationships. Stay in contact. Reach out periodically. Don’t make the relationship all about you- that’s a surefire way for becoming a toxic friend yourself!
Enjoy Your Own Company
Healthy support is crucial, but you also need to prioritize the relationship you have with yourself. Do you practice self-compassion? Do you talk kindly to yourself- even if you make a mistake? Do you know how to practice healthy stress reduction techniques when life becomes overwhelming?
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own well-being. If you can’t take care of yourself, who will? If you don’t love and value yourself, how can you expect that from others?