Toxic People and How They Ruin our Recovery

Toxic People and How They Ruin our Recovery

How to Handle Toxic People while in Recovery

The road to recovery is often described as a tenacious path where you need to surround yourself with people who will help you achieve your goal of building a good life away from substances. A tenacious attitude will also help heal your soul. You cannot afford to be around people who will drain you of your positive vibes, energy, and happiness. You might not know it but you have a negative person in your life right now! Read on and find out how to spot them and deal with them effectively.


The Narcissist. They are overwhelmingly charming. They love the limelight and being the center of attention. If you’ve been in a relationship with a person who made you feel insecure or that you did something wrong by not pleasing them then you were with a Narcissist. It is not your fault. A narcissist does not understand how other people might feel. They are centered around their own feelings and end up trampling on yours.

Damage caused: emotional abuse; sense of self-worth

Advice: Get help immediately.


The User. They are constantly in need. It can be emotionally or financially. You will know them when you see them because when it is time for you to ask for their help, they cannot not be bothered. They have another crisis to attend to. Next time, tell them: “I’d gladly help but I am not in situation to do so right now”.

Damage: Trust and confidence.

Advice: Stay away from them and create boundaries or do not confide anything personal or important.


The Retrogressive or Dismisser. They remind you that you “were” a better person and point out every thing you are doing wrong or you did wrong.  And they make you feel like there is no hope for you to become a better person. They also have a knack for pointing out what is wrong with you and why you are hopeless. They also do not give you a solution. This is the first person you need to deal with. Remind them why you are doing this and that they have no right to belittle your success. If they do not understand this – the door is wide open. Tell them: “I am focused on solutions right now and this is the road I choose to follow.”

Damage caused: Self-confidence; negativity.

Advice: They can start recognizing your success or they can keep their thoughts to themselves. If they can’t, then move on.


The Egotist. There is a thin line between arrogance and pride. Pride can mean you understand your self-worth but arrogance is a whole other thing. The egotist intimidates you and makes you feel like you will never be as good as them. Stay away from someone who disrespects you and never has a kind word for you. Tell them: “I understand this is how you feel and let us agree to disagree.” Or,  just get out of there.

Damage: Self-confidence; self-worth.

Advice:.Stay away. Create your boundaries.


The Drama.  You don’t understand them and that is basically what they will tell you. When they get sick, it’s “I almost died.” While you are on recovery you can not afford to clean up after the drama queen or king. They need to take care of their own drama. These individuals cannot draw energy from calm.“I can help you but first take a few breaths with me.” Once calm, ask them if their behaviors are getting them what they want. This question will also help them to stop and think before reacting.

Damage: Emotionally draining.

Advice:Stay calm and set firm boundaries. Keep busy around these people.


The Gossip King or Queen. Always remember that if a person gossips to you, they will gossip about you. Whenever a gossiper is talking casually about others and spreading rumors,  find a way to get out of there. There is so much positivity in the world to focus on the negative. Tell them:  “Is that so,” when prompted for a comment. Or, change the topic.

Damage: Destructive behavior; can cause conflict with others.

Advice:Simply be firm and tell the individual you would rather discuss ideas/topics than potentially hurting other people by gossiping.


 The Victim. They are never wrong or at fault. It is always someone else’s fault why they are in a rut. The world is against them. It is the reason for their unhappiness. When you offer a solution, their response is, “Yes, but…” Tell them: “Sorry but there is really somewhere else I need to be right now”.

Damage: Emotionally draining.

Advice: Firm boundaries with them. Be ready to cut the conversation short if you cannot redirect them.


The Terrible Listener. They always have something important to say about themselves or about what is happening to them. Communication is a two-way street but with them it is a one way country road. You can never tell them what they are doing wrong because they simply are not listening. Tell them: “I’d love to hear more but I really have some people I need to talk to”.

Damage: Time consuming; emotionally tiring

Advice: Tell them you have other things to do and can not continue with the conversation.


The Judge. That is what you are afraid of – their criticisms. These people are quick to tell you what “is” and what “isen’t.” They have a way of taking what you are most passionate about and making you feel bad about it. This type of person will always be around – do not let them drag you down. Think of all that you have achieved and give yourself a pat on the back.

Damage: Emotional damage; reduces your self-confidence

Advice: Stop the conversation.  Create some space from these individuals.


The Dead Giveaway

You need to be armed with a plan the next time you see them. Identify your realistic expectations prior to your next conversation using the tools above. Knowing how to handle your reactions and your emotions around them will help you tremendously. Again, here are some signs to look for:

They are selfish. They rarely think of others and the best way to know them is to see how they treat other people when they do not have any use for them.

They are right all the time. They don’t listen to you or what you are feeling-no empathy.

They are full of drama.  Everything has to be about them and will throw tantrums like a child if they do not get what they want.

They make you feel “crowded.” They may be too eager to be with you and not give you enough space.

Are always talking about other people. Too much negativity in the world already to want to spend time and share space with these individuals.

They hold grudges. A toxic person holds grudges. They do not know how to forgive and will store all painful memories in their “long term” hard drive. You’ll be amazed at how accurate or exaggerated they can be when giving an account of a wrong done to them.

Other people can wreck so much damage on our emotional and behavioral selves.  While on your road to recovery – the best advice is to be gentle with yourself. You have gone so far, and this is a testimony to better things ahead.

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