6 helpful ways to recover from a toxic relationship
Are you trying to recover from a toxic relationship? And you seem to have a hard time getting rid of it? Then there are 6 ways you can recover from a toxic relationship.
When a person is stuck in a toxic relationship, there are a number of steps that can help her overcome the emotional pain to find inner peace.
It is inevitable that most people will encounter toxic people at work, in the family, in friendships, or in romantic relationships. The abuser does not necessarily have to be diagnosed with NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) or psychopathy to cause emotional harm.
A few traits of pathological Cluster B personality disorder are enough to make any contact with such a person equate with emotional harm and pain (Brown, 2009).
The good news is that once healthy people are educated on how to protect themselves from deceptive, toxic people, they develop a protective shield in their intimate relationships.
And when a survivor is unfortunate enough to be overwhelmed by a malignant narcissist or another toxic person, there is hope for healing and the release of balance and good health.
I want to emphasize that the experience of a toxic relationship with an abuser is traumatic for the survivor. Following narcissistic (or psychopathic) abuse, depression, anxiety, PTSD, C-PTSD (complex PTSD), somatic pain, and panic attacks can occur.
Prolonged exposure to a pathological abuser’s power field (especially if the relationship is chronic, or long-term) results in psychological damage for the survivor.
Therefore, it is imperative that the survivor seek qualified psychotherapy from a licensed psychologist trained in trauma-informed care and knowledgeable about narcissistic/psychopathic abuse.
Life coaching from survivors can also be very helpful in gaining validation and validation. However, recovering from toxic relationships can feel like emerging from the dark side with a complex constellation of clinical issues.
That’s why you need a therapist (psychotherapist) who understands the delicate interplay of trauma and healing from abusive relationships and has the necessary training to conduct such interventions.
If someone you work with claims to “treat” these problems when they are in fact not a licensed clinician, they are acting unethically, illegally, and exceeding their mandate. Attention buyers!
The good news is that there is a growing number of therapists who are trained in this area. Find a trauma-informed, strengths-based, empowering therapist to help you with your recovery.
Below is some survivor advice that I offer in my own practice for my clients. After being abused in a toxic relationship, survivors need and deserve inner peace and healing.
6 ways to recover from a toxic relationship
1. As previously mentioned, you should commit yourself to a qualified professional who can deal with the very complex and specific nuances of C-PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc.
Healing will take time, and the traumatic grief resulting from the toxic relationship must be “unwrapped” in the presence of a caring, empathetic, and non-judgmental specialist (in certain circumstances telemedicine consultation may be available for those who are geographically distant). removed by specialists may be appropriate).
Trauma-informed therapists may also offer EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) interventions, which help the brain decode the trauma.
Trauma-informed therapists may also do other hands-on exercises, such as B. the Emotional Freedom Technique, somatic experience, mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy, and/or expressive arts.
You need to inquire about how your trauma-informed doctor handles trauma healing and integrating wellness into the treatment plan.
2. Surround yourself with caring and authentic people in your tribe – this can be family, friends, colleagues, supporting professionals, and acquaintances.
Part of healing from a toxic relationship is continuing to experience safety and belonging in healthy circles of support.
It is especially important for people who do not have family or friends close by to seek out qualified professionals who can serve as a “safe environment” (Winnicott, 1973) while the survivor builds her tribe of caring people.
A word about online forums: some can help you, but many are not run by trained professionals. Some forums are magnets for cyberstalkers and trolls. The same applies here: caution is required. A personal support group led by a trained therapist and dedicated to healing toxic relationships is ideal. Otherwise, online support groups, mentored and supported by trained professionals, are an alternative.
3. Don’t associate with an abusive person.
How to recover from a toxic relationship? 6 Helpful Ways
to Recover from a Toxic Relationship
If you have children together or need to work with this person, you can limit contact, and either your only communication should be strictly about raising children (in which case you can use computer software like Family Wizard, which your lawyer/court can provide being monitored), or in the case of work, the conversation and communication should be for business purposes only and in the presence of a witness/second party.
Ideally, and for full healing, at least limited contact (and only under the circumstances mentioned) and absolute cessation of contact in all other cases are required. With the ban on contact, healing really begins. The abuser’s toxic force field is removed and the survivor has the opportunity to evolve again.
4. Practical exercises in self-care.
Taking care of yourself is not selfish. Practical self-care practices are essential to healing and target all aspects of health: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and mental. This includes:
- Exercise: At least 30 minutes a day, preferably in the sun and in nature. When you live in a cold climate, it’s always important to get outside (snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, etc.). Studies show that being immersed in nature has numerous mental health benefits, especially when hiking (Bratman, 2015).
Exercise increases levels of serotonin and endorphin, the feel-good chemicals our body and mind need to function smoothly without depression or anxiety. Twenty minutes of sunshine a day increases the levels of vitamin D in our bodies (a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to depression).
- Physiological reduction of pent-up tension caused by trauma: in the form of yoga, meditation, journaling, kickboxing, and massage. Studies show that our bodies store trauma; we have to solve them physiologically in a healthy way (van der Kolk, 2015).
- Connecting with a spiritual community, whether in an organized religious body or as an individual – feeling peace through a higher power, prayer, Reiki, meditation, nature, etc. can be very beneficial to the healing process.
- Expressive Arts – One of the most important mechanisms of trauma recovery is expressing the “felt” pain in a sensual way (Malchiodi, 2015). Find a trained expressive artist to help you with this part of the healing.
(As an aside, coloring books are not art therapy. They can be very helpful for mindfulness, but they are NOT a substitute for trauma-informed art therapy).
- Good nutrition and sleep hygiene – Studies show that we need to sleep for at least 5 consecutive hours (uninterrupted) to have a full sleep cycle.
When that sleep is disrupted (for whatever reason, but often through insomnia from trauma), it leads to depression and anxiety because serotonin levels drop. A good night’s sleep is essential for healing. For some people, it may be worth talking to a doctor about melatonin or sleep aids (temporarily), stress reduction exercises before bed, etc.
Good nutrition is just as important. You don’t need to buy expensive supplements to provide your body with good nutrients. Studies show that omega-3 fish oil is excellent at protecting the brain from depression and anxiety (among other wonderful benefits) (Kendall-Tackett, 2014).
Look for healthy meals that are high in fiber, protein, fruits, and vegetables. Don’t forget to drink enough water and reduce (or eliminate) caffeine and alcohol consumption.
5. Routines are important.
The brain takes time to process the trauma, cognitive dissonance, anxiety, and depression of having been in a toxic relationship. That’s why it’s important to give your brain enough time to engage in logic and creative expression in order to mitigate the intensity of feelings after trauma.
For example, if you find yourself brooding over an abusive relationship, it can be helpful to work with your therapist to create a list of logical or creative actions you can take to free yourself from your flashbacks.
Some suggestions might be that you still go about your normal daily routine (eg at work). The brain should still be focused on logical activities that require leaving the emotional brain (sometimes a crossword puzzle or Words with Friends can get you back to logical thinking and reasoning).
Some of my clients enjoy doing projects that help them be mindful, such as crafts, knitting, playing a musical instrument, or just “running around” the house with various organizing or cleaning projects.
6. You should keep a journal when intrusive thoughts come up because they will.
You need help resolving the cognitive dissonance associated with psychological abuse from a therapist who understands trauma.
Alternatively, you can use Zen Doodle or a sketchpad as a visual journal to express and let go of intrusive thoughts. Also, give yourself permission to mourn the traumatic loss of someone who betrayed you.
Therapy is important to see you through the traumatic loss, to move through the stages of grief, and to heal the trauma associated with that connection.
Healing takes time and is complex. The above are just a few suggestions on the path to healing. Much of the work is done in therapy sessions and homework while you are recovering from trauma.
I want to reiterate the importance of working with a trained, trauma-informed, and strengths-focused therapist who is knowledgeable in dealing with narcissistic/psychopathic abuse.
we are out there We love helping people heal. It is an honor and a privilege to witness the healing that my clients are going through. I have seen the bravest and most combative survivors rise from the ashes and rise again in good health, inner peace, and well-being. You can do that too. Start today!