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The Toxic Family: Impact and Recovery
Toxic families tend to produce and live in a great deal of internal pain. A toxic family can certainly cause your life to be more complicated than it ought to be and if you’re in recovery, it can be even worse. As such, you’re already battling cravings for alcohol and drugs and when you mix a toxic family environment with that, it can feel overwhelming. Yet, if you learn how you can release your family’s influence over you, you’ll see that the road to recovery becomes much more hopeful.
The Toxic Family: What is it?
A toxic family is a dysfunctional family where emotional or physical needs are not met. The children need unconditional love, support, encouragement, safety, etc. and perhaps those needs just aren’t being met. For the mom and dad, maybe they feel as if they are not being heard or supported. At the very worst, there could be mental, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse going on. Toxic families produce members with a lot of pain and instill a victim mentality that they can struggle with throughout their whole lives.
The Effects of the Toxic Family
Children who grow up in a toxic family tend to have more problems later in life than those that don’t. As teens and adults, they could have low self-worth, be codependent, depressed, anxious, suicidal, and oftentimes drink and/or use drugs. They may have a tough time building healthy relationships with others and simply feel lost and alone. Some liken the effects of living in a toxic environment to a low-grade fever that can last a person’s whole lifetime. A cloud of sadness follows them wherever they go and lasting happiness just seems to elude them.
It is important for those who have been or are in a toxic family to get professional counseling, so they can work through some of the deep rooted issues. If they are drinking or drugging, they will need to stop abusing substances and receive a period of counseling. Going to a 12-Step program is also a great idea as working through the 12 Steps is quite helpful in contending with the negative emotions that have come as a result of a toxic family.
If you’re currently in a toxic environment and able to distance yourself, know that that’s absolutely OK. You can still love your family from a distance, but you don’t have to stay unhappy living in toxicity. Family counseling may also a great option.
Plenty of adults who grew up with toxic families in their childhood have done the painful work of digging deep and contending with a myriad of negative emotions. If you feel you’ve been affected by a toxic family, reach out for help. Set some goals for yourself and begin a process of healing. Then, you’ll be well on your way to experiencing some happy emotions and co-creating a life that you love.
Dominica Applegate has a BS in Psychology, an MA in Counseling and has worked in the mental health field for 12 years before launching her own business as a writer. Specializing in addictions, relationships, codependency, fitness and health, Dominica’s work is ultimately about helping people remove blocks that keep them stuck, because everyone can really create a life that they love.