Written by: US!C Guest Writer & Transformational Life Coach Keisha Green
During mental health recovery, you should examine your interpersonal relationships and determine which ones are healthy. Toxic relationships can negatively affect your mental health and the recovery process. Such relationships increase stress in your life that can lead to health issues, including immune, thyroid, brain, and weight problems. In fact, researchers have found that negative relationships increase the risk of developing heart problems, including a fatal cardiac event. Since any relationship can be hazardous to your mental health and provide support in your recovery journey.
What is a Toxic Relationship?
A toxic relationship can simply be defined as any relationship that is unfavorable to you or others. It can be a relationship with a meddling sister-in-law, a backstabbing co-worker, a bully boss, an inquisitive family member, psychologically dehydrating and manipulative friends, or a hostile lover. In most cases, the foundations of a relationship are established on mutual admiration and respect.
When these elements cease to exist or fade away, the relationship becomes remarkable unhealthy. Instead, a poisonous atmosphere is created that affects the mental and physical wellbeing of those involved. When the relationship becomes toxic, it is characterized by abuse of power, insecurity, selfishness, demandingness, self-centeredness, insecurity, distrust, criticism, jealousy, and demeaning comments. These factors leave feeling depressed and depleted and can no longer lead a healthy and productive life.
Toxic Relationship & Mental Health
The role of relationships in mental health and their impact on the recovery process can never be overlooked. Individuals with supportive and rewarding relationships tend to have higher levels of subjective well-being, better mental health, and lower rates of mortality and morbidity.
On the other hand, toxic relationships can lead to abuse, low self-esteem, poor interpersonal conflict, and trauma.
This makes toxic relationships exhausting, leaving you feeling frustrated and confused. As a way of coping with such negativity, you many develop unhealthy behavioral adaptations such as eating disorders. As such, a relationship can wreck any attempts to recover from a mental illness due to the stressful and depleting environment.
Scientists have found that humans have developed a gene known as conserved transcriptional response to adversity (CTRA). The gene is associated with low immunity and inflammation.
For instance, when you are being chased by a predator, the gene allows helpful short-term benefits like quick physical recovery, increased healing, and an increased likelihood of survival.
In the case of toxic relationships, they can activate the brain CTRA leading to chronic inflammation and increased risk of health problems like adrenal fatigue. Therefore, toxic relationships can only have negative effects on mental health and the healing process.
Toxic Relationship Among Couples
In a toxic intimate relationship, the couple may emotionally and physically distance themselves from each other. They may avoid each other, and their relationship becomes strained when they are together. This can lead to surface-level or restrained conversations and sometimes a lack of trust.
The basic quality of a relationship that allows a couple to work as a unit in tackling common problems is torn apart due to an increased level of frustration and despair. Also, the negative emotional reactions of a partner struggling with mental health are intensified.
The individual may opt to engage in some unfavorable behaviors such as isolating themselves, turning to alcohol and drug to numb difficult emotions, or having extramarital encounters. When the relationship remains toxic and the marital stress gets to its peak, there is a greater likelihood of make aggression, substance misuse, and movement towards divorce.
What Should You Do?
When going through the journey of mental health recovery, one should do an inventory of their relationship. The best way to go about it is to isolate the toxic relationships that are harmful to your recovery process.
This may include cutting off come friends, family members, a lover, or co-worker. Although it may seem a difficult choice, lotting go of such toxic relationships con lead to a turning point where you will embrace your new life in recovery.
Furthermore, eliminating toxic relationships in your recovery journey can lead to the development of a more mature, healthier, and more fulfilling relationship that encourages personal growth.
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