Updated: Sep 13, 2022
Sometimes when we make a decision to begin the process of healing, there are things we can’t control that impact this process. Take for example a child living in a toxic home environment, parenting with a toxic co-parent, or a parent raising a child with toxic behaviors. Or, what about getting up daily in a toxic location, such as where you reside, or heading into a toxic work environment.
Oftentimes our healing involves external factors that we cannot control, which makes our process difficult, but not impossible. In situations like the ones described above and others, it is important to understand that there are different ways to be present within the environment and/or relationships that are not as damaging. Some example ways of doing this are:
You may notice that the most stressful part of your environment or your relationship is feeling unheard, so actively working to empower yourself in therapy could be helpful.
Role play situations that may occur in your environment or within your relationships to better prepare for situations that may occur, to help decrease your anxiety.
Identify ways to advocate for yourself and encourage change within your environment.
When possible, limit the amount of time you spend in a harmful environment or with harmful people.
If worse comes to worst, and if at all possible, develop an exit strategy.
Come up with tangible goals to leave.
If you are in a situation where you cannot leave, try to focus on other aspects of yourself such as:
Identify distractions for dealing with feelings of frustration
Identify or work to build your support system
Challenge your perception
Be mindful of your physical wellbeing
Name things you can control
Remember that our minds are powerful and thoughts have power. If we believe that our situations will continue to be harmful or worsen, we set ourselves up to fail. Taking care of your mental, spiritual, and physical wellbeing will also help build resilience in toxic environments and/or relationships.