UPDATE: Colleen contributed to the article How to Deal With Living in a Toxic Household (40+ Ways to Cope), by Jessa Claire, UpJourney.
Navigating the difficulties of a toxic household environment can be an arduous task. It can be difficult to recognize the signs of toxicity and even harder to know what to do when you do. This article will provide information identifying common warning signs of a toxic environment and strategies for coping with living in a toxic home.
Recognize signs of toxicity
Signs of a toxic household environment can include fear, guilt, and helplessness. Other signs, such as verbal or physical abuse, manipulative behavior, and extreme criticism, are also common in toxic households. Living in a toxic home makes it common to feel isolated and like you can’t depend on anyone for emotional or physical support. In addition, you may feel like you must constantly walk on eggshells or be in a constant state of alertness. It can be challenging to cope with a toxic home environment, but the following strategies can help.
Strategies for Coping With a Toxic Home Environment
Create an emotional place of safety. When home can’t be your emotional safe haven, create one. Find a space in your house that encourages calmness and peace. This could be a room with a view, a spot near a window, or even a corner of your bedroom pre-prepared with things that bring you comfort (a book, candles, music, blanket, etc.) The goal isn’t to live in this space but to create a place that allows you to recharge and regroup.
Avoid getting trapped in unhealthy conversations. If the person is toxic, they will try to bait you into arguments. It’s essential to be prepared to disengage from these scenarios if needed. You don’t have to engage them at all costs. It’s okay to say something like, “I’m not interested in talking about this right now.” Or “I’d rather talk about it later.”
Don’t get sucked into the drama. When someone is toxic, they try to manipulate you into doing what they want. Don’t let yourself fall for their tricks. Staying focused on your goals and not getting distracted by other people’s issues is important. It is advisable to determine a time limit when spending time with toxic family members.
Take care of yourself first. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, adequate sleep, regular physical activity, and moments of rest is important. Practicing these habits can aid you in maintaining a stable state of mind and reduce the impact of negative external stimuli. Stay true to yourself, your values, and your beliefs.
Be proactive with your time. Establishing habits and routines in your weekly schedule will help keep you occupied. This will minimize the amount of time around toxic family members. Set aside specific times to stay connected with friends and family, engage in activities outside the home, and consider taking on a job or two. Spend your time doing activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Seek professional help if necessary. Living in a toxic household can potentially cause long-term damage to your mental health. If you feel like you need more support than you’re receiving from friends and family, consider seeing a therapist who specializes in helping families cope with complex relationships.
New Heights Counseling offers therapy services to help clients cope with stressful home environments
At New Heights, our therapists are mental health professionals who specialize in helping people who live in toxic households. Experiencing a toxic household environment can significantly impact your mental well-being. It can be difficult to cope with the negative atmosphere, feelings of helplessness, and stress from living in an unhealthy environment. At New Heights, our therapists are mental health professionals who specialize in helping people who live in toxic households. Our goal is to provide you with the resources, support, and tools to help you cope and move forward. Our therapists use evidence-based practices and provide a safe, confidential, and non-judgmental environment for clients to explore their feelings and develop healthier relationships. If you are struggling with a toxic home environment, please reach out for help today.
Appointment Schedule (Last appointment – 4 PM)
Monday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Tuesday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Wednesday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Thursday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Friday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Evenings/Weekends by Appointment
- When Family Becomes Toxic, Crystal Raypole, Healthline
- How to Deal With Toxic Family Members, Janie McQueen, WebMD
- Welcome Video, New Heights Counseling Founder & Clinical Director Colleen Wenner
About the Author:
Colleen Wenner is the founder and clinical director of New Heights Counseling, where she provides counseling services for individuals struggling with mental health issues. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Master Certified Addiction Professional. Colleen is a certified supervisor in Florida and an EMDR trauma-certified practitioner and consultant in training. Colleen is committed to providing excellent client care and services the Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, Destin, and surrounding communities.
Colleen has consistently advocated for mental health wellness and has dedicated her entire life to promoting awareness among the public. She is featured on various podcasts such as Practice of the Practice (The #1 Podcast for counselors in private practice), Shrink Think Podcast, and The Salty Christan Podcast, to name a few. She has also contributed to several Yahoo Best Life, Unfinished Man, UpJourney, and WebMD articles. Colleen uses compassionate and authentic communication to help clients understand themselves better and feel more confident about their ability to improve their lives.