The intention with this article is to share a few tools to help those living within a toxic environment cope with the person(s) until they can create significant physical, mental, emotional & spiritual space between them and the toxic or abusive people.
These tips could help those in situations where a teenager cannot easily leave an authoritative and dehumanizing home, or maybe a stay-at-home mom doesn't have much to her name, or maybe it is a husband working on building the nest egg of money and resources so that he can leave the controlling and belittling wife.
Once one wakes up to the abuse they endure it is impossible go back to the blindness of before.
Abuse and toxicity comes in many shapes and sizes. Toxicity can be a slow insidious devaluation over time where the victim may not realize how bad it's gotten. So once you have awaken to the boiling pot around you, JUMP!
And when you are biding your time till your prison escape,
Here are 4 tips to mentally survive a toxic environment
1. Create a safe space. If you have a bedroom, or can take over a room, or a corner space to make your very own. It may be hard if the toxic person is overbearing and looks through your things, but if you are able to lean towards the use of the symbolic meaning an object holds it can create some hope that helps you hold your head up. Those who can decorate a space, I suggest making a vision board or alter that symbolizes everything you are working for. Again, hope is being generated and you are able to keep yourself focused on the goal and not get lost in desperation that it will never end.
2. Utilize using headphones. This is my favorite positive distraction tool because it's great for helping to curve anxious thoughts (especially in the morning) or keep you focused on how you intend to think and feel. A "positive distraction" means that the person has already assessed how they feel, which thoughts are triggering how they feel and now we are using music, meditation music, podcasts, audio-books that will help us get into, or redirect, the mindset and feeling to what we want.
3. Practice saying "no" without guilt. For people-pleasers, empaths, co-dependents this may be really hard because all someone has to do is pluck an empathy string which is connected to a guilt string and, BAM, you are caving in to what they want. We can get conditioned to a point where our thinking does this guilt tripping for them and we are jumping to agree and do things that we, at the core, don't really want to do. So, say no and sit with the feeling of guilt and tell yourself that "what you feel and need is just as important as anyone else's." If you cannot do what they are asking for then it is your legitimate right to say "no".
4. Validate own reality first. Again for the people-pleasers, empaths, co-dependents who struggle with having such a strong empathy string that you so easily buy into another's narrative. Warning, You may not even notice that you do it!
Step 1: Do a body scan multiple times a day - learn to take notice of any tensions, pains, aches, thoughts, emotions that are active within the inner world of your body.
Step 2: When adversity arises in the toxic environment, assess and acknowledge how you feel so that you can hold onto your truth, perception, emotions instead of slowly being gaslit and manipulated into believing the other person's narrative.
I hope these tips will help you keep your hands up, heads down, and your eye on the prize. You are a fighter and you will survive!
If your situation is extreme, reach out for help here:
The Domestic Violence Hotline