Many addicts in rehab struggle to handle their interpersonal relationships and improve their communication with others. As hard as it can be to deal with other people in the first place, some personalities can make things even more difficult because of their negativity.
Most everyone has good and bad days but some people might be excessively negative in a way that can interfere with their relationships. Spending too much time around negative people can actually be detrimental to a person’s ability to stay sober.
Negative people can be too pessimistic, critical of others, aggressive and angry toward people around them. It can be common for people with addictions to have negative attitudes because they have been through many difficult situations as a result of their substance abuse.
However, negativity can contagious, emotionally draining and even lead to relapse in some cases. Here are some of the ways you can handle negative people in recovery and stay focused on sobriety.
1.Minimize Time Around Negativity
If you know someone is negative and their attitude tends to bring you down, try your best to reduce the amount of time you spend with them. This is important especially in early recovery because you are more vulnerable to the influence of negativity and it can be harder to resist the tendency to become more negative yourself.
A negative person might also hurt your feelings or affect your self-esteem if they are too critical of you. Instead of risking any dangers in early recovery, try your best to reduce the time you are around negative people.
2.Exercise Your Compassion
When you have become stronger in your recovery and are less vulnerable to a person’s negative influence you can make an effort to use a perspective of compassion. Try to understand that a negative person is not a bad person; they are simply using a defense mechanism for some type of trauma or difficult circumstances.
People in recovery all have stories of pain and suffering in their past so it is not hard to understand why a person might have become negative because of their bad experiences. Your compassion toward a person may even serve to reduce their negativity and improve communication.
3.Maintain Your Own Positivity
As you grow and develop more positive coping mechanisms in recovery you can start to remain more positive at all times even around people that tend to be more negative. If someone is constantly saying negative things, try to say positive things to counteract their attitude.
Negativity can be contagious, but positivity can also have the same effect. Your positive attitude could prove to be beneficial to them and change their mindset, reducing their own negativity.
4.Change the Conversation
When you are around a negative person, don’t let them take control of your interactions and enforce their negativity on you. You can take matters into your own hands and steer the conversation in a different direction.
When speaking with a negative person you can keep topics light and avoid anything that might cause contention. Don’t say anything that will feed their negativity and avoid joining in on their pessimistic observations about the world. Instead you can change the subject or talk about something more positive so that you have more control in the conversation.
5.Disengage When Necessary
In some cases, a person may have such a detrimental impact on you and your mood that the best choice is to avoid spending time with them completely. Disengaging with a negative person must still be done with some compassion. If you know it is best for you to stay away from them, do so in a respectful way without hurting their feelings.