Letting Go of Toxic Relationships


Life skills classes are an important part of our program at The Extension. Learning to interact with others, and with ourselves, in a healthy way is a skill that we can all improve on. Charmon Talley is the Executive Director of the Georgia Association Recovery Residences (GARR), a certified Substance  Abuse Professional (SAP), and is a Nationally Certified Addiction Counselor (NCAC). We are fortunate to have her as one of our talented Life Skills teachers.

“When I think of the Life Skills Modules we offer at The Extension, I immediately think of the importance of teaching and educating our clients about the effects of Toxic Relationships and how we can recover from them!  Toxic Relationships is the module I am most passionate about because I so firmly believe that it is from our relationships that the success of our recovery is born.

First, we examine our relationship with self and the damaging, negative self-talk that is so deeply ingrained in our subconscious. We know the effect this has undoubtedly had on our self-esteem, self-image, and sense of worth. And of course, a negative self-image permeates all other relationships and will shape the paradigm for all relationships past, present, and future.  I begin with assisting ladies to identify “the voice”; that ongoing dialogue with self and examine the core beliefs about who we are and how we might need to challenge them. There is freedom to be found when we uncover those pesky, self-defeating thoughts and learn that we no longer have to attach ourselves to the framework that does not support who we are becoming and who we hope to be.

With a positive sense of self and the lens through which we see the world improved, we begin to attach our beliefs to hope and optimism.  We begin to consider ourselves as equal and worthy of respect.  This equips us to set boundaries and more fully engage in healthy, more authentic relationships. This cultivates increased confidence and the ability to see the world in a different light.

The difficulty is often the historic relationships where the paradigm of relating is deeply entrenched over a period of years.  These relationships are more problematic to heal as the old style is habitual. Without practice, focus, and a deep commitment to change, reverting to old, familiar communication styles will be the inevitable result. This is why ongoing support, transparency, and perseverance is so critically important.  It can be paramount to the success of our clients when families and loved ones also seek support as the family can heal and gain new ways of communicating with each other, which of course promotes healing, safety, and an environment of trust.

Relationships take time! Recognizing that every soul is worthy of love, safety and respect is but a beginning. Clients will find these things and more at The Extension and that is why I am grateful to work with each and every one of these ladies!”


Charmon W. Talley, NCAC, SAP