7. They put you down more than they lift you up.
8. They use personal information against you. (Information you gave them in confidence.)
9. They try to control you.
10. They are judgmental. (Justified criticism is healthy but constant criticism will destroy anyone’s self-esteem.)
11. You feel like you are walking on eggshells so as you don’t upset them.
12. They have anger issues. (Explosive rages.)
13. They exhibit passive-aggressive behavior. (Invoking the silent treatment for some perceived slight will create tension and uncertainty.)
14. There are endless and unnecessary arguments. (Disagreements are normal. Frequently provoking and initiating arguments is not.)
15. They try to isolate you from your friends or other family members. (Once isolated, you become easier to control with no one to turn to but the abuser.)
16. This person uses manipulation tactics for personal gain. (Exercises unscrupulous control or influence and emotional exploitation over another person.)
17. They spread malicious gossip. (They turn people against each other creating jealousy and disharmony.)
18. They make you unhappy and feel bad about yourself. (You may be convinced that there is something wrong with you and that everything that goes wrong is your fault.)
How do you deal with a dysfunctional family?
“Some of the most poisonous people come disguised as friends and family.” – Unknown
The worst thing you can do is do nothing. By doing nothing you are giving them the impression that their behavior is ok. Your mental and physical well-being may suffer as a result. Stop giving up a part of yourself to keep the peace and please someone who is impossible to please.
Behavior such as the behavior mentioned above will drain you emotionally. Something that I hear so very often is, ‘I wish that I had done something sooner,’ and ‘If only I’d known that this wasn’t normal. I thought all families were like this and I blamed myself.’ For your own sake, establish boundaries sooner rather than later. You teach people how to treat you by setting healthy boundaries.
Your boundaries are a set of limits or rules where you decide what is acceptable and what is not. They’ll differ from person to person. Normal healthy people know not to cross the line and should have a reasonable idea when not to intrude. On the other hand, the narcissist personality will have absolutely no respect for the boundaries you set.
They have an extraordinary knack of pushing people to their limits for their own amusement, to create friction or drama or to test you. Setting boundaries with a narcissist will not be a one-off thing. Expect it to be something that you will have to address time and time again. Communicate your wishes firmly and directly and don’t let them push your buttons.
Remain resolute and leave them in no doubt that you mean what you say or things will go back to the way they were before.
Healthy boundaries include ‘alone time’ and time to spend as you see fit. Never let anyone make you feel guilty for setting standards. If they get angry with you for setting standards, they’re not giving you the respect that you deserve. They are the ones with the problem, not you.