Growing up in the presence of toxic family members can breed a number of emotional, mental, and interpersonal problems in the long-term. For example, being dominated by a family member all your life can wreak havoc on your decision-making process, making you feel anxious and doubtful when you need to make your own decisions as a grown-up. Hence, it is crucial that you deal with toxic family before it’s too late.
It would be very convenient if we could just shrug off their toxic influence and go forward with our lives. But more often than not, we have to deal with toxic family members all our lives, especially in get-togethers and family gatherings, which can easily leave you hurt and awkward if not handled tactfully.
In this article, we will look at 5 useful ways you can deal with toxic family members.
1. Don’t Be Aggrieved
Remember the bully from your schooldays? A toxic family member operates exactly in that manner. They enjoy being mean and unkind, not just to you, but to any and every person they get a chance to mess with.
It helps to remind yourself that the problem lies in the family member, and not you. Possibly, this person has many insecurities and says hurtful things to feel better about himself/herself. Not asking you to sympathize with a toxic family member! The point is, don’t take his behavior personally.
Whenever you feel attacked by such a person, use it as a chance to sharpen your skills of not taking things personally- it is a very useful skill to master that proves helpful in interactions outside the family too.
2. Stick Up For Yourself
When you feel ready, go up to your family member and express your dislike for his behavior towards you. Not need to be aggressive, but make sure to use an assertive tone.
Remember, communicating your distaste for the way they treat you might not change it. That’s alright. Another person’s behavior was never under your control.
The only thing you have control over is how you respond to toxic behavior. By being quiet when a toxic family member bullies you, you are allowing them to think of you as a weak person. Hence, you need to stand your ground, so they know you aren’t accepting their crooked behavior.
3. Make Them Face The Natural Consequences Of Their Actions
We tend to have a weak spot for family members, even if they are toxic, and don’t like to make them face the consequences of their actions.
But look, just because they are family doesn’t mean they are above the rules. If they can’t treat you with respect, they deserve an appropriate reaction from your end.
Don’t hesitate to take legal action if the situation demands. Suppose, you have been physically abused by a family member, or someone from your family has damaged your property and refuses to pay up for it. The natural and right thing to do under such circumstances is to take legal action.
4. Spend Time With Positive People
Being surrounded by positive people is essential to remain self-assured as you battle with the toxic influence of your family. This is even more important when you are dealing with a family member, say your parent, who has been ill-treating you all your life.
Assuming that you’re an adult now, make good use of your freedom and hang out with your positive-thinking, supportive friends as much as possible. In their company, you will understand the meaning of proper treatment and what being respected feels like.
5. You Can Forgive, But Never Forget
“Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie
If you carry hatred and anger in your heart for your toxic family, you are basically letting them win the war. But this doesn’t mean you should throw away all your negative feelings towards them into the wind, as these negative feelings are crucial to inculcate protective caution.
You need to develop a mindset where you always remember their nature but forgive their behavior. Turn your revengeful thoughts into awareness that protects you as well as others from similar attacks in the future.
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