Breaking up with a toxic boyfriend, girlfriend or a friend is relatively easy and there is lots of advice on this topic. But, what about giving up a toxic family member?
In reality, most people are not able to simply walk away, nor do they feel that they want to, or that it is the correct thing to do. So, what can be done when a relative is virtually ruining your life with their negativity and toxicity? How to manage these feelings of confusion, betrayal, and pain?
First, you need to come to terms with the fact that not every family member is available to lean on. Sometimes “family” means nothing but sharing a bloodline.
Second, it is important to understand that a toxic family member might be going through a tough period. They may be worried, ill, or lacking something they need.
Here are a few universal principles you need to remember, for your own sake:
They may not be an inherently bad person, but they’re not the right person to be spending time with every day
Not all toxic relationships are necessarily agonizing. Oftentimes they involve individuals who genuinely care for you, but are toxic as their needs force you to sacrifice yourself. As difficult as it is, you need to walk away from these people and create healthy space for yourself. You need to make your time, health, and general well-being a priority. Whether this means letting go temporarily, letting go for good, or simply spending less time with a specific person, you sometimes have to do it.
Toxic people often hide cleverly behind passive aggression
Passive aggressive behavior is described as non-verbal negative behavior. Instead of telling the truth and expressing their feelings, someone makes annoying gestures. Instead of saying what is the problem and what are they annoyed by, they find petty ways to catch your attention and create a toxic relationship situation. Most sane people will never feel any reason to be passive-aggressive toward you if they feel completely safe expressing themselves.
They will try to bully you into submission if you let them
Bullying is not OK and there is no need to even discuss it. Nothing gives someone the freedom to assault you and push your ego to the ground. Unfortunately, some people will simply not be happy until they insult and hurt you! But, don’t give them the freedom to do so! Stand for yourself, even if the person you have to stand up to is your family member.
Pretending their toxic behavior is OK is NOT OK
If you are not careful enough, a toxic family can use their behavior to get preferential treatment. Don’t be fooled! They will never change if they are constantly being rewarded or ignored for not changing. Stop making them feel special.
People can change, and some toxic family relationships can be repaired in the long run
It is very important to understand that people can change, and that certain toxic family relationship can be repaired as long as both people are willing to cooperate and do hard work of self worth.
Sadly, sometimes all you can do is let go for good
While you are not capable of controlling all the things that toxic family members do, you can choose not to be affected by them in the long run. You can choose not to allow their actions to invade you! While in a perfect world we would always be able to repair our relationships with toxic family members, the world we live in is far from perfect.
5 Ways To Deal With Toxic Family Members
- Don’t Take Things Too Personally
- Stand Up For Yourself
- Forgive, But Don’t Forget
- Figure Out (And Enforce) The ‘Natural Consequences’
- Surround Yourself With Positive People