We can pick our friends and our jobs and leave them when we feel things are becoming toxic to our health and our life. Our family members, on the other hand, are a different story in that we are genetically linked to them and cannot leave them until we become an adult. In order to protect your mental health and avoid any trauma that can come, it is important to establish boundaries with them so that you cannot be emotionally harmed by them and still live your own life.
How Do You Know That Your Family Members Are Toxic?
One way you can tell if a relative is toxic if they are controlling to the point where they are meddling in your life. They could have used your money or possessions as a way of controlling you like telling you to do what you say or they will cut off your college tuition or take your car away. Toxic relatives are also very critical of everything you do. They are quick to make you feel lousy when you are doing something wrong but do not give you praise whenever you accomplish something. Toxic relatives also do not care much about your feelings in that you take the initiative to call your relatives out for making you feel bad, but they are quick to dismiss your feelings because they do not want to deal with them.
What Is the Best Way to Handle Toxic Family Members?
If your relatives are criticizing you for the same thing, tell them that particular topic is off the table for discussion. It is also important to establish independence by getting a job or being around positive friends to get you out of the house. It is possible that maybe your relatives’ behaviors could be the result of untreated mental illness. It may not be an excuse for abusive behavior, but maybe you can try to persuade them to go into treatment.
While you should try to stick with your family, you may have to cut ties with them if they are not capable of change. If you still want to make things work with them, consult with a family therapist to help them get past the barriers that make it hard for them to listen. By doing what you can to establish boundaries and independence, you can be at peace with your toxic relatives.
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