What Is Helping Me Deal With Toxic Family Members
In July of this year, I had a revelation. I have lived my entire life trying to please my family. My younger sister would always say to me that I need to stop because it will rob me of my happiness. She’s right. I have a few dreams that didn’t come true because they (especially my mom and older sister) tend to use guilt and other tactics to stop me from doing what I want.
Some of the things that I didn’t do is:
- Go to design school in San Diego
- Take a gap year and backpack around Europe
- Move to NYC
- Date the person I wanted to because it didn’t fit their future for me
It even extends to my house. They expect to show up at my home whenever they want or work that I don’t approve of. When I get upset, they are the ones who end up hurt and tell people how messed up I am. If I don’t take their advice, then I am wrong for not taking it. They will say hurtful comments, but then not understand why I am hurt.
My younger sister and I have always felt like the black sheep of the family. We don’t think or act like the rest of our family. Even though she passed at an early age, I am glad my sister lived her life the way she wanted. I also understand why she stopped talking to my mom and older sister for a few years. I remember she would tell me that they are toxic, and she can’t have their negativity in her life.
When you are around toxic people who are always putting you down and making it seem that they are better than you, you start feeling like they are right. You think that they want the best for you because that is what they say, but do they?
In September, I became severely depressed when I found out some news. When I am going through a tough time, I don’t need someone to make me feel worse than I already do. I am already beating myself up. This is exactly what my family did.
What I have learned from dealing with toxic family members is that I need to minimize my interactions with them (my dad is supportive, but he can be a bit much with not knowing boundaries. However, he will back off if I tell him to). I love them, but I can’t confide in them or think they are on my side. They might think they are, but they aren’t. I decide how much interaction I can have with them before they start impacting my mental health.
When someone wants to continue putting you down and making you feel worse, you have to realize that it’s really about how they think about how happy they are with themselves. It has nothing to do with you. Toxic people don’t want to work on their lives. Instead, they judge and try to “fix” the people around them. It is not you.
Don’t engage in their attempts to reel you into their drama. If they want to give you their opinions about you or your life, you can say “That is your opinion” and leave it at that. You might want to defend yourself, but I will let you in on a little secret. They don’t care or get it. It would be more helpful talking to yourself in the mirror.
I have come to realize that it’s my life. If the outcomes of my decisions are not the best, I can learn from my mistakes. However, I have to do what is best for my kids and me. Toxic people will do what they want and not care about anyone’s opinion. However, they expect you to listen to everything they say and retaliate when you don’t. This can be either with ignoring you or saying rude comments. Once again, it’s not you.
It’s easy to let go of toxic people when they aren’t family. However, just because they are family doesn’t mean they can treat you the way they want. Stand up for yourself and don’t let them get to you. You love your family but set your boundaries. You are in control of the way people treat you.
Please let me know if you have toxic family members and what has helped you.