“Some people create their own storms, and then get upset when it rains.”
When you think of your family, what adjectives come to mind?
Loving? Supportive? Genuine? Trustworthy?
For many of us, our family members are our greatest supporters. They shower us in love, affection and kindness. What’s more — they’re always there for us, even when we’re at our worst.
However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes it’s our family members who are the people who criticize and tear us down the most. If this sounds familiar, then you’re dealing with toxic family members and here are 10 things you need to keep in mind (for your own sanity and wellbeing):
1.) They’re Unhappy About Something
People who are happy and fulfilled in their lives aren’t negative or belittling to others. When it comes to toxic family members, it’s important to keep this in mind so you understand their unhappiness and negativity is a reflection of them, and NOT something you did or said.
At some point in their lives, something (or perhaps many things) happened that impacted them in a negative way. They didn’t learn how to cope, and instead became angry, unhappy and resentful.
2.) Don’t Take Anything They Say Personally
As #1 states, toxic people aren’t happy about something in their lives, so rather than taking what they say or do to heart, instead know that their words and actions are a reflection of them (and their internal battles) not you.
3.) It’s Okay To Stand Up For Yourself
Sometimes with family, we tend to tolerate more bad behavior than we normally would from other people. When family members belittle us or talk down to us we’re oftentimes more likely to try to pacify the situation rather than ignite it.
But, here’s the thing: you don’t owe anyone anything, family included. There’s no reason for you to allow a toxic family member to treat you badly simply because they’re family. It’s okay to walk away and/or stand up for yourself . You are worthy of good treatment and should accept nothing less.
4.) Distancing Yourself From Them Is Healthy
There’s no reason for you to feel like you have to be around someone just because they’re part of your family. You are the person who gets to choose who you allow in your life so choose wisely. Don’t feel bad for cutting people out who bring you down — family or not!
We become who we surround ourselves with, so surround yourself with people who inspire and uplift you rather than people who tear you down and make you feel bad.
5.) Live Life For Yourself, Not To Appease Them
Oftentimes, toxic family members have strong opinions about who you should be, and what you should do. But guess what? This is your life, not theirs.
Live your life being true to yourself. Find your purpose and passion, and pursue it with your entire heart and soul, regardless if they agree or not. You get one life, and you don’t need to waste it trying to appease anyone but yourself.
6.) Forgive Them For Yourself
Toxic family members spend their time hanging on to negative thoughts, feelings and emotions — don’t be like them. Let all of the negativity to. Regardless of what’s happened in the past, or what they said or did, forgive them and move on.
Because holding onto anger and negativity is like drinking snake venom without an antidote. It poisons us from the inside out. By forgiving them (and this doesn’t mean you have to reconcile your relationship) you’ll be freeing yourself in the process.
7.) You Aren’t Responsible For Mending The Relationship
Toxic family members love to point the finger when it comes to your strained relationship, but won’t lift the same finger to repair it.
It’s not your job to mend a broken or strained relationship caused by someone else, and you shouldn’t feel responsible for doing so.
As with all healthy relationships, there needs to be an equal amount of giving and taking, and unfortunately, toxic family members are rarely willing to give what’s needed to repair things.
8.) It’s Not Your Job To Save Them
A lot of times with toxic family members, we feel like it’s our job to save them (especially from themselves). But it’s not.
You can’t change anyone who doesn’t want to change. And it’s not your job to try to pick up the shattered pieces of their life.
Change starts from within, and if they aren’t trying to change and be better, then you need to walk away so you don’t get sucked into their tunnel of negativity.
9.) They Hold Grudges And Rarely Forgive
Toxic family members hang on to negative thoughts, feelings, emotions and experiences (sometimes for their entire lives). Rather than letting these things go, they internally hoard them.
This results in them holding grudges and having a hard time forgiving people, ultimately making them chronically unhappy.
Don’t hold your breath and wait for them to say sorry for their behavior. Accept that at this time in their lives, they’re too swept up in negativity to be able to let things go and move on with life.
10.) They Have Unrealistic Expectations of Everyone — But Themselves
Toxic family members often expect their family to bend over backwards for them because they believe they’re owed special treatment for some reason.
But, if the tables were turned and you held them to the same expectations they’d be shocked and unwilling to do the same for you. They have unrealistic expectations of everyone except for themselves.
The next time you’re dealing with a toxic family member, keep these 10 things in mind! And above all remember, everyone comes into our lives for a reason, to teach us something we need to learn. Some of those people become our lifelong companions, and others (family or not) we have to let go because they’re no longer serving our greater good.
About Antasha Durbin: Antasha is a spiritual writer, life-long student of the universe, and psychic tarot card reader. Her website, cajspirituality.com, is dedicated to casualizing the spiritual experience and making it attainable for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Follow her for free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living.