From my point of view, there’s nothing more difficult and devastating than having to break the connection with and let go of certain family members indefinitely.
Family is the greatest gift life has given us and family ties are undoubtedly one of the strongest bonds we have in life. That’s the reason why when we must break them, it can hurt immensely and scar us permanently. After all, your family are the people with whom you form your first relationships. They’re supposed to be always there for you through the good times and the bad times.
They’re supposed to offer you comfort, understanding, and support. They’re supposed to teach you morals and values and promote your positive growth. They’re supposed to make you feel secure and bring happiness into your life.
However, not all families share the same story. Sometimes you must face the painful truth that some people, even if they’re members of your family, are damaging to you and that you will be better off moving on without them.
What you need to remember is that you must always put yourself first. You should never jeopardize your physical, emotional, and mental health just because you feel like you have to put up with someone since they’re your family and you were taught that family bonds last forever.
So, how can you tell that you’re dealing with a toxic family member? Well, if any member of your family fits the following descriptions, you can be sure that they’re damaging to your health.
Here they are:
1. They judge and criticize you.
Criticism can be healthy and helpful only when it’s constructive. Yet, constant, unjustifiable, and harsh criticism can greatly affect a person’s self-esteem. Family members who are highly judgy and for whom nothing you do is ever good enough are toxic and you shouldn’t think twice about removing yourself from their presence.
2. They’re only there for you when they need something from you.
A toxic family member will always ask you to do them a favor, give them a piece of advice, comfort them, or help them solve a serious problem. Yet, as soon as they get what they need, they’ll distance themselves from you again.
And when you’re the one who needs their help, support, comfort, and love, they’ll never be there. They’ll always act like they’re super busy and they’ll disregard your problems and needs.
3. They are not trustworthy.
Have you ever decided to ask a member of your family for some advice or share with them some of your innermost secrets or deepest fears? I’m sure you have. After all, if you can’t confide in and trust a family member, who can you?
But then after a while, you discovered that they’d completely betrayed your trust and that now not only every member of your family but also every single person in town knows your problems and secrets.
When the betrayal comes from someone you share the same blood with hurts the most. Therefore, you should ask yourself: Do you really want to be around this kind of people?
4. They often jump between positive and negative reinforcement.
One moment they’ll shout at you and bombard you with their highly critical and mean comments and the next they’ll be nice to you and praise you for your successes just to lure you back into their trap.
They can’t stand when you ignore them, so they’ll do everything they can to regain control of your attention. It’s simply impossible for them to get rid of their manipulative behavior.
5. They gaslight you.
If a family member constantly denies saying or doing something when you and everyone else surrounding you are well aware that this isn’t true – you’re being gaslighted. Gaslighting is a manipulation technique which is used to control or trick someone by making them believe things that are not true and even making them doubt their own logic, memory, perceptions, and sanity.
If a member of your family matches the descriptions above, then know that they can greatly affect your overall health. Yet, also know that there’re many ways you can make your relationship with them more tolerable.
And if you’ve already exhausted all ways of improving your relationship with a toxic family member and nothing worked, then you’re left with no choice but to remove them from your life. Yes, it’s a difficult decision to make but it’s the best thing you can do to protect your sanity, physical and emotional health, and happiness.