How to Deal With Having A Toxic Family

There are all kinds of different families out there, even toxic ones. If you are struggling with a toxic family, here are some tips to help you deal.

By definition, a family is “a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit.” However, we can all agree that there are all kinds of different families out there, stretching beyond this simple definition. For most people, it is much more than a gene connection – it is the core of love, support, and compassion. However, while positive feelings are indeed present, families can be complicated.

Just remember the splendid portrait of a dysfunctional family that is the movie “The Royal Tenenbaums.” In this movie, eccentric and weird individuals are joined in one group, trying to overcome their past traumas and differences as the story progresses. It’s a tribute to all the people struggling with their family relationships. Still, the movie is only a two-hour snippet, while real life is something that you cannot simply put aside after the end credits. If you are struggling with a toxic family, here are some tips that will help you deal with all the poison.

Identify the signs of toxic behavior

Family relationships are packed with emotions, and it is often difficult to be cool-minded when thinking about them. That is why it is essential to take the time to reflect on your family’s behavior and identify toxic elements. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • One or more family members want to have control over your actions (who you’re dating, what you’re doing in your career, your choice of friends, etc.)
  • Your siblings are too competitive, and they seek to outshine one another in everything.
  • They use threats or emotional blackmail.
  • They are too critical about everything.
  • You don’t feel comfortable being yourself in front of them.
  • Someone is always complaining.
  • There is no end to the drama.
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Assess the impact it has on you

Sometimes, it seems more comfortable to ignore the problems and observe them as occasional quarrels. If you asses and admit the effect that situations like these have on you, it will be easier to face the problem head-on. If the majority of your interactions are negative, this could lead to depression, anger management problems, anxiety, and stress. Think about how you feel after a family dinner, what emotions a phone conversation with your parents causes, etc. Don’t hesitate to talk with an expert about it.

Understand your differences

It’s only natural that people are different. These dissimilarities are even more apparent when there’s more than one generation involved. Just think about the different ways you and your parents tackle finances and success in general. And what about romantic relationships, marriage, and offspring? Acknowledge their viewpoint, but don’t let it have any impact on how you live your life. Make sure you make that clear to them.

Set boundaries

Toxic family and people meddling in your personal affairs can be exhausting, and it’s no exception with family. They will test your patience and tolerance to the point where you start losing it. Tell them how far they can go with you and don’t allow them to take one step over that line. You don’t need to be there for every crisis or be available at all times. Most certainly, you are not obligated to change yourself in any way.

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Practice detachment

You don’t have to be involved in every petty argument in your family. Don’t participate in messy situations, try to keep the conversations light, avoid topics that lead to quarrels, or be shy to abandon the conversation when it becomes too much for you.

Keep some things to yourself

Toxic families and individuals have their way of using the things you say against you. Are there some past actions or personal regrets of yours that you’ve told your family, and now you never hear the end of it even though you’ve asked them to finally let it go? Are your personal failures and fears used against you in arguments?

If that’s the case, try to save some details from your personal and professional life for yourself, and share only the things that are either very relevant or have a positive context.

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Enough Is Enough

All of us feel like we’re in debt to our family  – and that is true, to some extent. However, when you’ve been through years of emotional torture, and you feel like you’ve tried everything, perhaps it’s time to cut ties. Here are some things that should raise red flags:

  • They insist on intruding on your privacy even after you’ve tried all the tips above.
  • They are verbally abusive (body-shaming, name-calling, rudeness, or slurs).
  • They are manipulative and won’t hesitate to lie to you to get what they want.
  • Every contact with them causes emotional distress.

You can see how things go and how you feel if you distance yourself from them temporarily, or you can decide on permanent isolation. If you can, don’t cut all ties suddenly. Try to explain to them what’s going on (you can write a letter, make a phone call, or talk to them personally). Prepare for their reaction, but expect that you will feel some guilt and confusion as well. Be sure to have a close friend or a counselor to help you through the rough times.

Toxic families can make us feel unworthy, sad, and small. But the fact they make you feel like that doesn’t mean you truly are. Look within, learn to appreciate who you are, and love yourself. Everything else will follow.

Meet The Author

Sarah is a life enjoyer, positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She is passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle and adores her cats. She is an avid reader who loves to travel when time allows.

Why it’s Important to Strengthen Family Relationships

Many claim that family is the most important ‘thing’ in the world. We can’t help but agree with this statement. We often forget just how important each of our family members to us because we’re so used to their presence. The time we spend with family is precious and essential. Therefore, we should do our best to cherish it and make it meaningful and fulfilling for everyone. Here are some of the best ways to further strengthen family relationships.

Hobbies for All

Finding hobbies for everyone is a simple concept. Further, doing things together makes everyone closer. It also gives you plenty of exciting things to talk about and bond over later. When you have a mutual hobby, it’s easy to spend quality time together. You can still manage to have fun even though you might be busy. It doesn’t have to anything complicated. You can play a game every Tuesday night, watch movies on Sundays, have a picnic once a month, etc. Alternatively, you can build something together or spend a day up-cycling some of your old clothes or pieces of furniture.

Eating Together

It’s no secret that meals are more important than we give them credit for being. Several studies show that adolescents whose eat dinner with their family are happier and are better adjusted. In certain cultures, sharing a meal is still considered sacred and for a good reason. When you eat together, you have a chance to enjoy delicious foods and share stories. When you share a meal with your family, it gives you a chance to talk about your day no matter what kind of meal you’re having – it’s equally beneficial if you’ve ordered a pizza or prepared a three-course meal. Put your phones away and try to listen to each other carefully while the meal lasts.

Work on Your Problems

No matter how close and happy families seem to be, there are times where relations seem frayed. Tensions can arise from issues in the past that you have not dealt with, or difficulty getting along with each other. Things like that happen: people fight, they get divorced, they get angry and don’t get along. Instead of pretending that things are peachy, you should address these problems and work on making the situation better. You can always apply for family mediation services. Having trained professionals by your side will help your family to solve your problems healthily.

Laugh Together

It’s official – laughter is actually a great family medicine that can help you bond and feel better. Laughter is a great way to lower your stress levels, but it will do more than that – it will also boost your immune system and make you more resilient and healthier. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, and as a result, you feel good, cheerful, and happy. These are just some of the reasons why you should laugh together with your family! Watch funny movies, tell anecdotes, recall funny situations from the past, and tell jokes – even when they’re bad.  Laughter is a great way to relieve tension and help you bond but remember – laughing together is what makes you closer while laughing at each other will divide you further. 

Treat Yourself

Every once in a while people deserve to treat themselves with something special – a small trinket, a big piece of chocolate cake, or a good old night out with family. People are extremely focused on work and providing for their families these days, which is amiable, but it also makes life a bit boring and mundane. Why not break the habit and take your family out to dinner rather than cooking at home? You can also go out to eat ice-cream after dinner or prepare a meal and go to a nearby park to make a picnic. Treating yourself and your family for all the hard work you’ve been doing will make everyone feel good, and this can be seen as a reward and motivation for the future.

Encourage Each Other

The world is here to watch your every move, snicker behind your back, and doubt you every step of the way. Your family, on the other hand, should be the greatest source of love and support, and they should motivate you to keep pursuing your dreams. It’s easy to lose confidence and motivation when you hit obstacles and difficulties on your path, but this is why the family is here – to encourage you and to help you remember why you started something in the first place. Family members who support and encourage each other will help each other overcome insecurities and drawbacks. 

We seem to forget that, good things take time and need plenty of patience in order to stay good – the same goes for family relations. It’s easy to think that your family members will always be there for you to support and love you, but it isn’t difficult to show genuine interest in their lives and support their decisions. Not only will it help them feel appreciated and respected, but these seemingly small and innocent actions will do wonders in strengthening the relationships you already have with your family.

About the Author

Why it's Important to Strengthen Family Relationships

This post was written by Audrey Taylor. Audrey was born in San Francisco and moved to Adelaide at the age of five. Marketer researcher and social media manager on hold, full – time mommy of a cheerful two-year-old. Graduated from Queensford college, worked in a couple of marketing agencies across Australia, eager to learn more about business and share her experiences. Traveled across Europe. Her hobbies include home decor, fashion, travel, music, old movies. If you like what you see here, follow Audrey’s Twitter @theaudreyworld

How to Be Happier in Your Relationships

Just because you are not happy in your relationship, doesn’t mean that you are not with the right person. It justmeans that you need to take the right steps so that you can begin to focus onyourself while also making sure that you are getting the space you need.

Be Self-Sustainable

The secret to having a happy relationship is completely self-dependent. A relationship is about sharing your life with someone else, and not about depending on them for every little thing. You can’t expect your partner to be your constant emotional or financial support. If you do, then this can eventually turn into resentment, and this can cause major problems. It’s completely normal for you to depend on your partner for some help and support, but if you are constantly relying on them for everything, then this could indicate deeper insecurity.

Accept Yourself

A lot of people enter a relationship with the idea of finding love. They want to fill up the hole that they have within themselves, but if you can’t love yourself, then it can be hard to expect someone to do that for you. Joyful relationships tend to be formed by those who already love themselves, and therefore want to share that love with someone else.

How to Be Happier in Your Relationships

Create Space

If you want to be happy in the relationshipthat you have now, then it is so important that you learn how to give yourpartner space. It’s completely normal for you to wantto spend the rest of your life with your partner and you may also want tocreate a family as well, but you don’t want to trample their hopes and eventheir dreams by not giving them the freedom they need to live their life. Thiscould be financial, religious or eventhrough their career.

Respect Differences

No two people are alike, and this is one of the best things about life. Diversity is everything, so if you want to be happier in your relationship, then it is so important that you are able to appreciate and even respect these aspects. Remember that just because they are different to you, doesn’t mean that they are wrong or that you are not compatible. It just means that you are two individuals and this is perfectly normal. If you feel as though your differences are coming between you and your partner and this is something that you cannot move past, then it may be worth going your separate ways. If you are married, then this may involve you trying to file for divorce. This can be difficult, but sometimes this is the only way for you to find a relationship that you can be truly happy with.

Being in a relationship is not without its challenges. At times you may argue, and you may disagree on major topics, but if you are able to come together by the end, then this shows that you have found the right person. It also shows that you are strong enough to go the distance.

This post was written in collaboration. Collaborative writingmeans that while I have contributed to this post and edited its content andformatting, I am not its original author. By posting this content on my blog, I may receive financial compensation. Want to guest postfor Jihi Elephant? Learn more here

Dealing with Loneliness: Living By Yourself Far Away From Home, Family, and Friends

Everyone gets lonely, especially when you are in a new town far away from those you know and love. It’s hard, very hard. And sometimes it’s even emotionally draining. Here are some tips to help you manage loneliness when living by yourself far away from home, family, and friends.

Go Out Often (AKA Don’t Pout at Home)

This is the one that I struggle with most. I am an introvert, a hardcore introvert, and I prefer to be at home. Sometimes when I get offers to go out, I turn them down because I had plans to relax on my couch and do nothing by myself. But other times, when I say yes despite every bone in my body wanting to turn it down, I have an amazing time and I no longer feel so lonely. If you’re an introvert like me, going out and spending time with people is really hard and you have to be intentional. But, it is so very worth it in the battle against loneliness.

Dealing with Loneliness: Living by Yourself Far Away from Home, Family, and Friends

Be Friendly When in Public

I think this is something people take for granted in general. When we are out and about running errands we get tunnel vision and forget about all those other people around us. I have found that this mentality only feeds loneliness. When you don’t allow yourself to see and interact with those people, you forget they are there and you feed your loneliness. However, if you see these people and provide a passing smile or acknowledgment, you are more likely to walk home a little less lonely. Maybe you can even try to spark up a conversation with the person checking you out at the grocery store.

The other day, I was dropping off a return package at the post office. The post office always seems to be one of the least friendly places on my list of errands. The people seem to want you out as quick as possible. And I accept that and make a point to tell them to have a nice day. This makes me feel better, but it’s not very helpful because the people don’t care. However, this day I was dropping off my package and there was a massive line.

As I stood in the line I observed the workers, one of which was striking up a conversation and being kind to everyone. When it was my turn, he was the worker who checked my package and immediately he sparked a conversation with me about old cartoons because he noticed I was wearing an antique Mickey Mouse t-shirt. He doesn’t know this, but I went home a little less lonely that day. Moral of the story, when you acknowledge the existence of those around you, even in passing, you feel less lonely and you could be helping them battle their own loneliness.

Befriend Coworkers

If you struggle with going out and being social like I do, making friends is even harder. And that is why I highly recommend befriending those you are around naturally. For me, making friends by going out and being social with strangers is discouraging, because I just don’t really do it, nor do I really understand how to do it. Because of this, I have learned to instead create my social life around coworkers and peers. Sure, this narrows my hunting grounds, but it also forces me to be nice to and aware of those around me. By befriending those around you, you are battling the lonely in a way that is more natural and easy. Sure, I encourage you to go out and find friends in other ways. But, this is a great way to start, and chances are, you have something in common with your co-workers, I mean, you chose to work or go to school at the same place, right?

Dealing with Loneliness: Living by Yourself Far Away from Home, Family, and Friends

Be Safe

Now, this tip won’t intrinsically help you with loneliness, but it will be useful. When we get lonely, sometimes we accept offers from strangers despite our better judgment because we are trying to make friends and build relationships. This is not a good idea. Do not go out at night alone, do not have strangers over, and do not go over to strangers homes. These tips are common sense, sure. But when loneliness becomes overwhelming, sometimes these ideas don’t seem to back. Be safe.

Keep Busy, But Not Distracted

Sitting at home watching Netflix is the worst idea I’ve ever had since living alone. Doing this just leads to me feeling even lonelier. If you throw Netflix on in the background and clean the apartment, cook dinner, play a game, write a paper, or really anything productive, it’ll affect you far less.

Dealing with Loneliness: Living by Yourself Far Away from Home, Family, and Friends

Regularly Talk to Family and Friends

If you are like me and can’t visit friends or family whenever you’d like, be sure to contact them regularly. I text or snap chat my sisters, parents, and friends almost daily and talk to my Dad and boyfriend on the phone when I am able. This immensely helps! If it wasn’t for connecting with loved ones regularly, I would feel even more alone. But those who know me best are able to encourage me and allow me someone to work my problems out with while I am still making new friends.

Deal with the Emotions

Those lonely feelings are real, and they won’t go away if you pretend they aren’t there. So you’re lonely, that’s okay. Feel those emotions and deal with them. When you get lonely, accept the emotions, and then battle them. This battle depends completely on you, I tend to call or text family or friends when I get lonely, or I’ll pull up a project to work on, sometimes I’ll run to the store simply to be around people. If you’re feeling lonely, don’t suppress—deal with it.

Battling the lonely is REALLY hard, almost cyclical. And when you are in the midst of it, it can be so hard to see a way out. But there are so many easy ways out, try going out, being friendly, befriend coworkers, be safe, keep busy, communicate with your loved ones regularly, and then deal with your emotions.

Have you battled with loneliness? I’d love to hear about how you have gotten through, or how you are getting through it, leave a comment below!

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Dealing with Loneliness: Living by Yourself Far Away from Home, Family, and Friends