“You can choose your friends but you sure can’t choose your family.” A time comes in most people’s life when this Harper Lee’s quote hits right home. While it is easier to cut it off with a friend if they turn toxic, it’s so much harder to say goodbye to a family member for good. One way or another, you will have to meet them and ignoring their toxic behavior might not be the best way to deal with the situation. You need to learn how to deal with your family even if their certain behaviors are not so acceptable to you. There ways to handle toxic family members who are driving their negative energies towards you.
10 Ways To Handle Toxic Family Members
1. Don’t take their behavior personally
The first thing you need to consider when dealing with a toxic family member is that their behavior has nothing to do with you. Just like the bully from your high school, their target is everyone. The issues are theirs’s and not yours. Therefore, if you find yourself under a personal attack from them, do not take it personally.
2. React and assert yourself but wisely
Knowing that it is not about you, does not mean you can let them walk all over you. You must react to their injustice and make it clear despite being a family member, they have to respect you like any other person.
3. Counsel and discuss
Many times, there are issues in a person’s life that make them bitter and difficult to live with. While it could be a challenge to be patient with such people, the good news is that counseling and discussion can resolve the problem.
4. Forgive and forget
If a particular family member treats you badly but then asks for forgiveness, you must give them another chance. Nipping the arguments into bud makes life easier specially for a family living together after all you are bound by not just blood but love of a family that you can count on at the end of the day.
5. Build some boundaries and limits
This is perhaps the most important advice when dealing with any toxic person let alone a family member. There should always be healthy boundaries to work around in relationships. Spend time together, lend your ear to each other for every issue but assert to them how much you value your personal space and time.
6. Let them know there will be consequences
Make rules concerning their behavior. For example, let them know that if they crossed the line one more time, you won’t support them either. This way they will know there will be consequences to their unjustified liberties with you.
7. Identify what makes them happy
Find out about their interests and join them in those activities. This will give you something to talk to them about other than your differences.
8. Do what makes you happy
Know what makes you happy. If your time with your family becomes too much to handle, turn to your hobbies and interests to refresh your mind.
9. Spend some time in a nurturing environment
Make friends and acquire the company that nurtures you and encourages you. This will have a positive effect on you psychologically.
10. Finally, do not keep it all in
There will be some points where you will have to assert yourself. Do not let them take your politeness for weakness. Do not keep it all inside and burn you!
In the interest of honesty, I can say that I’ve tried these ways to handle a particular member of my family. None of this worked. I’ve had to cut off this person – possibly for life. The bottom line is to try to work it out, but build boundaries and take your own welfare in the process as well.
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