Toxic Family Members: How to Deal with the Layers of Hurt and Complexities

Everyone deserves to be surrounded by supportive, loving, motivating, and positive people. You know the kind of people I am talking about. The people that would rather avoid creating drama and somehow always, or at least majority of the time, are able to seek out the good in any kind of situation. The individuals who understand that the most important thing in regards to having healthy relationships is to have conversations that help others, that build them up instead of tearing them down.

Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, not all people are nice or have good intentions or are kind. These people are who we deem toxic. They are the ones who quite literally cause problems to your mental and physical health just by being around them. They work in a way that slowly but surely infects your energy with negativity.

They are fueled by hate, jealousy, judging, and hating other people. They thrive on this as if the cruelty they show to others, most of the time in a subtle passive-aggressive way, is a religion or regimen that should be followed to a T.

For me, the toxic people is a family member. Ever since I was a little girl, this person has criticized me, blamed me for things going wrong, and so much more. Now I am not saying that I was perfect by any means, but I also was not vindictive and mean toward them. I stood up for myself, and that just seemed to make things worse. So, to comply with my word for this new year (check out my previous post), I have began to come up with ways to deal with these individuals, so that they 1) do not infect my life with their negative energy and 2) so that I can surround myself only with people who are supportive of me, push me to be better, motivate me, and are just genuinely kind people.

So, how do we deal?

The main thing I have taken a long time to learn, that actually works very well, is forgiveness. If you hold on to all the bitterness you hold toward a person, that takes up so much of your energy and mental health focused on hating that individual. And you actually start to become a toxic person as well. Even though this does not change the fact that the person hurt you, it will pave the way for you to eventually move on and find happiness. This has taken me a long time to do, because the person that I consider to be the most toxic person in my life is someone who is actually part of my family, so this adds a layer of complication when it comes to trying get rid of that negativity. However, I have began to forgive, understanding that a lot of the time, people who are negative are unhappy with their own lives, and find it hard to see others happy. Fully understanding that I was doing nothing wrong to deserve the toxicity took some time, but now I have began to forgive and am working on moving on.

Another that helps with dealing with toxic people in your family is to self-reflect. Realizing that nobody is perfect (which yes, sounds easy, but trust me really is not) it is a lot easier to accept that people are the way they are. For me, I had to realize that people are products of their upbringing, which for me, was something of a rude awakening. In Indian culture, questioning things is not acceptable. Children are essentially supposed to do what their elders say without question, essentially blindly respect and follow whatever people who are older say. And so, when someone like me, who believes that questioning things is an important aspect of life and believes that no one should just get respect without deserving it, being a part of this culture can be extremely hard. After years of facing fights, harsh criticism, and extreme judgment toward my actions, I took it upon myself to figure out the reasoning behind all that. Once I figured that out, it made dealing just a little bit easier.

Being a victim of constant harsh criticism is tough. But, if you put on a confident smile and fill your headspace with happy, positive thoughts – for example, I fill my head with memories of my boyfriend and I or me hanging out with my friends, the feeling after a good run or workout, etc. – that will block that negativity out. The more you fill your head with positivity, the less the negativity that family member is spewing at you will affect you. Plus, there is an added bonus of ignoring them whilst they are spewing their negativity at you.

The last, and probably the hardest thing to do, is to ignore that toxic individual. Just completely block out their negative energy, because the less you care about all that negativity the more genuinely happy you will be. I know this is easier said than done, trust me I know. Its not like we have some magic spell where we can just turn these toxic people into nice human beings, which in all honesty would be such a fantastic invention. But, in leu of that, focus on your inner peace when you are around these toxic family members. Find those people in your family that could work as buffer between you and that toxic individual. Surround yourself with these “buffers” and you will be able to handle that toxic individual a lot easier than just on your own.

Lastly, know your worth! Know that the criticism being thrown at you are really the shortcomings of the toxic individual. You deserve to have good, positive and supportive people around you. You are not the person that toxic individual is describing. Remember that, and dealing with toxic family members will become a lot easier.

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