A family is toxic when most of its members remain in patterns of abuse, discrimination, conflict, emotional distancing, verbal violence, and manipulation.
We all have someone in our family with these characteristics. People who only think about themselves, and who manipulate us, who play with our emotions. A complicated fact since we usually share close ties with them. In this situation, what can we do?
Even experts tell us that having toxic family members in our personal circle can seriously affect our quality of life. If, for example, we have a manipulative friend and with selfish and interested tendencies, we can always break this friendship to find us better. To have our necessary balance and integrity. But what happens when the manipulative person is, for example, our mother, our brother, or even our husband? It is not the same, and we can understand it.
Place some limits, you know what you want and what you can’t permit
Let’s look at an example first. You go home to your partner’s parents, and they put you to eat a very spicy dish. You don´t like spicy, and you don´t feel well; however, you prefer to keep silent and eat your plate for not drawing attention and not offending anyone. From then on, every time you go to your in-law’s house, they continue to put you on the same dinner. Until, suddenly, you have no choice but to say out loud “that the spice does not suit you.” Most likely they will respond to you, why you didn’t say it before?
Well, it’s just a simple example. A way of understanding that we must inform the people around us at all times of what we can and cannot accept. You cannot accompany every afternoon your mother or your sister to the shopping? Then, make it known. If you don´t like suggestions about how you have to educate your children, say so. If you don’t want to be manipulated, defend yourself, and put the limits. Raise your voice to inform them without sanction. To defend yourself without attacking. Always talk with respect and maximum affection, you don’t want to break any link just inform who you are, how you are, and what you want. It is not being selfish, it is being sincere.
Learn to be assertive and avoid being condescending
Sometimes we don’t want to hurt our relatives, and we keep many words. Parents or grandparents who complain about being alone, while, in, we attend to them whenever we can. Brothers who can tell us that we don’t support them as we should. We have to be assertive, and with respect and affection, we will always tell the truth: “I´ll come whenever I can, and you know that whenever you need something, you can call me.” “You know that I will always support you in everything, but don’t ask me for things that I cannot do. Right now, I’m going through a difficult situation, and you have to understand me.” Always show sincerity and closeness, but say out loud the truth of what you feel and need, inform of what you can do and what not. Let them know that you have your own needs.
Unconditional support for the family, but always taking care of our integrity
A family is always in the first place. We know. But just as it is the most important thing in our lives, sometimes, if they hurt us, it can also be the most destructive of our existence. Some people have been abused or mistreated in their childhood. Maintaining a cordial family relationship with those members will never be possible, and that is clear. The essential thing is that you always take care of your self-esteem. That you are a mature person, balanced and with the need to be happy, day by day. If someone in your family causes you harm, it is best to establish distance and keep away that connection to recover our integrity, our self-concept, and tranquility.
We all know that family relationships are never easy, but we must try to coexist in harmony. If there is excessive manipulation and high egoism on the part of those members, in the end, the deal must be fair. Fair to dispose of our personal space, to be happy and avoid more problems. We know that the family is an essential part of our being, our identity, and our roots. But, if those roots have too many thorns and only give us pain, we will have to move away from them a little. Defend yourself, take care of yourself, and report what you can accept and what you cannot admit. Love your own, but first of all, love yourself.