Toxic family can be the most potent poison. From the time you’re born, your family, their words, actions, and beliefs shape the person you become. Some of this is intentional, and most of it is totally unintentional. In fact, it falls under the umbrella of “we’ve always done it that way”. Your parent’s beliefs were shaped by their parents, and their parent’s beliefs were shaped by their parents, and so on and so on.
Now, while your beliefs, and that bullshit story we all tell ourselves, was formed by our families at a very early age, that doesn’t mean that you can just lay all the blame at their feet for the way your life turned out. As you got older, and your knowledge of the world around you expanded, you became more and more responsible for making your own decisions.
So, let’s assume for the moment that you’ve identified your toxic beliefs and are making progress towards changing and eliminating them. Family, who should be your loudest cheering squad, who have always said they want ‘what’s best’ for you, are most likely to be your biggest critics.
The reason for this is simple, when you change, the way others have to interact with you has to change, and people generally hate change. They’d rather you stay in the box they’re comfortable with. You changing shines sunlight on those things about themselves they don’t like and have chosen to ignore for years. This can lead to family relationships changing into toxic family relationships.
Dealing With Toxic Family
While there will be family members who will cheer you on and celebrate your progress, there will be those who won’t. They’ll actively seek to sabotage your progress, torpedo your self esteem, and pull the rug out from under you all in an effort to make themselves feel comfortable.
How can you minimize the impact these toxic family members have on your life?
- Don’t Tell Them What You’re Doing
There’s an internet motto that says “don’t feed the trolls”. If you have toxic family members who constantly criticize, condescend, or offer backhanded compliments, just quit telling them what you’re doing. You’re not going to gain their approval no matter how much you wish you would, so why subject yourself to their negativity?
- Block Them From Your Social Media Feeds
If you quit telling family what you’re doing, it’s guaranteed that some will mine your social media feeds for information. People who criticize and gossip are like addicts. They’ll do anything to feed their fix, and that includes silently stalking your online presence.
- Walk Away
Sometimes the best thing is to walk away. This isn’t easy and it should be a last resort. You are awesome and you have the right to build the life you want. Surround yourself with only positive people and see how quickly you progress!
In order to best serve those around you, you have to take care of yourself first. Sometimes that means walking away from those toxic family members. It’s not easy and it’s a process a lot like losing someone, but in the end it’ll be worth it.