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9 Strategies For Handling Toxic Family Relationships Successfully

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Handling Toxic Family Relationships Successfully

If you happen to have a family member that you find highly negative and toxic and that you don’t really enjoy being around, then you know how difficult coping with such people is.

Family relationships are the strongest and most important ones we build in life. And they’re supposed to last forever. Unfortunately, sometimes the people who are closest to you can become cold and estranged.

When this happens, you may start wondering what the cause of your relative’s toxic behavior is or you may even blame yourself. You might also think about what you can do to improve the relationship.

But, what you need to understand is that when a person grows cold and resentful toward you, especially when there’s no reason for this, this means that they no longer care about your relationship. It means they’re no longer the person you once knew.

So, instead of allowing toxic family relationships to fill you with negativity, drain your energy, and suck the happiness out of you, here are 9 strategies for handling them successfully:

1. Never expect anything from a toxic family member.

Never expect support or help from a family member whom you have a hard time maintaining a relationship with. Don’t think that just because you’d treat them with kindness, compassion and respect, they’d treat you the same way.

2. Identify what makes the relationship toxic.

A family relationship can be toxic in many ways. Maybe your relative always criticizes you, belittles you, guilt-trips you, lacks empathy, or doesn’t pay attention to you when you speak.

Once you’ve identified the toxic behavior of the person and how it affects your self-esteem, mood, and peace of mind, it’ll be easier for you to find ways to cope with their toxicity.

3. Understand that you can’t fix a toxic relationship on your own.

No matter how bad you want and try to fix a toxic family relationship, if the other person isn’t willing or ready to do the same, you won’t be able to fix it. The relationship will remain troubled for as long as the other person refuses to change.

4. Accept that you may never find out why your relative treats you badly.

You may be able to openly talk to your relative so as to find out the underlying cause of their toxic behavior. Or you may not.

What you need to have in mind is that sometimes the reason why someone treats you badly may have nothing to do with what you have said or done to them.  It might simply be the way they react to their own life experiences. Their toxic behavior may come from a place of discontent and anger.

5. Decide how much time you want to spend in your relative’s presence.

You’ll most likely often see your relative at family gatherings. So, in this case, you might want to limit the amount of time you spend with them.

Don’t be ashamed or afraid to distance yourself from your relative, even if other family members may judge you for this. Because if this is the only way you can protect yourself from their negativity, then you shouldn’t think twice about reducing the amount of time you spend with them.

6. Do not suppress your feelings.

Instead, share your feelings with people you have trust in. Communicating your feelings can be quite therapeutic and it can also help you gain a new, fresh perspective on the situation.

7. Never allow your relative to blame you.

One thing a toxic person would never do is admit their mistakes. So, if your relative often tries to lay the blame at your door for something you’ve never said or done, make sure you stand up for yourself. Let them know you have no intention of being their scapegoat.

8. Do not gossip about your relative.

Refrain from talking behind their back. Telling your friends or other family members what this person said or did won’t help you improve the relationship you have with them. In fact, it’ll just make it worse if the gossip reaches your relative’s ears.

9. Do not justify anyone’s toxicity.

If you know you haven’t said and done anything wrong, never forget that it’s not normal for anyone to constantly be inconsiderate and cruel toward you.

Even if the relative you have a toxic relationship with has experienced a lot of disappointment and pain in life, you can’t consider their painful past to be a justification for their toxicity.