In response to the many questions I’ve received about dealing with toxic people in your family, I am writing part II of my article on detoxing your life of negative people. If you missed the first part, check it out here!
Dealing with toxic family members is frustrating, stressful, and often times heart-breaking. It’s tough to tolerate their negativity while trying to prevent them from hindering your success, happiness, and sense of self-worth. It’s important to figure out how much toxicity you can tolerate while still being able to live the life you want.
You first have to decide: Do you keep them in your life and deal with their negativity, or do you cut them off completely? I will leave the choice up to you, but I give you advice around both options.
Option 1: Deal with their negativity by shifting YOUR mindset and behavior
“People cannot hurt you without your permission.” Mahatma Gandhi
If you have chosen to deal with your negative family members instead of cutting them off from your life, then I commend you for having lots of compassion, patience, and unconditional love. Remember that you can’t change others but only yourself, and that you ultimately have control over how you feel. Here are a few ideas to help you shift your thoughts and feelings around your family.
Set your boundaries. If your parents or family member say things that are negative or outright critical about a certain aspect of your life (e.g. your relationships, physical appearance, career, etc), then respectfully ask them to refrain from talking about that part of your life. Sometimes people have a hard time distinguishing what types of comments are supportive vs those that are critical, so just ask them not to speak about those areas at all.
Know that they love you. No matter how your family act towards you, they do truly love you. If it seems like they behave contrary to this, it’s only because they aren’t capable of communicating their concern or love for you in a way that’s supportive and constructive.
Be understanding and compassionate. To understand why your parents or family member behave in an unloving way, you must honor their struggles, their past, and who they are. They most likely have some pain or emotional wounds that need healing, wounds of which probably stem from their own childhood. Also, based on how they were brought up, they will probably treat you the same way because that’s all that they know. It’s not your job to heal them or change their learned behaviors. The only job you have is to not fall into their vicious cycle of inflicting pain on others. To avoid this toxic cycle, just be compassionate and understanding towards them. This will not only take them by surprise, but it will also more likely encourage a healing/peaceful response from them.
Accept them. Despite your thinking that you have the power to change people, including your parents, you do not. Understand that they are who they are, and if they are going to change, they will need to do it on their own accord. The only person you can change is yourself, specifically your reaction and behavior towards them.
Forgive them. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? Holding onto resentment, anger, and self-righteousness only harms you in the end. In order to bring peace to your mind and soul, let go of your need to win the argument and forgive them for the past. Let go of the things they’ve said or done to you that have been hurtful. How can you begin to do that?
- Realize that they are unaware of what they do to you. When your family behave in an unloving way, it’s not with the intention to hurt you. They are just unaware of the negative impact they have on your life. Often they don’t know any other way to act towards you. If you can accept that they just don’t have the ability or just can’t behave otherwise towards you, then it is very easy to forgive them.
Know their role in your life. Even though you may want to share your hopes and dreams with your parents or family, they may not understand or be able to support you in a way that lifts you up instead of shuts you down. Instead, try conversing with your family on topics they like to talk about, whether it’s politics, sports, or weather. Just because you can’t talk spirituality or dreams with your family doesn’t mean you won’t be able to genuinely enjoy their company. Look to other people to fill the need that your family members can’t provide.
Option 2: Remove yourself from that relationship
If you decide to distance or remove yourself from this toxic relationship, remember that it doesn’t mean it’s permanent or can’t be rekindled in the near future when things change. When it gets tough and you begin to question the reasons why you decided to end the relationship, try these strategies:
Make YOU a priority. You must put yourself first. This means doing whatever it takes to be your best self: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. When you do so, you are also able to take better care of your loved ones. Putting yourself first is the only way to maximize your chances of success, from creating an amazing business to just being happy. In order to make YOU a priority, you must feel worthy of having an amazing life and business. And you are totally worth it! Sometimes it’s necessary to make tough decisions like letting go of toxic family members in order to value and cherish yourself and your dreams.
Remember the definition of a healthy relationship. Remember that any relationship, whether it’s with your parents, husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, sister/brother, or best friend, should be encouraging, positive, uplifting, inspiring, and nurturing. Sometimes we get so caught up in the love we feel for someone that we forget the basic definition of a “healthy” relationship. Or we’ve endured the toxic relationship so long that we identify with it or we become dependent on it. Remember that you already have all the skills, abilities, and talents inside you to feel good about yourself, overcome any challenges, and to create unwavering happiness for yourself. You do not need to be dependent on anyone.
You are worthy. You are worthy of having unconditional love in your life. You are worthy of being accepted and loved just the way you are. You are worthy of your dreams and desires. Cherish and hold onto your dreams and don’t let anyone stop or slow you down, no matter what blood ties they have with you.
Send them love and light. To make up for their absence and your inability to show them care and love, send them light and love from afar, as much as you can. Pray for them. Pray that they find the courage, strength, and love within to heal their inner wounds.
Increase your own self-love. It’s critical that you give yourself lots of love to make up for the lack of love from your family members. Self-love will also positively impact all areas of your life from increasing your self-confidence to helping you progress on your goals. Read more about self-love in my article here and watch my free training on Authenticity, Self-Love, and Confidence here.
Get what you need from other people. Everyone could use more support and positive encouragement in their lives. Look for it in your friends, colleagues, or people you admire. If you are searching for more positive people in your life, just pray and ask the Universe to bring these folks into your life.
Sometimes life is tough and we question why we have to go through so many trials and tribulations. Know that every challenge you face is an opportunity for you to heal a certain aspect of your life so you can recognize how whole and complete you already are. You are already so brave for dealing with this tough situation, so remember to give yourself lots of self-care, compassion, and gentleness as you work through this. You are doing beautifully!
This week’s tush-kickin’ challenge: Share with me a technique you will use to help you deal with toxic family members or to help you remove yourself from that relationship.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt Click to Tweet
Lovin’ what you see? Sign up for FREE updates below!