The toxicity of family members tend to wear at you over time as nice as it would be to just shrug their toxicity off and go about your life. If you are not careful, then you can explode and say or do something that can lead to very awkward family dinners.
These are 5 ways to avoid that:
Do not take the things too personally – your toxic family is exactly like the bully who poked at anyone back to elementary school. They make everybody feel bad about themselves. They might do this in order to get something, or are just plain mean, but it is all got to do with them. Use these attacks as chances to practice the art of not taking things too personally. If you can master this, you will have a much easier time applying it to interactions with non-family members, too.
Stand up for yourself – once you are ready, approach your family assertively, but not aggressively and communicate your distaste for the way they have been treating you. To goal is to change their behaviors. Your reaction is in your control. You send a message of weakness if you pretend that everything is OK when your family member walks all over you, thus show your strength and let them know that you are aware of what proper treatment is and that you will not settle for less.
Figure out and enforce the ‘natural consequences’ – when it comes to family members, even the toxic ones, most of us have a soft point. We do not like them to face the music. But, there are rules in life, thus until the toxic family member starts treating you with the regard, one would expect from a family member, do not feel bad about showing them that each action has an appropriate reaction. You should say that your family member abuses you as the natural consequences in such circumstances are legal actions. Say that they damage your property and refuse to pay for it. You have the legal grounds here as well.
Surround yourself with positive people – this is the key to remaining confident as you fight with the toxic member in your family. This is true if that person is someone like a parent who has been treating you poorly as long as you can remember. If you are an adult, take the advantage of your freedom and spend more time with positive and encouraging friends because they will show you what respect looks like and teach you that you deserve a proper treatment.
Forgive, but do not forget – the toxic family member will continue winning the war the longer you spend walking around with rage and hatred for him/her. This does not mean that you have to toss the negative feelings about them into the wind. After all, they instill protective caution. Forgive while you keep in mind the nature of your family member at the same time. Release yourselves from the desire for vindication or revenge, turning it into a desire to protect yourself and others from any future attacks.
The president of Bullies Be Gone, Ben Leichtling, speaks about dealing with such family members, particularly parents. Watch the video.