Dealing with toxic family members

  • PublishedFebruary 25, 2020

Most family members get along well and stay close till they’re old and grey. However, there are situations when some family members can be toxic. This can happen if constant heated arguments bring about long-lasting hate between the members. Then there’s sibling rivalry which can become nasty if it’s not dealt with at an early age. Some end up becoming toxic family members.




Some people have undergone unspeakable horrors in the hands of their family
members. Such horrors include emotional abuse, assault, sexual molestation and, in worst case scenarios, people have died in the hands of their family members. In whatever form, toxicity from your family will destroy your self-esteem and self-worth. The first thing to do after realizing that
interaction with toxic family members is detrimental to your life and mental health, is to
acknowledge that is it happening.

Accept that it’s happening

No one ever expects their family members to turn on them. It is the ultimate betrayal because family members are supposed to love you when no one else does. However, accept that it is happening, and quit making excuses for people who treat you badly.


If interacting with some family members is affecting your mental or physical health negatively, then it may be time to put some distance between you and them. If you’ve received threats on your life from family members, distance yourself physically. If you are left feeling unloved, hated and despised after talking to some of them, distance yourself.

Distance is the best way to cope with toxic family members because it limits interaction and allows you to live your life in peace. If moving places or going to live with friends or other relatives is the only way of protecting your life, do it.

Minimize interaction

If you are not able to move to your own house or place, then avoid long conversations if they will end up being arguments or dangerous. The less you talk to some toxic family members, the less the chances of having heated arguments that can escalate to physical fights. Remain peaceful, calm and limit talks until you move out or they become less

Positive self-talk/affirmation

If you are being constantly abused and insulted, it’s important to keep reminding yourself that you are beautiful, worthy, smart and capable of achieving great things in life. Constant insults from family members, especially if they have ganged up on you, can make you start believing them. You may reason that since you have spent so much time with them, they know you inside out and are probably right about what they are saying.

The truth is everyone has his/her perceptions and interpretations and you
shouldn’t believe them. You know yourself more than they know you because you have
experienced so many things that they do not even know about and will never fully
understand because they are not you.

Report to parents

If you are suffering in the hands of your siblings, then it would be wise to report it to
your parents or guardians. Don’t be afraid to come out and speak about it.

READ ALSO: 8 common mistakes modern parents make

Could you be the issue?

Sometimes we do inconsiderate things that rub people off the wrong way and we end up
having verbal disagreements or fights with them. You are the only one who can truly
evaluate and see whether the arguments come from a place of pure malice or there are
some things on your part that caused them in the first place.

READ ALSO: You are the toxic one!



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