Why does it feel so painful when spending time with your family? Maybe, it’s because of the sibling who thinks he knows it all and is doing better than you are? An annoying and need to know it in-law? In today’s post, we share some secrets on how you can deal with family members that are toxic.
This post was originally published on January 11, 2022, and was updated on April 30, 2022.
Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts – good relationship feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with someone you want to marry, but it’s with the friends you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourself with. – Michelle Obama
As humans, we crave to be around others. And when we are not, we feel isolated. Sometimes our need to be around others can quickly motivate us to spend time with those who may not align with our values—pushing us further away from living our desired life.
People who may not always say kind and positive things to you. Those who disagree with your choices or how you choose to live life. People who may force their opinions and beliefs on you and whose influence makes you feel less than worthy.
You are constantly questioning your worthiness. Because you never feel good enough. You are afraid to be your authentic self for fear of being judged or ridiculed.
Deep down in your bones, you know these relationships are toxic. And it would be best if you rid yourself of these relationships to live a life full of freedom and liberation.
But here’s where the problem comes in. They are not just people. They are your family!
Phew! Now what?
And, of course, you can’t just turn your back and walk away from them. Right? Or can you?
So how the heck do we deal with family members that are toxic?
My friend, here are nine secrets you can use when dealing with family members that are toxic.
9 Secrets To Cope With Toxic Family Members
Let’s dive in.
1. Minimize the amount of time you spend around them
Can the toxic family member be eliminated from your life? Be honest with yourself when answering this question.
If they can, eliminate them immediately or gradually remove yourself from their lives by reducing the time you see or talk to each other.
If you cannot eliminate the family members that are toxic from your life, you can choose to keep contact minimum with them. And when you do see them, you can use coping skills, like setting boundaries and breathing (which is mentioned later in the blog).
2. Don’t take anything toxic family members say personally
In his best-selling book – The Four Agreements. Don Miguel Ruiz listed don’t take anything personally as the second agreement to living your best life.
When you take things too personally, you allow others to force their opinions on you. You get caught up in these emotions that make you want to defend yourself or get into an argument that’s not worth it.
Taking what toxic family members say with a grain of salt is one of the best coping mechanisms when dealing with toxicity in your family.
Sometimes this is easier said than done!
But, think of it this way.
We live in a society where everybody is willing to give unsolicited advice freely these days. From the stranger at the train station to the cashier you’ve just met, the mom at the park, and the random dog walker.
The reality is that everyone is opinionated.
When it comes to family members, there’s no difference. Your family thinks it’s their birthright to behave the way they do.
So, when next you are at a family gathering, and toxicity is in the air, don’t let it get under your skin. Take your family’s opinions and advice with a grain of salt if it doesn’t sit right with you.
3. Deal with toxic family members by setting boundaries
Do you know why some of your family members think they can always tell you what to do and how to live your life?
Do you know why they treat you like a “doormat?”
Have you ever wondered why they have nothing positive to say to you?
It’s because you haven’t set any boundaries with yourself. You are allowing them to disrespect you and your values.
Think of the last conflict you had with that toxic family member? Or the last time she made you feel small.
How did you react to the situation? What boundaries do you have when it comes to the way others treat you?
What boundaries do you have with yourself?
You have to be the one who sets the standards for what’s acceptable and what’s not good in your life.
- How do you want to be treated by others?
- Why do you want to be treated this way?
- Do you treat yourself this way?
- How do you see yourself?
- Do you react to others who take advantage of you?
Once you’ve answered these questions, step up and take control of YOU by setting standards for yourself and showing yourself LOVE, COMPASSION, and RESPECT.
My friend, if you’re unable to love yourself and value who you are, others will recognize that. Then they are going to prey on your weakness.
Set boundaries for how you treat yourself and how others treat you. Recognize your worth!
4. Uplift yourself and lift your toxic family members
The struggles are real when it comes to dealing with toxic family members. It adds stress to you and other family members who get caught up with the drama and toxicity.
Maybe this family member behaves this way because of her discomfort with herself? Perhaps she’s not happy with her current lifestyle or some other variation to this?
Practice having compassion towards family members that are toxic.
Every once in a while, we all tend to overreact to situations.
Maybe your family members are struggling with something personal, and that’s why they react the way they do. Instead of thinking about the worst of them and their behavior, try being compassionate towards them. Choose to love rather than hold on to grudge or anger towards them.
Because you know what, love always wins.
Lift yourself and your toxic family members as well.
When you raise your vibration and are lifted, your toxic family members have no choice but to be lifted with you.
Bring them up to your level! Rather than stooping to their level and wasting your energy on things that will only lower your self-confidence and self-esteem.
5. Affirm love over fear when surrounded by toxicity
Whenever you feel like toxicity is taking over during a family get-together, don’t get sink into it. Don’t get agitated; instead, choose love over fear or love or anger.
Love is the answer to everything. It helps us heal wounds. To see good when things may not always be good. Love gives us hope.
When you feel like someone is moving into your space with negativity and drama, you can quickly remind yourself to choose love over whatever drama they may bring.
Affirmations to help you cope with toxic family members:
- “I choose love over fear.”
- “I choose love over anger.”
- “Toxicity is not welcome in my life.”
- ” Love rules.”
- ” I allow only love, joy, and peace into my life.”
6. Sheild yourself while in your bubble
This is probably one of the best ways to deal with toxic family members.
Before surrounding yourself with family members who are toxic and not aligned with your values, take a few minutes to protect your space by taking deep breaths and visualizing yourself inside a beautiful sacred, golden bubble.
Only positivity can enter this bubble—love, joy, laughter, peace, and happiness. Anything else (toxicity) will repel and not enter your bubble. Instead, it will bounce off as it echoes your way.
This coping mechanism can be pretty helpful when protecting your space and standing by your truth when surrounded by toxicity.
When you don’t put a shield up before entering a space that can easily trigger you, you can quickly become part of it by engaging in negative conversations about yourself and others. And the truth is, it’s pretty easy for this to happen. We’ve all gotten caught up with gossip, even when we didn’t want to.
7. Avoid toxic family members altogether
Your heart may be in the right place when spending time with your family. After all, family is everything! But, when your family is draining your energy, you need to opt out of these relationships until they start behaving. This may not be easy, but you need to take charge of your life by allowing positive influences into your space instead of the energy that can quickly drain you.
8. Meditating can help you to deal with toxic family members
Meditation has completely changed my life, and it can do the same for you! If you are new to meditation or haven’t started practicing yet. I highly recommend you commit to practicing meditation.
This will help you cope with toxicity and live and experience life at a whole new level.
My mentor Emily Fletcher created ZivaMeditation.
ZivaMeditation helps you to master life through mindfulness, meditation, and manifestation. Once you commit to ZivaMeditation, you will notice a sudden change in your life; you will be able to achieve more while doing less.
Grab three FREE days of ZivaMeditation over here! I genuinely hope you will take me up on this offer. You got nothing to lose here!
Related post on how meditation has changed my life:
9. Pause before reacting to toxic family members
Say aunt Sally comes to your home and constantly makes suggestions on how your kids behave. Indirectly she is blaming you for your kid’s behavior.
Your first instinct may be to yell at your kids because now you feel embarrassed.
Your kids are not doing anything but being kids instead of taking your anger out on your kids and creating a mountain out of a molehill.
Pause for a few minutes. Walk outside and then come back and say -:” aunty Sally thank you for your concern. My kids are having fun, and that’s what matters to me. They are kids, and I love seeing my kids happy. So how is ___________ doing? And pivot the conversation back to her.
Don’t let family members that are toxic ruin your life
Unfortunately, raiding yourself of toxic family members will not happen overnight. Like everything else in life, it takes time. It takes effort, patience, and grit.
You love your families, and yes, you want them to be part of your life. But at the same time, you need to let them know what’s acceptable and what’s not. And if what they are doing and saying is affecting you in one way or another, in some shape or form, you need to take action to stay laser-focused on your goals and personal growth.
So, at your next family gathering, when you feel like someone is making you feel like you are not good enough and is criticizing everything you do. Take what they say with a grain of salt. Remember that you are worthy of being YOU.
Visualize yourself in a golden bubble and choose what you want to enter into your bubble and what you don’t want to endure. Set boundaries for yourself, and don’t forget to have compassion by pouring your positivity into their cups.
Toxic family members will not go away immediately, but what you do will make the difference.
Let me know in the comments what your secrets are for dealing with toxic family members.
Thank you so much for reading till the end. I appreciate you! If you enjoyed what you just read, please share this post with another mom who will find this post helpful in one way or the other.
Don’t forget to grab your free journal prompts to uplevel and live your best life. ⬇️⬇️
I enjoyed reading this post. And I can officially relate. As much as you want to hate it, even if toxic, a family is always a family. When I don’t want to be surrounded with negative people, I just let it go and ask for my personal bubble.
I’ve turned to just completely ignoring toxic family members. It’s been the most beneficial.
This post was so, so, helpful for me.
I’m so happy you found this helpful Carmen!