Do you feel like you're walking on eggshells around family? If you feel like you can't be yourself with family then you might have toxic family dynamics.
What do you envision when you think of the “perfect” family? Perhaps you see a happy couple sitting on the porch with children playing in the yard. There's a white picket fence and a big, beautiful dog chasing the kids around.
Don't you wish real life was that lovely?
Beyond the picture-perfect lives we are accustomed to see on Instagram or television, are the realities of toxic family dynamics.
What Causes Toxic Family Dynamics?
When you come from a family with deeply imbedded toxicity, it’s difficult to imagine happy family gatherings without conflict. Sadly, these issues can lead to complicated feelings of resentment. Likewise, it creates troublesome relationships that seem impossible to mend.
These are the leading causes of unhealthy relationships with family:
- Lack of communication
- Lack of boundaries
- Controlling relationships
- Lack of respect
- Not enough distance
- Lack of empathy amongst family members
- Unresolved conflict
- Inequality amongst certain family members
5 Toxic Family Dynamics Signs
Maybe you're wondering if it's just you that's feeling this way. Possibly, you're thinking, “Am I the toxic person?”. It's likely that these feelings of inadequacy come from toxic family relationships.
Here are 5 signs that you’re living within the most common toxic family dynamics:
1. You feel like a stranger.
Feeling like a stranger amongst your own family is a sad reality that many individuals face in their lives. Naturally, spending time with family should create lasting, healthy relationships.
When you’re feeling out-of-place and unnatural, this creates many uncomfortable feelings. You may feel as if every encounter with these toxic family members is unpredictable. Hence, you tend to keep your distance.
2. You're ridiculed on a regular basis.
Understandably, your family will occasionally nag you when they simply want what is best for you. However, some situations or comments are out-of-line. For examples, does unsolicited negativity sprout from any attempt you make at trying to maintain positivity?
As hard as it is, try your best to instill healthier conversations and hopefully your family will follow suit.
3. You can't get a word in.
I think we've all been there before with someone in our life:
You’re trying to speak your mind with good intentions, when you're suddenly interrupted with bursts of anger and judgement.
Unfortunately, This scene is common in toxic family relations. Because of this, you may feel discouraged to communicate.
4. You'd rather be anywhere but home.
Have you ever devised an escape plan from the home for the day? Maybe you've wondered how you can step out the door without anyone noticing.
I’ve been there more times than I can count. Feeling unwelcome in your home can build resentment. In turn, this may brew into a much larger issue; especially if it goes unaddressed.
5. You're walking on eggshells.
Do you ever feel as if anything you say or do can set someone off? It may feel as if you're walking in a field of landmines. Any step could cause a catastrophic event.
That's how it feels when dealing with toxic family relationships. Sadly, this feeling may cause anxiety and a lack of confidence. Actually, it's not uncommon for people to distance themselves from family when this occurs.
It's important to know that all hope is not lost. Toxic relationships can be improved. If not, you can learn the tools you need to walk away.
Tips to rebuild those unhealthy family dynamics:
We couldn't talk about toxic family dynamics without giving tips for rebuilding those relationships. Just because a relationships is toxic doesn't mean that it's a lost cause.
- See a family therapist (it's more common than you think)
- Have more regular family gatherings (not just for the holidays)
- Be open minded in conversations with family
- Always practice empathy with your family members
- Set boundaries and stick with them!
- Avoid heated topics (politics, rumors, gossip, religion)
- Show more gratitude!
- Respect the boundaries of others.
- Keep hateful comments to yourself.
- Get rid of negative thinking!
These are only a few common issues that lie within a toxic family setting. If any of the signs resonated with you – there's room for growth. Consider facing the issues head on. In addition, seeking professional help is always a great option.
Working on your family life is important to your mental and emotional wellbeing. You only have one life to live – make it an enjoyable one.
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