Do you feel a toxic vibe in your family? You make many choices, but you don’t get to choose the family you are born in. Also, you get the opportunity to fly the nest, at least not until you’re an adult. Being stuck between toxic siblings or family members is not a pleasant experience but a stressful one. As a young adult, you may not know how to deal with disrespectful siblings or controlling family members. By the end of this article, you will know how to deal with toxic family members and learn to respond to them. What are the signs that you grew up in a toxic family?
Let’s dive in!
According to a study, 47.4% of inmates and 12.1% of students face family instability in their early lives.
Whether at family or work, a toxic environment is not a place where you can grow and evolve as your best version.
The sad truth is that many of us do not realize that our family is toxic for a long time. Or not aware of how to deal with your disrespectful siblings until you see other families treating their kids better. And this will most likely not happen until you grow older.
It may be a bit difficult to cut ties with a family because, of course, we are talking about a family here. The bond and connection are always there, and family can be everything you have.
However, it is important to help yourself and learn how to deal with and respond to toxic family members.
What Is A Toxic Family Environment?
A toxic family environment is where one or many of the family members abuse each other – in the form of physical, mental, or emotional abuse.
A toxic family always brings you down, no matter how big your achievements are. It is a place where your efforts are unrecognized or constantly belittled, making you feel incompetent or less worthy.
A dysfunctional family where you feel physically and emotionally drained from giving with little or no receiving from family members.
Abuses in a toxic family environment may also include:
- physical violence
- sexual abuse
- inappropriate comments about your appearance or body
- negative criticism
Signs Of A Toxic Family Member
Perhaps you are surrounded by toxic brothers and sisters who control, and you do not even know it.
This is because you are not familiar with the signs of a toxic family member. These signs will help you see that they are toxic or how to deal with such controlling family members.
Therefore, we will show you some of the signs you will detect to know if your family members are toxic or not.
Most of the time, it is associated with abuse, and some of those abuses include physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, and perhaps, sexual abuse.
As per the study, 73 million boys and 150 million girls under 18 years had experienced various forms of sexual violence at their homes.
Don’t be confused; we will break it down into simple terms that will help you understand better on how do deal with toxic family member:
1. Unrealistic Standards
Often, when you are given tasks to perform in the family, you are always given unrealistic tasks.
Such tasks will take so much of your time to eventually affect your time to get adequate sleep, time to play, or those times to do school assignments.
It is much more about assigning you tasks that are too much for you to handle.
2. Harsh Criticism
You may have been subjected to some criticisms that have made you felt unloved, unwanted, or inferior, which is not good for the development of a kid.
At times, while dealing with disrespectful siblings, they tend to blame you for their faults.
They hardly take responsibility for what they have done wrong. And you are left with no clue on how to respond to toxic family members.
3. Being Controlled
This is one of the most common behaviors exhibited by a toxic family member. And they may sometimes try to take control of your life, including your career decisions and relationships.
They may sometimes show you that they can only support and love you to follow what they want for you.
This is a threat and a means to control you. This may sometimes lead to fear, and you will also find it challenging to make your own decision, overall, tampering with your confidence.
4. Disrespect And Hatred
Your family, including your relatives, may be toxic if you don’t feel loved or you feel disrespected or disdained. There are situations where your self-esteem will be chipped away, and your vulnerability might get attacked.
While on the one hand, your family might mock some of your choices; on the other, you may be left amazed at not being able to deal with such disrespectful siblings.
5. Emotional Or Physical Abuse
This is a horrible one that could involve domestic violence, most possibly due to your siblings or family members’ addiction to substances like alcohol or drugs. You might need to get out and cut ties with that family at this stage.
Beating you physically as a result of addiction or lack of self-control could eventually lead to death. Emotional abuse may include a derogatory statement, gaslighting, and others.
According to a study, 91.7% of victims are maltreated by one or both parents in the USA. Where 10.7% are physically abused, and 7% are sexually abused.
6. Sexual Abuse
This might not have happened to you, but you might have heard of situations where parents sexually abuse their children or when a sibling sexually abuses another one. Dealing with such toxic and disrespectful siblings can indeed be a greater challenge.
Sadly, in the USA, only 65,000 children are sexually abused by their family members every year.
However, there are many teens out there who are in an unhealthy relationship. Just because they don’t figure out whether the relationship is toxic or not, they don’t find a way to get out of the relationship. Find out the signs that your teen is in an unhealthy relationship.
Sexual abuse does not necessarily mean having intercourse with you. It could involve inappropriate touching, sexual comments about your body, sexual innuendo, or gestures.
7. Dismissive Of Your Feelings
Usually, a family should encourage you and always be available to listen to your feelings. They will most times support you when in difficult times.
However, you surely know that you are in a toxic family when no one cares about how you feel, and they disagree with anything you have to say even when they know you are not wrong.
This may likely lead to a lack of confidence, frustration, depression, and anxiousness.
How To Respond To Toxic Family Members?
Learning how to deal with controlling family members, dealing, or responding to them could be quite tricky. Because, most of the time, your psychological stability would have been greatly affected.
It will take a high level of courage to respond correctly when you find yourself in this kind of situation.
Firstly, you will need to be calm, do deal with this issue. Meanwhile, you might need to understand that you cannot change them because you can only change those that want to be changed.
Check below for some of our suggested ways of how to respond to toxic family members:
1. Understand The Pattern
One thing you need first to understand is the pattern in which toxic people try to use. The first thing they do is to be charming, which is how they will try to get to you.
Meanwhile, they will try to be loving, impressive, and attentive.
Also, they will eventually get you to trust them before they start to exhibit their manipulative behavior.
Chances are, you will most likely be stuck already, and you will have to compromise each of your decisions to theirs.
This pattern will be repeated as often as possible, and you need to recognize it and build boundaries with the person involved.
2. Empower Your Motives
You can do this by ensuring you are compromising to their decisions from your position of power and not a feeling of being controlled.
Stop looking at yourself from the position of a victim.
Decide what you want to do for them like you are controlling them and how they behave. This is not about your thoughts, but what you believe in.
3. Get To Know Why They See What They See In You
A toxic sibling or family member will always try to label you the opposite of what you are.
You might have been termed as:
- or a nasty person.
Just know that you are the opposite of what they termed you and accept that truth about yourself.
4. Know Your Boundaries
You must understand that you cannot please everyone; stop trying to work harder by exhausting yourself to please toxic people.
You must know what you can tolerate and those things you cannot.
This will help guide your response on who you allow into your boundary and who you don’t.
5. You Do Not Need To Explain
Let your No be no when dealing with a toxic sibling or family member. You don’t have to explain some of your actions. And this will help you lose contact with such disrespectful siblings within the family.
6. Don’t Judge
Try to be respectful, compassionate, and kind but ensure you do all these to yourself first.
Reject behavior, people, and requests without trying to change yourself into something you will not like.
7. Claim Ownership Of Your Strengths And Weaknesses
Know who you are. Everyone is brilliant, beautiful, messy, and a work in progress. Own your flaws, accept them, and on one can use your weaknesses against you.
This is because toxic family members will try to play down your strengths and play up your weaknesses to control you.
If, however, you can accept your strengths and weaknesses, their opinions about you will not matter.
8. See The Solution, Not The Problem
Instead of getting angry, sad, or depressed unnecessarily over their behavior, put your focus on the solution.
Therefore, focus on how you want to avoid getting messy with them.
So, put in your time and effort in mastering the art of responding above reacting.
9. Get Yourself Surround By Good People
You need to try and open up yourself to someone you trust. But, this should be someone that can assure you that you are not alone in the process. And that you can be free to express your feelings.
Learning how to respond to toxic family members rather than reacting can be vital to keep the strings attached, thereby avoiding the final blow of cutting ties.
How To Deal With Toxic Family Members?
- Become aware of yourself.
- Decide what and whom you want to keep in life.
- Focus your attention on personal goals.
- Detach from topics that don’t please you.
- Let them know you’re not interested in those subjects.
- Set healthy boundaries.
- Learn to say no.
- Seek guidance for yourself.
- Prioritize your needs.
- If possible, move out from them.
Signs Of Having Disrespectful Siblings
When people talk about toxic family members, they’re usually speaking about a dad they don’t get along with or a mom who is seemingly trying to ruin their life.
But toxic family members can most often include your siblings, too. And it can lead to a lot of stress, as you try to figure out how to deal with them.
What are the signs of disrespectful siblings?
- They don’t respect your space or boundaries.
- Your interactions are energy draining.
- They only bring negativity into your life.
- They try to manipulate you in some way or another.
A relationship should never be draining. If it is so, never hesitate to walk away. That would be the best call you can take.
Let’s look at the next section below to find out when the ultimatum can be arising out.
When To Cut Ties With A Toxic Family?
Although it’s a primary task to know how to deal with controlling family members, you need to understand that you might have to cut ties with your toxic family members if they have refused to make things bearable for you.
This might not be easy, but you will need to take some steps despite being difficult to leave a family.
1. Reduce Communication To A Bare Minimum
It would be best if you did not spend too much time with a family member who has refused to respect you and make you feel better.
Therefore, minimize the time you spend with them.
2. Let Your Private Matters Be Only For You
It would help if you stopped saying everything that has happened to you to the toxic family member because they don’t wish you well anyways, keep your private matters private.
3. Stop Contact Completely or Give A Break
If the situation has gotten to something unbearable and calls for an exit, it’s better to take a step forward towards cutting the ties rather than letting it affect your mental peace, balance, and health.
Dealing with a toxic family member can be quite difficult, and it requires a lot of patience at times.
Cutting ties with a family member may not be the best choice, but it is advisable to cut ties once the situation demands and goes beyond limits.
Although this option may not be your best bet, it should be one of the last choices to consider.
Concluding Thoughts On How To Deal With Toxic Family Members
Having a family is a boon in many ways. Having a sense of mutual love, respect, and care with the presence of them makes it even cheerful.
However, just like a bad apple spoils the whole bunch, the presence of a toxic family member and not knowing how to deal with disrespectful siblings takes away a lot of mental peace and positive energy.
While it is imperative to figure out ways, learn how to deal with controlling family members.
Though, think of separation may be the last option, one would even want to consider it. It makes sense to call it an end and cut ties once you are sure it goes beyond your threshold.
Key Takeaways On How To Deal With Toxic Family Members
- It can be challenging to know what you can do if you’re living with a toxic family member.
- Toxicity is associated with abuse, and some of those abuses include physical abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, and perhaps, sexual abuse.
- According to a study, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States.
- During one year, the abuse equates to more than 10 million women and men.
- It takes a high level of courage to respond correctly when surrounded by a toxic family member.
- Try to minimize the communication with that member.
- Learning how to deal with a controlling family is the smart call to take.
- Try to deal with disrespectful siblings by having a clear conversation with them.
- Cutting ties with family can only be your last choice if things get too messy, including sexual, physical, or mental abuse from family members.
Is It Ok To Distance Yourself From The Toxic Family Members?
Thinking of distance yourself be the best option. Try to figure out the ways to get out of the situation as soon as possible. It is ok to cut ties with family members.
Why Are Older Siblings Mean To Younger Ones?
Most of the time, older siblings resent the younger ones because they think that the younger ones get more attention. And, being the older one, they may sometimes try to take control of your life, including your career decisions and relationships.
How To Deal With Disrespectful Siblings?
The best way to deal with your disrespectful siblings is not to try to fix the problematic person. Also, don’t forget your well-being comes first.
How To Deal With Controlling Family Members?
Below are tactics for dealing with controlling family members:
- Keep your calm. It is the best thing to do.
- Allow yourself to take care of your own needs first.
- Don’t get provoked. Try to avoid the bait.
- Remember to accept the problematic person fully.
How Do You Know If A Family Member Is Jealous Of You?
The signs which show that a family member is jealous of you:
- They will never appreciate your accomplishment.
- Their motive is to make you feel that everything you got is by your luck.
- They try to outdo you.
Is It Ok To Leave Your Toxic Family?
It’s worth fixing the internal damage. However, if you can’t, it makes sense to call it an end and cut ties. Sometimes, it is ok to cut ties with the family.