I Don't Like My Family: How To Identify And Distance Yourself From Toxic Relatives
Updated December 01, 2019
Reviewer Chante’ Gamby, LCSW
In the best scenarios, people maintain positive, healthy relationships with their families. After all, the family is widely regarded as people who you are supposed to be able to count on through thick and thin. Many individuals proudly discuss how much they put family above all, and for some, that may work well. However, there are unfortunate situations where people sometimes do not have the best relationships with their relatives. Sometimes, individuals are born into toxic families and don't have a strong family bond which others have.
When You Don't Like Your Family
When you find yourself in a situation where you do not like your family, it's always important to understand why. Disliking your family doesn't make you a bad person, and it doesn't make you any less worthy of love than anyone else. However, understand the divide between you and your family can be a very relevant and eye-opening experience. It can teach you about standards and what you're willing to accept in life.
When you don't like your family, there are some effective measures which you can take for the sake of your own emotional and mental wellbeing.
Don't Compare Your Situation To Other People's Situations
Often, people can get caught up in comparisons and looking at their situations about another person's situation. The reality is that each individual is unique as are the experiences which they will go through. It's not healthy, nor is it helpful to compare your entire life story to someone else's highlight reel. This is applicable whether you're thinking of someone you know or a person who you follow on social media.
The reality is that everyone has their situations and challenges. Just because someone seemingly has the best life or the best family does not mean they aren't dealing with issues that you don't know about. Ultimately, the grass is always greener on the other side. Focusing on the best ways to deal with your family is infinitely preferable to spending your time in comparison to those who you view as better off than you.
Don't Blame Yourself
None of us get to choose the families which we are born into. Because of the societal pressures which exist around family and being close with family, it's easy to fall into the trap of blaming yourself if you don't like your relatives. The reality is that self-blame is not productive or conducive to making decisions which will benefit you and improve the quality of your life. You should also be aware of the fact that not liking your family doesn't have to adversely impact your general quality of life or the relationships that you have with other people. There's a big, beautiful world out there. Positive and constructive relationships do not have to be mutually exclusive to the individuals who are biologically related to you.
How To Identify Toxic Relatives
The ability to identify toxic relatives is an imperative life skill which will serve you well. Sometimes, the people closest to you are the ones who are capable of doing the most harm. This is why you need to know how to identify toxic relatives. Recognizing the signs of toxic relatives is the very first step of identifying a problem. Only after a problem has been identified can it be solved.
You Don't Enjoy Their Company
If you constantly find yourself dreading the company of a relative, this is one of the strongest indicators that they're toxic. Whenever you're in the company of someone else, it's always important to take note of how you feel around them. This speaks volumes about the relationship dynamics and the health of your interactions with them. If you're constantly landing in conflicts or drama with relatives, then this is certainly indicative of toxicity. Not everyone is compatible, and in spite of biological relationships, you owe it to yourself to have healthy, constructive relationships.
They Don't Apologize For Their Mistakes
No human being is perfect, nor should they be. Even our families make mistakes sometimes; the problem arises when relatives fail to apologize for their mistakes. In many cases, there are various reasons why someone may have issues with owning up to mistakes and apologizing as a mature person would. Failure to apologize for mistakes could pertain to their ego (which is a sign of immaturity), or they could simply see nothing wrong with what they did.
Either way, this doesn't bode well, and this type of attitude is certainly toxic. When a relative does something hurtful, they should be willing to acknowledge that, put ego aside, apologize, and then not repeat their mistake. If any of the steps above are missing, this is a sign of a personal problem within a toxic family member. You deserve better.
They Don't Respect Your Boundaries
As an individual, you have a right to your boundaries. Personal boundaries are healthy and important for the sake of your mental health. When a relative fails to respect your boundaries, they are also failing to respect you, and that's very problematic. Getting angry when they don't have access to you, not wanting to get off the phone when you say you have to go, or expecting to visit you at any time no matter what are a few examples of disrespecting personal boundaries. If your relatives continue to disrespect your boundaries even after you bring this matter to their attention, you should work on distancing yourself from them accordingly.
How To Distance Yourself From Toxic Relatives
Distancing yourself from toxic relatives is paramount. Toxic individuals, regardless of whether they're your family, will drag you down and drain you if the serious distance isn't created. When it's all said and done, you are responsible for your mental and emotional health, regardless of other people's conduct. This is why conducting yourself accordingly and making wise decisions is so important. The following ways of distancing yourself from toxic relatives will certainly prove to be advantageous if you don't like your family.
Cut Off Channels of Communication
Eliminating methods for toxic relatives to contact you is the ultimate method of distancing yourself. This means not taking their phone calls, ignoring text messages and emails, and removing them from your social media pages. If toxic family members continue to initiate contact after you've made it clear that you no longer wish to speak with them, then blocking them is the next best step. In the present day, all mobile phones come with a feature which allows you to block phone numbers of your choosing. Likewise, both email accounts and social media accounts allow users to block individuals who they no longer want to contact them.
Don't Get Roped Into An Argument
When a toxic relative learns that you are making moves to distance yourself from them, they may become angry or attempt to initiate an argument. It's also not uncommon for toxic relatives to try guilt trips or to pull the "but, I'm family" card. Don't fall for it. Familial ties do not give anyone the right to engage in harmful behaviors. If you've reached the point of disliking your family and wanting to distance yourself from them, trust those feelings. You are not in the wrong for taking steps to preserve your overall health and wellbeing.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
Whenever there's a major shift in the company you keep, this can sometimes create a gap. This is why being around positive people in the wake of distancing yourself from a toxic relative is so important. Not only does this expose you to healthy relationships, but it also reduces the temptation of going back to toxic relatives simply for the sake of not feeling alone. This happens more often than most individuals would like to believe, and it's not advantageous to anyone's mental health or wellness. You deserve to have positive people in your life and experience the joys of healthy relationships which are built on mutual respect.
Seeking Outside Help
If you're entangled in a situation with toxic family members or some other problem in life, you may find that seeking outside help is beneficial. Signing up for online therapy with ReGain is the best way of finding professional help and getting advice from someone who knows what they are talking about. Online therapy comes with a plethora of upsides, namely that you can get help regardless of where you live or what your schedule may be. Struggles and challenges in life do not discriminate according to geographical locations, and neither should therapy.
Working with online therapy will require trust, mutual respect, rapport, and confiding in a specialist about issues which may be challenging to talk about. In the beginning, this may seem like a steep hurdle to overcome, but ultimately, you'll find out that it's very much worth it. Asking for help in times of struggle is one of the bravest things you can do. Whether you're having issues with toxic relatives or another matter entirely, you deserve to have access to the best guidance while knowing that your situation will improve.