how to deal with toxic family members

How to Handle Toxic Family Members

6th May 2021

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With May being National Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to take a moment to place some focus on toxic family members. I’m sure everyone out there knows what I’m talking about and can think about one person in their extended family that happens to be rather toxic to their mental health. 

Whether it’s that older relative who’s stuck in their ways and can’t begin to see things from your perspective, or that narcissistic family member who always makes life about them, or the family member who plays victim with a sob story every time you’re around, we all know that one person who places a huge drain on our well being. 

Learning how to handle toxic family members is a sensitive topic. We’re raised to love our family without conditions and to embrace this bloodline of the family regardless of whether they drain our mental health or not. While this concept can help keep a family united, it can always place significant harm on one’s mental health. Below you’ll find a list of tips that will help you figure out how to handle toxic family members so that you can stop feeling obligated to put up with such negative relationships. 

How to Handle Toxic Family Members 

How to deal with toxic family members

Minimise Communication

Obviously, you can opt to disown the toxic family member completely, but some of you may not be comfortable with that concept. This is why I always opt to advise my friends to minimise communication with their toxic family members. When you’re at a family gathering, do your best to avoid engaging in any long conversations with this person and keep yourself surrounded by a positive family so that you’re not caught up in an emotionally draining conversation with that toxic family member. 

Reduce Social Media Engagement

If you’re connected with this toxic family member on social media, then consider muting them or restrict their access to your updates. Facebook has a way to create a restricted list so that toxic family members can only see your public updates instead of everything you post. This option will help reduce the amount of time you spend engaging with a toxic family member on social media and remove their power to leave negative or condensing comments on anything you post via “friends only” status. 

Forgive Who They Are

Toxic family members may not realize that they’re being toxic to your mental health, and while I’d love to tell you that you can engage in a conversation about how they make you feel, chances are that conversation will leave you angry and/or crying. Your best bet is to forgive your toxic family member inside your heart and mind but never forget the type of person they are.

This will allow you to live and engaged peacefully without being dragged into their negative grasp of toxicity. Many of you probably know what I mean, because we all have that one toxic person we’re still holding a grudge about, but letting that grudge go while keeping in mind how bad that person is will help protect your mental health for the long term. 

When it comes to toxic family members there are many ways you can work to handle their evil ways, but I believe these tips I shared today will help guide you forward in protecting your mental health all the while maintaining an amicable relationship with this toxic family member.