First and foremost, family isn't always blood, right? Often our best friends are closer to us than our own brothers or sisters are, and that's ok. Another thing to remember about family is that we don't necessarily have to love them or even like them just because they are family. I know a few friends that have secretly revealed to me that if they had a choice, they would have never chosen the siblings they have. This can only mean one thing. They simply don't like them. The number one reason why? They are pure toxic.
It's easy to stay away from toxic people in our lives, for the most part. You can ignore your co-worker and you don't have to talk to your neighbour that spews toxicity all the time. Family? Not so easy. We can't necessarily ignore them, especially when we see them at Christmas and family functions so how do we handle?
I think if we understand our toxic family members a little more we may be better equipped to deal with them and tolerate them because you know they aren't going away anytime soon. Here are a few things to realize about your family member that you might not know or you simply just forgot.
1. They don't care what you think.
If it's a brother o r sister, they really don't care. They actually probably don't like you for many reasons of their own, so your opinion will never matter to them. When they see you they are probably eager to spew venom your way and that's only because they know how to get your goat. You will have to learn to just ignore them. Eventually their bantering will stop.
2. They are battling their own demons.
Yes you were probably raised the same, in the same house with the same parents but their upbringing might have a totally different effect on them than it did to you. We all feel different things and some of us are stronger than others. Just because you handled things well and moved on doesn't mean they have as well. They are probably having a bit of a harder time dealing with things than you did. Leave them be.
3. If you give it back it fuels them.
Don't feed into their negativity. That's exactly what they want. Anyone who is negative is craving that. Let it go. Most toxic people are looking for a battle ground. A place where they can spew and pick on the little guy, or anyone really. Don't let that person be you. Just graciously walk away from them. Show them that you aren't interested in playing on their battle field with them.
4. Hurt people hurt people.
They are angry and unless they deal with their anger, they will always be angry. There isn't anything you can do about that. You could diplomatically and maybe gently suggest they get help for their anger issues but I suspect that won't go over well anyway. Sometimes hurt people have to figure it out themselves and realize that they can't carry anger with them for the rest of their lives. Until then, there isn't anything you can do. Just let them be.
5. They do need you and maybe even love you, they just don't know how to show it.
Love isn't the first emotion they feel and they have no clue how t o show it or express it. They probably do love you, even if it's just a little, but they are so filled with toxicity that it has taken over their soul. Some toxic family members don't want you to know they love you or need you as they have built up a dark wall of hate and that's all they want you to see. Be gentle with them. Maybe one day their love will shine through.
6. They are fine without you. Go ahead and cut the cord.
They are full of toxicity. You aren't. You don't really need them in your life nor do they nee d you. It's ok to disassociate from them. Sometimes we don't necessarily need our families and remember you don't get to choose your family but you can choose who gets to stay. When you've had enough and ready to kick them to the curb, go ahead and do it. Remember thing #1. They don't care.
Just because we are born into the family we have doesn't mean we have to live them and keep them in our lives forever. We didn't pick them, remember? T he great thing about being an adult is that you can decide who gets to stay in your life and who gets the boot. Choose wisely.