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Family – Part 18

Apr 27, 2022

Toxic Family Members
The word “family” can bring to mind an array of complex emotions. Depending on your childhood and current family situation, these feelings could be mostly positive, mostly negative, or an equal mix of both.

If you’ve experienced a toxic family dynamic, your feelings may go beyond frustration or annoyance. Instead, interacting with or even thinking about your family might cause significant emotional distress.

Toxic or dysfunctional family dynamics can be hard to recognize, especially when you’re still entrenched in them.
And that is because there are many people you can choose from in your life and get rid of if needed. You can pick your friends, and if there’s a problem, you can always choose to part ways. However, you can’t pick your family, and you can’t leave them if you are a minor or if they are your only source of living. Sometimes, your family can have qualities you don’t like, and it can be hard to deal with them. Other times, you are unsure whether you live in a toxic family situation or not.
After all, every family has its problems. People have bad days, or there may be bumps in the road, such as financial difficulties.

Having problems with family members does not necessarily mean they are toxic. Relationship problems are normal and can often be solved by honest communication and problem-solving.

One question to ask yourself is, “Is this relationship harming me more than benefiting me?” If the relationship is more harmful, it may be toxic.

Two key characteristics of toxic family members is that they are:
1) Dishonest
2) Unwilling to accept any responsibility for their behaviours
Because of their unwillingness to take responsibility, it is difficult to repair relationships with them. Setting boundaries/limits is crucial.

Some other common characteristics of toxic family members:

• Cause stress, anxiety, anger, confusion, exhaustion, and self-doubt in others.
• Can make you feel like you are going crazy or that you are the victim of a psychopath trying to manipulate and control you.
• Their behaviours are severely affecting your life and health.
• Unlikely to understand how other people feel, or to even care.
• Self-centred and emotionally dependent.
• Extremely negative and critical.
• Financially irresponsible.
• Feel entitled.
• Manipulative.
• Disrespectful.
• Emotionally abusive bullies.
• Adept at sensing your weaknesses and will use them against you.
• Passive aggressive (Passive aggression is “non-verbal aggression that manifests in negative behaviour. Instead of openly expressing how they feel, someone makes subtle, annoying gestures directed at you. Instead of saying what’s actually upsetting them, they find small and petty ways to take jabs at you until you pay attention and get upset”

• Many become worse with age.
Toxic people act in these ways because it works to get their needs met. If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t continue acting in these ways.

Tomorrow in sha Allah we will take a look at some ideas on how to cope with toxic family members.

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