How to Cope with a Toxic and Estranged Family Relationship
I hope this advice can help those who may have a poisoned or alienated relationship with a family member with whom they have a close relationship.
1. Determine how the relationship can be toxic and how you feel.
A toxic relationship can manifest in several ways. Maybe your parent is always belittling you, lacking empathy, being passive-aggressive or ignoring you when you speak.
Once you have determined the person’s patterns of behavior, you need to know how it affects your mood, your body language, your energy level, your self-esteem and your peace of mind. Knowing how to recognize toxicity and its effects is the first step in understanding your feelings and empowering you to cope with the situation.
2. Accept the fact that you can never find the cause of your parent’s behavior.
People have been on therapy for years – there is never a simple answer. You may be able to talk to your parent about why he / she is acting in a particular way. You can not. Sometimes the reason a person abuses you may not have anything to do with what you have done, but can only be the way you treat and respond to your own life experiences. Hardness can strengthen a person and make another bitter.
In any case, try to reformulate the toxicity knowing that it starts from a place of dissatisfaction or dissatisfaction. The hurtful actions of people become less painful when they realize that they reflect their inner state, not you.
3. Do not normalize toxicity.
If you have done nothing wrong, remember that it is not normal for someone to be constantly negative, inconsiderate and hurtful. It is very easy to lose the sense of good and bad, especially if you inculcate a person’s behavior with stories of trauma or past difficulties.
People tend to make concessions to difficult or insane parents because they forgive and forget, avoid conflict or do not want to push the person further. Empathy is good, but it can not be used to find excuses for terrible behavior. Sometimes you have to set boundaries and say “enough” before such behavior becomes the new normality.
4. Do not wait for your distant relative.
Yes, you can assume that your family has a back because you would do the same, but do not expect to have a strange parent with whom you have difficulty cultivating a relationship. I learned not to be addicted or to wait for help from my sister, even though I grew up with the belief that siblings had to do the same to each other.
5. Decide that two people need to establish a relationship.
As much as you try, if the other person does not want or want, you can not fix a lot. The relationship remains toxic as long as the person can not change. You can not blame yourself. You did your best.
6. Decide how much space you want to give them in your life.
You may meet family members at family reunions or you may need to communicate with them about family issues. In this case, minimize the time you spend in their presence and limit communications to a minimum.
Sometimes, however, you may need to remove them completely or partially from your life, permanently or temporarily. It is emotionally exhausting to leave them space and strive to reach them.
If you think you have tried enough and do your best, do not feel guilty if you pull the line and decide that it is enough.
7. Do not fill bottles
Share your feelings with the people you trust. If the person knows your parent, you may find that she shares the same feelings of pain and disappointment when dealing with her.
Talking about your feelings is therapeutic and helps you understand the situation.
In my case, my parents also have a poisoned relationship with my brother or sister and I realized that it was a great relief for them to let them talk and encourage them not to shut up.
8. Avoid frequent gossip about your parent, especially on a large circle of people.
It makes a difference if you share your feelings with people you trust and constantly focusing all conversations on this individual and what s/he did or said. You risk getting into the habit of speaking badly of someone, and the conversation will often just keep going around in circles. Also, the negative talk can return to your relative’s ears and feed the cycle of negativity and estrangement.
Instead, decrease the mental and emotional energy spent thinking about your relative, and focus on the positive aspects of your life and your loved-ones’ lives.
9. Don’t give your relative an opportunity to blame you.
People like my sister are often extreme narcissists who blame everyone but themselves. It is important not to give him or her ammunition for this blame-game. If he/she always shows up late, acts rude, never tidies up, or uses your things, resist the temptation to do the same in return. Do the right thing and s/he won’t be able to reproach you for anything.
10. Accept you may not be able to have a frank, heart-to-heart conversation.
My sister goes through life demonstrating a character devoid of vulnerability or weakness. If you are faced with an emotionally inaccessible and excessively proud individual, you may have to accept the fact that you may never have that cathartic moment of truth you so crave. Strive for closure on your side and move on.
11. Shift your focus.
Do not dwell on the pain and hurt of “losing” a relative. Don’t focus on trying to grapple with the toxic relationships in your life. Build upon the positive ones you have instead. Accept the cards that life has dealt you and make the best of them. Live your life and cultivate your soul. Be content and grateful for what you have and who you are, for that is more than enough to fill a heart with happiness!