Got Toxic Family?

I know from the comments some of you have toxic families of origin. Maybe it’s your mother, or father, or both. Maybe it’s an older sister who still hates you for being born. For some of you, it’s a group effort with everyone including Aunts, Uncles, and In-Laws being ugly and destructive most of the time.

Please believe me when I tell you it is not God’s will for you to get endlessly beat up by your family! Or by his family for that matter.

Got Toxic Family?

I mention this now because we’re coming out of the holidays, and odds are those of you with toxic families got hit by them in the last couple of months. While that’s fresh in your minds, I suggest you and hubby have a hard talk about difficult relatives.

Odds are he won’t see the situation the way you do. Men tend to be better at ignoring rudeness and we may miss some of the more subtle things. Most guys want to fight their battles out in the world and have peace at home, and that sometimes means we’re willing to overlook or put up with more than we should. Saying things like “Being treated that way is wrong” and “I need you to protect me” might help him see the situation more clearly.

Beyond how you and your hubby are treated, toxic family can be harmful to your children. Even if they’re spared direct harm, seeing you treated wrongly sets a bad example. It’s easier to disrespect mom and dad when you see adult relatives doing it – and getting away with it.

The most effective way of dealing with toxic family is to limit exposure. This means both how often you see them and how long you stay when you get together. A strong ultimatum sometimes brings change, but it then requires diligence to keep the wrong things from slowly creeping back in. Another option is to reduce contact and then when you’re asked why you can answer honestly and offer to get together more often if they’re willing to change.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m so thankful the family I have locally isn’t toxic!

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6 Comments on “Got Toxic Family?

  1. I spent every single day of 2017 hating myself and wondering why I’ll never be good enough for my dad. Obsessing, driving everyone crazy, trying to figure out what was wrong with me.

    We buried my grandfather on the 29th and had his funeral on new years eve. I said goodbye to the first man who ever loved me, because my father abandoned me before i was born.and i was thinking about my life and how much time I’ve wasted trying to get my dad to love me.

    My dad had a supposed near death experience in March and accused me of not caring about him. He asked if i would regret not talking to him if he died. But i realized i would regret all this time i wasted looking for love in a place i would never get it. And i know i would never let another guy string me along like this.

    So, I’m done with my dad. I’m not going to try any more. Not going to think about it. He can be miserable without me around but I’m done trying.

  2. This Christmas my wife’s family (who all live in or near their hometown, 1500 miles away) gave her the cold shoulder. They were busy with their own lives, and she said that when they didn’t need anything from her they’d stop calling. All I could do was say, “I’m so sorry.”

    One thing that I try to avoid is criticizing them; that’ her privilege. Family loyalties, even when abused, do run deep.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 438 – No Hope But This {FMF}My Profile

  3. I read this post yesterday, then read it to my husband. By the third paragraph I knew we had a toxic member in our family. Our son- in-law! He’s toxic toward our younger daughter, and myself. It’s hard for my husband to see. This young man strick’s best when my husband is out of the room.

    I see a pattern in his life. His parents divorced, his mother is passive aggressive. His father is quiet. My daughter is strong willed, an in charge person, but she’s not pushy, she is in love and loving toward her husband. Most of his toxicity is in the area of making fun, questioning motives, and being disrespectful.

    How does one handle this rude behavior without avoiding one’s children?

    • @Diane – That is indeed a difficult situation.
      First I would suggest your husband make an effort to be more aware and to not leave you alone with the young man.
      You may also be able to avoid some of this by picking and choosing what you say. Don’t give him a hook, and if he starts in don’t play along. Try to change the subject. Get up and go to the bathroom or go get a drink when he’s out of line. Do it often enough and he might get a clue. Or your daughter might see what’s happening.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Boxes: A Nice Place to VisitMy Profile

      • Thank you. You’ve got me thinking. And I’ll be talking this over with my husband and younger daughter.

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