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How to Deal With Toxic Family Members

a teen's toxic family member berates them to the point of tears

Families play a pivotal role in the lives of most people. A supportive family unit can help you stay healthy and well through life’s ups and downs. However, a toxic family environment can have a seriously negative impact on your well-being. For this reason, learning how to cope with toxic family members can be a crucially important skill. You can learn this skill by including a family therapy program in your mental health recovery plan. You can also take steps on your own to deal with toxic family dynamics. Contact Imagine Spokane at 509.870.3810 for more information.

Understanding Family Dynamics

All families have habitual ways of interacting with each other. They also have roles and relationships that affect how they interact. The formal name for patterns of behavior within a family unit is family dynamics. As a rule, these patterns have an enormous influence on your life. That influence helps determine how you:

  • View yourself as a person
  • Develop your personality
  • Act in daily life
  • Look at the world around you
  • Think about yourself in relation to the world

A strong, supportive family environment tends to create a positive impact in each of these areas. However, an unstable, unsupportive environment can have the opposite effect.

What Is a Toxic Family Environment?

Sometimes, family environments are not only unsupportive. They are outright toxic. In other words, they exert a significant negative impact on your day-to-day well-being. As a child or adult, you may experience many different kinds of toxic behavior. Potential examples of this behavior by a family member include:

  • Name-calling
  • Using harsh or demeaning language when talking to you
  • Disregarding your rights or needs
  • Ignoring your feelings and/or point of view
  • Refusing to take responsibility for harmful things they do
  • Blaming others for their shortcomings
  • Repeatedly failing to respect your personal boundaries
  • Using manipulative tactics to get what they want
  • Frequent lying and denial of reality

Toxic family members may or may not be aware of what they’re doing. They may also feel little motivation to change. For these reasons, dealing with a toxic family environment on your own can be extremely challenging.

Dealing With Toxic Family Members in a Family Therapy Program

A family therapy program is designed to help you resolve family issues that have a harmful impact on you. At the same time, it can help your family resolve issues with you that have a harmful impact on them. In other words, family therapy can help you change a toxic dynamic.

During family therapy, you and your family members will identify key problems affecting your home environment. With help from your therapist, you will talk about these problems as honestly as possible. In addition, you’ll take concrete steps to address them.

Coping With a Toxic Family Environment on Your Own

Experts recommend a number of other things to help you cope with toxic family members. One important step is creating well-defined personal boundaries. It’s also essential to keep your distance when those boundaries aren’t respected. Other steps you can take include avoiding arguing and bringing up old complaints. They also include not expecting perfection from yourself or your family members.

Get More Information on Dealing With Toxic Family Members at Imagine Spokane

Have more questions about family dynamics and toxic family environments? Talk to the professionals at Imagine Spokane. We’re happy to explain the positive and negative influences of the typical family unit. We can also help you identify telltale signs of a toxic family member.

At Imagine, we include family therapy among our many treatment options. With our help, you can work through the major problems affecting you and your family. In this way, we also help you nurture a more positive family environment. Just call us today at 509.870.3810 or contact us online.