I am not a huge fan of my family. As many of you know I rarely talk to them. When I say rarely…..my Aunt died on Jan 17th….I spoke to my Uncle for the first time on that Friday (when he called to tell me she died) since 2007. Yes….over 10 years. I don’t deal with toxic people family or no family. I didn’t get to make it to my Aunt’s funeral, not because of my family (I will cuss their asses out) but because I didn’t have adequate childcare for my kids. Many people did, however, assume I didn’t go because I don’t talk to my family. Nope, that wasn’t the case. I know you have a question…So why don’t you talk to them? Because I can’t stand folks who are toxic in the way they act and think so I don’t bother myself. It’s more nitty-gritty reasons that I won’t get into today but I wanted to help some of you out with how to deal with toxic people. These people come in the forms of cousins, Aunts, siblings, parents, and even spouses. Here are 5 ways to deal with toxic family members…..
Don’t talk to them – Easier said than done. Sometimes we have to deal with them because maybe we are in business with them or maybe we have to see them during holidays or family reunions. I don’t speak unless spoken too. So for me, it’s easy not to speak to them. What on earth would we talk about that is going to save them from a cuss out? Maybe the weather…..I cut my family members off. My Uncle has my number but he knows not to call me unless it’s an emergency and that is just when he called me. I was cordial when we spoke but we stayed on the phone for no more than 2 min. It’s best to not speak to people at all when you know they are toxic. The less you say the better….trust me on this
Limit your time – Time means more to me than money and I value my time like it’s liquid gold. If I have to be in your presence I give you a time limit. My Time limit is usually no more than 15 minutes. Small talk and then I walk away. I actually will put my alarm on too because I want to make sure I am not giving you my precious gift. During the holidays don’t stay with toxic family members and if you can, avoid being in the same room with them. If everyone is sitting in the family room go to the kitchen. If everyone is around the tree sit on the opposite side of the person you don’t get along with. Lessen the time you spend together and you will be okay
Don’t take their toxic behavior personally – Some folks have had some bad childhoods. They don’t know any better. They treat you how they were treated or how they feel they were treated. Some people are truly in their own reality and sometimes you have to let them live there. It’s not about you personally sometimes it’s about them. Toxic family members like to say that you’ve done wrong and make you feel guilty And because the ‘feeling guilty’ button is quite large on many of us, even the implication that we might have done something wrong can hurt our confidence and unsettle our resolve. Remember, there is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. Most toxic people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with. Even when the situation seems personal even if you feel directly insulted it usually has nothing to do with you. What they say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self-reflection.
Get to the bottom of why you don’t like each other – Fixing it might be something you can do. There is a family member that I don’t like because she always makes me feel less than or dumber than her. She has the masters degree, she is the smart one, she did this she did that. I have talked to her about it twice but she still goes around making me feel less than so guess what….I cut her off! If you have tried to have a conversation with the person and they still don’t change then at least you have said your peace. If both of you truly want to repair what’s broken you will have to talk to find out why. It only works both ways! This happens a lot in a brother and sister relationship. One child may not like the other child or have resentment because a parent may have treated both differently. Or one child had their dad in their life and other didn’t. Sometimes we live in our feelings is that is what makes us toxic.
Focus on what you can control – You can’t change them. They will have to want the change for themselves. Be your best self in response to their behavior. I can control the time I spend with them so I limit it. I can control the negative energy by not speaking to them. I can control my expectations of them and know that it is what it is and let it go.
My family is a piece of work and I can be also. I know I am not perfect and I make mistakes and sometimes they view me one way when I can be completely the opposite. You ever live with someone for years and then find out things about them that you never saw. We sometimes don’t open our eyes to people we only see them from the level of what we see. Now while you can’t choose your family you can choose your friends. If you have a toxic spouse you can walk away. Let them sit there in their world and be toxic by themselves. If you have a friend that’s toxic….don’t let the door hit you on your way out. Some people will always live in their toxic world…it’s normal to them.
Do you have toxic family members? How do you deal with them?