Do you think you might have toxic family members? As scary as it can be to ask this question when the answer is “yes” there is a lot of healing that comes from knowing and setting boundaries.

Does this sound familiar? You are getting ready to go to a family party and you start to get uptight, frustrated, maybe a little fearful. Or perhaps you start to hold your breath or even feel like crying. Why would you feel this way? This is your family after all. A time to get together and relax, laugh and have fun. So why do you dread it? Why is it not fun for you? It could be that one or more of your family members has some toxic traits.


Here’s a quick list of some toxic traits to help you know if that is what you are dealing with:

  • They judge you
  • They question what you do
  • They tease you in an unkind way
  • They make jokes that aren’t funny, they are meant to get you to conform
  • You feel like you need to defend yourself
  • They are manipulative
  • They aren’t really interested in anything that is important to yourself
  • They want you to prove yourself, but they won’t accept it if you do
  • They constantly change the rules and keep you guessing what is next
  • They never say they are sorry even when they have obviously hurt you
  • They present themselves as better than everyone else, they have no faults
  • They are negative about everyone and everything and are always criticizing
  • They blame you for… whatever

This is quite a list and there are more I could add. However, if any of these sound familiar just remember IT ISN’T YOU!! No matter how many times they make it look and sound like it is!

So how do you deal with toxic family members?

The best thing to do is remember you get to set the boundaries! And the boundary has to be what works for you. So take a minute long before any gathering begins and choose your boundary. It can be as simple as avoiding the toxic person while at the party, maybe have a party buddy who never leaves your side. Or not inviting them if you are hosting. You can do that.

Another helpful way to deal with toxic people is to practice before what you will say to them. Toxic people hate to be called on the carpet and look bad in front of other people. Make sure you are ready for their comeback. They are masters at this game. But when you stand your ground most of the time they will walk away. This may be a good way to stop them for the entire party.

You can also imagine yourself as a bouncy ball and just let everything they say bounce off of you. Don’t spend one nanosecond thinking about what they say or do. Never question if they are right.

Remember if they have bullied you for a long time they will be angry that you are changing the rules now. If they are violent in any way make sure you do everything you can to protect yourself. Don’t leave the party alone. Don’t do anything to further egg them on. Just be done with them. Make sure there are others around you when they are near.

So square your shoulders, take a deep breath and smile your biggest smile. Be confident! You’ve got this! You are worth it and you deserve to attend gatherings and enjoy, not dread them!

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P.S. If you enjoyed this article you’ll also love How to be Happy in 5 Simple Steps, 32 Positive Affirmations for Christians and How to be Happy and Attractive Through Positive Self-Talk.

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