Would you consider your family toxic?
What about unhealthy?
It’s often difficult to see one’s family as “toxic,” “unhealthy,” or “traumatic.” No one wants to believe their family fits this description. We want to tall believe that our family is a beautiful puzzle and array of characteristics, behaviors, opinions, styles, cultures, fashion, etc.
But the reality is that family isn’t this cut and dry. In fact, the principles of family therapy can help us understand just how complicated the family system or structure is.
In this brief article (video), I discuss a few ways to manage difficult and unhealthy family dynamics.
It’s often helpful, once you finally accept the unhealthy status of the family structure, to engage in a few practice behaviors that can help you move from “imprisonment” to “freedom.” Some ways to begin the healing process includes but is not limited to:
- Learning to distance yourself: Distancing yourself is sometimes the only way to heal from what your family has done to you. Separating yourself help you to reposition yourself, reset your mindset, and gain proper boundaries if you are actively working on improving yourself while away from your family.
- Educate yourself: Education never fails us. The more you know sometimes, the better it is to deal with things.
- Move on/Move away from guilt and shame: Shame and guilt can hold you hostage and punish you time and time again. Once you make a decision, stick with it and follow it through to the end, unless you know deep down that you need to change something or alter your response.
- Bring the law into things (within reason): Sometimes family who are unhealthy and lack boundaries can lead us to have to get the law involved. The police, your attorney, the local DA’s office, etc. may need to get involved until your family or family member understands that you aren’t going to be bullied.
- Set and maintain proper boundaries: Boundaries are everything. Family therapy tells us that boundaries can be rigid or porous/flexible and that it is often best to have a combination of both.
- Avoid (emotionally, behaviorally, and cognitively): Avoidance doesn’t always mean that you are running away from something. Sometimes avoidance is wise.
For a thorough explanation of these tips and more, watch the full video here:
Photo by haldean