experts call those people, communication with whom gives us mental pain, emotional discomfort, or simply makes us feel somehow “wrong”. Toxic family members, like poison, slowly poison us with skillfully veiled reproaches, ridicule, accusations, or pseudo-care. The complexity of such relationships is that the emotional stress and aggression that are broadcast in them are hidden and directly denied by the tox relative. That is why in such communication we can feel extremely bad, but not even understand why. Or, for example, we may feel humiliated because of a cruel joke addressed to us, and in response to hear – “you just do not understand jokes.” That is, a toxic person, as a rule, always denies an aggressive attack on the interlocutor, hiding behind some socially approved motives. As a rule, a long stay in such toxic conditions has a destructive effect on the psyche. We can begin to doubt ourselves, our success, or just constantly feel depressed.
Of course, if we are faced with discomfort in communication, then the easiest way is to just stop it without wasting your nerves and time. But when it comes to close people, everything is much more complicated. For example, we may live under the same roof with a toxic relative, or even depend on him for something – to use his money, help in caring for our child, etc. And in this case, we cannot simply stop communicating or constantly conflict, further aggravating the situation. Our task in such a situation is to survive next to the toxin, not to deteriorate morally.
And the first step that we can take in this direction is to realize that our relative is toxic. Here are the typical scenarios for the “poisonous games” our loved ones might play:
“I care about you. This is how a loved one can justify their constant attempts to control your life, patronize, impose their views, etc.
“I’m just kidding. In this case, the relative will sarcastically, ridicule you, tease you for any reason, and then sincerely wonder, “what’s so offensive, you just don’t have a sense of humor”.
“I want you to be a better person.” In this way, the tox relative will justify constant criticism or devaluation of your statements.
“This is not enough.” “Well, what to praise you for, anyone could do it”, “an increase is good, but the salary is didn’t become any more ”,“ it’s great that I started to play sports, I wish I’d stop being rude to me ”- in this game your successes will always be too little toxam, they will always find something to cling to to show that they are still unhappy with you, or your achievements are nothing do not stand.
“I’m better.” Another type of toxic communication is eternal tacit competition, in which a toxic relative naturally wins: “I’m in your I have given birth to two for years already ”,“ I have so many problems and I don’t cry ”,“ No one would dare say that to me. ”
How to communicate with relatives-toks?
After realizing that loved ones are behaving toxic, try to restructure your behavior towards them. Here are some guidelines to follow:
Stop waiting for them to change. Our main mental suffering is associated with the desire for mom (dad, sister, grandmother) to behave differently – “right”, in accordance with their role of a loved one. For example, you may think, “She is my mother, she has to support me.” It’s time to grow up and admit that things are going differently in your family – for example, your mom doesn’t know how to support. It is better to soberly admit this, and stop hoping that the loved one will change. There is nothing more destructive to the psyche than knocking on closed doors forever.
Distance yourself emotionally. It’s time to realize that despite your blood ties, it is not safe for you to maintain a close relationship with this person. Therefore, try to communicate in a dosage manner, avoiding topics that are meaningful to you and frankness. For example, you can choose several “safe” areas that you will discuss with a relative without stress – for example, talk to your mother about her favorite TV shows, the weather, flowers planted in the country, and so on.
Do not take everything personally. It is important to remember that any toxic remarks addressed to you are not about you, this is about your relative. It is his “cockroaches” – childhood traumas, unfulfilled ambitions, envy, anxiety – that push him to veiled aggressive attacks against you.
Build boundaries. It is very important to protect yourself in communication and not let your family hurt you. Indicate your feelings and that such behavior with you is unacceptable – “I don’t want to discuss this,” “this is none of your business,” “I will not communicate in such a tone,” etc.
Take off the “masks” in communication. Try the veiled aggression of a relative directly and openly – “it sounds as if you are trying to offend me”, “have you called me fat now?”, “it’s just difficult for you to accept my success”, “what exactly should I do now ? ” etc. This way of communication is more stressful and energy-consuming, but can help upset the abuser.
Find something good in them. To bear an unpleasant relative, it is important to find something positive and valuable in him. For example, he can cook well, drive a car well, or bargain in the market. Notice the talents of a difficult relative, ask them to share the secrets of your skill – so there will be less stress in communication.
Enlist the support of those who truly value you. In order not to drown in the sea of negativity around you, it is important to maintain close and trusting communication with those who are you really appreciates. The stronger your bond with such people, the easier it will be for you to distance yourself from the poison that your relatives spray on you.
Develop self-support. Learn to often self-notice your successes and achievements, and also give up unproductive self-criticism in case of failure (instead, make it a habit to notice your mistakes without unnecessary emotions and look constructively way out).