How to Deal With Toxic Family Members or Peers

Toxic Family Members

Our relationships with people can often turn complicated. This article will teach you how to set boundaries with people who employ toxic behaviors so that you can reduce their impact on your life.

What Are the Characteristics of a Toxic Person?

Toxic people often employ manipulation and offensive tactics that emotionally exhaust others. For example, they badmouth, belittle, demean, or put down other people to feel superior. They may even try to control your thoughts or actions to create an unhealthy dependence on them. An interaction with a toxic person often involves a pattern of harmful behaviors that mark you. Consider asking:

  • Do they chip away at my self-esteem?
  • Do they say or do things that make me feel alone or worthless?
  • Do they consistently gaslight my feelings or thoughts by downplaying or circumventing them?
  • Have they harmed me especially as part of their routine—physically, emotionally, or sexually?

How the Toxic Person Harms You?

Sometimes people find it difficult to set boundaries with a person who shows toxic tendencies—understanding the consequences of having a toxic person so involved in your life matters. We recommend pinpointing the behaviors that you qualify as harmful to your overall well-being. People who show unhealthy traits can detrimentally thwart your recovery journey. Their harmful actions include:

  • They gossip about you and your circumstances.
  • They routinely deliver jokes, stories, or words in front of you that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
  • They use intimidation or threats to control you.
  • They patronize or belittle you with their words and actions.
  • They behave passive-aggressively.
  • They try to control you.
  • They use their power or status over you for their benefit.
  • They make you feel like you don’t have choices.

Toxic people often disregard how much damage their words or actions cause. Thus, it is good to protect yourself with clear boundaries, direct communication, or rebuilding or letting go of the relationship.

Protect Yourself By Setting Clear Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries helps you limit the potential harm caused by others. Boundaries will help you avoid situations where the person might take advantage of your emotions or push your buttons to get what they want from you.
Steps to set boundaries:

  • Know where to start: Identify your emotional and mental limits for this individual.
  • Be assertive: Make your limits clear to these individuals. If you need additional support, consult a professional or a confidante to assist your meeting with the toxic person.
  • Reassert your limits: The toxic person may try to test you by pushing your boundaries. Don’t let them get away with it. Set some consequences for if they cross your boundaries or go against them. Such actions show your seriousness regarding the situation.
  • Stay calm, practice self-care:  Apply stress-relieving techniques or mental wellness practices to help your emotions and thoughts. Dealing with a toxic person often calls for more self-care or emotional support. They may lash out or attempt to manipulate or control you during this process.

If the toxic person continues to push against boundaries, consider consulting a professional for further help or ending the relationship.

Disengaging From a Toxic Relationship

If someone is constantly emotionally draining for you, it’s okay to end the relationship with them. Depending on the situation, you may have to apply different strategies. Some strategies include:

  • Distance: Create some distance between you and the said person. That may mean changing your routine, favorite spots, job, or even residence.
  • Restrict all communication: This entails removing or blocking them from all social media accounts. You may have to block their phone numbers or emails. Or you may restrict communication to a set schedule. For instance, you contact them only on their birthdays and holidays. If you can’t avoid all communication, consider using a third party like a mediator or professional applications to serve as a go-between.
  • Counseling: Consider seeing a therapist who specializes in love addiction, codependency, or personality disorders. Their specialty will offer you insight into the situation and help process it.

Therapy and Rebuilding the Relationship

Family therapy can help family members suffering from a toxic family member. Family therapy services help families or relationships bounce back from problems caused by toxic people. Essentially, the therapy will help the family rebuild its family system. During the family therapy sessions that we, too, provide at Restoration Recovery Center,  you will learn how to set healthy boundaries and move toward a more positive relationship. Together, the family unit can learn healthy conflict-resolution and communication skills for a happy, safe family.

A relationship with a toxic person causes so much harm. Setting boundaries with a toxic person protects you. Establishing healthy boundaries helps you go about your life without fear of being hurt, abused, or threatened. If you need assistance setting boundaries, consider seeing a professional like a therapist, counselor, or mediator. They can provide mediating services and educational counseling to improve your odds of success.  Additionally, they will help you process the effects of the toxic person. Your recovery matters, so take steps to help yourself heal and stay healed.  At  Restoration Recovery Center, we serve numerous people struggling with SUD and co-occurring mental health disorders. We understand how these conditions can affect a person’s relationships and family.  Our team of fully qualified clinicians provides extensive therapeutic options like family therapy. We provide an atmosphere where a person can recover while improving their relationships. If you’re ready to recover, contact us today at (888) 290-0925.

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