“You never turn your back on family”
“It’s the only family you’ve got”
“Family is forever”
The sayings and sentiments around family are endless. We see and hear about loving families and our heart aches. We hope and wish that maybe they will change. We think “Maybe if I love them enough, they will see my efforts and know how much I care and that will be enough.” We want to believe that somehow our family will have a pivotal moment that transforms their thoughts, actions, and behaviors and that the family we long to have will finally manifest. The stories, films, and literature about these types of situations are endless and it gives us hope. Unfortunately, more often than not this is not the reality and instead we are left building ourselves up, while our families let us down.
It’s normal to want to have a good relationship with our family. However, there comes a time where we have to cut our losses and realize that by staying in the relationship with one or all of our family members we are allowing ourselves to stay in harm’s way.
The fact that you were born into a family does not mean you need to subject yourself to the way they treat you. We are born into our families to learn, expand, and grow in ways that fulfill our souls purpose and spiritual growth. If your family refuses to participate in a way that heals, nourishes, or assists that spiritual balance then you may have no choice but to separate yourself.
We are born into families who have a similar souls purpose. This is why we struggle with the same blocks and adversity as other people in our family and how we can be so similar to our ancestors whom we have never even met. We choose our family to assist us in the lessons and purpose that we too have chosen for this life.
For instance, through my own healing I am able to recognize similar blocks, and mindset that my children now carry. It is through my personal and spiritual development that I am able to peacefully and effectively guide them through those personal struggles whereas a parent who has not healed them within themselves would most likely respond negatively or be triggered. It requires our healing as parents to end the karmic cycle with our children. However, not every parent is conscious of, or eager, to heal themselves and by not doing so they perpetuate the problem and keep the cycle active.
The Vibration of Family
By healing ourselves in adulthood we change the vibration we are operating on. If our families are operating on a lower vibration they will inevitably bring us down emotionally or mentally when interacting with them. There is a mentality known as the crab bucket mentality that describes the nature of low vibrational thinking people. When you put a crab in a bucket it will try to escape. When you put crabs together in a bucket with other crabs and one tries to escape, the other crabs will claw and grab it, pulling it back down into the bucket.
Similarly, this is how human nature and family nature can work as well. When you escape the family dynamics, family karma, or family mentality, they may be less than thrilled and attempt to pull you back into the bucket. If you are healing, expanding and growing your consciousness you may not be able to make yourself fit into the old family dynamic or be able to stomach the old behavior. This doesn’t make anyone better than another, it simply means your energy and intentions are no longer aligned and may have difficulty coexisting.
Why it’s Important to Cut Toxic Family From Your Life
In every family there are roles that each member plays. If our family is unhealthy it may be difficult or impossible to step out of that role and become your most authentic self. They will see you as the person you were and project that identity on you in the present which may also cloud your perception and personal growth. By disconnecting from your family you give yourself the ability to unapologetically grow into the real you without staying stuck in the ideas they have of who you are.
If you break a bone and it doesn’t set properly you risk rebreaking it or worse, letting it “heal” the wrong way. When we are attempting to heal relationships we have to take ourselves out of the situation in order to heal it properly. Especially in regard to family. There are many paradigms that are built in a family dynamic and sometimes it requires objective observation that comes from having. distance. By allowing yourself that distance you allow yourself to fully process your own thoughts and feelings without justification or denial from the other party.
How to Know When Your Family is Toxic
There are many types of toxic people and that can take many forms, loudly or passively. A basic guideline is that your family should never demean, criticize, or harm you emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually.
Your family should always do everything in their power to:
Encourage your well being
Listen to you
Let you be your own person
Speak kind words
Remember important dates
Attend and support things that matter to you
Put you before other people and things
Believe IN you
See your worth
Value your opinion
Stand up for you
Validate your thoughts, feelings, and emotions
Encourage you to surround yourself with others who treat you well.
Apologize, take responsibility, and change if they fail or fall short on any of the above.
A family that is centered in using these guidelines as a healthy foundation will most likely be a family worth having, supporting, and keeping in your life.
Alternatively, there are many ways family foundations are unhealthy, unstable, or even abusive.
Cutting Out Toxic Family
You cannot let yourself be mistreated just because you want to be in contact with your family. If your family is treating you badly or disrespecting you then you should consider separating from them. Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize how unhealthy their behavior is because you may be used to it in which case you have to gauge behavior using an unbiased compass, like this article.
Some of the most toxic family personalities and behaviors are:
1.They Are Mentally, Physically, Emotionally, Sexually, or Spiritually Abusive
Abuse takes many forms and styles. We tend to think that if abuse doesn’t look the way it does in the movies that it’s “Not that bad.” But abuse in ANY form is wrong and unacceptable. You have the right to feel safe and respected in your body, mind and spirit, and if you feel violated in any way you have the right to cut that person(s) out of your life. You do not have to explain it or justify it beyond that.
2.They Are Narcissists
This is absolutely one of the most difficult obstacles when it comes to family. The term narcissist has become a trendy word that is quite frequently used to describe someone who seems to have an inflated ego. Unfortunately, the real psychological disorder of narcissism far exceeds simply thinking a little too highly of oneself. Narcissists typically lack empathy, are manipulative, have a heightened sense of self importance, see themselves as “holier than thou,” are arrogant, and demanding. The difficulty with having one or more narcissists in your family is that since they think so highly of themselves they generally refuse to accept responsibility for anything and are therefore unwilling to change. They see themselves as above average and everyone else as the problem and their denial keeps them from ever changing or growing. If you suspect that you have a narcissist in your family I would recommend doing research on the disorder to better understand their behavior. The clarity that comes from realizing that the guilt and shame you have carried is not your fault is life changing in and of itself. That may be all you need to realize you have no place for their behavior or personality in your life and inspire you to cut them out.
3. They Are Offensive or Judgmental Toward You and Your Life
Your family doesn’t have to agree with everything you do or the choices you make, but if you are living a happy, healthy, and abundant life and they refuse to support you, then you may need to seriously consider cutting them out. Family is supposed to love and support your highest and best self. If you are thriving and they have an issue with you then they may not be able to participate in healthy family behavior.
4. They Are Drama
I think we all have at least one family member who loves to complain or consistently doesn’t have their stuff together. However, if their drama is seeping into everyone else’s lives and business then it may be time to pump the breaks on your contact with them or at the very least set some boundaries. One way of interacting with this type of personality is to make it a goal to always keep the conversation positive and refuse to engage in conversations that promote drama. They may subconsciously take the bait and without realizing it retrain their own minds to engage in more positive conversations. If the drama continues or you decide you have had enough, feel free to take further measures.
5. They Are Energy Vampires
Do you ever feel completely drained by a family member or after a family gathering? Do you feel depressed after speaking or spending time with your family? Especially if you feel like you are in a great space prior to connecting with them, you may have an energy vampire on your hands. The truth is no one can affect your energy unless you let them but with old family paradigms you may be used to allowing this behavior without having ever realized that you were. This may mean you might need to take a step back and get a better understanding of your own energy and authority over your energy in order to stop others from sucking the life out of you.
6. They Are Actively Participating in Addiction
Addiction is such a difficult problem to wrestle with because when a family member is sober they may be the most loving, thoughtful, and supportive person, but while using or functioning they can be someone else entirely. The pain of watching a loved one struggle with addiction is like nothing else, but you cannot set yourself on fire to keep them warm. If you have a loved one who is actively using you may need to take some healing space to nurture yourself and create a safe distance between you and the addiction your family member is experiencing.
7. They Never Follow Through With Their Promises
Does your family say they will be there for you but they are not? Do they tell you they will help but don’t? Even worse, do they tell you they will change hurtful behavior but won’t? If your family is consistently breaking their word you may need to cut them out.
8. They Make You Feel Insane
While some family members may be more aggressive in their toxicity, some can be more passive or manipulative which may even go unnoticed to the outside world. These types of family’s members may make you feel insane or question your sanity. One example of this is when they are wrong in a situation but manipulate you into not only wondering if you were wrong all along, but also make you feel guilty for calling attention to their behavior. This could also be a form of gaslighting, which is a form manipulation that downplays your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and makes you question your sanity. Whether intentionally gaslighting you or not, if you hear yourself asking questions like, “Am I the crazy one here?” When interacting with your family, you probably aren’t. You are probably experiencing gaslighting in some form and need to break free of the behavior to be able to better understand it.
9. You Just Don’t Resonate With Them
It can feel easier to cut someone out of our lives who is aggressively hurting us, but what if you just don’t resonate with your family as people? Sometimes spiritual folk feel like their family doesn’t get their spiritual path. Perhaps you don’t really get each other. It may be time to look at how they fit into your life and include them less. It doesn’t mean they are bad people, they could be quite lovely, but it you don’t feel like they are an essential part of your life you can give yourself permission to take a step back.
What Does Cutting Out Family Look Like?
Cutting out family members may vary depending on the degree of their behavior and of course depends on your own intuition and what you are aligned with.
1.Start With Boundaries.
Focus on setting some solid boundaries with yourself and your family. The people who have the biggest problems with boundaries are the ones who like to push them, so your family may not like this. They may also begin to adjust and adapt accordingly which will assist everyone’s expansion. Either way, do what is right for you and you will always be happy.
2. You May Have To Cut Them Out Completely
If you set boundaries and don’t feel like your family is respecting them you may have to cut them out completely. This is a more extreme measure but sometimes the only option. You may also just need to cut them out with out bothering with boundaries in the first place. Whatever decision resonates with you is fine. You know your family and situation best. Give yourself permission to do whatever feels the most empowering and safe for you.
You are an Adult
One of the most amazing quotes I ever heard is, “People treat you the way you allow them to treat you.” This pertains to family as well. As children we don’t have the authority or ability to do very much to protect ourselves from our family. We don’t have permission to dictate how we are treated. As adults we have the power and can choose to refuse being treated poorly. Setting boundaries or changing what you allow may be shocking to your family system, but we are in families to help each other wake up. If they are not willing then it takes the more spirituality minded soul to put the shift in motion. You cannot repeatedly give all of yourself to your family only to be disregarded, mistreated, or abused. If your family refuses to change, grow, or heal, you will have to be the one to change the pattern. They will not suddenly love or appreciate you because you give all of yourself. Please acknowledge that you have done all you can, you have done more than needed, and it is not your responsibility to save them. Sometimes the most spiritual action is walking away and letting someone see just how far from their inner being they are living.
It may feel easier said than done but remember, your validation does not come from your parents or family. You were created by something much bigger than your family. The source that created you made you in it’s image and likeness, meaning you are perfect, whole, and complete, regardless of what your family has to say about it. Focus on understanding your worth through God, Spirit, or Source, and you will manifest people in your life who love, support, and appreciate you. Friends are the family we choose, your “family” may manifest in other people who are better equipped to offer you what you deserve. It is important to recognize that the validation from your family may never come, but as long as you have validation from Source, you will always embody and feel that worth in your life and create the people who reflect your worth back to you.
Thank you for reading and may you always be surrounded by love.
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