How to Detect & Deal with Toxic Relatives

How to Detect & Deal with Toxic Relatives

It is not easy to deal with family members, especially when you have to...since they’re family. Some relatives can be very toxic, and it may hurt your mental health to deal with them on a daily basis. Sometimes it is difficult to recognize toxic relatives. I'm here to help you identify red flags of a toxic family member, and provide tips for how to deal with them. 

Toxic relatives can sometimes come from your own family, or your significant other's family. When different families merge together, conflict often arises. Parents may not always approve of you. Other times, they just aren't people you can get along with. There are many ways to solve these problems with their family or within your own family.

An initial sign of a toxic relative is noticing that you feel offended by everything they say. All of us have feelings and they can get hurt. Some of us are more fragile than others. Honestly, I am very sensitive and do not like criticism, so I can take a lot to heart easily. 

Family members sometimes say things that hurt your feelings without intending to, and may not even realize that they are doing this. Others are blatantly aware that they hurt you and they enjoy the fact that it affects you. Try sharing how you feel about what they say, and see what they reply with. A toxic relative may laugh off your concerns and call you sensitive. However, if they apologize for hurting your feelings, and promise to make a change, then there is a possibility for healing. 

Another sign of a toxic relative is that they never see your side of things. Family members have often failed to grasp my message or understand my intentions. In the beginning, I assumed I had done or said something wrong. Then, I began to notice patterns emerging; I realized they were deliberately upsetting me. 

While family might not always be supportive of your choices, they should consider why you made those decisions. If they refuse to have an open conversation, then they may be a toxic relative. By continuously interrupting or ignoring you, they are demonstrating that they do not care about what you have to say. Keep your communications with them minimal if you encounter this problem to avoid getting hurt by their words.

One of the last signs of toxic relatives is that they never hesitate to point out something negative they see in you. A certain relative of mine never has anything positive to say when they see me. They always tell me things I can do to improve myself, acting as a guide that I did not ask for. Since I suffer from anxiety, they want me to be more open than I already am at work. Imagine I told them I had a new writing job. They would come back to me and say, "Have you even been writing lately? I don’t think you would be good for that job.” 

When you're so sure about something, how frustrating is it to have someone come in and knock you down? What do you do? Earlier, I recommended limiting your contact with this relative. They clearly are not supportive of your decisions or achievements, so you shouldn't consult with them if something good happens. They will dampen your happiness and make you doubt your decisions. They don't deserve your energy or time. 

As I mentioned before, dealing with family is tough, especially when they're always around. However, these suggestions can help guide you when you are confronted with toxic relatives. If you keep your conversations with them to a minimum, they will soon notice you don't truly favor their opinions or presence. It is always possible to sit down with them and let them know how you feel. When they don't give you the response you truly deserve, you know they're not the right person for you to talk to. While family can offer valuable advice, it is not good when they constantly bring you down over things you are passionate about. Learn to recognize these toxic relatives and stop them from stealing your happiness! It is really important for you to feel supported and accepted by those you love. Don't let their negative influences keep you down.  


Written by: Audre Arnett

Instagram: @infinityaudreee

3 comments


  • lu

    I’ve had negative, toxic family members say things to me throughout my life that still hurt to this day. I’ve finally cut most of my blood relatives out of my life. Including my brother and sister. I’m much happier because of cutting them out. I hope everyone dealing with toxic people finds a way to cut them out of their lives and can finally have peace


  • Hoolie

    This is brilliant! I really related to this & now you’ve got me thinking. Boundaries is key!! Great post.


  • Nikki Henry

    This is SO TRUE! I have a “sister” that is toxic as toxic can get! I’ve had to completely remove her from my life and I swear I’m a much happier woman since then! Blood doesn’t make you family!!


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