How to Cope With Toxic Family Members

He Kept Saying I Was Getting Crazy but really, He Was Gas-Lighting Me (aka Mind Fucking) | Style & Life by Susana

“When someone is rude and toxic, remember its not about you. It’s a reflection of their inner state.” Bernadette Logue

This might be one of the hardest lessons one can tackle. More often than not we fail to recognize the toxicity within our relationships with the closest members of our family. We get so used to the repetitive pattern of abuse and conflict that it is hard to break free.

But when we finally start noticing the grave effect this types of family relations have on us, it gets easier to start addressing the issue and seeking the required help in order to learn how to best cope with the given situation and still try to preserve some kind of contact with the family member in question.


The first step in getting out of the circle of abuse is voicing your opinion. You need to pull back and clearly state what it is that you find insulting or abusive in a family members behavior, and make them understand that you are not willing to participate in that kind of relationship anymore.

This is also the hardest step, because you need to hold your ground since a toxic person will do their hardest to convince you that you have misinterpreted the situation, or that something like that will never happen again. But you should know better, you are now familiar with this behavioral pattern and you know that it cannot change on its own, you need to be the one to incite change.

And finally, if you feel all your complains have fallen on deaf ears you should take things a bit further and take yourself out of that relationship by limiting the time you spend with that person.

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This might be the most difficult thing for a person who has been abused by a toxic family member. You get so used to being bullied and orders around that you actually start feeling guilty when you want to stand up for yourself. And because of this a lot of people stay in this type of relationships instead of exiting them.

In most cases, these types of communicational issues tend to appear in parent-child relationships but also between spousals. And as long as one side stays silent and doesn’t learn how to become assertive they not very likely to change.

However, there are those more serious situations when a person is afraid of their spouse, and feels trapped, in those cases it would be perhaps wiser to contact trusted divorce lawyers who can help mediate the whole situation and if there is no chance of repairing it, aid in ending it without traumatizing either side. So don’t be afraid to speak up, there will always be someone to help you voice your concerns in a safe environment.


When trying to change a toxic relationship more often than not the person at fault will do their best to make you feel guilty for noticing that something is wrong and for wanting it to change.

In this case, it is essential that you shed that guilt. It is quite clear that a toxic family member wants to keep the abusive pattern of behavior going, it is something that suits them and that they feel comfortable with. And guilt is a great weapon.

So the best way to fight it is by rationalizing the issue. There is no reason for you to feel guilty for wanting to change a bad situation. Remember that. You have the right to be happy as much as the other person, and you should fight for that right without being guilted into submission.

And in case you think you can’t do this alone make sure you get adequate help either from friends and family or certified psychologists who will provide you with the right tools to combat the unnecessary guilt you keep feeling.


Yes, this is hard to hear, but it is the truth Some people are unwilling to change, and believe that their way is the best.

This means that whatever you do won’t be enough. So in these types of situations the best way is to accept it, limit the time spent with that person and make sure that the boundaries you have set are not moved.

Most people have that burning desire to fix things, including other people, but in cases where this is not an option, it is important to know when to give up, adjust the boundaries and simply take yourself out of the equation. Essentially save yourself from that situation and that family member.

He Kept Saying I Was Getting Crazy but really, He Was Gas-Lighting Me (aka Mind Fucking) | Style & Life by Susana

Now you have the tools to cope with toxic family members. But remember don’t let them drag you down.

The moment you see that all the efforts you are making are futile it is time to drop back and minimize the contact so that you can preserve yourself, and your sanity.

xo Chloe

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Photos by Mollie Vaughan / Location: Brougham Street, Geelong

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