What’s Toxic Behavior?
To recognize behavior as toxic you need to ask yourself if the person is being abusive, demanding, exploitative, and/or hurtful. These types of behavior lack something big – understanding of the emotions of the other side and care for their well-being. Such toxic behavior is usually amplified in a family environment since this is where you feel safe and can show the different sides of your character.
The thing with toxic behavior is that it makes the other person feel bad or upset when they spend time together. These people usually don’t hesitate to criticize and also tend to blame everyone else for their problems and unhappiness. They could also be great at gaslighting – a form of psychological manipulation, which makes you doubt your own perception of things. Sometimes, they can go as far as making you feel like you’re the bad guy who’s making others feel bad and manipulated.
How Can a Parent Deal With Toxic Family Members?
Although it may be hard, sometimes it really is necessary to cut off entirely some family members. If the family member in question isn’t capable of controlling their negative interactions and has been showing hurtful behavior towards your kids, there’s no reason to keep the relationship going. Things like having a sense of responsibility for your family, believing things can change, feeling of guilt, financial reasons, and more, can make you stay in a toxic and abusive relationship. But this is when you should really think about all of the good things that’ll come out of not having to deal with the abuse.
Family relationships are never truly ended, even if you’re not spending any time with the person. You’ll always have an emotional connection with them. But, especially as a parent, you need to decide what’s best for your own family. Try to understand where this behavior is coming from. You’ll probably realize it’s nothing personal to you but if the person is still acting abusively, you have the right to end things with them.