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Having a happy family is a myth for many.
Not everyone is lucky enough to be born in a healthy family environment, and when you belong to a toxic family with dysfunctional family roles, you see the world and life in an extremely different way.
The occasional criticism and fights are normal, but when these are the only things that define your family, that’s when you know that you belong to a family with abusive and toxic behavior.
One of the major signs of toxic families are the dysfunctional family roles present in them.
The roles are:
>> The Scapegoat: They’re always held responsible for everything that goes wrong, even if they are not at fault. They are often made to feel unwanted and a burden on the family.
>> The Mascot: They use humor as a defense mechanism, and they try to deal with serious situations in a lighthearted manner. They joke around and ignore the problems instead of dealing with them.
>> The Enabler: They carry the whole family on their shoulders, and go out of their way to take care of everyone. They take on the responsibilities of a parent and make sure that the family never faces any crisis.
>> The Lost Child: They are the quiet ones who prefer to be by themselves. They are loners in the truest sense and try their best to avoid any sort of interaction and involvement with their family.
>> The Hero: They are the overachievers of the family. They try to be good at everything they do so that the family looks good and impressive from the outside. Their unending list of accomplishments makes them their parents’ favorite.
These are the six signs you have a toxic family on your hands:
1. Your family is always fighting with one another.
One of the major signs of a toxic family is that they are always fighting with each other, even because of the smallest of things. There’s a lot of jealousy, bitterness, and resentment toward each other, and this makes everything very, very disturbing and emotionally draining.
If you are always fighting with each other, and there’s absolutely no harmony, unity, and togetherness, then it’s a sure shot sign you have a toxic family on your hands. Constant fights and conflicts are not normal in healthy, stable families.
2. Your parents always pit their children against each other.
Constant comparisons are another defining hallmark of a dysfunctional and toxic family. When parents compare their children, knowingly or unknowingly, they pit them against each other, which doesn’t just make them feel inferior about themselves but also affects the sibling relationship they share.
Everyone is different, and parents should accept and appreciate their children’s unique abilities. Instead, if parents try to decide how their children should be, and constantly tell them that “you should be more like your brother/sister,” they are causing irreparable emotional damage.
3. They always hurt your weak points.
Everyone has weaknesses, and everyone is sensitive about something or the other. Unfortunately, when you have a toxic family, they will always pick on your weak points and vulnerabilities to hurt you and cause you pain.
They will try to make you feel bad about yourself and will even go to the extent of embarrassing you in front of others. This can have a major impact on your self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth.
4. Abuse in any form is always concealed or forced to be accepted.
Be it physical, emotional, or mental abuse, in toxic families, it’s always shoved under the carpet. Your abusive family members will never own up to their abusive and problematic actions, and if you try to confront them, they will very easily gaslight you.
Even if they own up to it, they will make you feel like you deserved it. You are forced to keep quiet about everything you go through, in order to protect and safeguard the reputation and image of the family.
5. You feel emotionally and mentally drained.
Whenever you interact with your family, you feel emotionally exhausted. It doesn’t matter if it’s for five minutes or five hours; you always leave the situation depressed and drained.
Toxic people can be pretty dramatic, high-maintenance, and needy, so it’s natural that they will suck all your emotional energy from within you. In short, they are nothing but emotional vampires.
6. Your family doesn’t understand the concept of personal boundaries.
Your family doesn’t respect your space, nor do they even try to. Because of their toxic nature, they simply do what they feel is right. They might turn up at your home at odd hours despite you telling them not to, go through your personal things, make unwarranted comments, and even give you advice on how to live your life.
According to them, since you are family, you will just have to accept whatever they do, without complaining about any of it. It’s your duty to accommodate them and fulfill all their wishes, even if you have to sacrifice your mental peace and sanity.
Having a toxic family is not a pleasant thing to experience in life. Your family should be your safe space and a peaceful haven. But when it’s the exact opposite, feeling lost and miserable is quite natural.
However, always remember that you have every right to decide how you want to live your life, and what kind of a relationship you want to have with them.
Do what makes you happy and gives you peace, because at the end of the day, this life is yours and only you get to decide how you want to shape it.