Sometimes it may feel like your family doesn’t care about you and your mental well-being enough. You cannot put a finger on why you feel this way all the time. Sometimes, you may even think it’s all in your head. But I am here to tell you, it’s not.
All of us deal with toxic people regularly, whether we are aware of it or not. Some of your family members might exhibit toxic traits like gaslighting, privacy invasion, jealousy, etc. which can severely affect your mental health. Their toxicity is the reason why you always feel that your family doesn’t care about you.
I have jotted down the tell-tale signs of toxicity for you. If you find your family exhibiting any of these signs, then you can rest assured, your doubts about whether your family cares about you or not are true. I have also added a short solution on how to deal with toxic family members in this article.
What Are the Signs That Your Family Doesn’t Care About You?
The signs of toxicity are not always obvious. Even a family member who seems sweet and nice can be toxic. Here are the general signs of toxic behavior that will help you figure out if your family cares about you or not,
1. Most Interactions Are Negative
When almost every interaction or conversation with your parents or a specific family member ends negatively or in a fight, then you can tell they are toxic for you. When even the most normal conversation blows up, it is a sign that they are not considerate of your feelings.
Again, in a family gathering when a person is being rude to others or creating drama, it is a sign of their toxicity. One negative interaction with them can ruin the whole ambiance of the family gathering.
2. They Deplete Your Energy Tank
You are having a good day, but after you meet your family, you feel your energy tank depleting. If the way they behave with you or around you turns your good day into a bad one, it means they are toxic.
One hour with them feels like forever. After your interaction with them, you are left feeling exhausted. They wear you out with their negative talk and constant toxicity.
3. They Prioritize Themselves First
Ever notice how every conversation you have with your parents or a specific family member is about them and not you? If you see a repetition of such conversations, you can tell that your family is narcissistic and care more about themselves than you.
Even when your family is speaking about your future and well-being, somehow the conversation always ends up being about them. For example, in the name of advising you about your future, they will demean your current situation and compare it to their “better” life.
Again, whenever they seek your company or help, they are never considerate about you. They do not consider, if you have the time or if you are in the right headspace to help them. In every situation, whether a conversation or in a time of need, they always prioritize themselves.
4. They Gaslight You
If you feel like your family is always emotionally or psychologically manipulating you, chances are they are gas-lighting you.
Playing mind games, withholding information, giving the silent treatment are all examples of gaslighting. Again, when you find yourself questioning your actions, memories, and sanity because of something they said, there is a high chance they are gaslighting you.
When you confront toxic people, they often play the victim card and make it all about themselves. If you find these signs in your family members, know that they are toxic and do not care about you enough.
5. They Are Hyper Critical of You
Your family is always hypercritical of your every little mistake. They overreact and make it seem like the gravest crime out there. Even when you succeed, they will find something to criticize you.
Instead, of calmly talking to you and making you understand what you did wrong, a toxic family member will scream, punish, and humiliate you for your mistake. Moreover, they will always find ways to remind you of your shortcomings.
6. You Seek their Validation Constantly
Toxic people can literally induce inferiority complexes in people. When you are always being gaslighted by a toxic family member, you may start thinking they are always right. When they are always hypercritical of you, you may start believing them.
If you find yourself constantly needing validation from a family member even though they are over critical of you, then there is a chance you are suffering from an inferiority complex. You will feel the need to get their approval even though you know they will find a fault in everything you do.
7. They View You as Competition
In most cases, when someone spends a lot of their time bullying or bringing another person down, it is because they are jealous of that person
When jealousy seeps into someone’s speech and actions, they become toxic. If you get the slightest vibe through a family member’s speech or action that they are jealous of you, know that they do not wish you well.
Sometimes, it is hard to recognize the jealousy of toxic people. Some family members are so good at emotional manipulation, that a victim of toxicity will miss the signs. They are so conditioned into believing in their inferior status, that they cannot even imagine someone would be jealous of them.
8. They are Verbally or Physically Abusive
Abuse is a red flag you must not miss. It is the single most sign that proves that they do not care about your well –being at all.
If you notice that your family is always insulting you and calling you names, that is verbal abuse. If they ever physically harm you on purpose, they are physically abusing you.
Verbal and physical abuse is easier to recognize than emotional abuse. But even then, these types of abuse are still ignored. You should try to cut off your family if they show abusive tendencies towards you.
9. They Are Controlling
When your parents or extended family members try to dictate, who you can meet, where you can go and what you can do or not do, then they are toxic. Parents indeed worry about the safety of their child and thus they set certain boundaries on their children. These boundaries or rules, if reasonable, are okay up to a certain age.
But parents often tend to hold onto their control over their adult children. In doing so, they gaslight and emotionally blackmail their children. Such controlling behaviors whether subtle or obvious are more about them and not their children’s well-being.
10. They Take a Backseat When While You Are Hurting
Does it astound you, when you notice how apathetic some family members are towards you? When you are clearly hurting, facing a tough time, or just plain crying they ignore your pain and sit back.
Sometimes family members even joke about your painful situation, without any consideration for your feelings. Sometimes, they impose their worries or themselves on you, even when they know you are hurting.
Such inconsiderate actions of your family is a sign that they care more about themselves than you. It is an indication that during dire times, they will not be there for you. Even worse, they may even harm you.
11. They Do Not Respect Your Beliefs
When you change your religious beliefs, it is natural for parents and family members to have a hard time accepting it. But instead of trying to understand and talking to you, if they disown you or disrespect what you believe in, they care more about religion than you.
Again, you may have a different world view or different values than your family. If they cannot accept these differences and start disrespecting you for it, know that they are toxic.
12. They are ALWAYS Up in Your Space
Toxic family members do not understand the concept of privacy. They do not understand personal boundaries and always cross them. Even if they are aware of your personal space, they still choose to invade your personal space.
If you find your family members constantly invading your space not considering your situation, chances are they do not care about you. Because by invading your privacy all the time, it is clear they put themselves first. If they continue doing so, even after you have made your boundaries clear, you have your answer.
13. They Do Not Respect Your Choices
When you find your family always giving you a hard time for all of your choices, chances are they are toxic and do not respect your choices.
How well your family treats people that matter to you reflects how much they care about you. If they disrespect your friends and partner in their first meeting, without any basis, then your family is toxic. They do not care about how their actions can hurt you.
Again, if you find your family dissing your career or life choices all the time, it is another sign that they do not care about you enough.
14. They Never Acknowledge Their Mistakes
Accepting your mistakes is a hard thing to do, even for normal people. But for toxic people, acknowledging their mistakes is impossible. They are too egotistical for doing so. Family members who always hurt others and never apologize are toxic.
Since they do not apologize, they do not even acknowledge that they were in the wrong. They keep on holding on to their ego and let relationships turn toxic. Such people only care about themselves.
15. Everything is an Ultimatum or Threat with them
If your family is always making you choose between them and something else you care about, they are toxic. When your family is threatening to send you to boarding school, disowning you, or putting you out on the streets, if you do not listen to them, they are being toxic.
Without caring about the emotional turmoil you are going through, they will give you ultimatums, as a sort of power play. It is always “do that or else” with them. They will throw in an ultimatum and put you in a hard position.
How to Deal with Toxic Family Members?
Now that you know how to identify signs of toxicity in your family, you need to think about what to do next. It is not easy to just cut off family members unless the situation is too extreme. So it is better to take necessary precautions to protect your emotional health from their toxicity. Here are some steps you can consider,
Avoid Interactions as Much as Possible
If most interactions you have with a toxic family member, try to avoid them as much as possible. If you cannot avoid them as much, try to steer clear from topics that usually start an argument.
Pay close attention to which topics start off major fights. When a conversation gets too heated, you should leave the room
Try to keep interactions at a minimum with a toxic family member. Identify the situation, setting and people around whom these members start acting up. Avoid such situations where you might end up hurt or in a fight with them.
Set Personal Boundaries
You need to identify your boundaries around your toxic family member. You need to find out which parts of your life you want to share with them and how much time you can spend around them.
If you live with a toxic family, try to keep busy or stay out of their way.
If you live with a toxic family, try to keep busy or stay out of their way. Try to have only small talk with them, if you must converse. Limit interactions to specific time or settings, when they are prone to be less toxic.
If you do not live with or near your family, you have the chance to control the amount of time you can spend with them. If being around them is exhausting, you should only meet them on holidays or social events.
For example, Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls had the worst relationship with her parents. So she only met them twice a year, on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Try Not to Get Involved
You should not divulge too much of your personal information or share your emotions with a toxic family member. Because there is a high chance they will use this information against you. They might take your deepest secret or insecurity and use it to gaslight you.
Do not try to change the toxic family member. It will only exhaust you. You should not get your hopes up, because they will be dashed. Even if they say they have changed, you should tread with caution.
You can care and love a toxic family member from afar, after all, they are family. But you must take care of yourself first. There is no need to get your emotions tangled or involved too much with a toxic family member if you can help it.
Confront them with the Help of a Third Party
If you have been hurt beyond words, but not ready to cut off your toxic relation, it is better to confront them. But only if you do not have to worry about your safety and in the presence of a third party.
The third-party will act as a mediator who will calm things down when the conversation gets heated. They will be the voice of reason. So in case of a third party, choose wisely.
Anyone close to both you and your toxic family member can be the third party. The third-party can also be a doctor or therapist.
Go Cold Turkey
If your toxic family member is abusive, you need to stop all communications and go cold turkey. If your parents are severely toxic and you feel suffocated in their home, you need to get out of your family home and find a place of your own.
Cutting out toxic people from your life forever is the last step. You should not feel guilty if you ever do so, because your mental health and well-being comes first.
Family is important but when they cost your self-esteem, freedom, physical and mental well-being, it is justified if you cut them off. You can go cold turkey for a while or forever, it is up to you.
Do not beat yourself up or let your toxic family guilt you into letting them back in your life. If you haven’t forgiven them and do not feel comfortable with them in your life, it is okay if you keep your distance from them.
There are more toxic people around us than we realize. They come dressed in all forms, with a honeyed tongue. Not all toxic people are rough around the edges. Your parents and family can love and care for you but still be toxic.
They can care for you but still hurt you by putting their ideas, life views and egos before your wellbeing. They can love you but still impose their morals on you, totally disregarding your personal ideals.
So, if you cut them off and take some time away from them, you are not in the wrong. Chin up, don’t let a family that does not care about you enough bring you down. Self-care is the best form of love.