Signs of a toxic family member (and what to do about it)

by | Jan 11, 2021 | Family Issues | 0 comments

Signs of a Toxic Family Member and What To Do About It

Being around a toxic person is not only draining but also confusing. You’re often left wondering, is it me?…

When that person is a family member, it is nerve-wracking. I mean, you love them, but their weakness drags you down. In their presence, you are always on the defense or being manipulated and feeling less than.

Loving your family means not encouraging toxicity. Their toxic nature is harmful to your mental wellbeing. While the burden of responsibility to change lies with your loved ones, you can control how they influence your mental health. 

Toxicity is not just the good old fall out or disagreements between loved ones. The relative that has a different opinion from everyone all the time is not necessarily toxic. Similarly, your self-centered sibling or nagging aunt may be perfectly normal. 

Here are some toxic behavior signs. 

Jealousy and Competition 

Do you have a relative that persistently downplays your achievements and efforts because they are jealous? Their frequent light ridicules of your dressing, persona, or furniture choice leave you insecure or unsure of your preferences. As for competition, you can tell there is toxicity when any achievement cannot compare to the loved one’s merits. Your mistakes are always critiqued and pitted against the relative’s success.  


Does your family member throw a fit over small issues? The overreaction is manipulation to get you to cave to their demands, instill fear and submission. It can be expressed as anger, distress, silent treatment, threats, or an unwarranted grudge. 

Control As Manipulation

Control is typical, guided as “having your best interest at heart.” However, it is an overbearing and overprotective trait with toxic written all over it. Your loved one makes all your decisions, determines your cause of life, and even chooses your friends. There are also subtle hints of emotional blackmail that keep you from confronting the controller. You always feel like you are walking around eggshells when they are around.

The Victim Card

A toxic person is always a victim while everyone else is the problem or the cause of the problem. They never take responsibility for their behavior. 


A toxic person is incapable of self-reflection or admitting faults. They are unaware of the hurt they inflict on others. They are not empathetic and cannot sympathize with you unless it is to their advantage. Your input always falls on deaf ears. 

In case you have a toxic family member, here are a few pointers to help you avoid a toxic environment. 

Know Yourself

Knowing yourself helps you set boundaries to avoid manipulation from your toxic relative. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and motives and own them. You will always know where you stand, what you want, and when to draw the line when pushing comes to shove. 

Embrace Independence 

Relying on a toxic loved one for any form of support is never good. There is a thin line between dependence and enabling the trait. The same is true for a toxic person depending on you. Independence creates healthy relationship boundaries. Do not shy away from becoming or enforcing independence. 

Sever Ties

Chronic anxiety, depression, fear are just a few of the toxicity of the mental issue induces. If your toxic relationship is becoming a health concern, it is best to cut ties with the toxic person.

Enforce Safe Boundaries

Steer clear of topics or conversations that are likely to provoke anger or ignite emotional outbursts. You could also avoid long-term exposure to the toxic individual to reduce the chances of confrontations. 

Please get in touch if you’d like support in working through what to do with family members that can make you feel yuck.   



Recent Posts

Navigating Toxic Family Remarks During Christmas Lunch

Dealing with toxic family comments at Christmas can challenge the festive cheer. Amidst the joyous reunions, encountering hurtful remarks or offensive jokes from family members demands resilience and tact. This comprehensive guide equips you with empowering responses,...

Thriving Beyond PMDD: A Compassionate Guide for Women

My Lived Experience and How I Can Help You My journey with PMDD began seven years ago when I had my first son. It took me two years, and six medical professionals to receive a formal diagnosis. Over time, each menstrual cycle seemed to intensify, leaving me...

cropped YWF Favicon