The Truth About Toxic Family Members

young woman sits on couch face down crying beside mom sitting beside hand in face crying
by Vance Larson

I am seeing far too many people who are disappointed in their blood family. I’m not talking about the garden variety disappointment that we all see. I am talking about a lifetime of abuse, abandonment and shame from their blood relatives. People who on the outside who present that all is well, yet behind closed doors, they speak of unthinkable acts committed against them.

Sexual assault, physical beatings, bullying and body shaming just to name a few. What does a child do when their mother or father tells them that they ruined their life? How are they supposed to feel knowing that the very person, or persons who are genetically programmed to protect them, ends up internally destroying them. They start to doubt their worth, skills and very existence because their family has bad blood.

May this be your wake up call. Sometimes blood is bad. Sometimes our protectors are the instrument of pain. Realising this is the first step in healing. It is okay to disengage with bad blood. Often times there will be guilt associated with letting go. Either on your part, or the part of the person who committed those transgressions against you. But its a trap. Family is designed to nurture, not annihilate. And should you find yourself in the healthy position to want better for yourself, you should run.

I have never seen someone who is desiring to be healthy as a character flaw. It is a statement of faith and affirmation of self. That you are both valued and viable. It is not your job to take their criticism, abuse or endure neglect, all because someone is lacking basic human compassion. 

We’ve all heard the saying that hurt people hurt people. While this is true, I say hurt people hurt people, and it is not your job to suffer with them and go down that rabbit hole. Blood or not, you deserve to be happy. And as you pull away, you will need a safe space and new network of support. You will need to learn a new skill-set. It will take time to come to the understanding that not all people are out to get over on you. You will need to learn new behaviors that take you out of your comfort zone. You have to resist the urge of feeling guilty for wanting a healthy life. And as you do this, you are rewriting the internal script in your mind. 

This is a process. Start by getting some professional help. Set some boundaries. Say goodbye to all that does not help you evolve. If you’re still reading this, this is your time. Let go of the judgement’s and anger. They too, are just as destructive as the bad blood. There are support groups, online groups, therapy, coaching, self help measures and so much more. Jump in head first and save yourself. Let today be your affirmation that you matter.

Not all families are created equal. And life is not always fair. You matter. And if you are the one who caused the bad blood, let today be the day where you recognize your part in their pain. Offer up an apology. If they need space, honor it. Get yourself some help. Learn to forgive yourself and then get some new skills. The best apology comes in the form of changed behavior. And if you’ve lost them for good, hold them in your heart and keep the door open without being intrusive. 

Bad blood. Walk away. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Because the pain won’t stop, if you constantly are being infected. 

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