45 Signs of a Toxic Family or Family Member

No one wants to have a toxic family, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. If you’re lucky, you’ll recognize the signs early and can take steps to get yourself out of the situation.

But if you’re not so lucky, you may find yourself stuck in a cycle of toxicity that’s hard to break free from.

So what are the signs of a toxic family? And how can you protect yourself from them?

Read on to learn more.

There Is Little to No Communication

In a toxic household, family members often don’t talk to each other for long periods or avoid certain topics altogether.

This may be because family members are afraid of conflict or feel they aren’t being heard.

In either case, the lack of communication can lead to tension and resentment. In a healthy family, communication is key.

Family members should feel comfortable talking to each other about everyday things and deeper issues.

If you don’t know how to start a conversation with your family, try asking questions about their day or sharing something about your day. You can also bring up topics that you know are important to them.

The most important thing is that you keep the lines of communication open.

There Are a Lot of Conflicts

Whether it’s bickering over the dinner table or all-out yelling matches, if you’re constantly fighting with your family members, it’s a sign that something is wrong.

This can manifest itself in a variety of ways, such as constantly arguing, physically abusing each other, or constantly criticizing and judging each other.

Many conflicts are usually a sign of a lack of respect between family members. In a healthy family, members can express their opinions and disagreements without fear of retaliation.

They also know they can rely on each other for support, even when they don’t see eye to eye.

In contrast, members of a toxic family feel they must tiptoe around each other, always wondering when the next argument will occur.

This constant tension can be exhausting and permanently damage relationships.

If you come from a family with a lot of conflicts, it’s important to see a therapist or counselor who can help you deal with the effects of growing up in a toxic environment.

There Is a Lack of Support

This can manifest in many ways, but some common signs are family members putting each other down, not being there for each other in times of need, or not respecting each other’s boundaries.

In a healthy family, members can rely on each other for emotional and practical support. They can communicate their needs and expectations openly and feel safe expressing their feelings.

In a toxic family, on the other hand, members may not feel safe being open and honest with each other. They may also find that their needs aren’t being met or that their family members are constantly putting them down.

This can make them feel isolated and alone. If you feel that you’re the only one in your family who is supportive, it may be time to take a step back and review the situation.

If you notice that your family is constantly putting you down or making you feel like you’re not good enough, it may be time to distance yourself from them.

Remember that you don’t have to stay in a toxic situation just because it’s familiar.

You deserve to live in a healthy, supportive environment where you can thrive.

There Is a Lot of Criticism

Family should be our safe place, the one place where we always feel loved and accepted. But for many people, their family is the source of pain and insecurity.

Whether you’re constantly told you’re not good enough or belittled for your accomplishments, criticism gnaws at your self-esteem and makes you doubt your worth.

Critical family members are often acting out of their insecurities, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. If you’re constantly being criticized, it’s important to remember that it’s not about you.

It’s about the other person’s dysfunction and their inability to give and healthily receive love.

Criticism is a sign of a toxic family, but that doesn’t have to be your reality. There’s hope for healing and improvement in the situation.

There’s a Lack of Trust

Trust is an essential ingredient in any healthy relationship and that includes our relationships with our family members.

Trust is the foundation that allows us to feel safe sharing our thoughts and feelings with others, and when that foundation is lacking, it can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection.

Family members who don’t trust each other may be reluctant to confide in each other, which can prevent the family from working together to solve problems.

In addition, a lack of trust can lead to suspicion and mistrust, which can further damage family relationships.

Family Members Don’t Spend Time Together Unless It’s a Forced Gathering

This is often a sign of a dysfunctional family, where members are afraid to spend time together because they don’t want to deal with the conflict and drama.

This can be a very difficult situation because it can be hard to find ways to connect with family members you don’t see that often.

However, there are some things you can do to build a more meaningful relationship with your family.

Spend time talking to them about things you care about and listen to what they have to say.

Try to schedule time for fun activities that everyone will enjoy. And most importantly, be patient and understand that it takes time to build strong relationships.

There’s a Lot of Competition Among Siblings or Other Family Members

Competition is a normal part of life. We compete for jobs, grades, and attention. But when competition is the main way family members interact, it can be a sign of toxic family dynamics.

In a healthy family, members support and encourage each other. They have disagreements, but they resolve them without name-calling or belittling each other.

On the other hand, toxic family members are constantly vying for power and control. One-sidedness is the norm, and kindness is in short supply.

If you find that you’re constantly competing with your siblings or other family members, it may be a sign that your family is dysfunctional.

If you’re always the one who comes out on top, you may be unintentionally preventing others from developing their self-esteem.

And if you always lose, you may feel like you’re not good enough.

Either way, competition among family members can take a toll on your emotional health.

If you think your family is toxic, it’s important to get help. A therapist can support you and help you cope with this situation.

A Member Is Constantly Trying to Control Others

This can take many forms, such as gaslighting, emotional blackmail, or even physical intimidation.

Controlling people are skilled at finding other people’s weaknesses and exploiting them.

If a member of your family is trying to control others, you may be the victim of their manipulations.

What can you do?

  • Set boundaries: you don’t have to take responsibility for another person’s feelings or actions, especially if they’re trying to manipulate situations in their favor. You can say “no” without feeling guilty about it – if this person has been abusing your kindness for a while, it’s probably healthiest to say no, both for yourself and for others who might be affected by their behavior!

A Member Is Constantly Belittled or Ridiculed

This can happen in a variety of ways, such as verbally belittling them, making fun of their accomplishments, or even being physically violent.

This type of behavior creates an environment of fear and insecurity and can make it very difficult for the person being targeted to feel comfortable and safe in their own home.

If you’re the one who is repeatedly targeted in this way, you must get help and support.

There are many resources available to help you deal with the pain and trauma of a toxic family.

You are not alone.

There’s a Lot of Financial Manipulation or Exploitation

Although financial exploitation may not seem like a big deal at first, it can quickly escalate and become harmful.

For example, if a family member is constantly asking for money, they may start to feel entitled to it, and this can lead to arguments and even violence.

In addition, financial exploitation can be used as a means to control and manipulate others.

For example, a family member may threaten to withhold money if someone doesn’t do what they want.

This type of behavior can be very damaging and cause immense stress for everyone involved.

If you notice signs of financial exploitation in your family, it’s important to address the problem as soon as possible.

Ignoring the problem will only make it worse.

There Is a Lot of Favoritism or Preferential Treatment Shown

This can be hurtful and divisive and cause tension and resentment in the family. In a healthy family, everyone should feel loved and accepted, and no one should be given preferential treatment.

When someone is favored, it can create an environment of competition and jealousy, rather than cooperation and support.

It can also send the message that some family members are more valued than others. This can damage self-esteem and lead to feelings of isolation and worthlessness.

If you notice signs of favoritism in your family, it may be time to talk to your loved ones about how you can create a more inclusive and supportive environment.

One Member Is Always Scapegoated or Blamed for Everything

This often happens when there is someone who is considered the “black sheep” of the family.

This type of behavior can be very damaging because it makes the person being scapegoated feel like they are always to blame no matter what happens.

It can also lead to tension and mistrust, as the other family members may see the scapegoat as a burden.

As a result, that person is scapegoated or blamed when something goes wrong. Not only is this incredibly hurtful, but it can also lead to deep-seated resentment among family members.

If you notice that you or someone else in your family is being scapegoated, it is important to get help.

There are many resources available to help you deal with the pain and trauma of a toxic family.

There Is a Lot of Emotional Blackmail and Guilt-Tripping Going On

This can be very damaging to family members as it creates a climate of fear, distrust, and bitterness.

The following signs indicate that emotional blackmail and blame are occurring in a family:

  • Family members frequently criticize or humiliate each other.
  • One or more family members regularly threaten to withdraw their love or support if their demands aren’t met.
  • Family members frequently use emotional manipulation to control each other.
  • One or more family members constantly feel anxious or tense around other family members.

If you notice any of these signs in your family, it may be time to have a serious conversation with your loved one about how to create a healthier dynamic.

Remember that you deserve to live in an emotionally safe environment where you can express yourself freely without fear of being manipulated or controlled.

Family Members Try to Control Aspects of Your Life That Don’t Concern Them

For example, they may tell you who you can and cannot date, what job you should have, or where you should live.

They may also try to dictate how you spend your free time or who you spend it with.

This kind of behavior is a sign of a toxic family because it shows that your family members don’t like it when you have a certain amount of freedom or autonomy.

In a healthy family, family members respect each other’s boundaries and allow other members to make their own decisions.

In a toxic family, these boundaries are often blurred or non-existent. If your family regularly tries to control aspects of your life that are none of their business, it’s a sign that you may come from a toxic family.

Your Family Gets Defensive Any Time the Topic of Their Toxic Behavior Comes Up

This defensiveness is a way to deflect responsibility and prevent honest conversations about the issue.

In a healthy family, members can have open and honest conversations about their behavior and its impact on others. They’re also willing to take responsibility for their actions and change accordingly.

In a toxic family, on the other hand, members tend to become defensive and block any attempt to have a productive conversation.

This unwillingness to engage in honest dialog is a clear sign that the family isn’t functioning healthily.

You’re Told That You’ll Be Nothing Without Them

In a healthy family dynamic, each individual is encouraged to grow and develop into his or her person.

In a toxic family, on the other hand, individuality is suppressed and you come to feel worthless without the recognition of your family members.

This can be extremely damaging to your self-confidence and self-esteem. If you’re living in a toxic family, you must get help so that you can heal the damage that’s been done.

Don’t let your family hold you back – seek help so you can live your best life.

They Hate Your Friends and Make You Feel Bad for Spending Time With Them

They may say things like, “You only hang out with them because you feel sorry for them” or “You’re wasting your time with those losers.”

This can make you feel guilty and feel like you have to choose between your family and your friends.

They may also say things like “They’re not good enough for you” or “You deserve better than them.”

This type of behavior creates a sense of competition and insecurity within your family and can make you feel like you have to choose between your family and your friends.

This isn’t a healthy way to live.

They May Keep a Scorecard and Use It Against You

It may be that your parents or family members are keeping a scorecard and using it against you.

It’s not enough for them to make their feelings known; they also need to remind you of your past mistakes and failures.

They can do this by mentioning specific events from the past, mentioning how much time has passed since the event (or even using some other measure), or even using different kinds of numbers as markers: “I gave you so many chances,” they might say.

Also, it’s important to know that it’s unhealthy for everyone involved if your family member is recording another person’s mistakes to help them improve their behavior or relationships with others.

Keeping track only hurts the people involved and benefits no one else!

You’re Afraid of Disappointing Them – Or Vice Versa

This may be because you think it may ruin the relationship, or you’re afraid they will leave you if they don’t get what they want.

But there’s another reason for this: maybe your family member is afraid of disappointing themselves.

Maybe they grew up with unrealistic expectations of themselves and feel that it says something about them as a person if they don’t meet those expectations.

Maybe your family member has low self-esteem and feels worthless inside when they can’t meet the expectations of others.

Or your family member has high self-esteem, but the thought of failing at something worries them so much that they decide not to even try, preferring to avoid disappointment altogether rather than risk failure.

When someone feels that their value comes from the outside and not from themselves – whether it’s their parents or other people – it may be impossible for them to change their behavior without outside help.

They Take Without Giving Anything Back

They’re only concerned with what they can get and how they can use you to get it.

They don’t help you or show appreciation for what you do because they don’t appreciate it at all.

They may not even be helping themselves, let alone anyone else.

You should be sure your family members are doing well – reaching their goals, maintaining a healthy weight, making good grades (or whatever their version of success is), and generally living a good life – before you expect them to help you succeed as well.

A toxic family doesn’t care if you succeed or fail; they only care about themselves and what’s going on in their own lives, without thinking about how their actions might affect others.

They’re Quick to Anger and Slow to Forgive

Toxic people often use their anger to control others. Therefore, they express their anger quickly but are slow to let go of their resentment once they have calmed down.

This kind of behavior can make it hard for you or other family members to feel comfortable interacting with each other.

If you feel this is happening in your home right now, pay attention to how quickly certain things get out of hand and how different individuals react when they are upset or made angry by others.

It’s helpful if you can recognize these situations before they escalate into something more serious like physical violence or name-calling – and hopefully spark a constructive discussion about whether anything needs to change at all!

Your Parents Often Let You Down

Let’s face it: we all want our parents to be there for us, protect us from harm, and to set a good example.

But often, especially in unhealthy families, that’s not the case.

If you don’t rely on your parents, it may have a big impact on how you view yourself and the world in general as an adult.

If you couldn’t rely on your parents when you were young because they didn’t love you or give you support during difficult times, you may find that as an adult you may have low self-esteem, feel like you’re never good enough for others, or even get stuck in an abusive situation because it feels safer than facing the real world alone.

Your Family Members Use Terms That Embarrass You in Public

If you’ve ever experienced a family member embarrassing or ashamed of you in public, you know how damaging they can be.

They may not mean to, but they do it anyway. If this sounds familiar, rest assured that other people have been there before you and survived it – no matter how hard their toxic families tried to hold them back.

Remember, you don’t have to tolerate being embarrassed by anyone – not even your parents!

If someone close to you keeps making embarrassing comments, try to address them instead of letting them get away with it.

They Make Fun of Your Dreams and Aspirations

It can be hard to imagine your dreams coming true if they aren’t supported by the people around you.

It’s important to have a support system, people who will listen to you and encourage you along the way to achieving your goals.

If your family is constantly making fun of or belittling your goals, it may be time to step back.

Some families try to sabotage their children’s dreams because they want them to stick around – and others simply believe in material success, making any other path seem silly or useless.

In either case, it’s not only unhealthy but downright insulting when someone tries to stop you from developing into something greater than yourself just because they don’t want their reality to falter!

They Don’t Stand Up for You

Whether it’s someone talking about you behind your back or even trying to bully you, if your family doesn’t stand up for you, it’s safe to say they’re not a supportive force in your life.

The fact that they haven’t done anything should speak volumes about where their relationship with you stands.

The best way to deal with this situation is to find other people to support and defend you – friends, teachers, coaches – and avoid the person who’s been cruel enough.

They Expect You to Always Take Care of Them or Get Things Done

This can include anything from meeting their needs to managing finances to cleaning the house and doing chores.

They may even expect you to make decisions for everyone and put your own needs last.

They may also have unrealistic expectations about their relationships, such as expecting other people to give them money or support without doing anything in return.

You may feel that you have no choice but to submit to this behavior because it’s easier than arguing with someone who has different values than you.

They’re Passive-Aggressive or Use Sarcasm When Talking To You

Sarcasm is one of the most common defense mechanisms people use to avoid conflict.

If your family uses sarcasm towards you, it’s probably because they don’t want to face the real problem.

If you’re the victim of sarcastic comments from your family, stay calm and acknowledge their statement without responding.

This way you’ll prevent things from getting worse than they already are.

They Want You to Be Exactly Like Them – Or Someone Else Entirely

They want you to be a copy of themselves – or rather, someone else.

It’s as if they have an idealized version of how you should look and act, and if you don’t match that image exactly, everything will go wrong.

Their desire for you to live up to that ideal can extend to the smallest details: from your hair color to your clothing style (or lack thereof) to the shoes you wear with jeans at dinner with friends on Friday night.

It can also be on a larger scale:

  • they want you to get married and have kids soon after graduation
  • they want their kids to not only succeed when it comes time to apply for college but also attend an elite college
  • they expect both parents to work full time so there’s extra money for home renovations, extracurricular activities, or whatever else seems important at the time

Often these expectations are unspoken, but they still serve as a benchmark by which everyone feels pressured because they are constantly compared to others.

Your Parents Don’t Respect Your Boundaries

If your parents don’t respect your boundaries, it can be a sign that they have control issues.

If the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally don’t trust you and don’t even respect your privacy and opinions, it’s time for you to take a step back and reevaluate things.

If your family members are constantly invading your space, or if they’re making decisions that affect you without including you in the conversation (or if they don’t let you make decisions at all), it could be an indication of an unhealthy relationship dynamic.

An adult child in a toxic family system like this might say, “My parents always treat me like I’m five years old.”

Of course, there are also cases where someone crosses personal boundaries out of genuine concern for another person – in which case he or she must know when those boundaries have been crossed!

Your Family Makes Promises They Never Keep

You know when you’re a kid and your parents make promises to you?

Like they will pick you up from school, they will buy you a toy if you’ve been good, or they’ll bring you your favorite food when they go out to dinner.

And then it never happens.

They don’t keep their promises because the people who promise something are bound by their word to those promises – their promise is what holds them accountable to the task at hand.

If the people in your family don’t keep their word, then that means they’re not interested in keeping those commitments – and that means there’s no real accountability either!

You Feel That You Can Never Please Them

People who love and accept themselves don’t expect others to be perfect for them.

If your family makes you feel that everything you do is wrong and that there’s always something that could be done to improve their situation or the situation of those around them, it means that they don’t have healthy boundaries.

They may be selfish and self-centered and unable to think about other people when making decisions.

If this is true of your family dynamic, these toxic people will find fault with anything good that happens in their lives as well as anything negative that happens around them – even if it has nothing at all to do with them or their actions!

The key here is intentionality: if someone has a habit of being critical without giving constructive feedback, then they aren’t concerned with helping anyone improve – they just want everyone else around them to be perfect so they can constantly feel superior.

They Say They’ll Change, but They Never Do

It’s one thing to be ambitious and determined to improve things, but it’s another when your loved ones keep saying they’ll change or improve or that they will stop what they’re doing.

If you feel like you’re constantly waiting for them to disappoint you yet again, maybe it’s time to give up on them.

If a person can’t keep their promises, why would they still lie? How many more times will it happen that you don’t know if what they’re saying is true?

This kind of behavior is harmful because it calls your trust into question.

It makes it hard for you to trust anything that comes out of their mouth in the future and ruins any potential relationship with people who care about you and want nothing more than for everyone involved to succeed in life together.

They Force You to Give Up Your Hobbies and Interests

They may be jealous or upset that you have found something that makes you so happy that it takes up most of your time and energy.

Toxic people will try to convince you that what makes you happy isn’t worth continuing, whether it’s music lessons or a hobby like knitting.

They may say things like, “That’s stupid” or “Who does that?” or even worse, “You’ll never make money doing that.

If this happens to you, try to set boundaries and stick to them by saying something like, “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in discussing this“.

Try not to get defensive; they may be trying to get under your skin and feel better about their own lives.

They Make You Feel Guilty When They Don’t Get Their Way

They’re trying to control you by making you feel guilty about things you have no control over.

If they can make you believe it’s your fault, they can make themselves the victim and make sure their needs are met despite everything and everyone – including their children.

Let’s look at this from another angle: if someone in your family wants something from another person, but that person won’t give him/her what he/she wants (or needs), then that person will try to manipulate him/her into giving in by making him/her feel guilty.

You’re Constantly Told That You’re Too Sensitive or Dramatic

It’s not uncommon for a toxic family member to say something like, “You’re too sensitive,” “You need to grow up,” or “You’re dramatic.”

This can be a way to manipulate you into feeling like you’re overreacting.

Some people even try to embarrass you for being upset – but unfortunately, their attempts at shaming have the opposite effect and only cause more hurt feelings in the long run.

If you notice this pattern in your family dynamic, it’s time to think about how much weight your voice carries compared to theirs.

If they keep dismissing what you have to say, they’ll likely continue to do so no matter how many times they hear what’s on your mind.

They Use Love as a Bargaining Chip

If they’re holding back their love to get what they want, that’s not a good sign.

A parent who loves their child will always be there for them, even if they disagree with the decisions they make.

If your parents only give their approval when you do something their way and refuse when the opposite is true, it could be a sign that your family isn’t very healthy.

If your parents are constantly threatening to cut you off or disown you if you don’t agree with everything they say, there is an unhealthy dynamic at home.

This kind of behavior isn’t appropriate for anyone – certainly not for people who are supposed to be loving caregivers in our lives – and can make us incredibly insecure about ourselves and our relationships with those closest to us.

Your Family Ignores Evidence That Supports Your Opinions and Beliefs

Your family ignores evidence that supports your opinions and beliefs, and instead only listens to people or facts that support their own opinions.

If you’re affected by this toxic behavior, it can be quite disheartening.

You may feel like you’re being pressured or that your family members are intentionally ignoring facts just because they don’t want to hear what you have to say.

But when this happens in your family, it’s important to remember that it’s not about you at all, it’s about their unwillingness to consider another point of view or accept facts that contradict their own beliefs.

They may also try to ignore evidence that contradicts their belief system and they may even choose not to research certain topics at all because they know their beliefs won’t stand up to investigation or fact-checking!

If this happens to you in your relationship with a family member, remember that there are ways around these manipulation attempts and denials.

You Feel Like You Have to Be Perfect to Get Their Approval

There’s no doubt that parents tend to have expectations of their children, and this can lead to children feeling that they have to meet the standards set by their parents to be acceptable people.

Perfectionism can also be a form of control, because if you don’t consistently do what they want, or don’t perform well at school or work, they may withdraw their love and affection from you.

This can cause anxiety and fear about being accepted or even liked by your family members, which inevitably leads to stress and unhappiness.

Toxic Family Members Take You for Granted

When toxic family members take you for granted, they don’t appreciate what you do for them.

They treat you like a servant or slave, accepting your help only when they need it, and never showing thanks or any kind of appreciation.

Sometimes this can even happen when the person taking advantage of you has no idea that their behavior is hurting others, such as not respecting your boundaries.

In other cases, people are aware that they are being rude, but they don’t care because they’re more interested in getting what they want than treating others with kindness and respect.

Even worse than being taken advantage of by someone close to you is feeling invisible – like no one notices how hardworking and helpful you are!

Toxic family members often don’t recognize the good in their relatives because it doesn’t benefit them.

That’s why toxic parents may ignore or reject any praise from their children, while siblings feel like unloved stepchildren living under their parents’ roof, even though they do all sorts of chores around the house for years without a murmur!

They Make Inappropriate Comments

These comments can be hurtful and mean, but they are also an indicator of how much power your toxic family member has over you.

When someone else makes inappropriate comments about you (or someone else), it’s important to remember that it’s abuse.

Sometimes we want to believe that the people who say these things love us, so it can be hard to recognize when someone is being hurtful.

But if someone loves you, they wouldn’t say those things at all – and if they do say them, it means they don’t respect your feelings and boundaries!

Toxic family members use rude language because they want attention and validation from others in ways that aren’t healthy or appropriate.

They may also use offensive vocabulary to hide their insecurities: when we feel bad, we try to distance ourselves from those who make us feel uncomfortable by attacking those around us instead (e.g., those closest to us).

They Only Communicate When They Want Something From You

They don’t ask how your day was, how you’re doing, what’s going on with you – they only want to talk when they have a problem or want something from you.

This is a clear sign that the relationship isn’t healthy and that there are underlying problems.

If someone wants their time, energy and attention to be valued by others, they should be willing to offer those things in return.

If that person has proven time and time again that they aren’t willing to give those things, then self-love includes separating yourself from that toxic situation so that it doesn’t affect other relationships in your life.

You Find Yourself Lying or Making Excuses to Cover Up Their Behavior

If you find yourself telling lies, even little lies like “everything is fine” to cover up your family’s behavior, it’s a sign that they are toxic.

You may feel like you have to lie because they are doing things that are embarrassing or damaging to the family’s reputation.

You may also feel like you have to make excuses for them – like why Uncle Bob is behind on his child support payments (again) or why your sister got fired from her last job (again).

If this sounds familiar and you’ve dealt with it in the past but haven’t come to terms with it yet, don’t worry: there’s hope!

Their Moods Are Unpredictable, and You Never Know What Will Set Them Off

One moment they are happy and laughing, the next they are angry. It’s like a switch has been flipped.

They may be talking about something that happened days or weeks ago, but then suddenly they get angry, seemingly for no reason at all.

It can be difficult for someone who doesn’t live with this person to understand what is going on in their head when their moods change so quickly – but it usually means they’re upset about something that has nothing to do with what they were just talking or thinking about!

Grandparents Interfere in Parenting

Grandparents can be very protective of their grandchildren and want to keep them safe from anything unpleasant, but this can become problematic when it goes beyond safety concerns and plays into your own parenting decisions.

For example, if your grandparents don’t agree with the way your parents are raising you and your siblings, they may try to convince your parents that they’re right and that your parents should change (or stop altogether) some of the things they’re doing.

This can happen behind closed doors or even in front of you and your siblings! When this happens, here are some things your parents can do.

Communicate Directly With Them

Tell them how much their advice means to you – but also explain to them why certain things are working right now, or give them some insight into why something isn’t working yet, but may soon.

They may not like hearing this information at first, but it’s been my experience that most people appreciate it when someone acknowledges their feelings as valid, even if the people involved (especially family members) disagree.

Seek Support Elsewhere

If talking about it doesn’t help – even after several conversations over time – you should seek support from professionals who’ve experienced dealing with similar situations (e.g., therapists).

You Feel Drained Every Time You See or Interact With Them

It’s not just that you don’t want to spend time with your family anymore, it’s that you’re physically exhausted after spending time with them.

You need hours of alone time and plenty of sleep to recover from the strain of being with them.

This can be caused by several things, such as exhaustion from dealing with their stressors or their toxic attitudes, or simply feeling overstimulated by their constant negativity (which is also exhausting).

Gossiping About You

A toxic family will tell lies about you behind your back, in front of you and others.

They tell people that they’re surprised that you’re dating someone because he/she’s so horrible.

They may even go so far as to say bad things about your character or personality in front of other people (or better yet, on social media).

Nothing is more hurtful than someone talking bad about you behind your back or, even worse, right to your face!

They Interfere in Your Relationship or Marriage

If you’re in a healthy relationship, then it should stay that way. If you have a good partner and are happy, no one should be able to tell you what to do with your life or how to do things.

But if your family is constantly interfering, trying to destroy your relationship, or interfering in decisions that don’t affect them, that’s not okay!

It shows that they don’t want you to be happy and only care about themselves. Or maybe they just want to be in control of all the relationships in your life so they can control and manipulate everything themselves.

One or More Family Members Have a Substance Abuse Problem

Substance abuse is extremely damaging to the family unit.

It can affect the entire family, from children and other relatives living under the same roof to those who’re separated by distance and time but feel connected as part of the family through their shared experiences.

If you belong to a toxic family, chances are good that one or more members have substance abuse problems.

If you suspect that your loved one has a substance abuse problem, talk to him or her about it in a supportive way – but don’t be surprised if he or she resists or denies that anything is wrong.

If you’re concerned about another person’s alcohol or drug use, don’t keep quiet out of fear or guilt, but seek help as soon as possible.

The best way to protect yourself from someone who’s abusing drugs is to not be around them when they’re drunk or high (or both).

How Can You Protect Yourself From a Toxic Family?

If you can’t escape from your toxic family, there are two steps you can take to protect yourself.

Ask For Help

If you need support and advice, reach out to friends and family who’ll listen to you without judgment. They can give you advice on how best to handle the situation, or just lend a sympathetic ear if things have become too stressful for you. A therapist can also support and help you cope.

Be Assertive

If someone starts to be negative about something from the recent past, address the issue calmly but firmly, setting boundaries about what is and isn’t appropriate behavior – and stick to it!

What Steps Can You Take To Recover From a Toxic Family Situation?

If you’re facing a toxic family situation, you should take some steps to heal. Here are some ways you can begin the healing process:

Seek Professional Help

Sometimes it’s helpful to talk to an outside person about what’s going on in your life. If you’re having trouble dealing with the situation or recognizing the signs of toxic family dynamics, you should see a therapist who knows about toxic dynamics and can help you understand your feelings and thoughts.

Take Time Away From the Situation

If possible, stay away from people who behave in ways that make it hard for you to feel comfortable or happy around them – the more time they spend in your life, the harder it’ll be for them to change, too!

Even if that means spending time with friends or family members who’re not supportive of you in any way (neighbors, for example), you should do what’ll best help you overcome the negative feelings associated with their presence.

After all, the most important thing is that they don’t negatively affect others!


Toxic families can be incredibly damaging to their members, both emotionally and physically.

If you suspect your family may be toxic, it’s important to get help. There are many options available to you, such as therapies, support groups, and online forums. Remember that you aren’t alone and that there is hope for recovery.

Thank you for reading this article. We hope it was helpful.

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