Our society establishes family as the core institution of a person’s life.

It’s true. Family shapes the first years of our lives. And this upbringing is crucial to the kind of people we become as adults.

However, not everyone is blessed with a healthy, loving home.

I’ve been doing a little walk down memory lane and remembering the times that I felt absolutely crippled, useless, and hopeless because of the way that I was being treated.

Smothering, neglect, emotional, sexual or physical abuse, overprotectiveness—these are only a few signs of a toxic family. In this blog, I will share with you my experience and how to cope with having them in your life.

We tend to believe that the people who love us and the people who’ve chosen to be with us would never treat us in any other way but with respect, understanding, tolerance, kindness, and compassion.

We believe that somebody who loves us will not shatter us—that they wouldn’t say false things about us, or to us. And even call us names and treat us with contempt.

We also believe that they will not hurt us physically or emotionally. That they wouldn’t withhold any food, money, or comfort from us and they would never stop us from seeing family and friends and doing things that make us happy.

However, the reality is that our beliefs get smashed because we don’t see the truth.

How do you learn to be different and feel more empowered?

  1. Remember that how others behave is not the reflection of who you are. That’s the reflection of who they are.

Understand that how others treat you is not a reflection of who you are. That’s a reflection of who they are and what’s going on for them. Their childhood issues, memories, feelings of powerlessness, the lack of love they experienced as they grew up, and the lack of love and acceptance of themselves. 

  1. Let go of what you can’t change.

Stop trying to change what is impossible. Stop focusing your energy on them. Stop reacting to their manipulation. And don’t even bother enabling their abusive ways.

You can’t change who they are and what they do, but you can control how you react to the situation.

So do yourself a favour and don’t engage in their behaviour.

  1. No matter how hard it seems, you have a choice to continue to be a victim or choose to be loved and empowered.

Ask yourself: Are you willing and prepared to continue to be treated like this, or are you going choose not to continue?

You are strong, and you can do this. Regardless of their neglect, manipulation, or abuse, you still survived. You might not be the most secure person in the world, but you were strong enough to survive that toxic environment. So I know, and I believe, you can do this.

  1. Learn that the way you respond is the most powerful thing you have.

You can’t make anyone listen if you don’t believe yourself capable in the first place.

You have to be direct and assertive in dealing with your family. Decide your plan of action and do it. See it through.

Call them out. Say “no” and mean it. Stand your ground.

Understand how specifically they are abusing you and do not engage with them when they do.

Don’t let them control you once again. Remember, you don’t need their explanations to move on with your life.

Moving Forward, Moving On

The choice you can make is to state a new intention and create new boundaries – so say it loudly and clearly to yourself: “I’m no longer going to be treated disrespectfully like trash.” Repeat it to yourself every day, and you will learn a new way of loving.

Everything from this point forward, the only thing that matters are the choices that you make. From this point backward, accept your experiences because it is who you are, you have survived it,  and it will serve as a learning tool.

Has this blog been meaningful and impactful for you? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Send me your comments and your questions; you can send me a private message or email me at erena@erenaoliver.com to keep this private between us.

Let’s talk.

Erena Oliver