Dealing with a toxic family member during a pandemic

First of all, you are not alone. I will say that I don’t have all the answers but here are the lessons I’ve learned.

1. You will never be right, so get over it

Even when you catch that person in a bold faced lie, the toxic person is *never* wrong. They will scream at you and blame you for all their woes. A toxic family member wants to wear you down mentally and emotionally, until you break. By not engaging in their toxicity, you cut off their “supply”. I stopped trying to constantly refute every attack and had to stop responding to every accusation – because that’s what they wanted!- and learned to get over it.

2. You’re an adult, you can say no.

In the middle of a heated argument, the toxic family member said (more like screamed) this to me and you know what? They are 100% right. I am an adult and I can say no to them. When they ask for something and it’s something I’m not comfortable to agreeing to, I simply say no and let them know it doesn’t work for me. In therapy I learned that I can have healthy boundaries and in the end, how respond to that is a reflection of then.

3. Have all discussions in front of your spouse

I found out how quickly stories kept changing and found that the best way to mitigate misunderstandings is to have a third party present.

4. If your spouse warns you about their toxic family member, believe them.

5. Limit or restrict their access to you

I realized I needed to do this after an they tried to instigate an argument over an innocuous IG story I had posted. I ended up removing this person from seeing any of my social media account. By allowing less access to my life the less firepower they had and the less emotional energy I had to expend.

6. When all else fails, go no contact

This was the last step and while I wish it didn’t have to resort to this, it was a decision that was made for the sake of my mental health.

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