A toxic family environment may not necessarily cause psychological trauma, but it can contribute to it. The death of a parent in an accident may result in psychological distress for a child. This may be one of the signs you grew up in a dysfunctional family, but this can negatively impact a person’s life for years to come.
All healthy relationships require strong and healthy boundaries. The boundaries refer to the emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual limits between family members. During childhood, boundaries are established by parents seeking to provide safe, structured environments for their children.
Toxic families frequently lack boundaries, meaning family members invade one another’s privacy and overshare information. The line between you and another family member can be hard to draw sometimes.
Of course, being close to your family isn’t toxic on its own. In some cultures, it is normal (and expected) to share most of your experiences with your loved ones. Having a close relationship can indeed be wonderful. There are signs you grew up in a toxic family all you need to do is to recognize them.
What is a Toxic Family?
Every family has disagreements or circumstances in which they unintentionally damage each other. Some families have a history of conflict or tension at every gathering, leaving family members exhausted and irritated. If you act like the worst version of yourself around your family, that is one of the signs you grew up in a toxic family
Your parents’ love should be unconditional, but you may have been threatened with being kicked out if you don’t behave. You and your sibling might be quite different, which should be cherished. In a toxic household, continual comparison can make you feel attacked and uncomfortable. this is how to how to know if you grew up in a toxic household.
8 signs you grew up in a toxic family
1. Overreacting parents
It is understandable for a parent to feel angry when a family’s pride is shattered. However, if a parent is constantly agitated about small, seemingly insignificant things, that causes worry and terror. this is one of the signs you grew up in a toxic family. Since their parents act impulsively and inconsistently on various issues, kids never know when they’ll be screamed at or what sort of behavior is inappropriate.
2. You Are Anxious
Anxiety problems are one of the common signs you grew up in a toxic family. A lack of security, an unstable environment, or mental and physical abuse can lead to this. Feeling concerned, nervous, irritated, or restless are all signs you were raised in a toxic family. It is difficult to maintain long-term relationships when people lack trust in others or have poor self-esteem.
3. You Criticize yourself a lot
Blaming yourself is also one of the common signs you grew up in a toxic family.
Children feel worthless or undeserving when their dysfunctional parents or siblings belittle them. Adults who grow up in toxic homes criticize themselves, second-guess their choices, and hesitate when making decisions. This is difficult to change since they genuinely believe they are worse than others and do not have the mental and emotional support to change their minds.
4. Your energy gets drained by them
Toxic parents and siblings can leave children feeling defeated due to their neediness and high-maintenance nature. This can deplete a child’s or adult’s energy reserves. Setting boundaries and protecting your energy levels will help you deal with toxic parents and siblings.
5. Everyone makes you nervous
Observing manipulation in your family shows you how people are manipulated or controlled. Seeing someone lie, obviously or subtly, alters your perspective of the world. Your self-confidence starts to slip. You start distrusting what others say. Your search for hidden motives or hidden meanings. You read between the lines and don’t take anything at face value. When a lover claims they love you, you don’t believe them.
6. You keep your emotions private
Has anyone ever told you that you are a tough nut to crack? Or that you never allow strangers in? Growing up with critical or unsupportive parents harms self-esteem. If a parent regularly humiliates their child, the child will soon feel incompetent or useless.
They retreat and become mute because nothing they accomplish is good enough. Children raised in this toxic family dynamic are often estranged from the rest of us. They hesitate to let others in because they fear rejection or criticism.
7. You are terrified of conflict
Fear of confrontation is one of the signs you grew up in a toxic family. You eventually learn to be silent and become invisible. You are not assertive. Instead, you get scared of contentious situations and avoid them. However, confronting others is part of adulthood. At the point of conflict, you’re sent back in time and become that scared child again.
8. You have difficulty making decisions
As a child, receiving severe criticism sometimes makes you feel inadequate, even foolish. Having a parent who regularly criticizes you undermines your self-esteem. Nothing is right about what you do, so something must be wrong. This impacts your adult decision-making capacity.
How can you decide when your parents teach you that you are stupid? You postpone and avoid key decisions as you age. This can be hazardous in and of itself. For instance, you might stay in an abusive relationship because you can’t decide whether to leave.
Also Read: Adoption Is Not A Fairy Tale Ending
How to Deal with a Toxic Family and When to Seek Help
Setting boundaries is one of the most effective techniques to improve your behavior around your toxic family. As an adult, you are not required to spend all your time with your family. You may choose what works best for you and establish boundaries on how long you visit, where you meet, and what you talk about with them.
Some individuals withdraw totally, but others learn not to respond or accept responsibility for someone else’s feelings, goals, or needs. To demonstrate their disengagement, you should discuss neutral topics and avoid responding to unpleasant comments. When a toxic parent or sibling cannot elicit a reaction from you, they quit harassing you. However, if they do not, you can leave and avoid the issue.
Extreme anxiety, low self-esteem, worthlessness, trouble trusting others, sustaining strong connections, or feeling exhausted after visiting your family are signs you grew up in a toxic family. Some strategies to assist yourself include talking with supportive friends, keeping positive connections, and caring for your body by eating, resting, and being hydrated.
If the negative emotions become overwhelming and the psychological trauma is severe, it is essential to seek professional assistance. Some professionals have been trained to work with this sort of trauma and can help alleviate the symptoms of a toxic family.
We cannot pick our families nor undo the past. However, if you see signs you grew up in a toxic family, you can separate yourself from them as an adult. You can try to understand your family, forgive them, or move on. You now have complete control. It is entirely up to you how you proceed.