Toxic family: characteristics and how to get away

Toxic family: characteristics and how to get away
Dysfunctional or toxic families are very diverse, each family is one world. However, we can find some common factors that can be observed in most toxic families. In general, in a toxic family there is a pattern of harmful behaviors that do not respect the individuality of each family member, promoting an uncomfortable and unstable climate. In the following article, we will talk about the toxic family: characteristics and how to get away.

What is a toxic family? Types of family group

As we have warned at the beginning of this article, each family is a world and, although it is normal that there are family conflicts , it is difficult to define a family nucleus as toxic. Therefore, we are going to be based on an interesting psychological theory to find the characteristics of a toxic family.

Agglutinated family

Exaggerated tendency to go "all to one" and lack of identity . The individual has little importance. The claustrophobic effect may appear, creating the feeling that one cannot leave this familiar structure. Mind closed and based on distrust: "We are the good, the others the bad."

Uniformed Family

Tendency to submission , they refuse differences. The interactions within the family are rigid. Authority and demand abound. There is a lot of control and little reflection.

Isolated Family

In the agglutinated and uniformed family the important thing was the group, in this the importance lies with the individual. Individuality predominates, therefore, there is a deterioration of the group identity. Interactions within the family are superficial.

Integrated family

There is a balance between individual and group. The roles are flexible and reflective capacity is encouraged. Everyone can think differently and not for that reason ceases to be family. Differences and criticism are accepted.

They are the first in which toxicity abounds , the result of the difficulty to express our feelings and opinions freely, to converse or show ourselves as we are. The integrated family would be the healthiest family group.

Characteristics of a toxic family

A conflictive family provokes negative feelings that affect the personal development and the psychological well-being of each member of the family. As we have already commented, each family is a world and therefore has its unique characteristics. However, there are some behaviors and attitudes that generate dysfunctionality in a family:

  • Abuse or family violence . The psychological impact on a person who receives abuse is very serious (low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, guilt ...). Domestic violence is a very serious problem that must be solved immediately.
  • Excess control . Excessive control prevents the controlled person from developing in a healthy and independent way. What leads to dependency and avoidant and emotionally maladaptive behaviors.
  • Constant conflict . That the conflict exists is natural and healthy to evolve. However, when the conflict is very frequent and intense, it ends up causing wear and tear among family members.
  • The addiction to alcohol or other drugs of one or several people in the family. An addiction can cause many economic and emotional difficulties in a family.
  • Lack of communication. The lack of communication generates feelings of incomprehension.
  • High level of demand and expectations . Need for children to live up to the expectations of parents.
  • Low parental responsibility . Sometimes parents are immature and have little responsibility and make the children have to assume an adult role too early, which is not healthy at all.

How to get away from a toxic and selfish family

Whenever possible, try to do your part to solve the conflict and improve the family climate . However, if you have already tried everything and continue to suffer from being in a toxic family, you should start taking measures to take care of yourself, maintain your mental health and emotional balance:
  • Set limits Do not depend on the approval of your family, your decisions are your decisions. And you decide whether to share it with your family or not.
  • Do not try to change a toxic person. Accept that your family member will never change if he doesn't want to. It is better to make the decision to prioritize your welfare instead of those around you.
  • Put some distance. Putting physical distance can help you regain control of your life.
  • Do not lose respect. Avoid conflicts and do not act impulsively. Confront conflicts in a healthy and calm way, letting feelings cool down to act without hurting anyone.
  • Stop responding to the conflict. When we respond to the conflict (abuse, manipulation or complaint) we are nourished by that conflict.
  • Express what you feel with someone you trust. Instead of repressing your emotions, look for ways to externalize them.
  • Spend time with people who make you feel good. Relationship with people who give you affection.

Taking distance from toxic family members can awaken difficult emotions to manage. If you feel you can not do it alone, do not hesitate to ask a professional for help.