Can family relationships turn toxic?

We have been conditioned to believe that relationships in the family are always beautiful and full of love and fulfilment. Like all other things, it is not always so.

I have seen how toxicity starts showing in relationships. When left unchecked these relationships take a toll on our physical and mental health and erode our sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

Here are five signs that indicate its time to reevaluate the worthiness of a relationship:

  1. The relationship has become parasitic: where one person constantly enjoys at the expense of the other. For any relationship to thrive, there needs to be a healthy exchange of value- tangible or intangible- in the form of love, care, support, motivation, handholding.
  2. Invasion of personal space: For example: It is not very rare for siblings to invade your privacy and take over your home and work space under the guise of family visits. If after spending the day with them you feel completely drained instead of happy, then that is the sign that something is not right.
  3. Disrespect: You are belittled, disrespected despite you bringing the Good to family. Use of fowl and abusive language in family conversations is another of mutual disrespect.
  4. Lying: There is persistent lying to not just conceal facts but also represent them in a diffwrent form altogether. Not just facts but also real thoughts, emotions and feelings are faked or covered to protect ones’ selfish interests.
  5. Breaking trust: Every relationship is founded on some unwritten rules, many of which are simply sacred. Without trust, life can become a nightmare and relationship dysfunctional. It is almost impossible for a relationship to thrive. Trust encompasses several values like loyalty, emotional fidelity, confidence and reliability. Its the most fundamengal thread holding a relationship together.

Being watchful of these signs can warn us against imminent pitfalls and emotional agonies. Some relationships can get toxic like a tumour in the body and depending on the threat it poses needs to be managed or simply taken out of our lives.

Some relationships can be like sunk costs and just because we are invested in them we torture ourselves to continue living in them. Whereas the right approach is to exit at the first sign and protect ourselves from unnecessary pain.


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