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Daily Self-Compassion

Holiday Season and Boundaries: Avoiding Toxic Family Relationships

Remember this holiday season, that without treating ourselves with respect, we cannot expect others to do so. The boundaries get fuzzy in our familial relationships, whether with our children, our siblings or our partnerships, right? We were taught by culture and tradition that family is everything, we must stay loyal no matter what, to our family. What if a continuation of allowing toxicity within our familial relationships is detrimental to our health, then what? Do we allow ourselves to suffer for the sake of the family? The lack of boundaries in our family relationships leads to illness its been studied and proven. Put yourself first, see how much better you feel.

Here are a few tips to create boundaries for yourself, in order to main self- respect but also to receive respect from others, especially our family.

  1. Boundaries without vulnerability are not boundaries. When you create boundaries and communicate them to your family, stick to your guns! If they don’t adhere to your boundaries, that shows a lack of respect. Having boundaries allows us to be vulnerable. Because you are allowed to be who you are and you are allowed to feel what you feel, without judgement. But don’t back down.
  2. Emotions are not bad. We are taught to stuff our emotions and only lead with our ego mind. Emotions allows us to expand our compassion which creates openness. Yes, feel and express emotions, but use your boundaries to create the respect necessary, so non judgement is the norm. When we can be open enough to respect where the other person comes from, we grow as humans and vice versa.
  3. Recognize when people make up stories to assuage their own feelings of guilt, shame or fear. Many times, our family will make another family member a target, acting out of judgement, that if the person is not adhering to a certain belief system or opinion, they are the enemy. So they create a story to make themselves feel better, for acting uncharitably to the other family member.But also because they are afraid of what is occurring. It can even be from a sense of envy or jealousy. We also see this now in society all the time. But its not ok! How long do we have to put up with this type of behavior?

The takeaway is to remember we are all human, but we don’t have to take the abuse, and the fear based behavior that people without boundaries exhibit. Merely not speaking to them or not reacting does work. But at some point you must tell people or your family to stop and why they must. Then knowing you made a choice to put yourself first, feel confident in your choice. Even it means the end of the familial relationship, which can be a result of setting boundaries. There are always others, whether friends, distant relatives, and colleagues who will respect your boundaries, and that can be as emotionally satisfying. Put yourself first, set your boundaries and communicate them with grace. Expect the best and you will receive it from the right people!

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