Some of the most crucial years of our lives are spent within the family we were born into. And while I would love nothing more than to say that we all grow up in happy and healthy situations, unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case.
For some, there is a consistent pattern that includes certain family members conducting harmful behaviors against others. And while conflict is normal, as well as mistakes, the toxic family dynamic far surpasses that of the normal family drama. The toxic family is filled with consistent and constant toxic encounters and traumatic behaviors.
And if you believe you grew up in a toxic family, you are most likely right. However, to be sure, here are the hallmark traits of one.
1. You feel controlled.
Family isn’t supposed to control you. And there is a major difference between a controlling parent and a parent that disciplines you. If your family doesn’t allow you to make choices for yourself and manipulates your every action, you are likely being controlled by them.
2. You don’t feel love from your family.
When you are with family, you don’t feel love, warmth, or affection. Instead, the dynamic is cold, callous, and hostile.
3. Certain members of your family pit you against others.
When family members are upset with each other or arguing, they drag you into their arguments and toxic situations. You are constantly pitted against other members of your family. And if you don’t comply with your family member’s wishes, they turn against you and try to turn everyone else against you as well.
4. You feel abandoned.
Your family constantly leaves you hanging when you need them the most. And certain members have abandoned you, possibly even when you were young.
5. You feel abused.
Your family members emotionally, physically, or psychologically abuse you regularly. You constantly have to watch your back, because you never know what to expect from your family members.
6. Your family makes you anxious.
When you think about being around your family and when you are with them, they make you feel anxious. You constantly feel on edge around them, and you may not be able to pinpoint why, but deep down, you know that the connections are toxic.
7. There’s no communication.
And there’s no real communication or heartfelt discussion. When bad things happen, they get swept under the rug and avoided at all costs.
8. You’ve contemplated parting ways.
At times, you’ve thought about walking away from your family and never looking back. You may have even tried walking away a few times, only to turn around and go back. You love your family, but they continue to harm and abuse you, and it’s hard to handle most of the time.
9. You’ve been parentified.
When you were a child, you had to act as the adult or responsible one. You were told things you never should have had the burden of knowing. Your parent made you into the parent figure either because they weren’t in a position to be the parent due to an illness, or because they weren’t present as they should have been. Regardless of how it happened, you had to play an adult role when you still had more childhood left to live.
10. There are substance issues involved.
Parents or other family members were or are addicted to drgs, and it majorly impacted your life. Because of this, they may have left you, abused you, or used you. And even though you understand that their issues are due to drugs, it doesn’t take away the pain they caused you and your family.