HOW TO TACKLE TOXIC FAMILY MEMBERS?

I know what it feels like to be rejected, alienated, and alone.

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Try the black rock method:

If you’re a highly sensitive person, an empath who tends to be an emotional sponge or just a person who has a low energy threshold for bullshit, try the black rock method.

The black rock method is essentially a way of making yourself so boring to a narcissist that they will eventually leave you alone. Narcissists [and toxic family members] thrive on drama and reaction. When you deprive them of that, they quickly start to lose interest in you.

Practice the black rock method by:

  • making yourself utterly boring
  • being bland and vague in your responses
  • not reacting to their reactions
  • talking about dull topics

The goal is to pretend that you’re like a gray rock or something tremendously uninteresting that has no personality. It’s kind of like adopting a secret disguise!

Do this, and you’ll be protecting yourself from their toxicity and drama.

 Develop clearer but invisible boundaries:

Setting boundaries with toxic family members isn’t about being loud, abrasive, or demanding – this will likely just backfire and bite you in the butt.

It’s understandable to react that way and try to take back your power forcibly. But a better and more long-lasting method is to develop clear but “invisible” boundaries.

By invisible, I mean keeping your boundaries quiet and almost concealed. Toxic family members typically detest any form of obvious boundary. So, to avoid that particular kind of hell, take a more subtle but strong approach.

Here are some ideas:

  • Learn how to say “no” in a neutral but firm way. E.g., instead of saying “No way,” or “No, I won’t do that,” try saying something like, “I can’t help today, but I can recommend someone else who can,” or “That sounds interesting, but I have another commitment that day,” or “I’ve got a lot going on right now, but if my schedule clears up I’ll let you know.”
  • Spend less time around them. For instance, if you live with a toxic parent, find ways of being out of the house and building a life outside that environment. If you’re at a party with a nasty sibling, create physical distance between you and them, such as standing on the opposite side of the room.
  • Plan reasons to leave to give you space. E.g., plan to spend only twenty minutes around them and have a commitment lined up afterward. Plan to excuse yourself to the restroom when the conversation gets heated or tense. Even ask someone to call you during a certain toxic family time so you have the excuse to leave and have more space.
  • Cross your arms and adjust your body language so that it looks closed and not open. When someone is in your personal space, step back or position yourself in the room in a way where there’s an object between you and the said toxic family member.

Build a life that fills and fulfills u:

Toxic family members are like leeches of energy, but we don’t have to remain their prey.

Although we’ll inevitably feel drained around them, we can replenish our energy reserves by building a life that metaphorically “fills our cup.”

  • Have a simple self care practice like drinking tea, walking, and reading
  • Practice self-love affirmations
  • Spend time unwinding in nature
  • Take care of your inner child
  • Spend time cuddling pets
  • Practice some form of body work and learn how to unwind your nervous system
  • Fill your space with plants or that which gives you life
  • Do some reflective journaling
  • Spend time with people you genuinely enjoy being around
  • Strengthen your spiritual support system and connect with spirit guides and allies (if you consider yourself metaphysically inclined)
  • Give yourself permission to nap and rest
  • Express yourself creatively

 

So many of us deal with toxic families. And while it can feel exhausting, infuriating, and deeply upsetting, there are above ways to stay sane and grounded.

 

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