How to Deal with Negativity-Part 3: Negative Family Members
Negative people can be toxic.
If the negative person is a boyfriend or girlfriend, acquaintance, or a friend, sometimes a break-up is what is needed to remove that toxicity from your life. This is often a necessary step to prevent the negativity from draining all of your energy and affecting your life in a toxic fashion. However, if the negative person is a family member, how do you handle that situation? How do we deal with the feelings of obligation, guilt, confusion and heartache?
Unfortunately, some families are only connected by blood. They don’t share the connection, support, or stability that other families might. Some families help build each other up, while others tear each other down and end up depleting all of your energy.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~Carl Jung
I’ve learned that the best way to deal with the challenges of life is to look internally at myself and accept responsibility for what I’m thinking, feeling, and living. Years ago, I decided not to give my power away to other people by allowing their negativity to affect me, and even more so, blaming them if it does affect me. Having done that before, I realized that when I allowed that to happen, I became a victim of circumstances. When this happens, instead of using your time and energy to overcome life’s challenges, you get lost in the problems of life and get stuck in a reactive mode of negativity that is very unhealthy.
When these situations occur, instead of blaming the negative person, turn it around and ask yourself what you can learn from this situation. How can you improve this situation? What can I do to heal this situation? How can I make my positive outlook bigger than their negative outlook?
Take a closer look at the negative individual. As humans, we tend to look for the drama. Once we see something negative, it’s easy to find more negative things about the person and dwell on it. Look for their positive traits. These may be hard to find through the negativity, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any.
I think it’s also important to mention that if you feel like you aren’t ready to change the way you look at he negative person, don’t judge yourself for feeling that way. It’s okay to give yourself time to come to that decision.
Focus on the positive. Focus on the solution, not the problem. Don’t allow their negativity to become your negativity. It may feel like venting, but complaining about their negativity turns you into the negative person that you dislike so much. Try changing your attitude and the way you look at things.
You can’t have positive and negative energy at the same time. You can create more and more negativity by focusing on it and talking about it, complaining about it, dwelling on it, not sleeping, worrying about it. Do the same with positive energy. You can create more positive energy by focusing on being positive, talking about positive things, thinking about the positive traits of family members and repeating them over and over again.
You can’t change others. You can only change yourself and by doing so you will change the whole world. Dwell upon this idea until it makes sense to you and put it into practice.
Live your life in a positive, cheerful, loving and happy way and trust that all the negative people in your life will be affected by your positive energy. Take charge of your life! Don’t wait for others to give it to you.
On the other hand, it’s healthy to allow yourself to get angry. Don’t let it consume you. Make sure you use it in a healthy manner. Exercise. Do sports. Use art and express yourself creatively. Journal about it. Don’t withhold your emotions.
Practice doing good things for yourself. Do things that build self-esteem. Do things you enjoy. Invite others that love you along with you. Learn ways to protect yourself. Practice meditation. Learn to be patient with yourself and others.
Set healthy boundaries. Try to not allow yourself to get sucked back in. You can love and wish them the best from a distance. It’s perfectly acceptable to limit your time with the negative person in your life.
No matter how many negative people you have to deal with in your life, it’s always a better practice to look at yourself and assess what you can do better, rather than pointing out what they are doing. This may seem difficult, but it will take a heavy burden off of your shoulders. When you stop condemning their negativity, stop judging it, and no longer resist it, you’ll learn to just observe it and accept it. Sometimes we just have to accept the positive and negative traits in people.
Sometimes, you can do all of this and nothing changes. Don’t expect that person to change. If that person is a family member that you truly love and care for, I don’t advocate for removing them from your life. I suggest counselling or even group counselling, but all parties involved need to be willing to go, drop the blame game, and willing to move forward with a renewed relationship of acceptance and understanding. If this isn’t possible and the negative person isn’t willing to work on themselves as well, then there’s really not much you can do at this point. Creating distance and boundaries is the best way to handle this type of situation, in my experience.
Thank you for reading! If you have found some value in this, please share! If you have a situation like this and want to share, please feel free to comment.