- Toxic relatives – Relatives that affect your emotional and mental well-being, i.e. gas lighting, verbal abuse, etc.
- Emotionally Draining – people/ circumstances that drain your energy and damage your mental health.
- Gas lighting – blatant lies intended to distort your reality and make you susceptible to their control.
Often times the Holiday Season is stressful and can be uncomfortable for young adults to process.
I’m not talking about the annoying household chores, or helicopter parents.
Relatives, friends and family, biological or otherwise, who lie to your face or make comments that affect your self-esteem; those with draining characteristics.
Some people dress up for holiday family meals, but if you’re a college student like me, you may not have the funds to compete with the Uncle Gucci and Auntie Chanel. Don’t allow bullying from family members, or anyone else!
Or maybe, the freshman fifteen carried into fifty and fatphobic relatives enjoy making you feel uncomfortable with their stares and comments.
‘Friends of the family’ give you a few extra sidelong glances; or a lingering hug- all of these things may contribute to your mental health. If you’re made to feel uncomfortable, please, expose the situation and then leave.
When confronting your toxic relatives…after you have attempted to explain your boundaries and what makes you uncomfortable, you may be met with criticism, or more derogatory comments about you. Often times, it’s better to protect your energy, and mental health by way of distance. If there is no change in behavior it is not worth your energy.
Tips to Avoid Toxic Relatives
Find less toxic relatives to lodge with, or pay in advance for an AIRBNB or hotel.
Feel no shame in avoiding physical and verbal communication with toxic relatives.
I speak to everyone at once, “HEY everyone Merry Christmas,” then hug my few people, (no one expects you to hug everyone and I busy myself soon afterwards)
Do not allow yourself to be guilted or used for money, or “extra gifts” or anything. I allow ONLY those who truly loved me and positively contributed to my upbringing, to share in my space.
I don’t go out of my way to find adults who pop in and out at their leisure. Don’t try to buy 1500 worth of gifts, be a struggling young adult and stay in your financial lane.
Say NO! FIRMLY. Remember that your emotions are important and if your feelings are negatively impacted everytime you’re around your family, it’s ok to be scarce.
I firmly believe that you should cut off any person that harms your mental health.
Please consult with a professional mental health specialist, and also check out Forbes panelist Jasmin Pierre, app creator of The Safe Place, which helps black people with their mental health.