The way we're raised has a huge impact on the way we act, behave, and even think as we become adults. Long-held habits, beliefs and the trust we place in those around us all shape us over the years, for better or for worse.
Those who grew up with some dysfunction in their family know this better than anyone, as it becomes apparent later in life just how much that experience helped shape you. It might have left you with some scars, ones that will fade with time, but it likely also left you with some myths you still believe to be true.
Allow yourself to be guided to your perfect starting point by taking this free, simple quiz. It will help you uncover the roots of your trauma so you can stop the damage it continues to cause. Click here to learn more today and let healing flow into your life.
Under Their Thumb
Growing up under the oppressive force of a toxic, manipulative, or downright abusive family is unimaginably difficult. The earliest, most formative years of your life are spent under their control, making it hard to escape and heal from once you're finally of age to get out of there.
They'll spend a lot of time fitting you with a certain belief system about them, feeding you lies so that you feel like leaving them isn't even an option. Know that they're just that, lies. Your truth is out there. Below are just some of the myths that toxic family members will have you believing.
1. You Should Always Forgive Your Family
Because families are automatically assumed to be just, loving, kind, and caring, there's often a reluctance to address and actively heal the trauma that happens within a family. Unchecked behaviors thrive here, as no one wants to call out a family member for mistreating them. You're supposed to love your family no matter what, right?
This just isn't true. Anyone who's treating you poorly, regardless of who they are or why they're doing it, deserves to be criticized for it. You don't need to simply bow your head and take it. Refusing to brush off this kind of behavior is the key to breaking this cycle of abuse. Blood bonds don't excuse bad behavior, neither our own nor anyone else's. It's time to question and expose these conditions for a healthier life.
2. You Should Put Family Above Your Well-Being
When trapped in an abusive dynamic within your family, you're often taught that family matters always come first, even if that means ignoring your own health or sanity. Boundaries are frequently crossed, your wishes ignored, all so you can serve someone else's desires. You're forced to stop taking care of yourself so you may take care of others instead.
You deserve to heal. You deserve to be somewhere safe, somewhere that encourages your growth and development, not somewhere that stifles it. No one is more important in your life than you. No, not even your family. Whatever it takes for you to be happy should always be your top priority. This is your life, not anyone else's.
3. You'll Always Return
Even if we do manage to temporarily escape and free ourselves from the family members that harm us, there's this looming expectation that we'll return. They'll try to convince us that the chaos, the hurt, that it was necessary for our development, and so we must want to come back. This is a play to the codependencies that they built. It's not a reflection of your character.
Still, this cycle can limit our healing, causing us to live in constant fear of being under their scrutiny once again. In order to shake this feeling, you're going to need to take a decisive stance. Declare to yourself that this is your life, that you're dedicated to healing, and that you don't need or want to be anywhere near the people who hurt you. Let it become a mantra that propels you forward.
4. You Need Their Permission To Heal
When you spend a lifetime intertwined with a toxic family, you may start believing that you need their permission to do anything, and that includes healing. However, this sought-after permission slip to live authentically will never come. People who are using you never want you to get better. They want to leech off of you as long as they can. In the face of that, there's only one thing to do, grant yourself permission to start healing. Identify what compromises your sanity, express it, and should your non-negotiable needs be dismissed, tell them, "No more."
Going no-contact seems like an extreme step, but it's often what's needed in order to fully heal from the trauma caused by family members. If you don't feel ready for that or it's not an option, then at least find ways to take longer, decisive breaks from them. Separating yourself from that toxicity inspires greater self-validation, and with time, you'll see that their treatment never did anything but hinder you.
5. They Do It Out Of Love
These toxic family members will insist over and over again that they only do what they do out of love, but just because they say it, that doesn't make it true. Real love is clear and obvious, it honors the other person as a separate being with their own will and truth. It doesn't impede on their peace, safety, healing, or feelings.
Abuse done in the name of love compromises our ability to recognize healthy love. We must acknowledge these vile behaviors labeled as love and challenge them. We can't allow our brains to recognize them as love lest we start getting lost in that false promise. It's not love; it never was, but real love can be found elsewhere.
6. You Must Always Say Yes
For those of us with deep family wounds, we often invalidate our own truth. Chronic beliefs or other issues given to us by our family create a sense of unreality, where our feelings and inner truth are deemed obstacles to the version of ourselves others want us to be. We're not allowed to push back, to demand anything, or to question what we're told.
Recovering from this ingrained set of rules is tough, but it all starts with learning to say "no." That word is the most powerful tool we have. We say no to their assumptions, we say no to their commands, and we say no to the power they believe they hold over us. The power of a good "no" will set you free.
7. You Will Never Change
Our childhood coping mechanisms often shape our self-perception. Whether it was being a people-pleaser, being known for being 'needless,' or making ourselves invisible, these strategies were born from survival and can continue into adulthood.
We become acutely aware of these mechanisms once we start our healing journeys. However, reclaiming safety and personal truth renders them obsolete, meaning we don't have to hide behind anything anymore. The limitations imposed by these coping mechanisms will gradually dissipate, freeing us to love, create, work, relate, and live as freely as we should. These behaviors helped us once upon a time, but we're no longer in that time. They don't serve us anymore, so we're better off letting them go.
Your Unique Journey
Healing from familial abuse is its own beast, especially if these were family members who raised you or you were raised with.
It requires its own deconstruction, one that challenges ideals we've had drilled into us since childhood. This doesn't mean it's impossible, quite the opposite, actually, it just means it comes with its own baggage and work to be done.
But it should be done because it's what you deserve. A life free from the agony and pain you associate with family does exist. You can reach it.
This free and simple quiz is a great place to start for anyone who feels that childhood traumas continue to poison their present-day lives. It will help you learn the root causes of some of your struggles and then teach you how to grow beyond them. Click here to learn more and take that first step to freedom.