When you think of ‘family’, likely a comforting image comes to mind. Loving and supportive parents, close siblings, and engaging grandparents spoil you. Essentially, a support system that is comforting, happy, and whole. A bubble of support and encouragement.
But what if your family wasn’t like this. What if you’re noticing signs that your family doesn’t care about you, and you find yourself asking why does my family exclude me?
Often the ways in which dislike or lack of care can manifest are different within each family. According to scientificamerican.com, 17% of people are alienated from an immediate family member. In most cases, it is the adult child who cuts off contact due to abuse, ongoing toxic behaviours or feeling unaccepted or unsupported.
There are many family dynamics that can raise red flags. Often, they can be difficult to identify, especially when you are a young child. But, as you grow older, you may start to notice that family members only connect with you when they want or need something, and your boundaries or feelings are being ignored, dismissed, or invalidated.
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So, how do you know your family doesn’t care about you? In this article, I will go through 8 signs that suggest that your family doesn’t care about you and how you can survive it:
1. They Disrespect Your Boundaries:
The limits you set between yourself, and others are important and healthy. When family members ignore them, even when you’ve asked them to be respectful, this is a sign they don’t care.
2. Your Feelings Are Not Validated or Prioritized:
If your feelings are not considered important to your family, or they mock or torment you about them, then they don’t believe your feelings are worth validating. If they consider their feelings to be more significant and simply dismiss you, then this is another sign you are not a priority.
3. They Often Let You Down:
If a family member promises to do something for you or meet up, but they always disappoint you, this is a sign that you are not a priority to them. A common sign of this is when they consistently forget your birthday.
4. They Consistently Criticize:
When your family brings you down with criticizing remarks, hurtful feedback, or nasty comments, this can make you feel like nothing you do is good enough for them.
5. You Are Often Belittled or Ridiculed:
Toxic family members that enjoy telling embarrassing stories or laugh at you when you are down often take pleasure in this. These types of family members will tell you you’re being oversensitive when you express how they make you feel.
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6. Your Achievements are Dismissed:
If you feel proud of your test results or have accomplished a goal, these family members will either dismiss this and change the subject or ignore the achievement altogether. If this is happening, be careful not to fall into becoming an overachiever or perfectionist in the hopes that you will be acknowledged.
7. They Don’t Care About Your Life:
Do your family members ask how you’re doing, or check-in to see if you’re okay? If not, this is a sign they don’t really care about you or what’s happening in your life. This is easily identified if you’re going through something difficult and they don’t show up as a family member should do.
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8. They Gaslight You:
If your family members have made you feel infuriated by saying or doing something horrible, and then acting as if they never did it, it’s known as gaslighting. This is more common than you think and often they will try to convince you that what you’re remembering isn’t true.
Sometimes family members can try to control and dominate you. This can be done in the form of guilt-tripping or manipulation to get you to behave in a certain way. They may try to compete with you in areas of your life that are important to you, or maybe they exclude you from family events or simply not tell you important family information. These are all signs that your family don’t care for you like they should.
So, what can you do when your family turns against you? Often when your family makes you feel this way, it requires you to have certain coping mechanisms in place. It’s important that as the emotional damage from the lack of family care you’ve received sinks in, you have a framework to support you in moving forward:
- Seek Help: Working through your feelings and emotions on your own is difficult and although there are several self-help books around, finding a great therapist can transform and support you through this rocky journey you’re on.
- Stop Trying to Make it Work: Once you’re aware of the damage they cause, you can begin to heal and find closure. You might find yourself dipping your toe back in now and then to see if there’s been any change, but you might be disappointed. Continue being self-awareness so that you can pick up on any triggers and reset your boundaries.
- Let Go of Being a Victim: Holding onto the pain is common for most people and if you’re not careful this can become part of your personality. As much as it hurts, letting go of being a victim and forgiving them for their behaviour is key to moving forward. This doesn’t mean that you need to let them back in, it’s important to maintain your guard always.
- Accept Your Reality: Wishing for a different reality is exhausting and depressing. Accepting your reality is a great step in setting boundaries, moving forward, and finding quality friends that replace your family.
Although we can’t choose our family, it’s important to know that we can choose who becomes our family. And those we choose are just as valid, if not more so, than the families we are born into. Make sure you pick people that respect you and are reliable and trustworthy. Remember, “lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
If you’re not coping with the mental or emotional impacts of how your family treats you, make sure you seek help and speak to a therapist.
Authored by kimberlyevansco
Feature Image source: freepik