Nobody chooses which family to be born in. You just find yourself in a particular home, with a particular family, parents, guardians, or siblings. Unfortunately, most homes today present negative environments for healthy growth. And so in this article, I will be sharing 14 ways of staying sane in a toxic home environment.
Family is the cornerstone of life. The home is where rulers, presidents, accountants, doctors, engineers, ministers, you name it are made. They are not made in school no, they are made in the home. That is why ruler A turns out to be a narcissistic dictator, while ruler B turns out to be a selfish petty thief and ruler C turns out to be the perfect ruler of all times standing out in history.
It’s also the reason why doctor A may be a doctor right from the heart of heaven while doctor B may end up secretly smothering elderly helpless patients.
If characters were built in school, we could all be speaking the same language in terms of behavior.
An ideal family
A family is meant to be a close-knit circle of love, understanding, and peace. A circle in which one is free to express him/herself without fear of being judged or ridiculed. A circle in which one is not ashamed to be him/herself; a circle of completeness and belonging. Of course misunderstandings, arguments, and fights may arise occasionally, however, an ideal family is one in which differences are dealt with in a healthy manner promoting love, forgiveness, and healing.
Unfortunately, that is not the case in most homes today. Research shows that approximately 70 to 80 percent of people in the USA come from dysfunctional families. And so is the case in most parts of the continent. The family home has become more of a toxic and risky environment than a place of love and growth. This is attributed to the increase in levels of domestic physical, emotional, verbal, mental, and sexual abuse; the escalating percentage of dysfunctional marriages, divorce, and single parenthood.
The effects of growing up in a dysfunctional home are life long, leaving permanents marks on one’s outcome in adulthood. Hence the necessity of discussing these 14 tips on how to stay sane in a toxic home environment.
Adults are expected to function in a certain acceptable manner. Including appropriate social conditioning and psychosocial and emotional adjustments to various life situations. Which is often impaired when one grows up in a toxic home.
What is a toxic home environment?
Toxic home environments are often as a result of dysfunctional families. A dysfunctional family is one in which there is constant tension, conflict, neglect, and abuse.
Dysfunctional homes create a toxic environment for its inhabitants, especially children. Toxic environments cause extreme anxiety, depression, mental illness, and various personality disorders.
Children that come from dysfunctional families grow into adults that exhibit symptoms of low self-esteem, low self-worth, low self-confidence, abusive tendencies, suicidal tendencies, substance abuse, and narcissism.
How do you know that you are in a toxic home environment
No parent has ever dreamt of creating a toxic environment for his/her children. But sadly enough, we adults often create toxicity even without trying. Toxic environments can cause extensive psychological and emotional damage to an individual. So how do you know that you are in a toxic home environment?
- You feel unloved
- You feel used
- You feel neglected
- You are verbally, mentally, physically or sexually abused
- There’s constant drama
- Your opinions, thoughts, and feelings are never considered.
- You feel controlled and manipulated
- You don’t feel safe
14 ways of staying sane in a toxic home environment
If it were a mere relationship, I could probably advise you to leave and never look back. Do not feel obligated to cope in a toxic relationship, especially if it threatens your physical, emotional, or mental safety.
If it’s a toxic marriage, your overall safety and that of the inhabitants of the home such as children should determine whether you stay and work it out or leave.
If you are a parent and you are reading this, make all necessary attempts to make your home habitable and nontoxic.
However, this advice is for children or dependants that find themselves in a toxic home. This is because you are in no position to leave that home. But the good news is you are not bound to that home forever. Usually, the way out is in working hard towards school in order to leave and start up your own life. If your life is in danger, get out of there if you can and get help.
I will repeat this in bold letters. The advice below is not meant for you if the level of toxicity in your home involves violence, sexual abuse, or any situation that threatens your safety. If you are in danger, get out of there and get help immediately.
So what are the 14 ways of staying sane in a toxic home environment? hi please charge my phone. I didn’t want to disturb your nap, but I knew that you would get this message, bye. thank you
Define your vision
In most cases, as a child or dependant, you’re probably in that place for a given period of time. Know the reason why you are there. The honest truth is the childhood home is just a bridge to your future or destiny. In most cases, you are likely to leave home at the age of 18 latest. That’s if you make it to college or University. Unless you become a day scholar even then.
But the idea is to have a vision. When I was growing up, my childhood home was extremely toxic by the way, in quite a bad way. So I had a vision; get educated, and leave to start my own life; make a difference, and change the world. Here I am today, attempting to change the world through writing.
What’s your vision? The sooner you get one, the easier it will be for you to cope and be hopeful. Because no matter how life gets hard, if you know where you are going, nothing can bring you down.
I’ve just mentioned that the childhood home is usually a bridge to your future, be patient as you cross that bridge. Some bridges are long and shaky, some are short and stable. Patience will get you through thinking that it’s just a matter of time, I will leave here eventually.
It’s not the waiting period that matters, its how you wait and what you’re doing, while you are waiting that matters.
Do your part; obey the rules
Every house has rules and regulations. So long you are under someone else’s roof, you have no choice but to happily obey the rules. No matter how toxic your guardians are, going against the rules is not justifiable. It only makes you a toxic child. And that won’t do. Do your part and do it well.
Get in your guardians head
Your guardians are human beings. Unless they are narcissistic or have some underlying issues, they definitely have a soft spot. Find that spot and make use of it to get some peace. I’m not saying to manipulate your guardians or become a boot licker. No.
A wise person said if you want someone to do what you want, give them what they want. Now, this depends on what they are asking for. However, something sick like sexual favors is a huge no!
Most parents will be happy to give you what you want if you do your chores and obey the house rules. So do your chores and do them well. Perhaps they want you to show a good behavior or be nice to a sibling, just do it. You won’t lose a limb. In fact, you are creating yourself a good character of which is a necessity in life.
Be responsible for your actions
You can’t control how others treat you or feel about you. But you can control how you react you all that. Don’t develop a foul attitude and blame it on your environment. I know someone who grew up with a toxic stepdad and he is such a sweet, kind, gentle, patient, loving, and awesome husband and dad.
You can decide to be nice even if no one notices or even cares. You are simply grooming yourself for your future which matters more than where you are right now
Create a mental sieve
So perhaps you have a guardian who rants and screams till the cows come home. There’s nothing that hurts more than words. And the bad part about words is that the speaker may totally forget that he said them, but the hearer may never forget them.
The best is if you can’t walk away, create a mental sieve. If they rant garbage, literally create a mental black hole in which those words fall in and die a natural death. Like gone, never to be exhumed, ever!
But most parents may rant in anger because they want you to change. Only that some do not guard their mouths and end up hurting you. In such a case, a sieve is best. Let insults pass through headlong for the mental black hole. But keep sensible advice and act on it for change if need be.
Guard yourself against negativity
Whatever you do, don’t let negativity into your life. It is an evil leech that will literally suck the life out of your veins.
Whatever you chose to become as a result of your experiences, negativity is not an option. If the people around you speak negativity in your life, don’t let it sit in you. Send it down the mental black hole and replace it with a positive affirmation.
Avoid hitting back
The reality of being under somebody’s roof is that they have an upper hand and the ultimate say. It’s their house, so it’s their way. Never hit back. Let it slide past you. By hitting back I mean don’t scream back or retaliate by deliberately doing things just to get on their nerves or get back at them.
Take time to occasionally flip the coin
I’m both a parent and a guardian. So I know that children and dependants are often vulnerable to wrong decisions because they are children with an immature way of reasoning. My advice to you is that once in a while, check yourself. You may find that perhaps you are repeatedly doing something that’s breaching the peace and it’s within your power to avoid or stop.
Now I’m not saying you should blame yourself for a toxic home environment. I’m saying, take time to introspect in a positive way.
Nurture or develop a hobby
I started reading novels at twelve. By thirteen, I was writing poetry and stories. I buried my pain in reading and writing, it kept me sane.
Engage in something safe that will divert your mind and give you something fun to think about and do.
Don’t do anything stupid
Something stupid includes hurting yourself or engaging in risky behaviors such as substance abuse. In my local language, they say, sunga umukoshi, ubulungu tabwafya. Directly translating that, we can say, keep the neck, the necklace is not hard to find. Preserve your life, your health, and your sanity for the future. Where you are is just a temporal place. Two wrongs can not make a right.
Don’t hold on to the pain
Believe me, I know the pain of growing up in a toxic home. In your case, I have no idea how often the drama presents itself but if it does and leaves you hurting, don’t cradle the pain.
And when you leave that place, leave the garbage there. Walkout on the drama and walk out on the pain. Your guardians have control over you while you are under their roof. If you carry the pain with you wherever you go, they will continue to control your life through your memories. Wash it off and drain it down the family home bathtub and walk away clean.
Allow yourself to heal
I had a very close encounter with a young man who was raised in a toxic environment that involved physical, verbal, emotional, and mental abuse. In all honesty, he came out really badly such that he has adopted a toxic personality. Even his personal intimate relationships are a total failure. In a nutshell, he is needy, petty, pessimistic, stubborn, insecure, has low self-esteem and low self-worth with a bad temper, and somewhat self-centered.
Well, yes, his background contributed to all that but he is over twenty-four years of age now. He left that toxic home years ago, and yet he still blames his actions on his toxic guardian.
I did that too for a few years until I realized that saying I’m this because of him or her is refusing to take responsibility for my actions. And literally refusing to heal. It happened, it’s past, you can teach yourself new ways of living so that your future is not as messed up as that of the people that raised you.
Why should you stay sane in the toxic home environment?
I call it a lethal ripple effect. You have been raised in a toxic home and if you don’t control what you will become. you are likely to become a toxic person. You will probably run a home someday and as a toxic person, you will create a toxic environment for everyone that will be under you, including your children and spouse.
Some of those under you may fail to cope and end up as toxic adults because of you… do you see where I’m going with this? Its a lethal ripple effect and you can break the cycle by choosing to stay sane. You can decide today to survive that toxic home environment. Let me know if these 14 ways of staying sane in a toxic home environment will work out for you. Your feedback is valued.