Family hurts you the most because they take you for granted, make fun of you, and take advantage of you in moments of vulnerability. Often family hurts you because of their own inner conflict or based on the fact that they grew up surrounded by people who had unhealthy conflict management styles.
Given that being part of a family generally entails spending a lot of time together and being in one another’s space, it’s no surprise that family hurts you the most.
Let’s explore potential reasons why family hurts you the most and find potential ways to cope with the hurt you experience at the hands of your family.
Related Reading: Why Does My Family Hate Me? (4 Reasons)
Potential Reasons Why Family Hurts You The Most
Here are some of the potential reasons why family can hurt you the most.
1. Your Family Takes You For Granted
Family members often take one another for granted. If you do something regularly, no matter how kind or thoughtful, it often becomes an expectation.
Even though you may be conscious of every kind, thoughtful deed, your family members may have come to expect it, not realizing the time, energy, and thought that you put into it.
Feeling as if your efforts are not valued is likely to hurt your feelings. Consider developing a culture of praise amongst your family. Encourage and praise them for their good deeds. Soon they too will start to see your positive actions and offer you praise for your efforts.
2. Your Family Members Have Grown Up In Unhealthy Relationships
The relationships we have with our family members are generally linked to the examples of relationships we saw growing up.
If you grew up around people who were often fighting, being petty and unforgiving, and saying unkind things to one another, then you are more likely to follow in their footsteps, taking on their negative communication styles and applying them in our close relationships.
Similarly, your family members may have grown up witnessing unhealthy relationships, causing them to take on negative communication styles. If you and your family members have developed unhealthy communication styles and conflict resolution habits, then it is likely that any instance of conflict will be met with hurtful words and actions.
The communication between you and your family may be at the point where it has become a habit to act and speak unkindly to one another.
Consider trying to set the standard by engaging with your family in a loving manner when conflict arises. You are likely to endure some hardship in this regard, as they will be used to their old communication styles. After a while, they are likely to match your standard of kindness and start communicating with love and respect.
It will also be valuable to have a direct conversation with your family where you address each family member’s words and actions and try to find ways to improve this situation. This conversation may be an intense one, likely to be met with resistance, but will hopefully prove helpful in future instances of conflict.
3. We Are Vulnerable With Our Family
Being vulnerable with our family leaves us open to being hurt. Society has created the impression that families should be the main support structure we can rely on; however, this is not always the case.
Some family members take advantage of our kindness and are simply manipulative people who place their interests above anyone else’s. Unfortunately, when dealing with people who prioritize their own interests above everyone else’s in every instance, you are likely to get hurt often.
If you are dealing with family members who are manipulative and take advantage of your vulnerability, it may be valuable for you to put boundaries in place and ensure that they do not have too much access to you emotionally. Putting yourself first will protect you from much hurt, even though it may feel selfish at first.
4. Lighthearted Teasing Negatively Affects Your Self-Esteem Overtime
A joke every now and then is common amongst family members. However, over time, jokes have a way of getting to us, and before you know it, your mind is no longer able to register that it is a joke, and you may start to take the joke personally.
To protect yourself from recurring jokes negatively affecting your self-esteem, consider speaking up the moment someone makes an offensive joke. Gently explain to them that you would value them not poking fun of you in that light as it is a sensitive topic for you.
They might think you’re overreacting, but are likely not to make the joke again, therefore protecting your self-esteem and preserving your relationship with them in the long run.
This approach is arguably the best approach because if you let a joke carry on for too long, it may become uncomfortable to address and may lead to you resenting the person without them even being aware of it.
Communicating your feelings can go a long way in preserving your relationship with your family members. Remember, expressly communicating your feelings is the best way to prevent future hurt. You cannot blame them for something they did that hurt you if they are not aware of the impact their actions had on your well-being.
How To Cope With Hurt From Your Family
Here are potential ways that you can cope when you experience hurt because of your family.
Avoid Taking Things Personally
While taking accountability for your actions is crucial, try to avoid taking things personally. In some instances, your family’s poor treatment of you may be a reflection of their internal battles.
Take a step back to assess the situation, see if you were truly at fault, or whether your family member lashed out at you based on their inner conflict. If you suspect that their reaction came from a place of hurt, try to move forward in love despite the hurt you are experiencing.
Empathize with them in their moment of frustration. Consider discussing the issue with them at a later stage when they may be more open to discussing how their actions hurt you and how your actions potentially hurt them as well.
Forgiveness is the key to moving past the hurt you experience at the hands of your family.
Harboring unforgiveness is likely to cause you more pain than you may realize. Practicing forgiveness will allow you to move forward in love, recognizing that while your family makes mistakes, they are not perfect in the same way that you are not perfect, but deserve to be loved and forgiven by your family.
Continue Reading: Why It’s OK To Hate Your Family [& HOW TO COPE]
Close relationships guarantee conflict, and being part of a family is no exception. Often family members may hurt you in various ways. When dealing with hurt from your family, try your best not to take things personally and practice forgiveness regularly.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.