Family dynamics can be complicated and tricky. If you feel like one or several immediate family members don't like you or treat you poorly, explore the possible reasons for this behavior. You may just come away with a solution that makes everyone feel valued.
Identify the Issue
If your biggest question is why this is happening, do a little research and digging around your own life. Try to be considerate and passive when gathering information so you don't create new issues.
Before you set off on the journey to discover why your family hates you, consider the possibility they don't. What evidence do you have to support the idea they dislike you? If someone is constantly putting you down or boldly saying they hate you, that's evidence enough. If you discover it's more your own feeling than the way others actually treat or speak to you, consider talking with a trained counselor who can help you deal with these false beliefs. If you find there is evidence to support your feelings, move on to the next step of discovering the root cause.
Ask Your Family
If at all possible, ask the people you think hate you to explain why they act a certain way or say specific hurtful things. Someone who has a problem with you, depending on their personality, may give you a solid answer or may choose to ignore you. Try asking other family members who you have good relationships if they know where the dynamic comes from. Ask open-ended questions in a calm, unemotional manner for the most honest results.
Questions you could ask are:
- Is there a problem between us that can be fixed?
- Is there a reason you call me...?
- Can you tell me why you always...?
- Have I done something to upset you?
Rehash Your Past
Think back to a time when you got along with your family.
- What was different then?
- Look through old family photos to see if you can identify where the split happened.
- What major events or occurrences took place just before the dynamic began?
- If you can't remember a time where you felt loved by your family, consider you may not be the problem at all. An alcoholic, drug addict, or mentally ill family member may have their own issues they've taken out on you and dealing with them could be difficult.
- Give your entire past a good review to see if that helps root out the cause of the problem.
Look for Clues
In today's technological world, many people air their grievances on social media. If your family members and history won't or can't tell you why someone treats you badly, look at their social media accounts. Scroll back through past posts to see if your name or generic phrases like "a certain family member" show up. If you've been blocked from their account, you could ask someone who isn't to let you view it. Be sure to only view the pages and not comment or take other actions that could further the divide.
After you've gathered as much information as possible, start looking into how events or actions link together. For example, if your sister started ignoring you after you got drunk and puked on her wedding dress at her wedding, that could be the root cause. Your linkages may not be as obvious as this, but if you look hard enough, you should find some useful information.
Extend the Olive Branch
Whether you know the cause of your family dysfunction or not, working on self-improvement and extending offers for peace are helpful. You can't control how others feel about you or whether they're willing to forgive past transgressions and start over. Focus on what you can control like being a better communicator or overall person if it's necessary. If your family is not receptive, look for other ways to feel a sense of belonging like joining groups or spending holidays with close friends.
Common Dysfunctional Family Patterns
While every person and family is unique, there are several issues common among families describing their relationships with each other as dysfunctional.
- Poor or ineffective communication - one or more people can't adequately express themselves to others
- Perfectionism - parents expecting perfection from their kids or sibling comparisons
- Control - some people act out when they don't have control over a situation
- Overt criticism - excessive name-calling and put-downs
Forming Strong Relationships
Family issues can't always get resolved on their own. If you're experiencing unhealthy family relationships that are impacting your daily life, consider consulting with a family therapist. Individual family members can each meet separately with the therapist who will try to bring everyone together when she feels the time is right to strengthen those bonds.