They say, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes”. You can safely include families in this list. They are also inevitable.
Love them or hate them, there is no escape from your family. Especially if you are going through some tough times and your family seems to be blissfully unaware of it all.
You may be often tempted to ask, “My family doesn’t care about me?”
It can be an incredibly painful experience to live with a family that doesn’t have respect for you, ignores you, or in some extreme cases, doesn’t love you as well.
It is hard to accept that your family doesn’t care about you. Is that just your mind playing tricks? Or are you seeing what you want to see?
Do you feel isolated or the odd one out in your family? Do you feel inferior, in the wrong, or not good enough?
Even if there may be nothing wrong with your family, if your family members induce these kinds of feelings in you and do nothing to make you feel comfortable, that isn’t right either.
When you are in a not-so-desirable toxic family environment, the first step is to recognize the reason for your feelings. If indeed your family doesn’t care about you, you need to dig deeper.
One of the most important things to do is to remove the feeling of victimhood from your mind and improve your mental health. You can always take steps to improve your relationship with your toxic family members or toxic mother. But before we get to that, the first step is to recognize the signs your family doesn’t respect you.
Signs Your Parents Don’t Care About You
When your family doesn’t care about you, it is evident in their words and actions. Here are 11 signs that will help you confirm if your family doesn’t care about you.
1. They have no respect for your boundaries.
Any kind of relationship needs boundaries to stay healthy and function well. These are the do’s and don’ts that the other person has to follow to maintain a good and comfortable relationship with you.
These rules can be spelled out in clear terms or informal and understood by all concerned. Without such boundaries, knowing when you are overstepping the other person’s comfort level is hard.
These boundaries can be related to physical as well as emotional space. Without a clear understanding of when you want to be left alone or the taboo topics in the relationship, it would be difficult not to hurt each other’s feelings.
However, if a toxic family member deliberately ignores your boundaries and oversteps them, even after you have pointed this out to them, it is natural for you to feel disrespected and sidelined.
2. You feel left out and neglected.
This may happen deliberately or without conscious intent. When two or more family members gel well and have better ties with each other than they have with you, you naturally feel left out.
Parents aren’t supposed to have favorites among their kids in the ideal world but often do. When a parent enjoys a special bond with one child and doesn’t hide the fact that they prefer this child over others, the rest will feel neglected and left out. The same is true for siblings.
This feeling of alienation can create deep rifts in the family environment and damage your character and mental health.
3. They don’t care about anyone else other than themselves.
All their thoughts revolve around themselves. All that they care to talk about is themselves and what they are interested in.
You may have a conversation with them expecting them to show some interest in your life. Even after hours of talk, if you can’t seem to get a word in, it is clear that they aren’t interested in you or your life. They are so self-centered that they can’t see anything beyond their lives and problems.
Such relationships always tend to be one-sided and skewed. They want to interact with you only to promote themselves or to use you as a sounding board. There is never a question of giving and taking in this relationship. You will rarely find anything worthwhile in relationships with such needy people.
4. You feel an unhealthy competition with them.
When you look back, you know that you never started it all. But somehow, it exists. There is always a tendency to be better than this toxic family member, irrespective of the means used and the cost involved.
Healthy competition is desirable as it pushes everyone to reach their potential without harming others. Moreover, families are meant to be non-judgmental and supportive, no matter what. However, if toxic family members compete with each other to outdo each other and for one-upmanship, it turns ugly and unhealthy.
It is one thing to promote oneself, but it is toxic when the achievements of one individual are downplayed, ignored, or tarnished. This will have a negative consequence on your mental health.
5. They remember you only when they want something from you.
You are never remembered when it’s time for celebration, partying, or going out to the movies. Usually, you get to know about their activities from their social media posts. However, when it is time to run errands, it is you and you alone.
This is all the truer when it comes to borrowing money. Every time they run short of money, they seem to remember you, not anyone else. Or borrowing your car, or when they need help with packing, you are the only one they think of.
The worst part is that they make it sound as if they are doing you a favor by choosing you for these needs over others, and you should feel privileged. Being used in a relationship is never a healthy sign.
6. Your contributions and achievements are never appreciated or acknowledged.
Every time you are called upon to do something for them, you try your best and do a good job. You are always scaling new heights in your personal life as well. But somehow, all these seem to escape your family.
While they sing paeans to strangers or even their favorites within the family, all your accomplishments tend to go unnoticed. No words of encouragement or a pat on the back. No “Good job” or “Keep it up”.
Some may argue that you should not seek praise or validation from your family to feel good about yourself. It definitely doesn’t hurt to receive a good word or two for all the work you have put in. You worked hard because you wanted to make them proud. Unless they spell it out in some way, how will you know about it?
7. They gaslight you.
This is the saddest and the cruelest of them all. Not only do they not give you due credit for what you have done, but they will also convince you into believing that you are not good enough.
If you are the simple, naive, and straightforward kind of person, you will find it extremely hard to identify that you are being gaslit. This is more so when the other person is quite good at it.
Gaslighting seems to be one of the most difficult situations in familial relationships to deal with. While some are so good at these dirty mind games, others fall easy prey to this. Coercion, manipulation, and intimidation come naturally to some, while others find it hard to resist them.
How often have you been made to feel bad or inferior for being overly sensitive? Every time you feel you’ve been wronged, you are told that it’s all in your head, and you imagine the whole thing. That is gaslighting for you.
8. You feel unloved.
Again, you are told that it is just something you are making up. But you cannot escape feeling lonely, neglected, uncared for, and unloved.
Not everyone in a family can think similarly or agree on everything under the sun. But love is one thread that should bind everyone in a family together. Even when there are disagreements and arguments, love should always prevail. However, this is not the case with your family.
Neither are any affectionate or comforting words spoken among toxic family members, they always seem to be at each other’s throats. Amidst all this tension and drama, the only thing that pops out for you is a lack of love.
9. You feel guilty for prioritizing yourself.
Finally, you make peace with the fact that no one else in the family is bothered about your welfare and mental health. You learn to manage your affairs. Then, you are called selfish.
The very same people who call you selfish are the ones who take care of their own needs without batting an eyelid. But when you refuse to drop everything and come running when they ask for help, you are termed egocentric and narcissistic.
More than name-calling, you are made to feel guilty for taking care of your needs. That is toxicity at its worst.
10. They are abusive.
We often equate abuse to physical and more evident forms of abuse. Often, in a family setup, abuse is more in the emotional or verbal sense. This is hidden and not easily discernible to both the abuser and the abused.
Bullying, yelling, threats, and manipulative behavior are common forms of verbal abuse. Emotional abuse is harder to notice and detect and can be present in covert forms in most families.
The only way to detect emotional abuse is for the abused to wake up to the fact and say “enough!”. When you feel that your family doesn’t care about you, you should look inward and figure out the reason for this feeling.
11. They have no time for you.
No doubt life is busy for everyone. But that doesn’t mean your family members cannot spare time for you when you need them the most. After all, this is what a family is all about.
Some family members are always too busy to answer your calls or return your calls, let alone meet up with you face to face. They seem to have constant excuses lined up for such occasions. This might make you wonder why you have so much time for others while others don’t seem to have a minute to spare for you.
Being part of a family that doesn’t care about you may make you feel sad, angry, or even depressed. You are justified in feeling this way though that will not help. You need to remember that you are not in this situation alone. The story is the same, with varying degrees of neglect in most families.
That doesn’t mean you do nothing about it at all. You can be proactive in changing the status quo. The first step is to accept and recognize the situation. You can refuse to be treated as a victim and take the initiative to improve your relationship with toxic family members. This may help, but if it is not improving the situation, you can choose to get outside or professional help.