Raise your hand if you have family members that make you feel crazy sometimes? I see a lot of hands out there! That’s because family dynamics and relationships can be extra complicated. Family members aren’t people you’ve chosen to have in your life because you get along so well, they’re in your life because you’re related. Throw love, expectations and history into the mix and you can sometimes end up with chaos. I work with clients all the time who are frustrated with their family dynamics and continue to feel frustrated and disappointed by the way their family members behave. They do and say everything possible in the hopes that their family member will change their behaviors and then continue to feel frustrated and disappointed when over and over again, nothing changes. That’s because their family member isn’t the one in my office, asking for help, wanting to change and willing to do the necessary work. We cannot change other people. We cannot change how they choose to behave or what they choose to believe. They are responsible for themselves and we are only responsible for ourselves and the changes we choose to make. Just because you are related doesn’t mean you need to tolerate toxic behavior. You are in charge of what you surround yourself with, regardless of the setting. If a setting or a person is toxic for you, take care of yourself and set a boundary. If your boundaries aren’t respected because they choose not to, you need to take care of yourself and walk away, from the situation and perhaps from the relationship. Although you cannot change a person that doesn’t want to change, you can choose if you want to engage, for how long and how often. If you know in advance that the situation will be potentially toxic, prepare yourself, plan ahead and limit your time. Most importantly, be mindful of your feelings and your needs as you are responsible for honoring yourself. Others may not like your boundaries but you are in charge of taking care of yourself. If they want a closer relationship, they will choose to respect your boundaries, your feelings and will invest the effort it takes to have a healthy relationship with you.