My Family Hates Me: How To Set Boundaries And Build A Relationship

By: Patricia Oelze

Updated February 04, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

Recently, have you found yourself saying, "My family hates me"? Hate is a strong word, but for one reason or another, many families end up drifting apart, holding onto anger and grudges against each other.

Things may never be the same as they once were, but it is possible to start moving towards being in a better place with your family. The trick is setting boundaries and slowly building a relationship.

How to Set Boundaries and Build a Relationship When My Family Hates Me

  1. Define Your Boundaries and Stick to Them

An important part of repairing your relationship with your family is defining boundaries and sticking to them. Both you and your family can do this and it will help you find better ways to interact with each other - a healthier way.

You can set boundaries around things like:

  • How often your family can call you
  • Having to ask before coming over
  • How long they can stay
  • Not disturb you at work
  • Don't be afraid to say no to things you don't want to do

Just to give you a few examples.


  1. Spend a Little Bit of Time Together and Increase It Gradually

Sometimes the key to repairing a broken family is to start spending small amounts of time together. Maybe you know that once you have all been together for too long, your family members start to snap at each other and become irritable. The solution? End the gathering before it gets to that point.

After a while and once your relationship with your family starts to improve, you might be able to extend the amount of time you are together without arguments. If not, just keep things where they are and be happy that you can still have a relationship with them at all.

As an adult, you may look back at experiences with your family and ask yourself why your family hates you. You may attempt to reconcile with a disturbed childhood by speaking up. Uphold your boundaries with others by clearly stating your reasons for maintaining your boundary. Hopefully, this boundary setting conversation can address the fact that you continue to feel hurt and would like to be treated differently. To have this conversation you must prepare emotionally.

Before we can establish boundaries with others we must look at our own emotional boundaries. You may have learned to cut off your own painful feelings from your family and not share. This may have impacted your ability to be vulnerable with others. The vulnerability is about opening up to others even though we're terrified about what they may see or think. After years of hurt, we can create an invisible shield between ourselves and others that block our ability to be vulnerable. This is an unhealthy emotional boundary as it is rigid and we need to be flexible to allow others in.


You may have mistaken past hurt for weakness when you were vulnerable. Vulnerability in front of your family is not weakness, it can be a strength to bring this situation to light. If you continue to try to protect yourself from being hurt further from them by avoiding vulnerability you are potentially further closing off the relationship. This avoidance can impact your level of intimacy with individuals outside of the family too.

Learning how to be vulnerable and strengthen your boundaries by speaking to them about this issue can feel uncomfortable. You can not control how others feel and react to your boundary setting. There may be a multitude of reactions from your family and a trained therapist can best prepare you. Also, before speaking with them you must consider that they may want to share their painful feelings after you have disclosed yours.

Your family may deny that they ever caused or continue to cause harm to you. They may turn around and blame you for their feelings. They may be receptive and go into the emotional situation deeper by responding to why their actions may have appeared that they hate you. For example, they may say, "My parents treated me the same, and I turned out ok, I thought you would too." Lastly, they may choose to focus on themselves by reflecting on the relationship between you with guilt and shame.


A family member who reacts with guilt and shame is punishing them self. They may feel guilt for having prioritized their own emotional needs over yours. This is a clear signal they too have boundary issues which can be an issue with the whole family. Over the years, you may have also spent time unnecessarily punishing yourself for the interactions exchanged.

In order to make positive changes and put an end to destructive behaviors between people, we need to overcome the impulse to self punish and let in empathy, acceptance, and understanding. After your interaction with them, gather any information you may have received and try to put yourself in their shoes. Remember that a healthy boundary setting isn't about closing your emotions off. You can empathize with them for their experience while maintaining your boundary.

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