Why Does My Family Hate Me?

Medically reviewed by Karen Foster, LPC
Updated April 23, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Society often teaches us that we should prioritize our family relationships above all else because we are related, grew up together, and may have been raised by them. 

Hearing these stereotypes may make you feel like every family sticks together, supporting and loving each other like on TV. So, when it feels like your family hates you or you belong to a toxic family, you may struggle to know how to react, some might even think "why do my parents hate me?" and carry this thought most of their life.

A toxic family is not a safe space

Why does my family hate me? 

When struggling with toxic or unhealthy family dynamics, know that you are not responsible for your family's behavior; you are only responsible for your behaviors.

Coping with family interactions in a dysfunctional family can be upsetting and painful. You may feel your family hates you due to insecurities or self-esteem concerns. However, if your family acts unkind or seems to be struggling, look at the facts. 

Is this a temporary situation, or has it been occurring long-term? Is it possible that something else, rather than hate or dislike, is going on? Has a family constituent told you they hate you? In some cases, you may be experiencing a personality clash with a family and not necessarily a toxic pattern. However, it isn't your fault if you are being treated poorly. 

What would you tell someone going through your situation? From an outside perspective, it may feel clear that you're in an unjustified situation or experiencing a family conflict. If you start contemplating familial relationships and draw the conclusion that your family hates you, there is a chance you may have unhealthy family dynamics. 

Staying in an unhealthy relationship may negatively impact your physical health. These situations could cause chronic inflammation, adrenal fatigue, heart problems, and low immunity. They might also impact your mental health, with an increased likelihood of stress, depression, and anxiety. Consider seeing a provider equipped to address any of these concerns if you encounter them.

Family estrangement

Estrangement can happen for any number of reasons. No matter the state of the relationship before estrangement, it can feel challenging to adjust after leaving a toxic family situation. At times, cutting ties is permanent, and other times, it is temporary. 

If applicable and safe, you might try to limit contact and set boundaries around how and when you communicate. Surround yourself with healthy support and relationships to lift you up, which can exist outside of blood relatives.

Family doesn't have to be biological

Throughout your life, and as an adult, you can pick a chosen family. You can pick who belongs in your family, regardless of whether you're related. These individuals may be friends, distant family or other types of relationships. Often, a chosen family is made of individuals who make you feel safe, loved, and cared for in the way a healthy family might. 

How to handle an unhealthy family 

It can feel freeing to address and learn to cope with the feelings caused by toxic family relationships. It may have taken time for deep negative feelings to develop, so it may take time, strength, and perseverance to heal them. Knowing that you're breaking unhealthy patterns can also be valuable and uplifting.

Getty/MoMo Productions

Invest in genuine relationships

Rather than dwell on the unhealthy relationship you may have with your family, invest your energy in healthy interpersonal relationships. Work on building relationships with others who can love, support, and encourage you. 

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries is often more for you than for the other person. Ideally, these boundaries will benefit the relationship, but sometimes that isn't always possible, and you may put your own needs and well-being first. 

Live authentically

Focus on being true to yourself and living authentically. Sometimes, unhealthy family dynamics mean we turn to people-pleasing behaviors, becoming the mediator, or trying to make ourselves disappear into the background. Now, it's time to live your life in a way that aligns with your values and beliefs. Be yourself and find people who love you for who you are. 

A toxic family is not a safe space

Practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude has been linked to positive well-being and improved relationships. Gratitude does not necessarily mean you should neglect hurt, pain, unhealthy patterns, and other impacts of your experiences. It can be essential to acknowledge those aspects and process them. 

However, gratitude can mean acknowledging the positive experiences that exist for you in this world and understanding that you deserve them.

Seek professional support

Coping with family-related matters, whether past or present, can feel challenging, and finding a support system as you work through these challenges can be beneficial. A therapist can help you learn the signs of a toxic family situation, navigate your feelings, guide you in modifying your behavior, and teach you emotional resilience. They can also help with concerns like self-esteem, which family relations may impact.  

You might benefit from online counseling if you prefer to attend therapy from a comfortable and safe location, like your home. Online therapy has been well-studied over the last several years. The National Center for Health Research conducted a recent thorough review of dozens of studies on the efficacy of online therapy and found that online therapy is as effective or more effective than traditional therapy for various issues, including depression, PTSD, anxiety, and family troubles. 

You can connect with a licensed therapist through an online platform such as BetterHelp, which allows you to use several communication methods, including videoconferencing, messaging, live chat, and voice calls. 


Unhealthy families may be challenging to identify if you grew up in an unhealthy environment and aren't sure what a healthy family looks like. If you often feel judged, belittled, undervalued, or are being abused, you may need to cut ties with your family and seek outside support. 

If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Support is available 24/7.

Therapy can be a beneficial tool to identify unhealthy family behaviors, learn to set boundaries, and find guidance in challenging circumstances. If you're ready to start, consider contacting a counselor.

Seeking to explore family concerns in a supportive environment?
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