Life can be excruciating when your family doesn’t support you.
The rejection can devour your self-esteem.
The recurring thought of my family doesn’t care about me may be racing through your head, which is terrible for your mental health.
Sometimes, it’s growing pains.
For example, teenagers throughout the ages have clashed with their parents.
Other times, it crosses a line and enters the arena of emotional abuse.
So today, we’re looking at signs that your family isn’t a good fit and what to do about it.
What are the signs your family hates you?
It may depend on your people.
However, we’ve curated this list of 17 possibilities culled from leading research.
17 Signs Your Family Doesn’t Care About You
1. Your Needs Are Ignored
People often ignore folks they don’t care about. Heck, you probably do too. It’s human nature. But when your parents brush you off, it’s deeply hurtful.
However, try not to conflate busy periods in people’s lives with being ignored.
If you’re having doubts about your family’s affection for you, tell them how you’re feeling. Their reaction will serve as a good barometer.
Do they brush you off? Or, do they smother you with love and explain that they’re going through a tough time.
If it’s the former, your concerns are likely valid.
If it’s the latter, you probably have nothing to worry about. Everyone goes through rough patches — especially parents.
2. Belittling You Is Commonplace
Are your family members constantly cutting you down? Do they slam your joys on the floor and stomp on them? When people don’t like you, they go out of their way to make you miserable. They get off on belittling you.
That said, some people joke around by poking fun. So try not to be oversensitive. Teasing every once in a while is fine. Some may even say it builds character. Malicious and pervasive shaming, however, is toxic.
3. Promises Are Frequently Broken
Do family members persistently welch on their promises and commitments to you? It could be a sign that they center themselves. After all, people tend not to sweat it when they forget to do favors for folks they’re not fond of.
But again, try not to jump to conclusions over a few incidents. Sometimes, life legitimately gets in the way. Cutting people slack is the kind thing to do. If it becomes a pattern, you have every right to take offense.
4. They’re Overly Critical
You put on an outfit, and they tell you it looks terrible. Or maybe they’re always poking you about your weight or pimples or how you chew food.
Most frustratingly, they get on your case about faults they also have.
When your family is obsessively critical, it may be time to find a new one. If you’re feeling bold, talk to them about holding back their barbs. Who knows, you may discover you’re misinterpreting their signals.
But if they’re dismissive, it may be time to stop caring what they think.
5. Making Fun of You Is a Ritual
Are they constantly calling you the “black sheep” of the family despite knowing it bothers you? Do they always saddle you with tasks and responsibilities nobody else wants to do? What about mutual respect?
Do they expect to be treated like royalty but treat you poorly? These are all ominous signs.
You deserve decency and respect, just like everybody else.
6. They Never Acknowledge Your Accomplishments
Ignoring accomplishments is another tactic of uncaring family members. Though people who indulge in this behavior can never admit it, their contemptuous disinterest is usually rooted in jealousy.
So take their petty reactions as compliments! They don’t celebrate your achievements because they’re envious of them.
7. They Consistently Breach Your Privacy
What’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is theirs. Sound familiar? People who treat you like this don’t respect you. Yes, sharing is caring and all that.
But it’s not all right to consistently rummage through your belongings and disregard your privacy.
However, this is another point with a few caveats. If you’re a teenager and your parents are worried about you, they may go through your things to find clues about your behavior or why you’re acting super sullen.
Yes, it’s unfair and annoying, but it’s also the opposite of uncaring. It’s ultimately an act of love.
8. They Rarely Talk To You
Do you get a mumble here and there? Do they know anything about your life — or you theirs?
If not, it’s yet another sign they may not care much about you. However, try not to confuse introversion with disinterest.
Moreover, some people who are neurodivergent or bipolar may have different communication styles.
9. They’re Uninterested in Learning About You
It hurts when people couldn’t care less about who you are — it can be excruciating when those people are your family members.
We live in the digital age, and there are a million and two ways to keep in contact with your loved ones — even if you’re busier than a honeybee.
Families that make zero effort to communicate with you or learn your emotional ins and outs aren’t worth your effort.
Don’t focus energy on their unenthusiastic and disinterested attitudes. Instead, channel it into something you enjoy.
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10. They Dismiss Your Feelings
People who don’t give you much thought also don’t give a fig about your feelings. Often, they won’t even consider them. However, this quirk can also be true of overly stoic folks.
Since they were taught never to show their emotions, they become uncomfortable when others show theirs. So before jumping to conclusions, reflect on the cause of their dismissiveness. After all, stoic individuals aren’t bad; they just have a different approach to life.
11. Call You “Dramatic” or “Attention-Seeking”
Being called “attention-seeking” or “dramatic” for existing is maddening — and people who fling this criticism your way aren’t worth your time.
If your family members lob this in your direction regularly, start building a circle of friends who understand you.
That said, if you’re genuinely a drama queen, and people lovingly jibe you about it, join in the fun. The ability to laugh at yourself is an excellent trait.
12. They Gaslight You
Gaslighting is a manipulative technique that makes people question reality. For example, an abusive partner may hit you and then deny it happened.
Gaslighting is downright cruel, and family members who try to pull it with you aren’t worth a fig. If you feel you’ve been subjected to gaslighting for a long time, it’s wise to seek therapy to undo the damage. Trust us when we say: It’s not you; it’s them!
13. Apologies Are Delivered With a Spoonful of Snark
A sign of maturation is being able to apologize sincerely. Sure, younger people struggle with this skill. After all, the human brain doesn’t fully develop until our late 20s.
But people who reach their 30s and still have trouble saying “I’m sorry” are usually pathologically self-absorbed or have narcissistic personality disorder.
If you have family members like this, do your best to brush off their pettiness. You’ll be better off for it. This type of behavior is eye-roll worthy, and you shouldn’t waste a single second on adults who can’t muster a simple apology.
14. You’re Not Included in Family Events
Do you hate it when your family excludes you? If so, congratulations, you’re well-adjusted! Being the odd person out feels awful. But if your family always does this to you, don’t take it personally. It’s tough to soldier through but try.
Sometimes, people simply don’t get along, and just because you’re not like them doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. There’s a “heart home” for everyone; it may take a little time to find, but you’ll eventually get there.
15. They’re Hyper-Competitive
Dealing with hyper-competitive people can be a living nightmare — especially if your personality type is on the mellower side of the spectrum. It is not only exhausting, but it causes gobs of stress and tension.
If your family behaves this way with you, they may signal that they’re more concerned with beating you than being there for you.
16. They Lie
Lies can cause practical problems and a whole lot of heartache. And while everyone drops little white fibs to spare feelings or get by, whopper-sized untruths are a different story. If your parents or relatives lie to you regularly to make themselves look or feel better, there’s a chance they don’t care about you in the way family members should.
17. They Try To Control You
Family members who try to control you don’t have respect for your autonomy. And while it’s true that parents have a right to exercise some control over their children, sometimes they cross the line.
It’s not good parenting to threaten kids with disownment or punish them with silent treatment. Things worsen when other family members berate you for not marching in lockstep with your parent’s wishes. If this is happening to you, consider seeking out a guidance counselor at school. They may be able to help.
Why Doesn’t My Family Love Me and Care About Me?
The first sentence of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” reads: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” It’s a famous line because it holds generations of truth.
Every dysfunctional family is different, and the reasons for disharmony are as varied as the world’s population.
But when it comes to reasons why families ostracize certain members, psychologists and sociologists have identified a few commonalities.
- You’re Different: We’re inundated with media images of happy families. We’re told it’s the ideal. But the reality is frequently different. You could argue that happy families are the exception, not the norm. Sometimes, people simply don’t fit in with their relatives — even their parents and siblings. The important thing to understand is that you’re not defective; you’re just different from them.
- They’re Narcissistic or Pathologically Self-Centered: People with narcissistic personality disorder and those who are otherwise consumed with themselves may not know how to treat others properly. They expect folks to handle them impeccably but don’t return the favor.
- They Have Terrible Role Models: It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but people with terrible role models often turn out terribly.
- There Are Substance Abuse Issues: Addiction is a beast, and people who suffer under its grip and influence can behave atrociously.
- They’re Shallow and Status-Obsessed: Shallow, status-obsessed people value things above people. As a result, they can dismiss folks who aren’t materially useful to them. They may see family members as drains and treat them poorly.
What to Do When Your Family Doesn’t Support You or Seem To Care
You’ve established that you and your family don’t fit like a hand in a glove. Now what?
For many people, therapy is a wondrous, helpful journey. Thousands of people have weathered challenging circumstances thanks to the help of a counselor. If your family situation is untenable, consider seeing someone.
If your insurance doesn’t cover psychological services, look into public health options. Or try online therapy, which often costs less than in-person visits. If you’re a student, seek out the school counselor.
Accept the Situation
Before you can healthily move on to a life filled with people you love and who love you back, it’s essential to accept the reality of your family dynamics.
Skipping this step can result in a slew of complications down the road, from addiction issues to severe depression.
Make Your Own Family
Once you’ve accepted your rotten luck when it comes to family, it’s time to seize control of your life and make your own family. How do you do that?
Be friendly, compassionate, and honest. Join groups that revolve around your interests or use platforms like meetup.com. It may take some time, but eventually, you’ll find your niche.
Do a Separation Ritual
It may sound a little too woo-woo for some, but performing a separation ritual works for many people. You can pull from cultural or religious observances or make up your own!
So long as it cements a sense of closure in your psyche, it works. Besides, rituals are fun — and you deserve a bit of magic in your life.
When you love yourself, life is much easier to handle. Self-love gives you confidence and compassion — for both yourself and others.
So if you don’t have the support of your family, make sure to protect and nurture yourself. Cultivate self-esteem and share it with safe people.
How do you know if a family member doesn’t care about you?
It’s fairly obvious when family members don’t treat you with respect. They’re mean, aloof, and don’t extend an ounce of tenderness or concern. If you’re lucky, they may shoot you a one-line email on your birthday — a day late.
How do you tell if your family dislikes you?
Just because people are related to you genetically doesn’t mean you’ll get along. If your family is constantly criticizing and belittling you, your beliefs, and your decisions, there’s a chance they dislike you.
How do you tell if your parents don’t care about you?
Generally speaking, if your parents are unkind to you often, there’s a chance that they’re not good parents and don’t understand how to nurture children appropriately.
What are the signs of a toxic family?
Toxic families are much more common than many people realize. Notably, statistics suggest that between 70% and 80% of Americans label their kinfolk as dysfunctional.
An inability to support and love one another is typically the hallmark of toxic clans.
Accepting that your family isn’t a good fit is a difficult hurdle to clear — but millions of folks have done it.
With a dose of self-confidence, strength, and perspective, you can too.
Remember: There’s a family out there for everyone.
You may not be related to them by blood or through adoption, but they’ll love you — warts and all.