25 thoughts on “It’s Okay to Cut Ties with Toxic Family Members

  • October 18, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks Sharon. Fits my family to a tee! I have no contact with two sibs and low contact with parents. Probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Decades of verbal and emotional abuse, family occasions ruined, unattainable expectations. Have mourned the loss of friends and family who never ‘got it’. The flip side is more peace and contentment.

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    • November 10, 2019 at 2:50 pm

      That’s my same situation, two siblings,, no contact.. they stopped communicating with my parents years ago. I am the only one left, and very close to making the same decision. How do you overcome the fear of distancing your parents?

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      • May 11, 2020 at 8:53 pm

        I have low contact and boundaries in place. It’s a decision that came as a last resort. They still want me to “forgive and forget” the toxic things that happened but I had done that too many times in the past and I couldn’t go through it again. The bottom line was that it was affecting my health and my marriage and it just seemed to ooze into so many areas of my life.

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    • April 26, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      I have two children one with a drinking problem the other with addition and narsassitic personality. On top of that I have two wonderful college students that are suffering from their mothers additions and personality issues. My husband and I are also having trouble because of theses issues. I’m terrified of the issues coming up more and more. Problems are becoming uncontrollable more from my daughter than anything. We all stay isolated in our rooms mist of the time just to keep peace. How do I remove my daughter from our home???? It’s become intolerable

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  • October 19, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Thank you for giving out loud the permission to do this. I have felt guilty the last five years when I severed ties with my dad. I’m sad about it every day, but, as your article states, I needed to do it for my well being.

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  • October 25, 2019 at 10:31 am

    My toxic people are my two oldest daughters, who are relentless in verbally and emotionally abusing me. I always have to walk on eggshells, I get sick to my stomach by the vicious and hurtful things they same to me… they talk over me, totally disrespect me, blame me for everything in the past (I raised four children as a single mother BY MYSELF, worked full-time, managed to buy a home for us, etc., etc.)… Yes I was both the nurturer AND the disciplinarian, and I was strict – raised them to go to church weekly, respect authority, etc.. but that is NOT the adults they have become. It breaks my heart to detach emotionally from them, but now they are using my grandchildren as leverage… and I cannot take it anymore.

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  • November 10, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    This is so insightful. I need to read this article every day

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  • December 7, 2019 at 9:38 am

    11 years ago I completely severed ties with my mother, due to one last straw that broke the camel’s back. I have not regretted it. However, 23 days ago she passed away at the age of 90, and my sister has posted a post that either she or someone else created, saying that it was ME! It was a disgusting, mean and nasty post. It was posted the day my mother died, apparently. I only found out just yesterday that she died! I also don’t follow my sister’s or any of her kids facebook pages, and only thought that perhaps my mom had died, because my sister responded to a mutual friends post and I noticed that my sister’s profile was a pic of my mom. I asked one of my sons if they had heard that my mom had died. My son’s response was this: “You knew she died! Why are you asking me now? You’ve been posting nasty shit about her on Facebook on the day she died!” I was stunned! So, I guess my sister is joyous about trying to turn my own son against me. Does it ever end? Now I also need to cut my sister completely out of my life, too!

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  • December 18, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    This blog is invaluable. It helps so much to know that many others deal with family issues, as I do. Thank you!

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  • January 24, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Describes my son perfectly and it hurts so bad, is there a hotline number to call right now I don’t think I could do group I just cry to much to talk

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  • March 2, 2020 at 4:57 am

    LOOKING TO SET UP AN HONEST PERSON TO BE POT & RID MYSELF FROM A VERY STRESSFUL & MULIPITIVE SO CALLED FAMILY MANY THANK

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  • March 29, 2020 at 9:26 am

    So I have really been considering cutting my father out of my life, throughout my whole childhood he was an alcoholic and Drug user in the last 4 years he has gotten clean but needs to always rely on me for money, he gets a disability check of like $1,800 a month and he has a partner who also gets about $1,800 a month so between the two of them they got almost four thousand a month their rent is only $1,100, so what I’m not understanding is why they cannot pay for food or extra things and I always seem to get guilt-tripped into giving money up and I have four kids that I need to feed and clothe and take care of . I really wanted to have a relationship with my father due to the fact that my mother is a drug user and I haven’t spoken to her in quite a few years I literally feel like I am an orphan and if I don’t reply right away to him he will start commenting on my Facebook posts or Facebook messaging my boyfriend to tell him that I need to contact him I am just at a loss for words with the whole situation and I would just like someone else to help me feel like I’m not going crazy and this is the right choice to be making

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    • March 29, 2020 at 11:36 pm

      Dawn,
      This sounds like such a tough situation. I understand why you want to have a relationship with your father. However, it seems that you and your kids need to be your first priority. It’s unfortunate that your father isn’t able to take care of himself and needs to continually rely on you. I hope you’re able to set some boundaries with him to protect and take care of yourself and your kids.

      Reply
  • April 18, 2020 at 9:07 am

    I’ve decided to cut ties with my husband’s sisters. But every family holiday/event is ruined because they always manage to stir up trouble and my husband listens to them, they phone and text him completely forgetting the reasons why the family is divided now. They’ve treated me terribly (and our children) and yet it’s them who feel that they’ve been wronged, everything is about them, they get together and gang up and gossip. I’ve told my husband it’s important for him to still have a relationship with his family, I won’t stand in his way but to please respect my decision that I want to stay away from them as much as I can. He doesn’t agree and feels like I should keep giving them chance after chance and that it’s me now causing the trouble because after two years (they done something particularly bad two years ago) they’ve decided they want to sort it out. Trouble is I don’t, had they of tried sooner fine, but they left us to sort out all the trouble they caused on our own and I’m over them now, I don’t see why I should jump now they’re ready when it was them who caused all the pain. There comes a point where too much water has gone under the bridge and I’m (and as a couple) are so much more happier when i/we don’t hear from them. It’s taken me a long time to work up the courage to do this, I jst wish my husband respected that instead he keeps trying to force me into a relationship with them – keeps trying to make me take calls from them, but I refuse to give them a platform. I’ve done it before and they jst end up insulting me down the phone, then he doesn’t believe me. I used to feel guilty for turning my back on them because it’s my husband’s family, but I don’t anymore…I have to survive so I’m putting my feelings first for a change, and the feelings of my children. They are also completely full of anxiety when meeting them because they found nasty messages about me on my husband’s phone. So I’m protecting myself and them.

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    • April 18, 2020 at 5:00 pm

      I have family like this…verbally and emotionally abusive. I went no contact with 2 sibs years ago and low contact with parents. No more dramas but have been scapegoated for my decision to leave. The key is to have a good support system; friends or church or meetings to help you get through it. Also, strong boundaries. Your husband sounds like he just wants to keep the peace, but he wants you on board as well. Family of origin dynamics are very strong. Some great reading out there…Susan Forward’s “Toxic In Laws” is excellent. It is never easy to break away…it was probably one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. But for your own wellbeing and that of your children changes need to be made. Good luck.

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      • April 20, 2020 at 12:11 am

        Thanks for your supportive words. I hope we both find peace in the end. It’s all so very difficult.

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  • May 5, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    i dont know what to do i have a toxic brother and I’m only 11 and he’s way older Idk what to do we live together and this has been going on for 5years and i cant take it he makes me feel bad about my self and calls me bad names I’ve tried to speak up and have four times and says he will change but goes back a week later to his toxic self idk what to do any

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  • May 11, 2020 at 1:36 am

    Thank you for this post. I have cut off ties with my father for nearly every reason on the list above. I have had so much peace since then, yet my mother and brother keep trying to pull me back. This man has caused so much damage to each of us… yet I am the only one that has been strong enough to walk away. I can’t force them to follow, but I need them to respect my decision and let me go. Stop trying to pull me back into the toxic mess….
    For anyone reading this comment, it will get better! It is not your fault! You are allowed to choose your own sanity and happiness, not everyone will understand, and that is ok 💙

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    • May 11, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Well said! Thank you for sharing your experience and giving hope!

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  • May 25, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Can I ask how do I actually do it? Do I tell my mother why or just give her the boundaries?
    Mum has been toxic all my life, she criticises my weight my lifestyle and my kids. She has had the same treatment from her own mother for a lifetime and has just turned into her.
    I have 2 sisters who do very little to help her and she says nothing to them but if I can’t help she leaves me messages telling me to never speak to her she chastises me and tells me to shut up all the time. She talks horribly about my late step father whim I loved dearly, she says awfukbthings about my sisters and their children too. Everyone else has pretty much abandoned her assuming I will take care of her needs and I’ve come to a point where I can’t. Last year I went AWOL on my husband for 24 hours refusing to talk to him and blamed him for not sticking up for me. I saw sense and realised it wasn’t his fault, and even though I was having a breakdown I still drove to the airport to pick her up and ran errands for her. I still want to run away a year later.
    So I have to end it with her but do I just be factual or give her all the reasons?

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    • July 6, 2020 at 5:56 pm

      Hi Nicole, I just read your comment written in May this year where you sounded concerned about how to end your relationship with your mother.

      I find that when things feel tough emotionally that we want a script, but there really is no script. It also depends on how much emotional self control you have, but it also depends on how they react too.

      With my mum and dad it all went down pretty bad, but this actually helped me get the energy to cut ties. I grew up in a very passive aggressive family, so the anger out loud from the argument just before breaking ties really helped me.

      I don’t think anything like this feels good or really goes they way we plan it in our head.

      I always think of Seinfeld where Jerry is telling George Costanza how to break up with yet another girlfriend ‘You got to pull it right off’ [like a band aid’]!!!!

      I hope you are well and courageous for it is scary, but ultimately very empowering!

      Elly

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  • July 7, 2020 at 4:11 am

    I have an older sister and I don’t know if she is toxic but everything she has done in my past is really getting on my nerves. In my entire life, she has always made everything go in her way, with no regards to what i want. She is two years older than me and when it comes to me she literally acts like a child but calls me immature whenever she gets the chance. If she does something wrong she’ll blame it on me and won’t ever blame herself and calls me “airhead” or dumb because of it. She always puts my brother before me no matter what. He is 5 years younger than me. If we ever shared a bed together like in a hotel on holidays, if he slept in between us, she would take the blanket off of me and stuff it under him even though he’s in between us. She always asks me to back her up in arguments and I do but when the roles reversed she goes against me. We shared a room and if she smelled anything she would assume it would be me and one time sprayed me with air freshener. She takes clothing from me all the time but when I do it too it’s like the world collapses. She retaliates by hitting me, or by ruining my clothing and organization, and I still have scars from it. I tell my parents and they scold her but tell me that I’m the bigger person by not defending myself at all and that’s just how she is. She stunk up our bedroom after moving back and I asked her for 3 months to clean it up since quarantine started and she still denied that it even smelled at all and my mom did all of her laundry so she can stop. One time she punched me in my eye and kept scratching and kicking me because I simply took my shirt back from her. I could’ve fought back and surely could’ve won but I didn’t because my parents said that I was the bigger person for not fighting back. She has never given me a birthday present. Also I am residing in my brother’s room (he hasn’t slept in here since we moved in) and have been for the past 2 years, and she, while on call w some of our mutual friends, said that I took it from him, like excuse me where did that come from. She spreads these things about me and once on a call again told me to be quiet cuz she could hear me from downstairs (the rooms are barely soundproof and ours are on top of each other) and I was quiet but when I said the same she kept denying it over and over again. My friends believe her. I threw her a graduation party and she gives credit to my friends and didn’t even show up for my virtual graduation this year. I hate her and I stay up sometimes angry at her because she would always torment and yell at me whenever she got the chance. I was always walking on eggshells around her and I still am. Another time was when it was her birthday and we were putting up balloons and she yells at me vigorously that I’m putting it on wrong when she put that set of balloons on and I hadn’t even started yet. I’m mad at myself for not speaking back because it was so rude. Another time was when her boyfriend asked me what presents to get for her. I said to get her makeup and guessed her skin tone and the rest he came up with. When she got it she didn’t like it and her boyfriend got upset about that and she kept nagging me to come to her to show her our messages and blamed her not liking the gifts on me and he didn’t even try to back me up. I told her I did nothing wrong and she said that she was being the bigger person by not talking to me. She apologized after a week but these things kept happening. I honestly hate her and have all this pent up anger and don’t know what to do.

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  • July 12, 2020 at 6:36 am

    Hi I’m Bob. I have a family that has always treated me like a 2nd class citizen. I can’t help out enough, yet when I need a place to stay or cash to eat they say its for my own good. I was sleeping in my car while some family who say they would be there for me just moved into a 5 bedroom house. I get invited for partys and events but if i need a place to crash im asked to leave. They changed their tune after we lost other family, but still fall back to their old ways. I have a job and a roomate now, im happier then when i was at the mercy of them and their hypocrisy. Yet i keep gettting guilt tripped to see them, they make the plans, then bail as I get there. If they do it again this sunday, im done with them and their shit. In fact, im going to cancel tonight im still so pissed at them.

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    • July 13, 2020 at 12:29 am

      I decided to give them a shot, they were 30 mins late, if it wasent for their kids I would of written them off tonight. Enjoyed my time with their kids and didn’t break into a passive fight with the toxic twins. I stayed calm, neutral and even joked with them. I’ll still play it safe and what another few months until their next invitation. Hopefully the restaurants will open back up so we have a public neutral space. That way if they treat me like shit I can just leave without wasting gas. Good luck to you people out there dealing with dysfunctional family and your own mental heath. I feel better when im not around them as much or at all.

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