Family is supposed to be our safe haven. Very often, it’s the place where we find the deepest heartache. ~ Iyanla Vanzant ~
We can sometimes spend literally years sacrificing our own emotional and mental health for the sake of an abusive relationship out of the belief that we have to. Just because it’s family. That’s all that matters right? It’s family!
One of the hardest decisions we may ever make is to cut ties with family members. Think about it for a moment. Who really wants to be the person everyone knows doesn’t deal with family members? Can any of us even imagine anyone who lives to see that become a reality? Yet, it can be what is best for the sake of our own health.
Have you ever heard someone say things like, “but, that’s still your father”, “sister”, “aunt”, etc.? Family members are just people. That’s the reality! It’s an empty statement with no thinking it through. I call it shallow (surface) thinking. If we were to think more deeply on the subject matter, we might not be as quick to make such a bland statement. Often, such comments are made by others who don’t necessarily know the specific details for the strained (toxic) relationship.
If the family members in question were not family, considering the way we are treated by them, we wouldn’t give them a second thought. They wouldn’t even be a choice to be part of our lives. We wouldn’t give them that option.
When it gets to the place where a family member is literally ruining our life, we’re challenged with figuring out how to cope with betrayal, heartache, feelings of obligation, doubt or unease. Something has to give. It can take a serious toll on your life. For different reasons, we battle feelings of whether it’s the right thing to do. We don’t want to just exit out of their life. But, something has to change. There’s no way around that.
The primary thing to keep in mind is when it comes to dealing with toxic family members, circumstances in every case are different. But, for our own sake, either way, some basics are in common enough to remember the following.
Not everyone’s family is a healthy family. There’s not always the respect, support, always there for you and got your back not matter what. Sometimes the harsh fact is we just simply share the same DNA (bloodline). That’s it! That’s all that makes us family. We don’t get to choose our biological family.
We don’t’ always understand what’s going on. The family member could be ill, going through some challenging times and is not able to offer us what it may be that we feel we need in our relationship with one another. If that is the case, being able to say we at least tried to be there for them could prove to be important to us down the road. Certainly; before making any rash decisions to permanently remove the person from your life. We’d most likely want to give to family that which we’d want them to give to us if the situation was reversed.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be behaviors to endure as we’re trying to be supportive. It also doesn’t mean those behavior aren’t on purpose. In such cases, we have to set limits. Create appropriate boundaries and distance. Still, we may end up eventually having to let them go. At least for now. Maybe for good.
Signs it’s time to end the relationship and let toxic family go:
- If the relationship involves any type of emotional, mental, physical, verbal or sexual abuse, it should end. We’re being abused and used if there is manipulation, (obvious or hidden) and if we or someone else is being brought into a situation whether willingly or unknowingly. We should always be willing to love ourselves more than we do the situation with family or the family member themselves. Love ourselves enough to let them go. Leave the situation.
- If your only dealings have become entirely negative. It’s just a matter of time before we feel entirely shot down or are being brought down. When it gets to a point where nothing we do or say is enough, we don’t feel like we or our efforts are enough. It’s time to end the relationship.
- When we are so stressed by even trying to deal with the person it will begin to spread throughout our life; at home, work and even leisure time. Our life resembles disarray. Every time we turn around, we are thinking or talking about the person or people. It’s time to let the relationship end.
- When our life becomes filled with trying to right wrongs, correct misinformation, control what others are saying and it’s even affecting our sleep patterns. The relationship has spilled over into a very unhealthy toxic level. Untruths are being told, conscious efforts are being made to control what others think of us, what they are convinced to believe about us and it’s affecting how they too now treat us, speak (or not) to us and have, however quietly, turned on us. It’s time to end the toxic relationship.
- The relationship has completely become only about the other person. They make no effort toward any healing of our relationship. There is nothing that can be “fixed” if only one person is making any effort to see if something can be salvaged, be better, healed. When we see that we are never going to be able to undo the damage caused by the person, its time to focus on letting go. Once we do, we can then begin the slow, likely hurtful, process of healing.
- The relationship is now only for the convenience of the other person. When we reach out, we’re cut short, rushed off the phone or not acknowledged at all. There is no sense of urgency, or at least importance (we matter too) to return our call, to care what we may have wanted when we called or stopped by. Yet, when the other person wants to talk about something, anything, what’s new, what’s the same, gossip, brag, or complain, it becomes clear that is our only purpose we serve in their life. It’s only about what we can do for them. Otherwise; they really don’t want to be bothered with us. Anything genuine and well-meaning in the relationship is gone. It’s time to end the relationship and move on with our life.
You’ve got the floor…
Have you had an experience with toxic family? How did you cope? Please leave a comment to share your thoughts.