“Blood is thicker than water,” or so they say. The idea that family sticks through thick and thin should be in context and not be applied with a broad brush. The expectation that you keep people around simply because you come from the same blood line in unrealistic and quite frankly traumatizing in some circumstances.
As someone who has personally experienced the damage that a toxic family member can bring into your personal space, I know it is extremely devastating. I don’t take lightly the decision to have to completely detach from toxic family members, but there comes a point when enough is enough.
1. When they are abusive
Abuse can come in many forms including physically, sexually, emotionally and psychologically. Having to endure any of this type of abuse is life altering and can leave so many scarred, requiring years of healing from the trauma. This is an utter violation and that should not be tolerated. Even if you may not be able to physically get away from the abuse in some circumstances, start by emotionally detaching.
2. When they repeatedly attack your reputation
Every time you step out into this world, you are an ambassadors for yourself, and nothing is more devastating than having a family member actively work on destroying that. When this happens, you may feel tempted to question what you may have done to warrant such an attack, but most of the time, it really has nothing to do with with you. When the behavior happens repeatedly, it is time to severe ties, because it shows a complete lack or respect. You don’t need that.
3. When their gossip affects your livelihood
It is one thing to tolerate gossip from a wagging tongue, but it is another when what was said affects your ability to take care of yourself or your family. Whether you’re an employee or a business owner, words are powerful and can have a truly devastating effect. This is when you exit stage left.
4. When they don’t respect the boundaries you’ve set
You’ve taken the time to address your family member. You’ve expressed that their actions are a violation and going forward, they cannot behave in such a manner, but yet still, here you are again. A second time and a third time. How many more opportunities are you supposed to give someone to redeem themselves? Before they destroy you, protect yourself and your peace.
5. When being in their presence causes anxiety
If all you try to do is avoid any kind of interaction with a family member whose mere presence either makes you shudder or send you into a rage, it’s time to move on. At this point, it is best to ask to not be invited to family gatherings if this individual is present. You may be sacrificing communication with other family members who do not understand your actions, but it is not meant for them to understand. This is meant to preserve yourself and there is never anything wrong with that.
6. When they attack your children
For some toxic family, it doesn’t stop there. They explore the possibility of also attempting to wreak the same havoc to your children. It’s one thing to attack a solitary adult, but to now spew this toxic behavior to innocent children is beyond reprehensible. Children are not target practice for people who cannot control their actions or words. It is your responsibility as a parent to protect your child at all cost from any further abuse, especially if they are old enough to understand what is happening. Let it be a teachable moment.
Always protect your peace, your joy and your happiness. You can now be free create a family of wonderful, nurturing people who we deem as great friends. Go on into the new year and be happy.
Share some of your experiences about having to cut off toxic family.