If you do an honest assessment of your family relationships and one or two people keep showing up because of the terrible way they make you feel, it might be time to evaluate these toxic people and if this toxic relationship in your life is keeping you from finding happiness.
See, toxic family are negative energy – they drain you of your happiness and love to create drama, often at your expense. Sometimes we need to take close evaluation to see if life will be better letting go of these toxic family members. How to cope when cutting ties with toxic family members and when it might be time to walk away forever.
Letting Go of Toxic People, Even If it’s a Family Member
Toxic relationships come in all forms; it can be between friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, partners or family members. A toxic person may be your Mother or your Father, a sibling or colleague but most often, it’s usually a person who is closest to you, that is harming you the most.
Removing yourself from a toxic relationship is hard; there are no instructions to walking away and letting go of a toxic person, but it’s a worthy process to pursue your own happiness and fixing the internal damage which emotional abuse inflicts.
Having a toxic family member who takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride on a regular basis, leaves you with a range of conflicting feelings – confusion, obligation, pain, guilt, betrayal, anger and grief.
Taking the next step of letting go of family is incredibly hard, guilt-riddling and takes a tremendous amount of courage.
A family member will take advantage of the fact that you are family – a bond that is supposed to be enduring, loving and respectful – to manipulate and hurt you because they know you will find it very hard to remove yourself because you are family.
Family members are easy targets to toxic people – and emotional abusers – because they can and they will continue to bully and hurt you, fully expecting you to sit and endure it.
Recommended Books to Help You Understand Toxic Relationships Aren’t Your Fault and Give You the Coping & Grieving Tools to Move Forward
How Toxic People Treat You Is a Reflection of Them, Not You
Time and time again you’ll find yourself trying to understand and rationalize their behavior and then forgiving their actions because… it’s your family.
In a society where it feels that no-matter-what circumstance, family is an unspoken bond that shall never be broken, when the toxic person in your life is a part of the circular family around you, this makes dealing with their abuse infinity more complicated and painful.
This is a confusing situation trying to cope with not only the lack of a love and the pain you’re afflicted with but the lack of a positive relationship with someone who is your own blood.
Take a deep look at those relationships closest to you and note how this person makes you feel and how they treat you.
Bullying comes in all forms and it’s not something found only in schoolyards. It is found in the most unlikely of places and this includes your own home.
Toxic people have a way of slinging jabs and subtle comments at opportune times when you’re alone, thus making their actions refutable to others who cannot corroborate your account of events.
They are very clever to hide their behavior in plain sight and will manipulate your emotions because they know you intimately.
It’s hard not to take toxic behavior personally. It’s not you, it’s them.
While this statement is true, learning that a toxic person’s behavior is not a reflection of yourself, is a tough statement to remember.
Toxic People Aren’t Fixable, Don’t Waste Your Time Trying
That statement may sound harsh, but it’s the truth.
The way toxic people act is because of an internal struggle they bear inside of themselves but is taken out on those around them, or their target.
It is not your place to “fix” them and toxic people oftentimes have no idea why they feel te way they do, do the things they do and hurt the people they hurt but yet, they continue to do it. This in no way makes what they do justifiable.
There area also the toxic people with personality disorders that understand what their heinous words and actions do to others, but find their behavior defensible. Of course, it never is, but in their minds, they will always find a way to justify the means.
Toxic individuals are aware of the chaos they create around them and while some toxic people are intentional about the pain they inflict, others may be good people who do not know how to exist in the world without forcing you to compromise your happiness and yourself to their infliction.
Toxic people create drama and live in a world of negativity and you have to take a hard look and decide for yourself if you can tolerate their behavior for a lifetime – because it will never go away – or if its time to make your own well-being a priority.
This may mean that you distance yourself from this person by spending less time with them, not sharing personal information, or disconnecting entirely – temporarily or permanently.
Coming to the realization that your family member is not available or open to fully and completely loving you and discovering the fact that you cannot call on them or trust them, is one of life’s hardest realizations.
Just because they are a family member doesn’t mean that it’s a relationship built on mutual love, respect and support for one another.
You are family by blood and that may simply be the only connection your relationship is thread together by.
If this person cannot respect you, if you cannot trust what they say and do, if they lie and manipulate you, if they talk badly about you and others, if you don’t have a voice around them and especially if they physically hurt you – you need to remove yourself from this toxic relationship.
You Have The Right to Create a Healthy & Happy Life For Yourself
There will come a time when you say, “enough is enough.”
You are a person that deserves to be treated with love and respect. You cannot possibly grow if the sunshine is always being snuffed out by a storm.
You will not love yourself and live a positive and flourishing life you absolutely deserve in the wake of a toxic person who purposefully hurts you and keeps you from true happiness.
It’s Time to Examine What You Allow In Your Life
They may be manipulating, lying, being passive-aggressive, hurtful, or physically abusive, but they are continuing to act this way because you allow it.
- What are you doing to stand up for yourself and to stop the way they treat you?
- How do you react when they disrespect and hurt you?
- What is the toxic person’s reaction when you choose to stand up to them?
When you confront a toxic person, expect the worst.
You’ll see that they are quite manipulative in their reaction to being confronted. A family member will play the victim and try to corral other family members against you because you’ve hurt them. They may use their emotions to influence other family members and isolate you and they may treat you harshly as well. Expect lies, victim stories where they paint themselves as the victim and you the bad guy.
Toxic people will flat out lie about what you’ve confronted about. The toxic person will make up new stories to disarm your interpretation of the truth and they will redirect the indictments you’re accusing them of towards you – all scenarios will point back to the toxic person making themselves the victim in the eyes of anyone around them.
The things the toxic person says, what those around her will say to you and accuse you of may make you feel like the crazy person.
Know that the redirection is just another manipulation to make you question the validity of your claims, recollection of your account of events and question your own emotions and make you feel like you’re crazy/overreacting/dramatic.
Do not question yourself. You have every right to stand up for your well-being, for your emotions, and for your sanity.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a family member or a friend, you don’t have to tolerate toxic behavior when it affects your well being.
Abuse Never Deserves to be Tolerated
If there is physical abuse you absolutely need to cut ties.
Anyone who physically hurts is is breaking the law and there are consequences for their actions.
Emotional and verbal abuse should never be tolerated.
If someone if emotionally manipulating, bullying and abusing you, know that you deserve better and that it’s OK to let go and walk away even if you are walking away from your Mother or Father or a family member
No amount of love, forgiveness, guilt, grief or prayer will fix a person that is broken and purposefully hurting you because of the rush they get from inflicting chaos and pain.
The person you need to save is yourself.
Practicing self-love and self-care every day will be a new concept for you, but over time, you’ll see and feel it’s the right step towards a new and fulfilling life.
The time it takes to heal from walking away from a toxic person may be swift but other times, it can take years and cycles of anger, grief, sadness, relief and finally contentment.
My Personal Story of Going No Contact. How Letting Go of Family Helped me Finally Heal.
I personally know about walking about from a toxic person and the cycles of detachment.
Over six years ago I began the process of distancing myself from my emotionally abusive and unwell Mother, and five years ago I completely cut off communication with her.
That means, I stopped answering calls, I blocked her on my phone from calls, text and email and I notified the post-office to refuse mail from her.
We have moved twice since then and changed our address, making the distance seem bigger and bigger.
While I know it was the right choice and I have been infinitely happier without her in my life, my Father did not listen to why I chose to go no contact and he doesn’t understand why I chose not to forgive her for the abuse and years of harm she caused.
He is an enabler and continues to indulge her unwell notions and fanatical recollections of my childhood without asking my sister and I for the truth of what happened growing up.
My Father meant the world to my sister and I and when went no contact with her, she made sure to take the one last thing we had – my Dad – away from us as punishment.
A toxic person will never understand when you walk away and takes it as an insult to not conforming to their abuse and stepping out of line.
Because of our behavior, we are unable to talk to him or have him in our lives.
He doesn’t know about the different degrees of abuse in our house growing up; all he knows are the stories that she tells him and are spoken to him like gospel. What he knows are the scenarios she’s crafted for him and her “recollection” of everything.
He continues to enable her fanatical thoughts and unwell mind because she has effectively painted herself as the victim as us the perpetrator.
To a toxic person, disconnection is like a game. They will take whoever they can away from you as punishment and to make you be the “bad person” and them the victim.
When You Choose to Go No Contact, Be Prepared
When you chose to let go of family, Be prepared to lose more than just the one person you are walking away from, because there are always going to be more casualties than you assume.
If the time comes to walk away from family, understand there will be fallout.
I have spent a lot of time questioning my own recollection of events and I have felt like a crazy person. I’ve spent uncountable amounts of hours being angry and hurt, crying over losing my Dad and certain things still jar the pain I feel over the loss of him that are brought back at random times.
I don’t feel any sadness at going no contact and ghosting my mother, but sometimes I feel deprived of having a loving mother figure.
My therapist tells me over and over a toxic person like my Mother is unwell and incapable of acting like a fully functioning part of society. For example, while most people will operate at 100%, a toxic person choses to be stuck at 50 or 60% because this is how they like it.
Without this toxic family member, my life is more joyful now without this toxic person in my life, looming over like a storm cloud and my children are safe from her manipulations and abuse.
Prioritizing my children and my own emotional wellbeing by walking away from family, although hard at times, has been a cathartic, awakening, and painful journey.
Letting go of family is a choice I would make over again and again to heal.
I see the fallout from the emotional abuse from my toxic mother every day in my personal choices, the way I parent and the way I feel about myself. As hard as the process of letting go has been, I know it was the right decision for me and to stop the abuser from hurting my children, and it’ll continue to be the right decision.
Don’t Waste Your Time Trying to Understand the “Why”
I myself cannot comprehend a toxic parent’s intentional manipulation, lying and inflicting pain upon their own child.
Trust me when I say that trying to find the ‘why’ to the actions of a toxic person is a fruitless journey. It is one you will inevitably try to figure out for yourself, but in order to let go, you must be able to move past not knowing exactly why a person does the things they do, in order to heal yourself and your scars.
Be empowered by the knowledge that you will never find the answer to “why” because you are a good person yourself and would never intentionally hurt other. They have no justification for the way they are and the things they do and cope with the fact you aren’t like them.
Are you prepared to let go – temporarily or permanently – and are you prepared for the fallout from potentially other family members or friends?
How do you know when to walk away from family?
Are you ready to start letting go of family?
Will you be able to continue to remind yourself that YOU are valuable when you are cycling through the stages of letting go? When you feel like giving in and picking up your phone, can you be strong enough to know that the journey is long and hard, and each time you want to give in, it WILL get easier?
The way you feel is important and if this is the journey you choose to take and in all the loneliness and heartbreak of it, know that you are not alone – there is support, but more importantly, there are so many people like you who have chosen to be incredibly brave and embark on the path of their own happiness. Just like you.
Choose Happiness and Peace.
Choose Your Emotional wellbeing and joy.
You deserve to be happy.
More Positive Parenting Resources:
- Create a Positive Home for Your Children – It will Affect Them Forever
- New Ideas to Help You Practice Calm Parenting & Stop Yelling When You Feel Mad
- 15 Healthy Habits Every Mother Should Teach Her Child
- 25 Fun Ways to be a More Playful Parent with Your Kids
- What You Need to Do If You Want to Raise Confident Kids
- How to Help Develop Emotional Intelligence in Children
- Family Traditions For a Memorable Childhood