Home Love & Relationships Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members Is Not Wrong: It’s Called Self-Care

Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members Is Not Wrong: It’s Called Self-Care


People say blood is thicker than water, but I believe that not all of us agree with that.

Personally, life has put me through many struggles and family traumas to accept that saying and add it to my value system. I respect my family, I really do. And I’ve always done my best to be patient and forgiving, even when come of my family members didn’t deserve my kindness…

But here’s the truth.

Being related by blood is not an excuse to treat someone like trash, hurt their feelings, manipulate them, and get away with it. I refuse to live a life of quiet desperation, hate myself for the rest of my life or god forbid, pass down my traumas to my children.

Coping with a broken family tie is a truly heart-wrenching and traumatizing process. But choosing to live with that open wound instead of healing it is even harder.

Here are 7 warning signs of a toxic family member:

 1. They are there only when they need something from you. A toxic person will only agree to help you out if there’s something in it for them. If there is no benefit or any kind of gain for them from that situation, trust me, you won’t hear from them.

2. They constantly judge you. I know exactly how this feels. I’ve been dealing with a person like this my entire life. A person who was never happy for me, never satisfied with my achievements. A person who made me feel like I am not enough. My dad. Don’t ever mistake this for “taking care”. This is a textbook example of poor parenting.

3. They live for the drama. Have you ever shared your secrets with a close relative just to find out later that they’ve betrayed your trust and shared them with everyone? It hurts like hell, I know. And it is a tough pill to swallow. Especially when it comes from a person who you considered a close family member.

4. They gaslight you. Let’s stop for a second and think about it, shall we? If you’ve been manipulated into thinking that some of your family members never did something that they clearly did, this is a case of classic gaslighting.  You mustn’t let them get away with it simply because they are family.

5.They like to compete with you. I’ve never really understood this. Your family is supposed to support you and be proud of you, not root for your failure. But, as I said… Blood isn’t always thicker than water. And you shouldn’t feel guilty for cutting ties with toxic family members.  

6.They drain all of your energy. If you feel completely exhausted every time you talk to a particular family member, it is more than clear that this person is not someone that you should be around on a daily basis. I am not talking about wanting to be alone for a little while, I am talking about distancing from them altogether. I know, this is a truly bold and terrifying move, but if you feel like they suck the life of you and you are losing all sense of self when you’re around them, then choosing to keep them in your life would be a no-brainer…

7. They don’t respect your boundaries. Being blood-related to someone doesn’t mean having the right to invade someone’s personal space. It doesn’t mean disrespecting someone’s boundaries. And it certainly doesn’t mean getting away with all of this without facing consequences.

The truth is, in some cases, people do realize where they’ve gone wrong and they change for the sake of their relationships. In some cases, they don’t.

In the end, there are many ways to make a certain toxic relationship tolerable. There are many ways to try and accept someone for who they are just because they are family.

The only thing you’ve got to ask yourself is… How much you are willing to cope with and how much you are willing to sacrifice yourself for the sake of maintaining a toxic relationship, even if it’s with a family member?

The answer to that question can be found only within your heart.

Just remember. Whatever you choose to do, know that…

Cutting ties with toxic family members is not wrong. It is called self-care.

Stephanie Reeds