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How Cutting Hateful, Toxic Family Members From Your Life Is Not Betrayal

You owe nothing to a toxic family member. Protect your own mental health.

By Jason ProvencioPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read
You owe nothing to a toxic family member. Make them respect your wishes. Photo credit: Pixabay

One of the most difficult types of relationships we endure as human beings are ones with family members. Most people would agree that close family members should almost certainly be wonderful toward each other, support one another, and have each other's backs. Sadly, this is not always the case. 

Unfortunately, close family members know better than anyone else how to hurt us. Which trigger buttons they can activate. And how far they can push limits before backpedaling and getting away with abusive behavior. 

Because we love most of our family members, especially as young children and into adolescence, we tend to be forgiving. But forgiveness only goes so far. When patterns of abuse emerge, it's time to rethink these familial relationships.

While we should not be quick to automatically cut family or friends out of our lives entirely, it is often warranted. Especially if their toxic traits and abusiveness cause us to feel bad about ourselves and the relationship becomes very one-sided and depressing.

Family members should want the best for us. Oftentimes, they justify their horrible behavior toward a family member by telling them that they're only looking out for their best interests and that the terrible things they are saying are done out of love. Sadly, this is the exception rather than the norm.

When it comes to a breaking point, a person has to decide whether this family member is worth keeping around for the sake of their own mental health. This is generally not an easy decision to make. 

If this person is an immediate family member, chances are you're talking about years or even decades of history you have with this person. They will likely remind you of this fact, especially in the heat of the battle during an argument. They will usually make you feel ashamed of even considering cutting them out of your life. 

That's very manipulative and wrong. If they cannot respect you and the boundaries you lay down before them, that history doesn't mean shit. You have the right to ask for and receive respect, kindness, and space when requested. Sadly, most abusive, toxic family members want to control the situation, and many will not admit when they have wronged you. Especially if they are older. 

I'm not sure why people the age of our parents, grandparents, or somewhere in between feel that being older than the family member they are treating abusively entitles them to automatic respect. That is absolutely not the case. You are not required nor should you bow down to their toxic, horrible behavior and allow them to abuse you.

If the person in question can not or will not respect healthy boundaries, you have every right to dismiss them from your life. Of course, it is a sad situation. Of course, this is not ideal or something you even want. Often, children are involved in the equation and may suddenly wonder why they are not able to see a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or other family members who couldn't care enough about you to follow your basic rules of respect and kindness to keep you in their life. 

It's not an easy road to travel. But very necessary. My mother-in-law is one of the worst narcissists you could ever imagine. She's wonderful with children. She was wonderful with our children. She was wonderful with my Bride and her siblings when they were young children.

The problem was what happened after her children grew up. Suddenly, these older children were questioning the BS and nonsense she was constantly spouting. Funny thing about narcissists: They don't like being contradicted or questioned. And sadly, that becomes a deal-breaker for most people, as the narcissist continues their gas-lighting tendencies and terrible behavior. 

Cutting off a toxic family member doesn't have to last forever. Once you lay down a boundary and stand firm with it, it's up to the offender to decide if they can make that work or not. Many will try to placate you, if only temporarily. Some with be too prideful to even attempt. It's important that you stand your ground and force them to respect your wishes. 

It's important to note that you are not the asshole. You're not the person who caused all of this abuse in the first place. If they are unwilling or unable to give you the same respect and kindness as you've always given them, then to hell with them. You will be in a much better place mentally and healthier overall. 

While it is sad to mourn the loss of a family member who hasn't actually passed away, it's essential. For the safety and mental well-being of you and your immediate family. Don't feel like you've betrayed a toxic, drama-causing family member. The responsibility of the situation lands on them. The hell what anyone else in the family who is ignorant of the situation thinks. Take care of your mental health, establish clear and healthy boundaries, and live your life without the drama and nonsense they bring.


About the Creator

Jason Provencio

78x Top Writer on Medium. I love blogging about family, politics, relationships, humor, and writing. Read my blog here! &:^)


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