For Thanksgiving, we talked about setting limits with family. Unfortunately, limits are not always enough. What do you do when incredibly toxic family members will not listen to your boundaries and continue to hurt you?
Sometimes you have to sever the tie, regardless of how much it hurts.
While it may feel absolutely impossible, it can be done. We’re not suggesting that you cut the cord with someone who may have said something unintentionally hurtful once or twice: there’s a lot to be said for sitting down and talking it out. If you’re contemplating cutting off a family member, you most likely have endured some pretty awful things — not just one small argument with a well-meaning-but-overzealous mother. This is about those people who have eroded your self-confidence for years, stolen money, manipulated you, taken advantage of your empathy and kindness, purposefully misgendered trans folk, physically or verbally assaulted you or worse. You deserve emotional safety — and sometimes that means completely going “no contact” and cutting folks off completely.
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” —Brene Brown
Here are five great resources for making that leap:
1. Dr. Sherrie Campbell recently wrote an article for HuffPo called “8 Reasons We May Need To Cut Ties With Family Members to be Healthy.” If you are having any doubts, this is a great resource to look over.
2. You’re not alone in this struggle. Gabrielle Moss from Bustle has gone through this safe stuff, and wrote “5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Feel Bad About Not Talking To Toxic Parents.”
3. Women are not the only ones who have to cut ties with toxic family. Chris Andrews writes about “Why I Broke Up With My Toxic Parents” for The Good Men Project.
4. This anonymous article, called “Family Isn’t Always Forever: When It’s Time To Say Goodbye” on TinyBuddha, is also great.
5. Life coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff talk about “10 Things To Remember About Toxic Family Member”s on Marc and Angel.com
Remember: just because people are biologically related to you does not automatically earn them right to be with you in any way. We need love, community and family in these incredibly trying times, and folks must work for the right to call you family. True family stands beside you and supports you, loving you unconditionally — and you don’t need a blood bond for that.
“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” –Edna Buchanan