Letting go of toxic family members

Sad African-American female at a windy beach

Although I grew up in the South where family is everything, I wasn’t born with the family bug. I was close to my immediate family growing up, but I never felt the need to develop that same bond with my extended family. The fact that all my aunts, uncles, and cousins lived hours away didn’t help either.

I never even had a connection with my grandparents. Unfortunately, I lost both of my grandfathers before ever getting the chance to know them.  My maternal granddad died when I was around two, and my paternal grandfather died before I was born. I especially wished I had known my dad’s father because he was a singer like me, and I’m pretty sure I got my singing talents from him.

As for my grandmothers, I did have them in my life for a while, but I still never got close to them. They weren’t exactly the warm, loving, fun grandmas you see on tv shows. Plus, I have been dealing with social anxiety and introversion since childhood, so it’s never been easy for me to get close to people, even relatives. Nonetheless, I’m still not a family guy to this day.

Some people are all about their family though, and I get it. You grow up with your parents and siblings and sometimes other relatives too. They’re the first people you meet in this world, and they know you better than anyone else.

I didn’t grow up around most of my cousins, but I was definitely crazy about them when I was younger. I had quite a few that were around my age, and they were some of my best friends growing up. I have wonderful memories of my cousins that I will carry with me for life.

I’m grateful for those good times too because it’s not easy to create lasting memories with all of your relatives. Family members are still people, and people can be challenging.

I’ve heard some say that you should never turn your back on family because family is all that you got. I’m not so sure I agree with that.

I don’t think you should turn your back on anyone that has been there for you through thick and thin whether they’re related to you or not. But, sometimes family can do you wrong. In fact, family will sometimes treat you worse than someone who’s not even related to you. So, then what? Do you still put up with them because they’re family?

I personally have had family do me dirty. I had one family member in particular that used me, lied to my face regularly, and occasionally stiffed me on money. This person even failed to be there for me in an emergency situation. They were very toxic in general.

Friends would ask me why I put up with this person, and I would always say because they’re family. I had known this person forever, and it didn’t feel right to turn my back on blood. Eventually, though, I realized that avoiding this person was exactly what I needed in my life.

Sadly, there are family members out there who will steal from you, mooch off of you, betray you, or burden you with their drug or alcohol problems. Yet, you may have friends who have no blood relation to you at all, that would never ever do such things to you. The funny thing is that its usually easier to cut off your friend than it is your brother or cousin. Why is that? Why is it easier to give a pass to someone with a blood connection?

I wish I had a solid answer to that, but I don’t. I do, however, know that you should never have to put up with heartache and stress from someone just because they’re family. Sometimes letting go of a family member may be just what you need to bring peace into your life.

Sad Girl Sitting Looking out the Window

It’s a hard decision to make, especially if it’s someone you grew up around. But your relative isn’t living your life, you are. And you need to do whatever you need to do to stay sane and not stress yourself out.

I get it you love them. You may also feel like they need you, and therefore you always want to help them. Or maybe you try to justify their hurtful actions by telling yourself that’s just how they are. I have done that same thing myself. “Oh, that’s just how she is.” Ever hear yourself saying that?

It’s true. Some people are just who they are, and they’re not going to change. However,  who they are may not be good for you. So, walking away is sometimes the best option.

That doesn’t mean you have to stop loving them. It also doesn’t mean you have to stop being there for them completely. Yes, in severe cases, that may be the best option for you, and I certainly encourage you to make the best decision for YOU. However, it is possible to love someone from a distance, and you can still choose to be by their side in an emergency.

So if you find yourself burdened down by a family member, don’t feel bad if you want to let them go. Doing so may lift a huge weight off your shoulders and finally help you find some much-needed inner peace.

Wow! Toddley went deep with it today. Lol. Have you ever cut ties with a family member? What are your thoughts on dealing with difficult relatives? I’d love to hear your story. Feel free to share in the comments below.


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4 thoughts on “Letting go of toxic family members”

  1. I have quite a few toxic family members so I totally get how you feel. I think you feel like you need to stick with your family no matter what but that’s not true if they’re making you feel horrible about yourself you need to let them go. You can’t keep forgiving their behaviour just because they’re family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. its brave when you are able to step into you own self worth and care and instill boundaries that are essential for your mental emotional and spiritual self..i had to mourn the loss of my parents and many many members of their family who are still alive and breathing out of self care and love for myself..it is only considered selfish by those who can no longer take from you without permission…healthy self = heal thy self..thank you for sharing ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Definitely understand where you are coming from. My motto is “sometimes you have to cut folks off, including family”. I have a couple that are already dead to me so no love loss when they actually do go. I am more willing to work with immediate family in regards to resolving issues or getting along but outside of that, forget it!

    Liked by 1 person

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