There’s always that saying, “blood is thicker than water.” But in this day and age, people are starting to give priority to self-care — even if it means cutting ties with a family member who’s too toxic to be around with.
Getting a relative out of your life is a real challenge. You have to think about your blood relationship and how it will affect other family members. However, if a family member or relative is too toxic that it hurts your mental wellbeing, experts suggest it might just be time to end the relationship.
Setting healthy boundaries is important, even around family members.
Feeling unsafe around a relative is a different story. If you feel threatened to be around that person, it’s important to get help to remove yourself from an abusive relationship.
If a serious discussion can take place, give it a chance and make sure you are being clear about your boundaries. This is where communication becomes really important as you need to express how you feel and what you need to happen to keep the relationship.
If you are unsure whether you need to stay or let go, here are signs telling you it’s time to get out of a toxic relationship and cut ties – even with a toxic relative.
#1. Their presence affects you.
Understandably, a socially awkward introvert would prefer time to be alone. Meeting people can be too much. However, if you see a family member and you feel drained just by the sight of them or you worry about seeing them in person, it indicates toxicity in a relationship. You can just limit your contact with them by phone or you can choose to distance yourself.
#2. Overthinking any interaction
As a family, we should feel connected to each other but if you keep thinking about the interaction you had with a family member (even after several days) and the thought disgusts you, then it indicates toxicity and probably time to cut ties.
If you do everything in your power just to avoid spending time or talking to a family member, there is something wrong with the relationship. Talk to a mental health practitioner to help you assess your feelings and know whether maintaining the relationship is healthy or it’s time for you to distance yourself.
#4. Repeating the same mistakes
We make mistakes. We are just human. However, if a family member keeps committing the same mistake despite having discussed the issue with them, it only shows that they don’t care about your wellbeing or how you feel.
#5. You can’t be 100% you around them
Family is where you’re supposed to feel 100% yourself. No need to hide. No need for pretending. And there’s definitely no need to do things that go against your beliefs. Otherwise, you’re not in a healthy relationship with them.
#6. They think they’re always right
It’s best to distance from a family member who thinks he or she is always right and will never take responsibility for their shortcomings.
#7. They refuse help to address substance abuse
If a family member has a problem with substance abuse, the normal response is to show your support and let them know you are around to help them in their difficult journey. But if you see that you’ve done everything you could and still, that relative continues to destroy himself/herself and refuses the help offered, it might not be so healthy to be around them for long. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth staying or not.
#8. Serious anger issues
Abuse directed at you by a family member – may it be physical or verbal – is unacceptable. Do yourself a favor. Save yourself. Cut ties as soon as possible.