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When and How to Cut the Ties of Bad Family Relationships

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I'm passionate about health, wellness, social issues and relationships. I offer relatable content and solid advice.

strained-family-relationships-when-you-should-cut-the-ties-and-say-goodbye

What Is Family?

In just a few words...family defines us. Our first relationships were our family relationships. It's a significant part of who we are to the core, because our past is an integral part of how we view ourselves and the world.

An interesting aspect about families is that people can tolerate more bad than good, and even a strained family relationship can be considered satisfying. ‘My family drives me nuts, but I love them’.

Families can simultaneously be the ones to cause you distress, but are also there by your side in tough spots. That's a fair trade: Take the good with the bad. It’s when the bad outweighs the good, or the bad is abuse, that we have to evaluate the health of that relationship for our own wellbeing.

Unconditional love is the key ingredient in a healthy relationship; one of acceptance and expression, the ability to agree to disagree at times, and mutual respect without having to change or control each other.

These are ideal conditions though, and for some, it's never been this way with certain family members.

These unbalanced relationships are the worst to endure because family means so much to us personally and within our culture/society.

Unfortunately, many people are faced with the excruciating decision of whether or not to continue an unhealthy family relationship with a parent, sibling, grandparent, son, daughter, or step-family members.

If you feel that you have to cut ties, it's usually because you've endured years of discontent (or even abuse) and you have no other choice. Many who are reading this have endured too long.

Just because someone shares some DNA with you they get to take your stuff? Call you names? Demean you? Sabotage your relationships and career? No way!

— Dr. Phil McGraw

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Evaluating the Relationship

Chances are you've been evaluating the strained relationship for a while, but committing to cutting the ties brings on feelings of guilt, failure, shame, emptiness, doubt, abandonment, and even grief.

Deciding to face these feelings and manage them is a brave step.

No matter how strained, intolerable, and/or abusive the relationship is, it's a difficult decision to make. Asking yourself the questions below can help.

  • What's the history? Psychologists have an old saying: "The best prediction of future behavior is past behavior." Having extensive history is what hurts the most when breaking up with a family member, but if that history has been chronically negative, this can make it easier to make an informed and intuitive decision. It will be hard to let go of the relationship or put some distance between you if there were good times along with the bad. It can still be difficult to cut ties if it's been a long, torturous road. Even familiar abuse and patterns are hard to break away from. Sometimes it helps to put it all on paper— one column for positives and one for negatives—so that you can see both sides objectively. Or give a point system to each good thing and each bad thing. Sometimes a really bad thing is much worse than 10 good things. Watch out for patterns that show the relationship is getting progressively worse. Also, if they keep insisting they've changed, then keep your eyes open to determine if their actions show that is indeed true. Even if they have changed, the relationship dynamic can remain the same.
  • Who else is affected by this relationship? Sometimes, breaking ties with one person means you could have the entire family upset with you. Remember, other family members have likely contributed to the abusive person's tactics as well. They may not be prepared to face that- you are disrupting family patterns. Be prepared and know that not everyone will understand your decision. It's important to find a way to manage other family relationships and evaluate the effects on others as well, but you are not responsible for everyone's feelings. Don't hesitate to cut ties if the only reason you are keeping contact is to please the "family" or someone else in the family. Group enabling is sad but common within families.
  • Consider the kids. If you have children, explain in age-appropriate language to your kids why they may not see their grandma or aunt for a while. Kids tend to get caught in the middle— some family members use them as pawns so be as honest as you can with them, considering they often know more than they let on.
  • How is the stress affecting your personal life and current family? Many people get confused and think their parents or the family they were born into is more important than the family they build for themselves. This is wrong. Your original family should never get between you and your current family. Your wife/husband and kids now take precedence over your mom and/or dad, so don't tolerate original family members if they negatively affect your current family. Preferably you, rather than your spouse, should handle your own family members.
  • What's your role? We take on a label or role from an early age in the family unit. Sometimes we get stuck in that role and transfer it into our lives beyond the family. Breaking this role and its effect on our lives may require distance or cutting ties to make a clean break and change our habits, not only within the family, but in our current relationships. Your role in the family could be "the baby”, the “troubled one”, “shy one”, “the black sheep”. Or you might be "the fixer“ and “mediator” - one who keeps the peace at all costs, taking care of everyone else. Sometimes a family needs a “scapegoat”, one to blame everything on. Those willing to speak up, or the squeaky wheel, are usually the people who are ostracized and shamed. Don’t let the family problems fall on your back. Do the roles you have in your current relationships (work and personal) resemble roles you play in your family?
  • How do they feel about you? The best indication of how another person perceived us is how we feel when we’re in their presence— more specifically, how we feel about ourselves in their presence. I know that I feel small, invisible, and out of control when around a certain family member. I realize that’s how they likely view me, either on a conscious or subconscious level. Ideally, family should be based on unconditional love. If you're not feeling the love, then what are you feeling? Sometimes it's helpful to ask yourself when was the last time you felt loved by that person, without strings attached. If you feel awful when that person is around, it's probably triggered by their ugly feelings about you. Picking up on subtle cues may help you realize the truth of that relationship. In other words, the feeling may be mutual, they just may show it in passive-aggressive ways. Keeping that in mind, remember that it's not your fault they feel this way.
  • Are there any boundaries? One thing many families have in common is a lack of boundaries: People say what they want, do what they want, and respect is nowhere in sight. That can work for some. However, it's unhealthy to equate a lack of boundaries with unconditional love. Specialists agree that for children, having boundaries gives a sense of being loved, and childhood is where some of the mayhem started between family members. If you're still undecided about cutting off the relationship, setting healthy boundaries now can show you where you stand. Although, it is more difficult to set boundaries with family than with any other people because patterns are ingrained for generations sometimes. As a child, you quickly realize adults set not only the rules, but the boundaries (or lack of) as well. We were often taught unhealthy boundaries from the people we needed them with. When the child becomes an adult, they are able to set their own boundaries.
  • How close are you? Often, moving away symbolizes a new life away from our family. It can ease tension by being located cities or states away! If the person you have problems with lives far away or you don't see them often, you can tolerate them only periodically and carry on with life as usual. A quick visit with the negativity and drama — maybe two holidays each year— might be manageable. If it causes too much pain and drama, keeping in touch (even through emails) may not be worth the hurt and pain.
  • Is resolution possible? Some families refuse to speak about issues at all. Perhaps the same issues come up repeatedly then a possible resolution may be a big, fat NO. Sometimes the answer is "no" right now, but can change later down the road. Don't bother hashing out major issues between the person and yourself— you've probably tried this in the past and walked away with a big heaping serving of that person's denial, hostility, and self-preservation. As children, we are powerless against family members because we're too young to have a voice or shamed and guilted if we express ourselves or our needs. Sometimes that pattern follows us into adulthood. Remember, any decision can be temporary. If the ties are cut right now, they may be mended later. Cutting ties isn't always an open and close, final case.
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One more thing: Sometimes, instead of having an issue with one person, the problem lies with more than one or even an entire branch of the family. In that case, it's best to evaluate the issues as a whole. It could be that letting go of an entire chunk of your family is necessary.

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.

— Brene Brown

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It's Okay to Say Goodbye When...

  • The relationship is physically or mentally abusive. Don't downplay the effects of these kinds of abuse, especially long-term. It may take counseling to realize you've been abused. We may think of abuse as "this" or "that", but there are many grey areas where abuse is defined by us personally. Just as trauma doesn't have to be something BIG, it is something that we're personally unable to manage.
  • It causes enough stress that it affects important aspects/areas of your life, like work or home life.
  • You find yourself spending a lot of time thinking about, ruminating about the sour relationship, and losing sleep over it. Don't underestimate how lack of sleep and stress affect your health.
  • The relationship is one-sided when there is no valid reason why there isn't some effort made by the other person.
  • Patterns repeat themselves. You set boundaries for instance, and the other person respects them for a couple of weeks then completely disregards them or they keep coming back to ask for money or do them favors. It is their way to confuse and use emotional tactics to keep you "hooked".
  • The relationship is only about borrowing money or bailing them out of trouble. Don't get dragged down with them or involved in risky business and legal trouble, even if they are family.
  • The person is using gossip to manipulate and control you and/or other family members against you.
  • All contact with them is negative. They only call to bring you down and put you down, too. They focus on their problems without concern for your time or how you are doing.
  • There are negative consequences every time this family member doesn't get what they want from you. They find ways to punish you if you don't play their way.
  • They play childish games— the silent treatment, blame games— and there is no talking to them. It's their way or no way.

Most people know intuitively when it's time to cut ties. Listen to yourself.

Cutting people out of your life doesn't mean you hate them, it simply means you respect yourself. Not everyone is meant to stay.

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When You Decide to Sever Ties with a Family Member...

  1. Try it out... less contact through calls, visits, and emails. This is especially important when the relationship represents emotional ties. Breaking the pattern of mental/psychological abuse helps to shed light on how the person affects you so you can make clear-minded decisions. In therapy, I ask clients if they could give themselves 6 months off from the relationship. This is often enough time to gain a better perspective.
  2. Heal yourself first. Sometimes working on ourselves and boundaries with others in our current relationships has a domino effect and can help give us the confidence to do the same within family relationships. Cutting ties for the sake of healing yourself is a worthy cause too. Instead of focusing on the other person, focus on your healing and you'll get much further in your personal journey and healing than you can imagine.
  3. Set a few boundaries/skip a holiday. Sometimes it's not necessary to cut ties, just adjust them. Even giving a few ultimatums is okay. Check in with yourself; how you feel before you decide to go to a family event or see the family member. If your body is tense and you feel awful, respect that. It's often about listening to ourselves. Try skipping a holiday, not taking calls from the person if you don't want to. Minimize the feeling of obligation to them.
  4. Keep a neutral position. If certain subjects always end in an argument, avoid them and keep the conversation neutral. If a family member insists you agree with them or insults you when you don't, keep your distance.
  5. Limit contact to times when something major happens. Send an email to let the family member know you are pregnant, someone died, you got a great new job, or you're moving to another state. You might consider including them on family group emails but avoiding one-to-one exchanges. Keep the messages and announcements positive.
  6. Know that it's difficult. Death is final, but cutting ties is like death without the closure. Give yourself the love and time to grieve because cutting ties is a grief process. You will probably feel the worst when the first birthday or holiday rolls around, but you can prepare yourself by practicing self-care rituals as well as journaling. Remember that these unpleasant feelings are less harmful than if you had kept the relationship intact. Feelings like guilt and shame are part of the problem, and they are finally unraveling themselves and slowly being released. Many feelings you may experience were the way in which family-controlled you. They must be released to heal.
  7. Focus on who you have and who you are. Having a good support system of friends or other family members makes cutting ties easier. Maintaining your values is a part of who you are. Knowing who you are, what you stand for, and who supports you is your North Star, your compass.
  8. Don't pretend everything is okay. Don’t minimize your thoughts and feelings by pretending everything is ok. Pretending and avoidance are common in dysfunctional families. Speak up!
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Please join the discussion and read the excellent comments below.

Lucia Demarco on August 24, 2020:

Please help my son takes all if my money, Because he manipulated me into letting him control Accounts!! He is spoiled but im so confused cause I did it !! But he lies and tells me there is money in the bank then there is not !!!

Franklin on August 16, 2020:

It's hard to let go... But enough is enough. I'm cutting ties

Rosie on August 14, 2020:

My life is a Trainwreck. But after reading through this..I guess I'm not alone

So much pain, and devestation, for so long..just don't know where to begin.

I do need councilling because I'm broken.

michmol on July 30, 2020:

Thank you for this wonderful article and advice. I have had a falling out with my sister and brother and their families. It has been such a horrible time, it is about 7 months since it happened and I am still dreaming and having nightmares about it all. I am not blaming my family. If I was upfront with the turn of financial events which impacted my family, it would have been a different scenario. I was ashamed and embarrassed that we got ourselves in a bad financial position. We did look after my elderly parents and nursing home costs etc. and wrong decisions contributed to the end devastating result. We had to sell a family holiday house that we lived in with my parents and unbeknown to my siblings my parents willed the home to us. The house was put into my husband and my names as we were the ones that financially helped mum and dad and were left with massive debt which contributed to us having to sell the home. My siblings wanted a third each of the balance of the house after the debt was paid. Keeping in mind though that my siblings have never ever paid any money towards the up keep of the house, rates, water bills, absolutely nothing. We lived in the house and paid all the renovations, we paid for everything. My parents were determined they wanted us to have something. We did not look after my parents to get the house, mark my words, that was not in the equasion. We just loved them so much and loved living with them. It was trying at times to be honest of course, they were elderly and mum had dementia. My dad was also very difficult at times but they were wonderful people. When we left our home in Melbourne, we let our niece live in the house - it was only a 10 minute drive to the city so it was in a good position. My niece was a life saver to me, as we had lost our daughter at the age of 18 to anorexia nervosa and i had to get out of that house. My mother in-law lived in the upstairs apartment of the house and having my niece live in the downstairs house was such a relief for us that there was someone in the house for my mother-law. We were so grateful to my niece that we let her pay the loan on the house and keep it. It was transferred to her in full. My parents were really not happy with me doing this. So they made sure the holiday house was left in our name so we could have this to leave to our sons. My siblings did not know anything about this and this is where the problem lies. They have both passed away and it was the will that showed the house was left to us. We sold the house and gave both my siblings $40,000 each. They were not happy with this, they wanted nearly $80,000 each. So this is where I leave the family.

stephanie on July 30, 2020:

Dear Magian A'dah,

I don’t think you realize how much these emails helped me. You’ve help pull me through the hardest and most painful relationship of my life.

And I am so happy I did what you said because my ex wants me back now. I’m not so eager to jump back in to it after reading your insights about whether we really should be back together but he wants me again and I could not be more grateful for your help and support. Please keep sending them. You really are amazing! i highly recommend you contact he ( mag1an@protonmail . ch )

-Stephanie

Rhi on July 21, 2020:

I came across this page as I was looking for a bit of reassurance after cutting ties with my dad. Thank you so much for writing it. It’s helped me process things massively so I can begin to heal after years of hurt. Reading this has helped me feel lighter and a ready for focus on the self care side of healing. I’m lucky to have a great support network around me, and I feel ready to move on

joann malayao on May 23, 2020:

my sister and I used to live in an apartment together with her daughter who was closed to me, when she moved to province and got a decent job she became proud of herself and so do I coz I really cared for her.

Seh was arrogant and egoistic, not listening to someone elses advice because she thinks she is better. since I am the eldest, I tried to give her an advice and she was hesitant and said bad things about me.I was really hurt and I fought back with my words that had hurt her also. She said to me that I was envious because she had a good a good career , a daughter and told me that I could not bear a child because I have polycystic ovarian syndrome and the bad thing is she even cursed me and called me a demon. should I cut ties off from my sister??i would really like to do it, i want to avoid drama and chaotic relationship with her anymore.

jowana on May 23, 2020:

my sister and I used to live in an apartment together with her daughter who was closed to me, when she moved to province and got a decent job she became proud of herself and so do I coz I really cared for her.

Seh was arrogant and egoistic, not listening to someone elses advice because she thinks she is better. since I am the eldest, I tried to give her an advice and she was hesitant and said bad things about me.I was really hurt and I fought back with my words that had hurt her also. She said to me that I was envious because she had a good a good career , a daughter and told me that I could not bear a child because I have polycystic ovarian syndrome and the bad thing is she even cursed me and called me a demon. should I cut ties off from my sister??

D.B. on May 12, 2020:

Excellent article. It really hit home dealing with a fighting family, especially with a father. He never got along with his mother. You would think he'd make it better for his son and not want to continue that tradition, but he did. In his eyes, nothing I did was good enough. As a result, I eventually got out of that house and started my own life moving away and got married. Still married for almost 13 years and have a beautiful 8 year old son. I really want to cut ties with him because it's way too toxic now. I am hesitant because I don't want it to effect my relationship with my mom and other family members. Need advice.

Roselyn MC on March 12, 2020:

I needed this. I've cut ties with my entire family (mom died when I was young & dad a few years ago) and never felt better. I'm in my mid 40's and am tired of all the drama, blaming games and guilt trips my siblings and their family took me on. I'm still on the 'cutting off ties' process but already feeling very light. Thank you for this enlightening piece

Lafarae Warring Philadelphia ,pa on March 10, 2020:

The spread of this corona virus. Has people running scared, no one wants to die. Death is part of the existence of all living things. Ironically man and woman experience death everyday in the manner that they treat each other. The death of a family is sad. Unfortunate that it occurs daily. Good luck with taking earthly possessions with you when you leave this earthly paradise. You will however take YOUR HATE WITH YOU. A fact I for one am grateful for. I am a member of the Warring family from Philadelphia. My grandfather sexually abused his female children. This was hidden of course. Most of my aunts chose who was protected from being abused by my grandfather. Then they decided a nice spin would be to add verbal and physical abuse to the list. You know what list I was on. After years of thinking this was normal ,acceptable ,then tiring and trying to be heard. Silly me thought I had a voice with these women. Ha silly me. I will say that the act of removing them from my day to day life has brought me such a GREAT sense of satisfaction. I am filled with joy and I am happy. Don’t know why I waited so long before removing that dysfunction from my life. I will tell you it was no easy getting here ,but definitely worth it. People do not cheat yourself. Remove persons from your life that are detrimental to your overall health. LOVE YOURSELF you are worthy

Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on February 03, 2020:

My late father was a very smart man. He had toxic family members. He just CUT THEM OFF. He refused to have anything to do with them. Not my mother. The family in Wellford, SC just saw my mother as a service. They never loved her but used her. Tried to tell her that. The truth came out when I asked for help & NO ONE helped. I knew it all along. That so-called family in Wellford, SC are just vultures. I also told them that. To me, the family in Wellford, SC no longer exist. They are a bunch of toxic, dysfunctional parasites. Hopefully, this family will become extinct.

Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on February 03, 2020:

I have always known that my family in Wellford, SC were parasitic from the time I was 16. My late father knew it too-that explains why he hated them. He told my mother about it but she wouldn't acknowledge it until it was TOO, TOO LATE. My father schooled me about this "family." Even my youngest aunt disowned the family. Now my cousin in upper New York is helping them like my late mother did. This cousin refuses to realize how toxic & parasitic this family is.

Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on February 03, 2020:

It is so easy to cut toxic family off. I have cut off my toxic maternal family in Wellford, SC. All they did was taken advantage of my late mother. However, those selfish ingrates didn't even attend my late mother's funeral. Then the ingrates asked me to support them, I told them off, calling them a punch of parasites. Then my cousin, who is the queen of the scammers, suggest that I pay for the family. I send her a letter, telling them how selfish they were & that I was CUTTING THEM OFF for good. I also them to emphatically shove it!

Jodie Coleman on January 17, 2020:

I found out after my adopted son left at 17 to live on his own, he not only stole everything I had which included my husbands ashes got into drugs. we helped him out several time. he was the son of my deceased daughter. she had 7 children. He is now almost 28 and a 2 time felon for running crack houses. I found my biological sister after being thrown out of a foster home at 15 years old . forward to today. I will never help this kid out again. but sneakingly my sister has been helping him with money and places to live etc. so he is in jail again. and now I am getting calls from people saying they are my daughters kids. I have blocked everyone. trying to get information from my sister cause I am mad about this, she will not answer me and blocked me on Facebook. I have blocked all these people on Facebook because I do not know who they are and when this kids takes them for all he can I do not want to be involved, let them find my sister. she is smack dab in the middle of this !

Mitch on December 25, 2019:

Hi ...

I want to share my story. It’s not about family though, it’s about a friend. We’ve been friends for 10 years now ... were friends that is, because I decided never to see him again. As I grew older and started to read some ancient philosophy, especially ancient texts about friendship relating Socrates’ theories, I realized that I didn’t really love myself, meaning that I wasn’t putting enough effort into surrounding myself with goods, especially good people. Instead, I would tolerate people hurting me, bad friends, bad women especially ... Abusive people who have attractive qualities, but always make you feel like dirt by doing nothing good for you while asking that you treat them like gods. This one friend was abusive in so many ways ... When we went out, he always decided where we should go and never agreed to alternate. During talks, if I ever voiced an opinion different from his, he would laugh at me and treat me like a total idiot, sometimes even get angry. He was mean to my other friends, talking behind their backs, ignoring them in person or arguing with them in a condescending manner, and in fact always made every possible effort to isolate me from other people. He doesn’t love people in general, so I guess he wanted to hang out just with me, the one person stupid enough, lacking in self-respect enough to love him and tolerate his awful behaviour. Eventually, I started taking this goal of self-love more seriously, and I put a lot of effort into become a better friend, a better employee and a better citizen, just like Socrates taught. I made new friends, better friends, and I realized, by contrast, just how bad my bad friend really was. When you’re surrounded with happy, loving, kind people ... when you become a better person yourself, then the bad person really stands out and can’t hide her true nature anymore. It took me a long time to decide to cut all ties, because I didn’t want to hurt the guy and I still hoped that he would change ... One day he texted me to hang out, and I told him : « Listen ... I can’t do this anymore. When we go out, you’re always abusive to me and you make me feel like trash. You snub other people and never make an effort to socialize. We can’t even have a normal talk, because you get angry and say I’m stupid whenever I voice my personal opinions ... So I’m sorry, I can’t hang out with you anymore, I’m sorry. » And you know what ... ? He never even answered. If he cared at all, he would have said he’s sorry, ask for more explanations, tried to make it up to me in some way to save our friendship. Instead he just stone-walled me. But you know what? My new friends are so awesome ... So why bother? The emotional scar just won’t go away ... but I really hope that one day, I’ll forget all about this sad chapter in my social life. Hopefully the people sharing their stories here will heal also. In the meantime, I’ve started the process of systematically weeding out from my life all those people that are mean to me. My lawn is starting to look quite neat, lush and green!

Love

Mitch

In the middle on December 18, 2019:

I grew up watching first hand my grandparents enabeling my cousins as they tried desperatly to keep them out of trouble and off drugs alot of bad examples set to not follow for myself and two other sisters .Fast forward 30 years we all have our seperate lives only communicating maybe twice a year as our family grows we have numerous events from weddings to baby showers new homes they dont even show any interest in so after not being on their radar I have been offened for years but kept on reaching out inviting pretending all was still ok .My dilema is as my parents are dealing with their own medical issues they shouldnt be worrried about my sisters being on their binges and finanically unstable .We three sisters were brought up with values that my parents no longer hold accountable so not only am I the middle sister Im in the middle my family is divided over drugs once again I choose not to have my family around my sisters in the event they might show up for a holiday sober enough to put on a good front for a few hours .My children and myself hate the fact my parents are always gonna help them both no matter what but the flip side is Im told Im not Christian for turning my back on them and in doing so Im worst off then anything they are doing I never set out to be judgmental I only set out to get my sisters the help they needed to be sober to help with aging parents when needed and was later told Im causing all the family drama dismissing the facts of my disaproval or concern so I isolate myself from my original family and will just go about life with out a few of them trying not to be upset as I watch my parents enable my sisters and my sisters take full advantage of them .... Actions will speak louder then words unfortunelty time is not on anyones side .I love them all but will never put my kids or grandkids in a situation or relationship that is toxic to save grief to others sorry but not sorry

Alegriart on December 05, 2019:

"family are also there by your side in tough spots" but are they? that's the whole point of looking up this question - if they aren't there when you need them it's just a strain to have a relationship at all

disappointed a thousand times too many on December 04, 2019:

Great article and hits home for me.

Sorta brief background: I was abused in every possible way as a child by my parents (sexual, physical, emotional) from around 4 y/o until I was a teen, my other four siblings were abused to a lesser extent (some physical, some emotional). When I spoke up early on about my abuse, I was labelled a troublemaker, an evil child, mean, cruel, etc. YES, the adults who were abusing ME were calling ME the troubled, evil, cruel one in the family. A dynamic that has continued.

Fast forward to adulthood, I became a successful therapist and social worker SPECIALIZING in treating child abuse and have had a 30-year successful career including lots of recognition, awards, and accolades. My parents and siblings (except for one sibling) STILL say whenever I bring up child abuse issues that I'm the troublemaker, evil person, something is wrong with me, etc. This after decades of being the stable one in the family, constantly bending over backwards to accommodate them, etc. They STILL invalidate my abuse and discount all of my beliefs despite everything they know was done to me in our family and my extensive professional experience and skill. BTW, they (parents and siblings who still protect them) are all a mess, financially, their marriages, families, etc. Finally, in my late 40s I have had enough.

For anyone out there who underwent childhood abuse by family and decides to pretend it never happened, "go along to get along" type of thing, be forewarned: YOUR NEEDS WILL NEVER MATTER TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO IS HAPPY TO IGNORE THE CRIMES OF CHILD ABUSE COMMITTED ON ONE OF THEIR OWN BY OWN OF THEIR OWN. No one is going to wake up one day and say, "we have been a shitty family to you," they will always blame YOU.

However, as we get older the difference will be that our tolerance for suffering changes because self-preservation and bodies dictate it must. My childhood abuse and the ensuing PTSD almost killed me and still affects me on a daily basis but at least now I no longer need to hang around a group of very sick people who treat me like shit just because they can.

Good luck to us all on the journey towards healthier living despite having had the misfortune of being born into dangerous families.

marlene beauchamp on December 04, 2019:

need help getting away from toxic family member

Keisha on November 19, 2019:

I read the comment an it was eye opening, i am jobless because of my family and that hurts.

My family also doesnt care for me or my mom, they hate us and my friends are hiding from me because of my family and their friends behaviour.

I never knew family could be like this.......

Pray for us

MMRC on November 15, 2019:

I never gave her or her kid my phone number but they would call my noisy neighbor and leave words. I move away never left my new address. But her daughter went on face book in 1997 and someone gave her my location. The guard down stairs but the call through. She's like her mother too stupid to get the message.I want no part of any of them. Hate you..

Michele on October 06, 2019:

Please proofread and edit the errors, far too many!

rosie.stinson@yahoo.ca on August 06, 2019:

Wow you could be writing this story for me. My oldest daughter who is now 50 fits the above to a T. Abusive verbally mean manipulative makes up stories with a tiny grain of truth in it. i.e., (when we were young we were so poor we only got dirty water to drink) . Now we didn't have a lot of money as I was a single mum but we got by. But even that was for a couple of years as I remarried and got a better job. My daughter even gets my other children fighting amongst themselves with her lies. The last couple of years I have had some health challenges. I.E Breast Cancer, Arthritis, Hight Blood Pressure. It didn't matter when I asked her to stop stressing me out. My doctor had told me stress was killing me). and we should try to be positive. Next thing I know she getting sympathy for my Breast Cancer but at the same time telling family I deserved it. It was only when my granddaughter wrote to me and told me I should be ashamed of myself and it wasn't all about me. That was it I gave up. I told them I was changing my phone number and blocking them on facebook. My other children not only agreed with me they said it was about time they were sick of seeing her emotionally abusing me.

Your lover on July 31, 2019:

I love you so much that I sacrificed a lot for your own mother. She said things about my own child (supposed yours too) that would have gotten anyone else's face smashed in. This has been going on for years, and finally, after everything, I felt a change and with her out of the picture for just a few weeks, we blossomed like never before.

Now, even though you know she is a Narcissist I feel like I am "ONCE AGAIN" in the wrong for not wanting you to go around her. I can feel this slipping away. You do not speak to me about anything you guys talk about now, and if you do its lies. Do you honestly think I am to believe all this? You are empty inside. I wish you would just look. OPEN YOUR EYES!!! She wants you to be miserable as she is. She has never LOVED you as a mother should. She is too damn SELFISH so stop trying to please this evil. She has been this way your whole life, and you refuse to see it. It has and will always be about her. I want to grow more with you but I can finally see that this is just not only holding you back, but it is me as well.

PLEASE!!! PLEASE!!! WAKE UP!!!! That woman owes you so much. You did not ask to be born, she owed you the unconditional love, not the other way around. Everything is a guilt trip. When confronted she projected, shifted blame, shame, guilt, all in one sentence. You cannot transform her, the first thing she said is she is NOT GOING TO CHANGE, and it was the last thing she said as well. I have so much to say to her, and the more you say nothing of the sort, or get upset at me for talking about these facts, the more you are shutting the door to our future, together.

Dw on July 15, 2019:

I wonder how many people have had this happen we have a family property owned by two brothers one has been charged with abuse of his wife;s sisters and has suffered as a consequence his offspring have been involved in every form of deviant behaviour from petty crime to armed robbery and choose an existence where employment and education is unimportant they are very manipulative to the point where they will use people up and deceive to get what they desire they now have been graced with earthmoving equipment and continually use this at night either to destroy the property or to deny us access to the house . When confronted they damage either your vehicle or home or drive around yelling abuse from their car shooting randomly at our house they are disconnecting the phone removing water from our water tanks and fuel from the car. Now for the twist the family of which my uncle has been jailed for abuse are now living at the address and still seeking some sort of financial or assistance which he allows and also commit to these tactics

Riverwatcher on July 12, 2019:

My father last saw my sons 45 years ago. One son, age 6, had many medical issues, the other, age 5, had to wear corrective shoes. At that time, he said to me that both boys were defective and not even worthy of a Christmas gift. He also told me that he was not releasing my trust fund because I refused to "get rid of the kids" (after my divorce, my parents said, "Surely you can find someone who will take them off your hands." This was not unlike them - my mother knew my father was raping me and did nothing except keeping me from seeing a doctor alone. That was the last time I saw my father.

The boys never got any gifts from him after that time. He wouldn't even send a Christmas card to a grandson in a combat zone.

My father passed away 15 years ago this coming November. He was ill both physically and mentally before he passed, but no care facility would take him nor caregivers work with him because he had physically abused so many people. So my uncle, who I had not seen in more than 30 years, called me. He wanted me to take care of my father. He said, well maybe your father would leave you something. I told him that my father had told me years before that I would receive nothing because I kept my children with me. I also told him that a mentally incompetent person could not make changes to a valid will He then said to me that he thought I wouldn't remember that. I also told him about my father raping me. He said that the family knew about that but that they didn't think it was their place to interfere.

He passed not long after that.

As much as I would have liked for my sons to have family, it was better that those people were absent. Both sons have achieved major things in their lives. My father was the loser.

I never got rid of the PTSD. I was very ill last year and in an ICU after surgery. I was barely conscious, but any time someone had to check my dressings or catheter when I was asleep, I freaked out. One nurse - thank God for her - picked up the situation right away, because she had been abused as a child.

The sad part about this - my mother was a school administrator whom people loved. And my father said the abuse was my fault because I wasn't the son he wanted.

Mg on July 10, 2019:

I don’t know what to fucking do (sorry for the swearing).I need help.I have been struggling so much, and the past month, I have been relapsing. I think I have health issues but I haven’t seeked professional help because I don’t think they can understand or fix my pain.. I don’t even know if this is abuse but I hate feeling this way. I was adopted when I was 4 years old and I’m 15 years old now. From a young age I was sexually abused by my adoptive brother (not blood). He would say “don’t tell them or you’ll get in trouble”. For awhile this continued and then it stopped. These memories were buried in the back of my mind and I hated him for it. As we got older we got along but the hurt I felt was still there. This might be the reason for my inability to trust people, especially since it was from someone I loved. His mother left him on the side of the road and I had always had empathy and said to myself that he did it because he “didn’t receive love as a kid should at that age” I haven’t forgiven him yet but seeing him everyday and knowing that this person broke my heart before any boyfriend or husband could just shatters me. We had a conversation one day, after he found out I was harming myself saying, he too wanted to take his own life. I know that we all have our demons and that what happened to me is unforgivable but I don’t have it in me to hate him anymore for it, but I’ll always be hurt and scarred from it.

My adoptive mother was emotionally, mentally and physically.. abusive. I hate myself so much and I hate the body I’m in and part of being apart of this so called ”family”she would always be strongly critical of what I ate.I hate that she’d say “we’ll send you back to the ophange” or “you should be more like this person” or “I thought you said you wanted to lose weight” or “you can’t play this sport, you should walk” and take away things from me to deliberately make me feel bad. She would hit me, throw things and pull my hair and then the next day spoil me with gifts, say sorry and then I’d forgive her and then it would happen again. the bad outways the good in our relationship. My adoptive dad would always side with her and he would take the shit she says to him.. They always say “you should be greatful” and they start to list everything they did for me.

I’m greatful for them providing for me but they always say I’m disrespecting them. I’m a very quiet person at home and I’m in my head a lot of the times and then they get shitty asking me why I’m like this and why I’m bitchy, when I just don’t feel like talking. I found out that she was sexually abused aswell when she was younger by her brother and a person she knew and the fact that I can’t talk to her is saying a lot. My adoptive parents never bothered asking why and they blamed it on my hormones. I hate feeling like this every single day and now they no longer want to financially help me with school because I don’t want anything to do with them.. abuse or not. They are apart of the reason I feel like I can’t talk to people, why I hate myself so much, why I try to skip meals because I don’t want to be fat.

Lena on July 02, 2019:

My nasty brother has seen me for the last time, not that he is aware of it yet.

I dumped our toxic mother when I was 40 (53 now) and he continued contact with her. We had our own relationship which excluded her.

Now that he has realised what a pig the woman is, he has walked away as well and resents me for leaving so long before. He hates me for reason.

I've had cancer for 18 months and I have heard no good wishes from his family. His children have never thanked me for the gifts I have sent them over the years and I called him out on that. He said that I have to give them the gifts in person. NO. I will not let him control my movements!

He never introduces me to his friends if they are in front of us. I do that!

I have major surgery coming up and I don't want him around. Ever.

Van Mae on June 17, 2019:

Thank you for this article.

I cried and cried last night because after 14 years I have finally decided to cut ties with my stepdaughter who is now 17. When my husband told me we should cut ties last year I judged him for wanting to give up on his daughter. I said we got to keep trying. Last night I realized there is no winning.

Over the past 14 years, I have had the police called on me for false accusations of abuse. She has destructed my property, her mom has egged our house and vehicles. My step daughter has physical harmed my kids at times. She has also screamed and yelled at my kids, calling them names, and putting them down. She has told lies to my children telling them I went to jail for abuse and I will abuse them also. She hoaxes them into keeping secrets from me. She is vengeful and all around not a good influence on my girls.

I have gone to countless parenting classes, read countless books, seen a counselor many times trying to find better ways to handle the situations. It has torn me and my husband apart. We split for a year. My oldest daughter cries and cries when she finds out her sister is coming for the summer. I am exhausted and just done.

Last night was the last straw when I tried to tell her - her behavior was unacceptable and she wouldn't let me speak and the screaming match began. That is not the person I want to be, and the relationship I want with her or my kids. Everything I say or do is perceived in a negative light and I finally accepted it is losing battle for me. Something as simple as "Can you not eat the pickles out of the jar and get a bowl" is perceived as me picking on her. I am deeply saddened, but I cannot go on any further like this. So am thankful for the article, understanding and support. Keep on writing. To all you step-moms who are struggling. I feel your pain. You are not alone.

Brittany R on June 13, 2019:

I am having issues with my mother and younger sister. My mom has her favorite out of us three girls. And it’s our youngest sister. She is the one with the most kids and to my mom my sister and her kids do no wrong. My issues started 3 years ago when I moved from Tennessee to California. I was in an abusive marriage and tried to contact my mom often but no answer. When I go back to Tennessee last year she was happy then went back to ignoring me. She is always picking fights with me when I try to avoid her. Is it okay to cut all ties with her for the sake of my son and my health?

Alex P on June 07, 2019:

I live with my grandmother and my aunt and recently signed for the USMC. After returning from meps i found that they had unsuccessfully tried to sabotage my enlistment by smoking marijuana in my closet. I dont feel that i can trust them and ive run away once before only to be pushed back to them by the rest of the family. I dont know what to do anymore

Vickie on May 06, 2019:

I had a very strained relationship with my Grandmother my whole life. She was very manipulative and controlling. When you didn’t do as she wished or argue her side of something she turned very ugly very fast. When I was 19 my best friend told me it was possible to live someone and not like them. That had a profound effect on me. Eventually I cut off communication with my Grandmother to avoid the pain she caused, not only me, but my Mother and later my son. I tried to have a positive loving relationship with her until I was 37. Severing a tie like that is very hard, but protecting my family from emotional harm was my priority. I always loved her and held not anger in my heart towards her, but a relationship was not possible.

Debra on April 21, 2019:

I have an adult child that we have in my opinion enabled since he was young. He’s in his 30’s now and my husband (his stepfather)& I have done nothing but try to help him. At first he didn’t want to work or pay taxes or live like most people. However I didn’t want to see him on the street so we gave him a job which he has done for us in our company. For a long time now though he has been making me feel abused and guilty like I owe him something , which he denies and say oh I need nothing but asks for s raise which is not happening. Says oh I’m just another employee here and had started calling me by my first name. Wants to takeover girls job whom we laid off recently because of downsizing. Want same money we paid her which was more than what she was worth.thinks he should be able to smoke pot while Working. I have tried and so has my husband tip toeing around his feelings cause everything we say is manipulated around to guilt . Then laughing at things I say to him hoping he’ll see the light. All a bunch of crap. Tired of it. Trying to reason and help him when he says I’ll just go s...t in the woods. Haha always talking about not wanting to be Around. Wish I had the strength to cut off ties. Don’t think he realizes he is dispensable. I know he is my child but do I have to like him when he makes me miserable most days.

Jaan on March 06, 2019:

End of day we forgive family not only fam hurt us outsiders, our best friends etc all does. We shld not get effected by words,behaviour of fam or outsiders etc. Learn to voice out if they did not treat us nice.the way the behave we never know whats they gg thru.best not to get involve with things which doesnt concern us n not our business.best only speak on important stuff which concerning us but not to be toooo involve in ithers affairs. Those r the things i learned. Oh yes never need to feel bad or fall fr the sweet talk it doesnt mean watever is being said we must act or feel its our responsible to do so. to each on its own.. I love myself more so i just keep them in my prayer.

If something being said dont react answer directly with smart words.

End of day its family who will have to managed our death.

Parent on February 24, 2019:

Life is not about quitting. Sometimes God brings people into your life that are difficult and ungrateful and they despicably use you. Cutting ties is a cop out. Overcoming is the answer.

There is almost no situation that cannot be overcome. If you are in a situation where you think the answer is to quit... just remember Jesus died to save your soul while you were still a sinner. Sometimes ( excluding criminal abuse) you have a crisis to bear...and it just might be there to make you stronger. So buck up, bear the cross, while still being true to yourself. There are manipulators and evil people out there... be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. Study the Bible and become wise.

Mum in the middle on February 21, 2019:

I have a rather difficult situation in which my mother is house bound and requires full time care, she is living at home and being cared for by my brother and his girlfriend. The trouble is this brother is violent and aggressive as well as smarmy and none of the family want to be around him. He has also said that my brother can't visit. I asked him the other day to give us some space to visit mum and he refused. Admittedly my brother didn't word the request well, but even when I requested him he refused. I then told him that he was not altogether innocent in this and when he pushed I told him that he had been violent many times in the past. To which he lost his temper, denied it and stormed off. I then had a very long and calm conversation with his girlfriend but when I tried to chat to mum, she refused to talk to me because I had upset her golden boy. So we have not seen mum since she came out of hospital and I'm very worried about how she is dealing with this.

Eva Hilton on January 28, 2019:

How can I break ties with my sister when she keeps calling me and playing mind games with me and downing me and my boyfriend and making everything about her and if I don't do something for her she brings up our parents that are with the Lord .

B on January 16, 2019:

I was so isolated due to the ambient abuse thru out many years wiyh my own family.I had to cut ties or i was gonna end up dead,the abuse was making my health in great danger,i had no other choice.The sad part is they just continue on not feeling anything as i struggle just to get outta bed,cry myself to sleep.How cold people can be its frightening.I have no support system and the isolation has left me with no one to turn to.I wouldn't wish this abuse on anyone,and if your health is being effected by it and your wondering if u should cut ties,dont hesitate,i waited over 12 years and it ate me alive..save yourself.Godbless.

Princess on December 31, 2018:

I just ignore the family and sibling negative remarks, emails and blaming and shaming of myself and others. I have learned that everyone is different and it is easy to blame others for their lack of low self confidence and selfishness. After many years trying to get along with my siblings, I have learned it doesn't matter what they say, do, or when they call me with hostile shaming remarks, I just say good bye nicely and wait for them to recover. Since I am older now, I cannot let them cause me stress and upset me. So, I do not return phone calls sometimes, and I just simply email them or text them that I am busy, or have plans and always write emails with love, thank you, or God bless. I find that some people will never change and like to be miserable, are mentally ill, emotionally unstable and my siblings blame our parents, who have passed, for their insecurity and bad choices in life. Life is their journey. I also try to set the example by ignoring their negative remarks and keep smiling and being positive. Even when one brother is too talkative and acts like he knows everything while he is unemployed and broke, I just know he is mentally ill and has a problem with being positive. Then, I have a sister who brags how rich she is, then begs me to help another sibling by giving her money to pay bills, she is being very manipulative and insecure. Then, she apologizes to me, with an excuse why she is so negative. At this point, I just ignore her. It really isn't my business what an adult sibling says, think or does, they should know what is considered correct etiquette and how to treat their family. Surely, you do not owe anyone anything as an adult, be aware of blamers and gossiping siblings who put you down behind your back or to you own children. They are just jealous and I know I am more confident and are much happier then they are. Even if they are doing financially well, that doesn't mean they are happy people. Ignore them and surround yourself with loving, positive people, and don't let anyone hurt you constantly, life is too short. Take Psychology courses and see if your siblings, friends or significant other are bipolar, manic, drug addicts, alcoholics, abusers, manic depressives, manipulators, and have criminal offences, etc. It helps, so you don't feel it is your fault they have mental illnesses that you don't have. I sometimes think that deep insecurity is a learned behavior and some people gage their confidence from how others, that are close to them, treat them. Don't let this happen to you. It is better to be alone, find new friends, then with negative, verbally abusive amd manipulators that say, I love you but really don't know how to love in a positive, supporting way, continuously. Truly the best present in life is being happy and being with loving family and friends that supports you 100%.

There is nothing better then support from those who truly know how to be generous without expecting something in return. I have a few friends who are like that, and I am now much happier and do not need the "family" as they may think I need them. My parents did favor me because I was trustworthy, financially supported them when needed, never was negative, was easy going, and I never borrowed money from them. I just thought my parents needed their money. However, my siblings, all of them, took advantage of my elderly mother and she told me how they used her credit cards, used apartment for business, borrowed money, and called her saying negative things to her like what a bad mom she was and she needs to admit it. People are who they are, they don't change unless they want to. A selfish person is that way for many reasons. Since I have taken action to stay away from family outings most times and holidays and birthdays, I feel like I can be more relaxed, have lower blood pressure and focus on my life with my children. You can do it too. Make sure that you keep positive and loving even when others are not. This sets a great example to others and helps you feel better about yourself, which in turn you will be happier. Look at people like Oprah and Arnold they didn't have helpful family, and look how they succeeded in life. Not perfect of course, but nothing deterred them from their goals. Take care and be at peace.

Stanleybillins on November 16, 2018:

Tried to get custody of my son when mother didn't want him as 6 mo.old even though he was with me (she wouldn't sign papers) she spitefully took him back and I had no real relationship with him since. I reached out but he's 30 now and hates me. Should I leave him alone?

Anon. on November 10, 2018:

I was never close to my half-sibs, but last year things got so bad after my maternal half-brother got into a big fight with his sort-of-fiancee to the point the police were involved and I'd never felt more need to try distancing myself from said half-brother. I honestly feel for the sort-of-fiancee more because I know the half-brother recently started putting more stress on a few of the adult females in his life (myself included). My folks would like me to refer to him as my brother, but how can I ever again when I know I have paternal half-sibs and I'm at the point if I don't see him at all that day, it's generally a good day? I even removed both parties from my contacts and wish they would move so far away they'd BOTH have to get new jobs.

My parents won't even listen when I gripe about my half-brother, so at this point, if I ever move out to live on my own, I'm making sure neither my maternal half-brother nor his kin ever hear from me again! Also, I may adopt a bit later in life, so I don't want anyone that's ever gotten in trouble with child support or wound up in a squabble requiring the police in the lives of myself or my potential adoptive progeny because, safety. I have done a little research on adoption and know better than to punish them corporally, so anyone I need to keep an eye on said adoptive progeny WILL be screened.

Stasia on November 08, 2018:

I was sexually abused by my babysitter until I was 8 yrs old. When I finally found the courage to tell my family at age 21 I was hoping for some kind of outrage, justice or support. In the end I was on my own, because it was too uncomfortable for them to acknowledge my pain and their failure to protect me.

My little sister was the golden child, as children we did not get along. After I left home I spent the next 20 yrs trying to make up for not being a great big sister, perhaps overcompensating for my parents. She is a lot like my mother, expects you to read her mind and doles out the silent treatment and withholds information as her favorite forms of emotional control and punishment.

Recently her fiancé sexually assaulted my childhood best friend, my sister stopped speaking to me and is now pregnant. No one told me about the baby, I found out on FB. My mother isn't trying to be hurtful but she hurts me without even trying, my father is just along for whatever my mother wants, and my mother is supportive and protective of my little sister. Once again I'm on my own.

The idea of spending the holidays with them is too much to bear. After 39 years I think I'm ready to pull the plug on all of them. Everything else in my life is stable, positive and successful, family is the only pain I suffer from.

Adelaide Frueh from Lemon Grove, California on October 24, 2018:

After many years of indecision concerning my older sister, I am beginning to make peace with the fact that we do not really have much in the way of mutual interest or support. Our mother was mentally ill and abusive, and my sister was sometimes abusive to me as well physically and verbally, but often just ignored me completely. After she left home I went into foster care and we did not see each other and talk but a few times for over 30 years.

Now I have moved back into the region (but not the same state, thank God) and at first I had hopes of having a real sibling relationship. As my husband and I are better off financially than her and her family, we hosted her at our home several times per year and paid for her travel. I also went down to her city several times per year and paid for most expenses for both of us. But in spite of all that, she never returned my phone calls or emails. She would call when she needed money. She did not acknowledge my birthday or holidays, although I sent her family gifts and cards.

A year ago her husband died and left her and her daughter without any money, as they lived paycheck to paycheck and he had no savings or insurance. My husband and I sent money to her every month for rent and food, and sent meat care packages and pet foods for the cats and dogs. And I called (left messages) and visited several times and really tried to be supportive. But she would not return my calls, and then once a month she would call or email to say that the Social Security benefits had not yet kicked in, and that she would be evicted and the power shut off if we did not send money. And we would send it because we have it and because she is family, and we did it in a positive way, not at all grudgingly. We gave up stuff on our end to do it, but she is family.

Now the emails have stopped so I assume she has gotten her Social Security, and the whole experience put me face to face with the fact that there is not really anything there. For whatever reasons, my sister and her husband and daughter never seemed to take an interest in reaching out (other than for money). And now I feel I am done.

To be up front, we have never had much in common. We have diametrically opposite political and social views and in general I feel our value systems have little in common. We do not have common interests. And we have no other social ties in common. When we would be visiting, my sister would say hurtful things some times from our childhood--she would speak glowingly of the person who sexually abused me for example, as if he was a really wonderful person who did all these positive things for us. I did ask her not to do this as that was not at all the way I experienced him, but she would keep doing it anyway, and when I came away from the visit it would take me days to get over how upset I felt.

I know I can only present my side of things, but I really did try to be there for her and have some kind of sister thing going. I realize it has been hurtful, and there were good reasons I stayed away in the past. I have found some peace recently understanding that it is all right not to want to see much of her. I think I will see her again, but not very often, and I will not expect anything, and will not give as much either. And I will know that it is okay to step back and cut it off if I need to.

Mary on October 23, 2018:

My mother was abusive, I was the scape goat out of 6 children. Today, my parents are gone, my oldest sister still feels entitled. My favored younger sister still feels entitled. My two younger sisters spent a day making fun of me. When I called them on it and said I didn’t like being treated that way, the youngest sister apologized. The younger favored sister held a grudge, tried to ruin our anniversary Hawaii trip with us by bullying me and verbally abusing me like my mother did. The next morning I told her she needed to stop or we would take them to the airport and they could get their own car and accommodations. She stopped, but still held a grudge. During a visit a breakfast was arranged with the oldest sister and the two youngest sisters. I packed up my grand baby, who I was watching, and set out to meet them. They texted that they were at a different restaurant but couldn’t give me the exact name or address so I couldn’t find them. I met them later at a nieces house. Then they all ditched me there and went to Costco. I called them in this and told them I didn’t appreciate being treated this way. The oldest and youngest sisters apologized. The favored younger sister held a grudge. I’m of the mindset to give all of these relationships a long rest.

Travel Chef from Manila on October 20, 2018:

It's really hard to cut family ties as different issues may arise like being an irresponsible family member. It's sad that sometimes these family ties hold you back from being you or stop you to grow. In some places, children are required to take look after their parent when they grow old. While in some places, parents still take care of their children with their own family. These are just two situations that can destroy other family members lives.

Amy on October 20, 2018:

I'm 20 and live with my parents. My mother is manipulative and controlling to the point that I want out. It's a repeating cycle of abuse and I doubt it will change. It went from reading my diary (tearing out the pages and burning them) to transferring funds (over $10,000) from my bank account to the one she shares with my step-father.

I financially can't support myself to move out and don't have a job since my mother has made it clear she doesn't want me to have one (probably so I can't be on my own). I could move in with my boyfriend (who my family hates) and we've looked into the financial "burdens" we might face, but I know that my family would disown me. I need distance, but don't want to cut all ties.

My family says that they'll always be there for me, even if I leave and have to move back in. But my parents have made it clear that if I have to move back in after leaving they will purposely make my life more difficult. They're already doing it with my relationship with my boyfriend since I stood up to them and said that I want to continue a relationship with him. My dad has even encouraged what I consider cheating, saying I can be in a "relationship" with my boyfriend but he has to be okay with me going out with other guys. If I've said I want to be in a relationship with one person, what makes it okay to go on dates with other people? First I'm taught that it's not okay to cheat, then encouraged to do so?!

I will admit that there are some problems between my boyfriend and I, but my parents refuse to talk to him. My counselor told them during a session they joined that *they* had to be the ones to tell my boyfriend they didn't want him on any of their property for at least 6 months. They said/acted like they would in front of the counselor, then got home and said Dad- "Yeah, right. If we tell him that he'll say we're