When and How to Cut the Ties of Bad Family Relationships

Updated on February 21, 2018

What Is Family?

In just a few words... family defines us. It's a significant part of who we are to the core. An interesting thing about families is that people can tolerate more bad than good, and even a strained relationship can still be considered satisfying for both people.

Families can be the ones who drive you nuts, but are also there by your side in tough spots. That's a fair trade: Take the good with the bad. Family members are the ones who've seen us at our best and worst, and the love is consistently and unconditionally there... or should be. The key ingredients in a healthy relationship are acceptance, love, 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 relationships, when stressed or tense, are the worst to endure because our family means so much to us. Unfortunately, many people are faced with the excruciating decision of whether or not to continue a strained family relationship with a parent, sibling, grandparent, son, or daughter. If you have to cut the ties, it's usually because you feel you have 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

Evaluating the Relationship

Chances are you've been evaluating the strained relationship for awhile, but committing to cutting the ties brings on feelings of guilt, failure, emptiness, doubt, abandonment, and even grief— mostly from everyone else in the family.

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 if there were good times, but easier to cut ties if it's been a long, torturous road in general. 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. Watch our 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 that is indeed true. Even if they have changed, they still need to earn your trust again and be patient with you.
  • Who else is affected by this relationship? Sometimes, breaking ties with one person means you could have the entire family upset with you. What a weight on your shoulders! It's important to manage other family relationships and evaluate the effects on others as well, but don't feel entirely responsible for everyone's feelings. Will breaking ties effect others? Is this person so awful that it's worth upsetting the family unit? Will other family members support your decision? Don't hesitate to cut ties if the only reason you are keeping contact is for other family members’ comfort. Group enabling is sad but common.
  • How is the stress effecting 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 wife and/or husband now take precedence over your mom and/or dad, so don't tolerate original family members if they negatively effect your current family: You are responsible for their well-being and action must be taken. Preferably you, rather than your spouse, should handle your 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. Often, moving away symbolizes a new life away from our family. Later this can cause issues between Family or instead it can ease tension by being located towns or states away! Your role in the family could be "the baby”, the “troubled one”, “shy one”. Or you might be "the fixer“ and “mediator” - one keeps the peace at all costs, taking care of everyone. Sometimes a family needs a scapegoat, one to blame everything on. Thise willing to speak up, or the squeaky wheel, are usually the people who are ostracized. Don’t let the family problems fall on your back if you choose to change your position within the family.
  • How do they feel about you? 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 lived by that person. It’s also readinable to ask yourself how you feel around the person, because this is probably connected to how they feel about you. 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. In addition, some people test out the relationships to see if they are mutual; when we feel we give more than we receive from others in the family. If the balance is unequal too long, it can damage the relationship.
  • 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 People. Somehow, people 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 boundaries now can be a helpful. Although, it is more difficult to set boundaries in life. As a child, you quickly realize adults set not only the rules, but the boundaries as well. When the child becomes an adult, they are able to set their own boundaries. Often, not well-received by others on the family.
  • How close are you? (Literally and figuratively.) If the person you have problems with lives far away or you don't see them often, you can endure it easier and carry on with life as usual. A quick visit with the negativity and drama — maybe two holidays a year— might be manageable. But if the strained relationship is with a close family member, then they usually mean more to us and therefore, the hurt takes a bigger toll. In this case, keeping in touch (even through emails) may not be worth the hurt and pain. It is more difficult, of course, to break close family ties, but those can be the ones that damage us the most.
  • Is resolution possible? If the answer is no, then it may be time to move on. 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, bostity, or self-preservation. As children, we are powerless against family members because we're too young to have a say or coherently express our feelings. Sometimes that pattern follows us to 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.

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 would be more stressful than maintaining distance, and it's entirely up to you to make that decision.

Living Successfully with Screwed-Up People
Living Successfully with Screwed-Up People

It takes only one person to change a relationship- this concept was first introduced to me in the following book during a time when I felt powerless and helpless in a very difficult family relationship. Complete with "tests" and solutions. Ultimately the decision to cut ties, or choose how you navigate a difficult family relationship falls on your shoulders. Find out exactly where you stand and where you go from there by examining your perspective, role, and responsibility in the relationship. .

 

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

— Brene Brown

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.
  • 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 the sour relationship and losing sleep over it. Don't underestimate how lack of sleep and stress effect your health.
  • The relationship is one-sided when there is no valid reason why there isn't some effort made by the other person.
  • The relationship is only about borrowing money.
  • The family member is taking you down with them or constantly demanding favors or asking you to bail them out of trouble. Don't get 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.
  • There are negative consequences every time this family member doesn't get what they want from you.
  • 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.

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 stress is emotional. Breaking the pattern of mental abuse helps to shed light on how the person effects you so you can make a clear-minded decision.
  2. Set a few boundaries. Sometimes it's not necessary to cut ties, just adjust them. Even giving a few ultimatums is okay.
  3. Keep a neutral position. If certain subjects always end in argument, avoid them and keep the conversation neutral.
  4. 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.
  5. Know that it's difficult. Death is final, but cutting ties is like death without the closure. You will probably feel the worst when the first birthday or holiday rolls around, but you can prepare yourself by just expecting difficulty. Remember that these new feelings are less harmful than if you kept the relationship intact.
  6. Concentrate on who you have. Having a good support system of friends or other family members makes cutting ties easier.
  7. Don't pretend everything is okay. When applicable, talk to other family members about your situation. Let them know you will be avoiding contact with this person. Briefly explain why, and don't back down.

Questions & Answers

    Please join the discussion and read the excellent comments below.

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      • profile image

        Stanleybillins 

        3 weeks ago

        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?

      • profile image

        Anon. 

        4 weeks ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Stasia 

        4 weeks ago

        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 profile image

        Adelaide Frueh 

        7 weeks ago from Lemon Grove, California

        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.

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        Mary 

        7 weeks ago

        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.

      • dredcuan profile image

        Dred Cuan 

        7 weeks ago from California

        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.

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        Amy 

        7 weeks ago

        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 controlling you. I'm not going to tell him." Mom- "He should know he isn't welcome here, we don't have to tell him." Yet, they complain about my boyfriend "not keeping his word."

        A few days ago my mother confronted me, asking "what are your intentions?" The conversation ended up being so stressful that I hit myself. I wish she could see that what she does, even if she wants to say it's out of love, ends up hurting me. I normally hide my self-harm, so for it to get to the point that I hit myself in front of her takes a lot. I've also noticed that she seems to trigger it more than anyone/anything else. I realize it may be pent up, but it seems like she's always the one to break the last straw and send me over the edge.

        I need distance. Living here is toxic for my mental health. But cutting all ties would be worse for my mental health since I don't know entirely how my family would react.

      • profile image

        Vicki 

        7 weeks ago

        My 17 year old grandson is abusing me. I plan to move away when he is 18, leaving him on his own. I'm older and now ill, and he has recently taken to calling me names, waking me from sleep to rant and stomp around over nothing, throw hissy fits if there's no money, if I don't want his friends to come over etc. He won't attend school , he gets into my things, has hauled away many of my things, broken things that will cost money to repair, etc. He kicked something and it hit my knee , cutting it. I tried counseling and they didn't do anything and released him, and I figure it's only going to get worse, I don't feel very safe around him, so I am going to be forced out of my home until I can be sure that he is off and on his own or living with other relatives.

      • profile image

        Ellie76 

        2 months ago

        I've been verbally and emotionally assaulted by my 96 year old father for the last time. I do not care if I ever speak to him or my siblings ever again. I am SO angry!

        In the final years of my mothers life she suffered from dementia, so my three/four times weekly phone calls to her (from 1500 miles away) dropped off significantly. I was never close to my father. He is a functional alcoholic who physically, verbally and emotionally abused our mother through 67 years of a hellish marriage. His abuse did not stop at her, although with us kids it was mostly verbal and emotional.

        When we visited in August, after my father was done making me feel like a piece of crap, he had the nerve to start in on MY HUSBAND, the LAST person who deserves his wrath! That was the end for me.

        I am the black sheep, the outsider. I did not conform like the others. I wanted out, to get as far away from my family's abuse and dysfunction as possible, I left my small hometown and moved to another state while my siblings stayed to be *close* to family and, like our parents, work "good jobs with benefits" at a state facility, jobs they ALL hated.

        I have never stayed in close touch with any of my siblings and when we visit I feel very much like that outsider. For example, at a gathering in August my sister had a small cake for my brother whose birthday had just passed and we all sang happy birthday. My birthday was two days later. Ouch.

        Having a hard time dealing with this anger. Wish I could express more. Just needed to get some stuff out.

        I wish you all peace of mind and love.

      • profile image

        stevep 

        2 months ago

        Was am the oldest but guess I was always a disappointment to my family. I always had trouble in school but did graduate with a BS but just by the skin of my teeth. My little bother was the pride and joy and was everything thing my parents wanted but he never finished college. I left for the military and stayed 25 years. I came back home when things were promised but the reneged on. Since my two sisters and him are very close it's like a gang up on me. My brother will contradict anything I say and even insults my military service. Even when I tried to talk to my parents about the stuff I went through my last 8 years my parents would say "well your brother puts in some long hours too. I left the area for a year doing contract work in Saudi and came back nothing changed. I am really about to just leave and never contact any of them again.

      • profile image

        bettybb 

        2 months ago

        I'm so tired of the pain I've experienced from my family.

        I was estranged from my abusive and mentally ill mother for more than 18 years. She has borderline personality disorder, narcissistic traits, and is something of a grifter. Most of my extended family would have nothing to do with me after I cut my mother out of my life. She worked hard to turn people against me.

        She never once tried to see my three children during that time.

        My older brother, a felon and drug user, wouldn't let me see his children whom I was close to. After he died last year, two of his children, now adults, came back into my life. I also let my mother back into my life as I felt sorry for her. She's now 80-years-old, and her health is fragile. I figured that she could no longer hurt me.

        I was wrong. They've brought me nothing but pain. My niece who said she loved me and wanted to be part of my life, really only cared about using me for money.

        I told my mother about it in confidence, worried that my niece might have a drug problem, and she abused my trust and carried that info, and likely some embellishments, back to my niece. My niece suddenly quit speaking to me, breaking my heart.

        My mother did that on purpose. She has also turned my younger brother's new wife against me. He'd married her a couple of days after meeting her, and I thought that was fishy. I told my mother and she took that information right back to her.

        I will never tell her anything again. My husband said that my mother is my worst enemy, and I think he's right.

        Besides that, I was repeatedly sexually abused by a cousin who's eight years older than me during my childhood. When I told my mother about it when I was 28, she didn't believe me and made excuses for him. I've told other family members, and they too apparently don't believe it or could care less as my abuser is on their Facebook friend list!

        Last week, another cousin, whom I'd confided in a couple of years ago about my sexual abuse, invited me to his son's birthday party via Facebook's invitation system. I saw that he had also invited my abuser.

        I'm now to the point of closing my Facebook account and not having anything to do with any of them. I just can't deal with the pain any more.

      • profile image

        Payge 

        2 months ago

        My family’s very dysfunctional.. I’m 18 and I’ve spent my whole life being emotionally manipulated and physically abused by my father. Since he’s been married to this witch the physical part has stopped however we never have decent conversations. And I’ve been basically on my

        Own since 15-16 even though I live with them. I pay rent I buy all my own things. I haven’t been able to have my

        Own clothes until I had a job before Then I shared with my step mom. She hates me, they always use me as the scapegoat in their live. Anyways once I move out for

        School I’m nothing with them. All they want from me is money and for me to fail. This I don’t

        Feel bad about. It’s my

        Younger sister. She’s 15. For about 4 years of her early life I took care of

        Her and my

        Brother. She’s recently going through hardships she brings all on herself. Like she was raped, then seen with her attacker a month later. Lying about it until someone else said they seen her and she fessed saying it was her friends that forced her. I just don’t know what to think she lies so much she steals so much from me

        And we don’t even live together. She’s very mean to me. I just want to distance myself but the farther she goes the more I blame

        Myself

      • profile image

        SK 

        2 months ago

        Never knew how I was being treated till I got married, moved far away from home where my visit was not able easily and the thought of me visiting her over time grew hostile inside never knew why until years later why I was feeling angry. Her controlling behavior, her abusive words, i didn't like it but put up with it because she is my mom. All the things i have done for her even going that extra miles never knowing why then and I was doing it to seek approval and love from her. Shame on her! I don't know what came over me, but one day while she was cursing me out on the phone, something came over me and I snapped yelling at her to stop telling me what to do, hung up the phone and haven't spoke/seen her since and that was 7 years ago.

        I still have bitter feelings from all the flashback memories that trigger now and then. I don't know how to block them out or forget them, they just come to me. She will never apologize, have no remorse, she's the victim in all this not her children. She hasn't even tried to reach out to me or my kids, not a word. That tells me how little she even cares about me or them. Still now and then I wonder if I am to blame for breaking off ties with her.

      • profile image

        Rhi 

        2 months ago

        Never assume a family estrangement is a simple matter of egos or petty squabbles. I have encountered many people in support groups (online and in person) whose choice to cut ties is based on personal safety. That includes myself.

        Family estrangement is often no different than women leaving abusive boyfriends or husbands. You wouldn't tell a woman: "Forgive your husband / boyfriend for punching you in the face, raping you, and calling you garbage! You owe him a relationship!" So why would you tell adults that they "owe something" to abusive families solely because of genetics? There is no legal obligation to talk to blood relatives, so don't try to force contact.

        My parents were emotionally, physically and mentally abusive throughout my childhood and teen years, including an attempt to have me kidnapped and indoctrinated in religion, "cured" of my attraction to men (and that's fifteen years before I transitioned). My "brother" is so violently homophobic and transphobic he would likely kill me, much like the violent assaults he has perpetrated. What, exactly, am I supposed to gain by contacting them? My death?

        Estranged people I know tell me that meddlers and flying monkeys are among the worst problems. People assume they are "helping" while acting from ignorance or acting on their own personal biases. So-called "professionals" are among the worst because they are paid to take sides and could have influence in legal matters. Someone who blindly believes "family is everything!" would listen to only the family and not the estranged person, even though what the estranged person says is true. Someone who only hears the abusers' side might stupidly give information without permission and endanger someone's privacy, mental health or safety. There are cases of men believing the fictions of abusive ex-husbands and stalkers ("my wife won't let me see my kids!") then giving them the address or phone number of the woman who left, endangering the women or leading to them being murdered, cases of toxic parents calling people's landlords or places of employment to disrupt their lives (e.g. get them fired or evicted) to force the estranged person back into their control.

        I'm sure that some estrangements are just minor arguments that got blown out of proportion. But don't arrogantly or ignorantly assume that accounts for the majority. Even if only a few cases of estrangement involve personal safety, people's choice to go No Contact ***must*** be respected. Even if there is no estrangement (someone wants to "go native" and cut all ties from their past), it must be respected.

      • profile image

        JK 

        3 months ago

        I have 2 sisters, I'm the middle child. Always responsible with money, never in any trouble, closer to our parents. After our parents passed away about 9 and 10 years ago, there were behaviors about the estate that ended up with me cutting ties with my younger sister.She's a horrible person and I just decided that now that our parents are gone I don't have to put up with her hateful and abusive treatement. My older sister was also really nasty to me but seemed to be remorseful in the end. I've always been closer to my older sister even though I've put up with a lot. She is single (divorced) and has no children. She is intelligent, but has no common sense and I have realized recently (at age 64) that she is probably a narcissist. Maybe not a full on 100% narcissist, but enough that I've come to realize I have been apologizing all my life for any successes or happiness that she doesn't have or is a part of. I've been married over 40 years, we have 2 grown daughters that are pretty great grownups and a couple of grandchildren. Both our daughters and my husband are encouraging me to cut ties or at least drastically limit my interaction with her. Lately she has taken in the younger sister out of a fantasy of being her saviour and the reality hit pretty quick and I've been getting calls and texts on how miserable she is with her at her house etc. She criticizes and shames me for not wanting anything to do with the younger sister at the same time she's telling me all the terrlible things she says to her and is regretting having her come stay. After a recent altercation not having to do with younger sister, and her typical nasty texting and accusations made up only to inflict pain and sound superior, I really want to cut ties.I haven't spoken to her or heard from her in a week. I know eventually something will happen, and she will call or something and decide she'll act like nothing happened and expect me to act that way as well. That ain't happening again. I'm done. I've seen the light. I just wish that I felt better about it. I don't know why I can't have a family of origin that is normal and cares about each other unconditionally. I guess that's MY fantasy.

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        SarahWilliams 

        3 months ago

        I was a band-aid baby, created via alternative means, to heal my parents broken failing marriage. It didn't work. Instead of being angry with each other, they turned their anger on me. My father wanted to give me up the day I came home from the hospital. He didn't want to raise me. My mother refused to get rid of me, so he was blamed me, literally, for everything that went wrong, ever. They then had my sister, who was their true biological child. She became the golden child and I became the permanent scapegoat, the whipping boy. They even imposed horrible punishments on me for very minor offenses, as a way of being an "example" for my sister, so they wouldn't have to punish her. My father told me constantly how much he hated me, how he wished I had never been born, and how his life would have been better without me. My mother encouraged this, because she said it was better he take his anger out on me, than her. He was controlling and mistreated me in countless ways, every day. He believed this was his right, for being forced to support a child he didn't want. When I became parent myself, he tried to control everything I did with my children, medical decisions, educational decisions, dietary decisions, vacation decisions, and even where I decided to live. He also demanded I give him and my sister an monthly allowance as compensation for having me as a daughter/sister. I attempted to set boundaries, rules of behavior etc and demand respect. When I was 37 years old I discovered my mother had taken a inheritance left to me by a relative. She said I owed my parents, for the fact that they had fed me and clothed and sheltered when they didn't want to. Then my father began to demand time alone with my children so "they could get to know him", which I refused. Both parents have still refused to tell me who my real biological father was. I finally reached the conclusion that I was wanted by my parents; I was the thing they could mistreat, control, and bully and blame, instead of addressing their real problems and the real dysfunction in their relationship. I served a purpose, which is why they tried to maintain complete and utter control. They have called me "hateful" and "ungrateful" to anyone who is willing to listen. I hate being estranged from the very people who are supposed to love and care about me the most, but I don't miss their treatment. I do really believe I am stopping an bad cycle.

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        Emilyfitzgerald 

        3 months ago

        I have given my mother so many chances to be a part of my and my childrens' lives. Countless DCF calls and police showing up at my home ( because she doesnt like my boyfriend). I am done. I have tried; offerring family counseling, letting her see the grandkids, etc. Its just not worth my sanity any longer

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        So sad 

        3 months ago

        I am an adult with college age kids. I have always been close to my parents. Recently, I learned that my father is secretly a monster. He sexually abused my children for years. My whole family has imploded. And surprisingly...my mother, although horrified, stayed with him and defends him. I feel so betrayed by her. Filled with bottomless grief. Have cut all contact with him but now think I must with her as well. I am gutted.

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        Jayna 

        3 months ago

        I’m done. I’m done with the constant emotional pain this family gives me. I don’t care if she’s my sister. I want nothing more to do with her. I’m cutting off all ties today, and even if she’s upset about it, whatever. It’s my life and blood ain’t thicker than water all the time.

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        Vicki 

        3 months ago

        It is ending today. I am 51, and enjoyed a few years that my sisters mental illness and anger were enough in check that I thought a relationship was possible. I was wrong. Since this is my older sibling, i’ve Had to be around this my whole life, including weekend psychiatric ward visits when I was in grade school. It hurts, but the constant going from “I love you” to “you’re boring, I curse your soul” is more than I can bear. Except for my amazing husband of 27 years , i seem unable to form relationships where I am not used or taken

        advantage of. I am a “fixer” and a “helper” and overcompensate for everyone’s dysfunction, allowing people to take advantage of me. I am taking my sister back to the psychiatric hospital that I picked her up from, last night, and finally cutting ties. I cannot move forward with these chains any longer. If the guilt is too overwhelming, I will seek therapy.

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        Rose 

        4 months ago

        I am 27 and very unhappy with my life due to the poor relationships I have with my Mum, Dad and brother who is a bully.

        I wish to cut them out completely as I deep down resent them all.

        They have destroyed my peace of mind and sense of self.

        I am looking forward to starting fresh by myself and no longer having these toxic people in my life. If theres a higher power out there please give me strength the start anew by myself.

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        BakerDiva 

        4 months ago

        I recently cut ties with my family 4 months ago. I am now 51. I’ve tried several times over the past 25 years, but one sister always reached out on a superficial level and draws me back in.

        Without getting in too much details, I wished I did it 30 years ago. I am a much better person now to my teenage son, husband, and friends. I cannot emphasize it enough, be good to yourself and RUN. Don’t wait till you’re 50 to do it. Life is too short.

        I wish everyone the best.

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        TryingToMakeIt 

        4 months ago

        I have cut ties with my family and I wish I could cut their necks for what they did to me. I wish God had of pass over my soul when I was conceived because I shouldn't have been born. God has always given to everyone else and some people he just doesn't like no matter what you do. I wish I was Donald Trump and then I would get all God's love ❤️

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        Chellelynn 

        4 months ago

        My mother is a narcissist and has been one my whole life. I was verbally, physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by my older sister who is the “golden child”. My memories resurfaced and I finally told my mom what happened, she doesn’t believe me and doesn’t want to discuss it. My sister claims she “remembers nothing” and offers no remorse. I have had to “cut ties” with my sister due to my uncomfortableness around her and her lack of regard for me, my feelings, and my pain! My mother told me tonight that I am a embarrassment to the family and never to contact her again! She said “I was dead to her”. This came about due to my anxiety I’ve been having over visiting my other sister in the hospital. I couldn’t bring myself to go due to the fear of interaction with my abusive sister and narcissistic mother. Should I have gone despite my anxiety? I feel terrible!

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        gh 

        4 months ago

        My husband and I found out a year ago my nephew has been sexually coercing my daughter for the last 6 YEARS and threatening her with "you aren't really family" since she is adopted....my sister has known it for 4 (or parts of the abuse) and NEVER SAID A WORD! I hate her for this and can not forgive. I have cut ties with her family to protect my daughter...my parents don't know and am wondering if I should tell them.

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        melissaahopkins 

        4 months ago

        I made the decision to cut my sister out of my life. We were both living in the same house and it was constant stress and anxiety and we basically can’t stand each other. When she moved out I cut our ties and haven’t spoken to her since, nor has she tried to reach out either. My daughter is two, her and my sister were semi close because they lived in the same house and she did occasionally babysit and buy her clothes but always because she wanted to. She helped me a ton before she was born and when she was first born, but more recently took part in a few things that literally could have led to legal trouble. She also attacked me in front of my daughter one day and I have never ever put my hands on her. So anyway my question is, now that I have cut her out of my life because she is so toxic to me in almost every way, should I allow her to see my daughter? I allowed her to say goodbye when she moved out but since then there has been no contact and my parents are begging me to let her see her but in my mind... if she’s toxic to me, she’s toxic to my daughter and why would I go out of my way to be around her when it causes me all of these issues just to allow her to see my daughter. Another thing, she has my number, she has never reached out and asked herself to see her. It’s always been through my mom. So If it’s not important enough to her to pick up a phone why should I go out of my way? Thoughts and opinions please on me keeping my daughter away from my sister. When my daughter gets old enough and wants to make her own deduction, that’s fine but as of now I’m supposed to protect her. Is this wrong?

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        Indian Girl 

        4 months ago

        I'm being abused physically by my cousin brother when I was 11 year old,,,I didn't say anything about it to my parents....i felt alone and worse..even my mother and brother kept torturing me till yesterday,,they are abusing me mentally since 2010.. Now I'm 23 I have degree my academics were weak because of their mental torture,,,I was with negative people. My life is ubnormal and unhealthy been depressed...i hate my life,,,I used to explode with everyone,,I'm alone..i really want to kill myself....i want to cut tie with family...i really hate them

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        Fed up 

        4 months ago

        I decided over a year ago to distance myself from my mother and siblings. I had 9 living siblings 2 died shortly after after birth which would have been 12 of us? I was number 10.

        I spent my first 2 years in hospital as a sickly child who almost lost my life a few times in those early years. I was released from hosp aged 2 y/o. At that time they had had 2 more children, the last 1 died after living for a few hours. During that year my fathers mother & his sister said, "I was my fathers brother in-laws child". My aunt gave birth to a son 3 months after I was born & that's when my father was told I wasn't his child. The thing is my cousin and I looked similar in features back then? From that day on I felt that my father was treating me differently to the children? 2 years after my 4 birthday my eldest sister gave birth to a child out of wedlock. My grandmother & her daughter clambed it was shameful & disrespectful to bring up a barsted child. My sister agreed that the ugly little red head freakly faced thing should be adopted out. My father said, "nobody gives my first grandchild away, I will take her home before I allow that to happen. After my mothers 12th child died she suffered with depression & was hospitalized. during that time I was passed around to extended family & relatives until she returned home to look after her other children & later the grandchild became one of the golden children.

        During the times I was living with other people. I was molested before I was aged 5? My memories after returning to the family weren't okay, I was abused and sworn at by my father for the 15 years?

        The house was open to anyone that required a bed and somewhere to party for days & weeks on end.

        My mother started bringing her side of the family back to an over growded house, her brothers & their kids. My parents & older siblings drank lots of alcohol and brought friends back to the house were us children lived. when i was age 9 years old, one of my older brothers brought his 15 y/o school friend home who had been kicked out of his current home? My brother spoke to our parents about this guy living with us, he was a "ward of the state" a child under welfare care. My world was turned upside down, I was being raped by this guy which went on for 4 years. I didn't like what was happening to me so I started to leave from the home?

        I started rebelling and was leaving home for long periods of time. If I returned to the family, I would stay with the older siblings who were starting their own families. The problem their was this person my brothers friend was now classified as a brother and was allowed into their homes and it would start all over again. They said that they didn't know he was molesting me, even my mother. The last time my mother & I spoke of this was 20 years ago & she said, "forget about it now, it was a long time ago"? When it was happening I would sneak in her and dad bedroom to get away from my peditor? They would find me sleeping underneath their bed, they would say what are doing under there.

        I don't know why I didn't tell them back then when it was happening maybe things might have been different?

        I am older now & have had mental health issues to this day regarding the life of hurt and hate that I endured from my loved ones. My younger sister died last year & I decided that that was enough. The next day I walked out of her house and have never returned.

        My mother would be 90 years old or old now. When my sister died I offered to move in with her to look after her, she stated that several of her brothers grandchildren were coming to live with her, I stated can't I stay & help out as well. She started mouthing off, I walked out & haven't returned or made contact.

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        crashzero 

        5 months ago

        I don't want to be the responsible one anymore.

        I live with 3 other brothers and have an older brother not living with us. My mom whom is going through cancer is living with us.

        Scenario: Younger brother does drugs but is a good person walking on the bad side of the street. Other 2 brothers don't work, been out of work for about 3 to 8 years now. They only do odd jobs and don't even help out with at least utility bills. One brother I helped by letting him stay behind our house in a studio I built for rental.

        So the 2 brothers fight with younger brother about drugs and think they have the answers, oldest brother doesn't like they don't help out. Today I told my mother out of frustration that I God punished me for having such a Horrible Family.

        My dad passed away back in February 2018, as my older sister back about 3 years ago in August 2015.

        Every time some fight or discussion comes up I get more depressed and making mortgage, car payment, and credit card bills does not leave me enough. People tell me I should evict them, but I have a very tamed heart and they know they can take advantage of me for that.

        They are good brothers, but with problems they have given me to take care of as well LOL. I just said what I said to my mom about family out of frustration.

        I am considering letting everyone just do what they want to do: drugs as long as brother doesn't drive my car, unemployed brothers let them find a job when they think they should, while I pay for everything. I give up. When I finish paying home, I'll just sell home and then I can feel comfortable about going my own way.

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        helpful 

        5 months ago

        About the sexual abuse from a family member: Here's what helped: Get a restraining order. You can file for one at the Court House yourself, just fill out the form. Some judges will make it so they are not allowed to come within 10 feet of you. Have a boundary. I had to go to surgery, I was on chemotherapy for tumors & I was bleeding to death. But I didn't want that drunken family member, having sex with me hooked up to all those machines & IV's of whole blood, after a hysterectomy, while I was loaded up with painkillers. I didn't want to wake up from unconsciousness in the hospital with that dude pumping on me. So I protected me.

        A lot of people in my family were either addicted to alcohol or drugs or they were afraid of the perpetrator. I showed up in court, our whole family ganged up on me but the staff protected me. The judge would only let in the jerk in the courtroom - to face my lawyer. I hired & retained a lawyer, with a prepayment. The rest of the family members to stay outside. The jerk threatened the judge & I got an instant restraining order, complete with police protection throughout my hospital stay. I didn't give a care what my family thought about me, they never protected me from him anyway. They let the abuse go on & on because they were "afraid" of him. Well, I decided either he kills me before I go to surgery, so I didn't have to go through all that hell & pain; or he gets locked up for trying to kill me - after surgery because I had a restraining order enabling them to do that. The police did a wonderful job, by the way & it was worth the expense I paid for the lawyer. I had peace of mind during that physically painful time. It helped me tremendously to heal during my hospital recovery - no more anxiety. That family jerk left me alone for 10 years after. You have to respect yourself & your body; if you want others to respect you. It's better to be respected than "liked". Some people only "like" the people they can screw & rip off. Think of how nice the Holidays will be, without that relative hitting on you & trying to feel you up. Get a therapist, who deals with incest & family sexual abuse, look through the yellow pages, you can make an appointment for once a month OR once every two months so you can afford it & get more guidance on how to stay out of trouble with sex offenders who are relatives.

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        Jillzy 

        5 months ago

        @ Donna Templeton. I know exactly how you feel! Email me if you need to chat with someone going through a similar situation. It’s heart wrenching and consumes you with feeling so terrible. My best advice is keep your friends close, or make a new friend. My friends are my family now and without them I would be so much more depressed! My email is blackbutterflies1974@gmail.com

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        GeorgiaGal64 

        5 months ago

        Thanks for this very supportive article. The balance, IMHO, is who is doing what? I am the "baby" of four, now three living siblings. Our living parent and only parent for most of our lives' is terminally ill. She lives with my sister 7 hours from me. I am single, no children, sister is married and retired. At first, upon learning of the illness to our mom, I was living across country. Happy. Engaged. I opted to move closer where I could find work (we are all at least master's level educated) and be able to visit several times per month to help in care for "mom." I left a career to move in with family to assist, but I need work, so I moved back to pursue this 7 hours away, again. The stress and bossy ways in dealing with my sister has caused me to wonder if it is really all me...Am I a leech, freeloader? I left a job to help out for almost a year. My sister has been great with caring for our mom. The other sibling is married/kids and lives across country with a medical practice and has been great in helping with medical care management for our parent and being kind to all.

        Issue is that my sister is cutting me out of any financial support. I have felt like such a loser. Lately, my closest pal has suggested I walk away. This has decades of history and I think we all need to step back and see our own respective roles in any "damaged" relations with family...As well, I am now seeing we can be our own worst enemies in times of loss...Holding onto any pathetic treatment from family just to have a "family." My sister suggested we get therapy to look at why I am so angry. Just seems like "I" am the scapegoat, usually, and "I" am exhausted.

        Relationships are work. Not to be abusive, however.

        Leave to save your sanity, respect and give peace to that parent who has no say in all of the turmoil. Just not worth it.

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        Sara 

        5 months ago

        I've known my family is toxic for years but I'm worried about the long term effects of it. It's really hard because i am 17 and still have another year till I graduate high school.

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        StayC Beacon 

        5 months ago

        I've been sexual abuse when I was a child on my mom side(which ended, but they never did anything) and I have the verbally abusive problem with my brother, for years, over 10 years. People thought it was funny at first, but when they finally realize it was real, they started to feel sorry for me. Then they even try to call the police for me, because they knew that this is not normal and I needed help. I try to work it through, but its not working at all. My mom side of the family believes even if you get abuse in anyway, like sexual, physical, verbal we still have to be next to each other, despite the way you feel about that abuser, and if you complain, they'll say that you are acting like a child and need to grow up. (They won't be saying that, if the abuser was abusing them, I know.)

        Living with abusive family member(s) is not normal and/or healthy. You'll never live a positive life when your around negative people like that. Also, you'll never heal. SO I decide to block him, every contact. Some of my family member thought it was stupid, but they don't understand how or what it's like to be abuse or how much I am hurt deeply inside. I know they don't care. So I decide to just cut it, and it felt great! I just regret not doing it earlier.

        I've been stuck in the same way since the abuse happen. I never grew, nothing great came out of it. There's time I can't sleep. Been depressed, there's times, I really want to kill myself. Honestly, I'm not happy, not happy where I am now, not happy who I'm living with now. I know I say this multiple times, but it's really sad this have to happen, its not like I Hate him(or them) I just have to do what is necessary

        to be happy and have respect for myself. I REALLY want my life to be positive and I am trying every way to fight the negative off. Its just this section feels like a heavy weight on me, so heavy that I can't breath. So, I'm just pretending to be happy until I leave.

        After I move out, I will be cutting more family member out of my life for good.

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        amydean.home@gmail.com 

        5 months ago

        this is kinda scary to read as im doing something similar with my dad's side of the family. like i was happy with them but over things, things changed and i cant adapt to the new life. its just too much for me mentally so i need to end it to move on

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        Margaret Luebke 

        5 months ago

        i found my family was toxic but didnt know, they are not as emotionally aware or care you will never get satisfaction,just know that you are strong and involved and don't compare, you know you are different it's sad cuz it's your family but just love you and know you did your best and paige who gives a crap about grammar its the deep emotion and sharing that counts

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        Rochel Nich 

        6 months ago

        Stop trying to kiss your adult kid’s a—.

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        ToxicSurvivor 

        6 months ago

        Cutting contact was my decision and I don't regret it. Unfortunately the person I cut contact with continues to lash out at me in many ways, usually through others, so the toxicity never truly stops. I hope when this person passes on (she is 92 now) that the toxic drama and and pot stirring and ongoing issues pass with her.

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        Paige 

        6 months ago

        This is a good article but I have to say that the grammar and spelling are really terrible. It was hard to read this without pausing a bunch of times to re-read. The information is helpful though, but it should be smoother when reading.

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        Gmoon 

        6 months ago

        KAT!

        I'm 32, female, and am nearly the same situation as you, I would love to email with you to ask you some questions, tell you about my experience because I've severed the ties with entire family, and it's been a year now...particularly interested in talking about the fears and realities or pains of cutting off a family WITHOUT a personal support network of ANY kind to talk to, confide in, be unconditionally loved and understood by...I can identify exactly with that! not sure if we can private text here but if you want shoot me an email at thedollsboutique@gmail.com. Also, anyone else who identifies and wants to talk, you can email me too! Thanks for this post, it truly resonates with my experience of the decision process involving weighing pros and cons, deliberating, checking all avenues of possibilities,...what I settled with was...the open possibility of mending it down the line sometime...when and if it is right, that possibility is what provided some solace and a sense of self compassion and love that has often helped me through incredibly tough periods of this process.

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        Kat 

        6 months ago

        My mother was emotionally and physically abusive to me until I was 32. I am 34 now. My first sister is also abusive to me. My second sister is very kind to me but always takes the side of my mom and first sister. She can never even acknowledge the abuse. She downplays it and tells me that they love me and it's not their intention to hurt me. My brother is only 17 and has been abused by my mom his while life and doesn't even realize that he's being abused. He is fiercely loyal to our mother.

        At this point...I have spent over a decade tolerating the abuse for the sake of my siblings and my kids. sparing them the pain of dealing with a broken family. However....I can't do this anymore. I need to be happy. I need to learn how to be the self I should have been had I not had this ongoing trauma.

        My eldest daughters birthday is in two weeks.there is a family BBQ. After that date I am ghosting all of them. I have I formed my father (we live in the same house) that I don't want to see them and when I get my own house he will be able to have them over and family gatherings and stuff. But until I have my own house holidays will be small and just me my kids my dad and my step family (his fiance and her two grown children are amazing people).

        And I won't be attending anymore family functions or holidays at extended family either. I can see people one on one if they care to make an effort. Most won't. Not a big deal. I'm not close with any extended family so it's not really an issue for me.

        What's hard part is....I don't have anyone I am close to. I don't have a best friend. I don't have a lover. I won't have many family members left.

        I have my kids but they are my children. I will never be able to be totally open and intimate with them as they need me to be strong and together and their rocks. it is not a child's place to be the rock for their parent.

        So...life is going to get very calm...but very very lonely.

        Still....I do believe lonliness is better than being abused.

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        Priya 

        6 months ago

        What if my mom beats me and abuses me and i want to separate

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        Joy 

        7 months ago

        My sister took $65,000 from my parents retirement account, making their retirement years mean and lean. Yes, they gave it to her but she played mental games with them.

        After both parents passed away my brother, sister and I agreed to meet at their house on a specific day and go through things. My brother arrived a few days early. When I arrived on the expected day, my brother had already taken everything he did not want to the dump, loaded his truck with everything he wanted. My sister-in-law "allowed" me to choose items from the "Good Will " table. To make things worse my brother is very wealthy (2 million dollar homes).

        My brother and his wife were not very nice to my mom during the last months she was alive, fighting cancer. My mom said my brother made her feel like excess baggage. She also said she hopped his wife ran off with a rich politician.

        I still have to stay in contact with them until we sell my parent's house but it was good to vent. Thank you for letting me feel like someone is listening.

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        Reneygade 

        7 months ago

        I had a stroke, no biggie I'm fine but it's been weeks now, my 23yo kid is STILL FURIOUS with me. I had no control over this medical situation I had, I really wish I could change it but I can't. And no no she's not mad bc she's upset and scared lmao no she's mad bc her birthday lunch was ruined. Right, she postponed her birthday lunch for 4 friggin weeks and then didn't even bother telling me about it the morning she decided to come to town. Like I ruined her special day although 4 wks after the actual special day.. on purpose?! She got over $1,000 in gifts, knick knacks, money, iPhone X, some jewelry MUST BE NICE, I've never got that much at once FOR ANYTHING! BUT I ruined it for her, even though I knew nothing about the special 4 week multi cancelled birthday lunch. Does this make sense to anyone? Like see, my birthday is in less than 2 weeks, so I technically I guess I could say SHE'S RUINED MY BIRTHDAY but I don't dare. Is this normal? I don't think it is and frankly, I'm livid. She's so unpredictable I don't want my 12yo daughter exposed to the 23 yo disrespectful trouble making older sister, life's hard enough, I have no trust nor faith in my oldest daughter anymore. I'm completely perplexed and can't understand how I ruined her birthday lunch, whatever it wasn't even her birthday blah blah blah BLAH. Can someone please explain to me how I can control a medical emergency situation whatever?

        I swear this kid might be the death of me. I've never said it to her but that's how I feel, she's such a jackass to me, she would treat a rat better than she treats me. If I ever treated her the way she treats me, we'd never speak ever again. I'm sure of that. Bc she'd be mad of course. God help me-

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        Donna Templeton 

        7 months ago

        My mother and brother are thick as thieves plotting against me, together they have done numerous things that were detrimental to my life they treat me as the outsider and the one thats ok, little do they know that I feel suicidal many times due to me having this toxic family,it is the deepest physiological wound of my being ,I feel I may explode, lash out do something extremely destructive, they make me feel so low,I have tried to cut off but my mother always gets back in touch with me, I cant take it anymore, I am 47 and its still going on, so stagnant ,especially my hateful ,lying, resentful, bitter brother, who hates me for trying to be normal,poisoning her mind about me,her saying the critical things to him in a never ending cycle of hatred towards me!!! her daughter and his sister, they are so sick, cutting me out , doing things behind my back and slagging me off,right now I feel so horrible and have no one to talk too, one example of what they have done to me, is exile me abroad for 20 yrs, everytime I tried to come back they trew a spanner in the wheels in some way or another to drive me back, now I am back in the uk, they still want me gone.

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        Mark Gorman 

        7 months ago

        My younger Sister once said about me that I was so ugly that she was ashamed of the fact that I was Her Brother. It is just the way things are. This kind of criticism is aimed at me in the larger society so, to some extent, you develop a hard skin to deal with it. But when your own family finds you distasteful to the extent that not even they can stand the sight of you or to be seen with you, it raises a lot of difficult questions that need to be addressed. I have been sold down the river by people I thought I could trust. I don't have a grudge against my Sister or my family. I am glad that things are working out well for them and my nieces and nephews. My Sisters have married well. But, for my own sake, I need to walk away from them for good.

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        nope99 

        7 months ago

        My sister spent many, many years getting high, being unemployed, lying about everything and "borrowing" money from mom. Mom passes away, I blocked the sister on the mobile and NEVER see her nonsense on group family texts. Works for me. The few times a year I see her, I put up with her nonsense, go home and forget about all of it. If you don't give folks power to mess with you, they can't.

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        Susan 

        7 months ago

        Your words helped immensely. I feel better about my feelings regarding these relationships, but unfortunately, I cannot continue one with either my sister and now it appears my mother as well. (But I did send a Mother's Day card with Love.) So anyway, thank you for the insights and I feel MUCH better knowing that I'm not alone. Again, Bless you and the work you do.

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        Zunilda 

        8 months ago

        I was not bathed fed or loved I was ignored like I didn't exist. It feels awful to know that everyone had love for each other but very toxic. I'm Abel to see this awful life I had know is time to let go and let God. I'm Abel to take care of myself with peace and loving my dog is just right.

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        Rani 

        8 months ago

        Hi there

        My dad passed on and left inheritance for four of his children

        The thing is one family member who is the always asking for the house and he wants me and my family gone from the house

        My two brothers stay somewhere else with their families but we have a mutual understanding that I take of the house as the troubled brother staying with us does not work some days and comes home drunk weekends he Is emotional abusive towards me and my husband.

        I tried calling the police but no help from them

        What do I do as my husband and I contribute to most of the household expenses.

        He does not want to sell his share of the house

        And wants me to move out as he drives me insane and fights with me as I am and shareholder also.

        Please help

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        Aab 

        8 months ago

        I have a codependent narcissistic toxic mother. She is needy, and has a victimhood and entitlement mentality. Stresses me out completely with guilt trips, begging, poor decisions and all around bs. I have an autistic brother that lives with her. We have a great relationship and are extremely attached to each other. I would love to cut my mother off but I can’t due to him. I can’t wait for the day that he can come live with me. Until then I have to tolerate her bs.

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        Lilly 

        8 months ago

        Wanda and Anonymous, I am stuck on the other side as my husband touched my daughter. He was convicted and went through counseling. He realized what he had done, and has changed his life, not only in regards for that issue and speaking out about child abuse, but also in advancing his education. If I had not witness this change I would have left him, but he is actively seeking to constantly make changes and enhance his life.

        I am not sure as to your full situation as I can only imagine that they were a lot worse in nature. And I agree with you that it is something that should not be swept under the carpet - it must be dealt with.

        Can you answer me this, if your abuser truly changed, would you estrange the non abuser because they were still together? (even if the boundary was to leave the abuser out of any conversions?) Would you consider speaking terms with the abuser if they truly have repented and changed?

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        Reader 

        8 months ago

        Your article is woefully ignorant. To say that families are the ones who are there for us in difficult times is to exclude all dysfunctional families that do not operate that way, and the people within those families that are not that way, and wish for something different, but don't have it.

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        Jane1963 

        8 months ago

        I just did this with 2 older brothers. The only family I have. All have passed. They treat me awful and just put me down all the time. I'm 55 years old now. I feel bad for my 10 year old daughter. Her father is estranged. I try to make the holidays fun and festive for us but she says ....I wish I had a family. She has no Grandparents...Aunts...Uncles. I do worry if something should happen to me..she has noone.

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        Luna Ray Davis 

        8 months ago

        Wonderful article. I've finally reached a point where I'm not compromising my well being any longer. Thank you for this affirmation.

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        Debbie 

        8 months ago

        I’m the youngest of 5 and my oldest sister and I no longer speak, although we live in the same street. I’ve tried to let her back in my life yet it always results in being verbally attacked and disrespected hurting my children and my heart. I’m in a healthy relationship and have raise two remarkable and successful (almost 21 year old twins) children after divorcing their father. My sister has had a string of failed relationships, two divorces, millions of dollars blown away, 4 grown children who struggle with her and their own lives. It’s very sad. The rest of our family tolerates and enables her bad behavior. She now had no drivers license and no job and a court date relating to evading the police and driving under the influence. She’s out of money. She will occasionally text me at early morning hours with cryptic and threatening messages. It still hurts but I know I need to be strong and maintain boundaries. Very sad and difficult but she needs to address her own issues and find peace in her life, own her mistakes and understand how she hurts others. Until then I will remain distant. We have tons of relatives and common people in the area who will say “oh I saw your sister” and I simply respond “oh we don’t really talk” or “we aren’t really in touch”. Embarassingvat times- but I can’t lie.

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        Cindy 

        8 months ago

        FemaleAdventurer, read your whole posting. What a journey you have traveled reaching a level of maturity to objectively step back and access your paths to follow. You must be a very intelligent person to look inward and decide what you needed and what you were willing to give and then act on it accordingly. It has taken me longer to come to the decision to love myself enough to take similar steps. It is hard, and it is sad, but it is better than being abused and letting the abuse continue. Let your friends become your family, developing a give (kindness and listening and appreciation of your friends) and take (accept help and appreciate it for what it is, kindness and love) relationship. People will let you down occasionally, but as long as they realize they let you down and make amends, you have a good friend and love in your life. When they don't care to say "I m sorry, forgive me?" they are not a loving friend and you are in a abusive situation, again. This took me a lifetime to apply to family, too.

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        Anonymous 

        8 months ago

        Wanda. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am dealing with exactly the same thing. How could those who raised and supposedly love you & charged with protecting your innocence align with a pedophile, criminal! Stand your ground. Stand on the side of the light & truth. We need to start our movement as child molestation survivors to protect innocence! No matter what it takes! #UsToo You are not alone. I am with you.

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        Wanda 

        9 months ago

        Was molested from the age of 5-15 by my 1st Aunt husband and it literally turned me into a horrible person later on in life because I carried it and still to this day are carrying it but the big bang of it all is when I sat down and wrote letters to my family member about the molestation and their responses were why didn't I say something back then or don't worry about it just that simple but I do worry about it because i'm still that little girl that will not trust anyone and will not allow anyone to claim they love me but my resolution is to just separate myself from them all because I feel like they all turned their backs on me and rather than deal with the issue they chose to sweep it under the rug and still until this day they have close ties to my abuser and I just don't understand how they can choose him over me.

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        Gratitiude 

        9 months ago

        This article helped immensely. Thank you for the tools!

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        FemaleAdventurer 

        9 months ago

        @tbucket, your story could be my story... I cut ties with my two surviving family members when I was in my early 30s after parent #2 died from an illness during which I was her primary caregiver.

        Won't go into the gory details, just saying that they both cost me lots of $$$ and life security, I should have known they were bad eggs 15 years before that when neither invited me into their wedding parties because as a homely girl I'd, you know, "wreck the look" they wanted. (Yes, I was the excluded sibling not once but twice. I've heard of it happening once, but never twice?!)

        I cut them off cold turkey. I didn't taper off to only important contacts or anything like that. Just as clearly as I could, indicated that, "My life is hard enough on my own. I don't have room for people who actively contribute huge negatives to it without ever bringing anything positive to it." And that was that.

        I've had lots of strife in my life since then. Homelessness a few times for a total of 6-8 months, out of money almost as much as I've got enough of it, etc. Such is the life of one without family and without the looks to create one on her own (I've barely ever gotten dates let alone a proposal), because you have no backup other than your own bank account, and once it's gone, it's gone until you figure out how to create more $$$ by convincing someone to employ you. It's a story sadly common to older women on their own without independent wealth, as well... I just started my journey on that path 25 years earlier than most singleton women do.

        But I've never looked back, except for once. That one time was at the 10 year anniversary of the tie-cutting. When I made the decision to step back from those relationships, it was with the promise to myself that I'd give them 10 years to grow up and then re-evaluate things. At the 10 year point, I considered it and, remember, without knowing anything about them other than what could be doxxed on the net because I had no means of indirect contact due to no common acquaintances, I had to conclude that they likely hadn't changed much -- as if they had, they would have reached out to me with major, major apologies since my email address had not changed. I left it permanent at that point.

        So today I bill myself as having no living relatives. Sometimes I mention "my former sibling" in one story or another, and leave it up to the hearer to conclude that they must have died off or that something dramatic happened between us.

        Someone who's seen the strife I've been in and who knows that there are useless but still living "technical relatives" has suggested I contact them. ROTFL, and still have the strife PLUS "oh well, can't help" condescension that is the type they'd dole out PLUS give them the satisfaction of knowing they'd bested me career-wise when they were SO jealous of a very small amount of early success I'd had? Yeah, like that'll ever happen -- not. I've got no time for further emotional abuse in my life, even if it comes with assistance of any sort, which it nearly certainly would not based on past behavior that I will not rehash here lest I completely identify myself by the extremity of it.

        Living in another country that prioritizes family inheritance, I've had to specifically write my will to intentionally exclude by name those individuals for cited reasons, so that they or courts later cannot contend I'd just "forgotten" them. (Anyone who's cut relatives out of their life may wish to consider doing likewise.)

        Such a shame. I wanted a different life that this. I don't think anyone usually wishes to spend all their years after age 32 without living relatives, either of the sort they create (by marrying, which isn't something open to me because of my looks) or by being born into a family. Ah, well, you take the cards the universe hands out, and play them as best you can. I've currently got some amazing hobbies, and travel a bit every few years when I've got the funds to do so, and one of the things my friends say they like about me is that I'm so caring and appreciative of the people in my life.

        I suppose people who've experienced abuse (mine having been emotional and financial) can go one way or the other. Either we perpetuate the cycle, or we go WAY the other way and live our lives trying to be very kind and understanding toward those who cross our paths. Me, I'm determined never to do to anyone else, what was done toward me, and determined to be a positive presence in others' lives.

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        Alan 

        9 months ago

        Am the youngest of three brothers . My brothers have both had good military careers when they were younger and went on to have excellent jobs after military service . They have a lot of luck with everything going their way . I work and try hard but never came close to how well they do . When they left home they said look after mom and I felt obligated to do she deserved to be helped any way she needed . She was widowed when I was a baby so no one to help her in older years . I felt like it was my role to stay in her town and do what I could . She was a good person . Many times I took her to the cancer clinics far out of town and gave her my emotional family support. A couple of years before she died she put her house in my name and gave it to me. She lived there ( I had my own house ) for the remainder of her life . When the cancer was in the final stages and the local health service released her from the palliative care room ,and said only a bed in the hallway of the Alzheimer’s ward was available I talked it over with her and she chose to die at home .I made arrangements with a home care nursing service to be with her around the clock . She required some help I am not qualified to do with meds and her private functions. She had some insurance and not a lot of money so I arranged after she dies I sell the house and pay the nurse service . While the house was for sale my brothers called the nursing service and said they think the bill is to much and stated not all of it will be paid. They had no business doing this it was my arrangements and the house was mine even before mom got terminal she had fought cancer for nineteen years. The nurse service sued me which made my excellent credit and reputation damaged . I was in divorce and wanted to buy out the house I lived in . Imagine how low a person looks for being sued by home care nurse company ! My brothers nearly never called me the most calls I ever got was when I did a complete paint ,and rust repair ,window replacement,all weatherstrips etc, from my oldest brother to pressure quick completion . He gave me a big two hundred dollar payday pluse material cost for all this work. The house did sell and I paid the nurses the funeral the people who hauled out the contents of her house etc from the money the house sale earned which was only twenty five thousand. My brothers got all demanding as though I had a nefarious agenda . They think I stole from them I gave the one brother who showed up for the funeral all moms jewellery and he went through the house to get anything he wanted . I did nothing dishonest . They have often harshly judged me and are terrible brothers for never calling and very seldom having time for their youngist brother. One of them even said don’t ask us for anything , Not that I would, I just don’t get it , to them I am nothing I guess in truth they wrote me off years ago and I am to stupid to know this until recently . So after nearly fifteen years of not being in touch and their history of manipulating everything in their justification to somehow get approval from their families for how they choose to treat me I have to write them off.

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        kristen 

        9 months ago

        For a lot of years I have tolerated my sister's little potshots at my character.She has always been quick to judge and criticize me.

        I think she always took our relationship for granted.One time she texted me asking about the weather just an hour after berating me.

        She lost her cool with me recently after a dispute over $30.I tried to make amends but her response was,"Whatever" and "grow up"

        I knew then I had to end the relationship for my own emotional well being

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        TheLonelyOne 

        9 months ago

        My aunt is really pissing me off. I admit, I did something very wrong in the past, and not only once. I stole money, I childishly slapped my aunt's butt, slapped her husband's back, disturbed their pets. But who doesn't make mistakes, right? I am truthfully wrong back then, now that I am more mature when I think of all those stuff I triggered.

        And right now, the karma goes back to me. The thing is, every year as of now, I helped out my to take care of my father's shop as a sale assistant, and my aunt too always helped out. But she keep looking back inside to me (I help out inside the shop while she's working outside the shop) because in the past I too stolen some money from the shop.

        So, even now that I am totally kicked the bad habits and just merely trying to help out my father's shop, both my aunt and her husband showed no sign of trust towards me. They keep looking inside to me from time to time, even if I wanted to 100% work normally which is giving me a great amount of pressure.

        No matter how hard I am trying to work hard, in their thought I am just a kid who is still trying to steal again.

        Even worse, because my shop is an open area, so whenever I have nothing to do, I will look outside at the crowds. Do you know what she said to my mom? She said that I KEEP LOOKING AT HER EVERY YEAR WHICH GIVES HER PRESSURE, AND ASKED MY MOM WHETHER SHOULD I TAKE PLACE TO WORK IN THE SHOP ENTIRELY, IN A VERY RUDE WAY.

        I really hate her. Even though I am turning over a new leaf now, she doesn't seems to see me that way. Although sometimes my aunt talks to us normally, I see that she is mostly just pretending to be good to us.

        Another case is, she even talked about my bad deeds to one of my relative, and now she is also seems speechless in front of me, sometimes even avoiding eyes contact towards me.

        Really shake my head. Who doesn't do wrong right? Even though I would apologies to her but it seems that it's pointless to do it now, since she and her husband never will trust me. Keep looking back into the shop to me whenever I stand, I work or when I am exchanging money to other customer EVERY YEAR. This is a sign of no-trust towards me.

        Read till here, some of you might think that it's my own bad deeds which leads to this kind of unpleasant experience, but who doesn't did wrong in the past?

        The most precious thing is that I learnt my mistakes and be a better person right now. I am also regret what I did in the past.

        The bad thing is, because of all those mistakes I have made, I became a shy and lonely person. I don't frequently make new friends and don't like staying in the crowd. Whenever I saw my aunt the bad memories mostly triggered in my mind. This keeps haunting me like forever. It's an agony.

        Even though few times I did trying to end my life because of all the sins I have done, but NO. I wouldn't let my own mistakes become the reason for me to end it this miserable way. I still have a long way for me to go. I want to live till the end. I still want to go around the world.

        Just sharing with my own personal bad memories here. Some of you might think that it's a small case, but for me, it's pretty much an eternal pressure and agony already. A person which greatly triggered back all the bad things you did, even though you are now turned over a new leaf.

        If you read till the end here, I am gratefully appreciate your time spent. Now I feels a bit relieved to share my long buried bad memories here.

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        Shellypat 

        10 months ago

        My mother & brother wanted me to cancel my heart surgery to take our mother to the hospital because she was having a problem. When I said no, they kept calling me so that I had a heart attack.

        Mom attacked me with a razor blade to cut off my breasts to "teach" me a lesson, that didn't end well for her

        I had defib inserted. The day of surgery mom kept calling my room even though I told her I wouldn't be in room for 5 hrs...nurse answered phone & mom went on a rampage cursing, yelling cuz I didn't answer phone. Nurse hung up on her

        My defib went off cuz of mom & brother hounding me about getting flowers for the cemeteries. It was working fine until 3 weeks before my birthday. At my party mom kept talking about how wonderful her daughter was...yeah THAT daughter died a few years before, nothing about THIS daughter.

        Mom LIES about each if us to each other. I don't call her anymore, my uncle cornered me in a store & I showed him my cell phone call log...um I guess 5+ times a day isn't enough?

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        College mon 

        10 months ago

        My daughter comes home from college and states I have emotionally abused her throughout her life and states she will not be staying with me when she comes home on break but will stay at her fiancé home..however she still wants us to pay her tuition, apt rent, phone bill, car payment, etc.. if I ask any questions she states I’m being abusive and I donot listen? Any advice? Very concerned mom that loves her child

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        James R1970 

        10 months ago

        What about the impact on those other than yourself?

        I don't like my family and their actions but I don't want other family member's children to suffer because of my choices.

        The family cabin would be burnt to the ground if it was 'all about me' but it isn't been.

        My 'selfish sibling' will take everything for their 'wants'. They are the executor of my parents will.

        Classic 'good child, 'bad' child, despite home ownership, investment property, university degree with distinction, etc etc etc...

        This person put not a cent into the family property that I put a major investment into. Not only for myself, but for my parents, and their children. I enjoy seeing them having joy with something I built.

        But to sibling X, it is just a $$$ figure and sibling X will just sell it and sell it I want it left to sibling x's kids.

        I get that this won't change but I don't get why the next generation should be pulled into a 'dumpster' they didn't choose.

        How to keep out the 'haters' without hurting those who are innocent?

        I wanted to leave a 'dream' for those behind me.

        JR

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        A Green Handtruck 

        10 months ago

        My family not parents or grandparents use to abuse me a lot. There were times they felt had the right to sedate me I was never prescribed sedatives but they would do it anyways. They would kick me down stairs. Hammer wooden blocks to the bottom of my feet drive me to an area with snow and make me walk home. They would stab me in the butt with pointy objects to where they wouldn't leave scars but indentations. They would take sandpaper to my thumbs and with enough friction it would give me calluses in places they should not be. They did way more than I could possibly type a lot of sexual abuse included. My father helped them and their kids more than he helped me. He treated their kids as their own. Those people sexually abused me pretended it didn't happen were later caught Aquited and then pretended it never happened. Corrupt Oregon and California cops helped. I'll never get the justice I want. They've taken every idea I have had every dream and threatened every person I have loved.

      • catherinetodd profile image

        catherinetodd 

        10 months ago

        Alana, your sister sounds just like my own sisters, and one of them is married to a Methodist minister and she teaches Bible study to children! I was not welcome at my own mother's deathbed or funeral and this sister, Julia Graves, married to Pastor David Graves, made sure I was not welcome. And this, from a "pastor and his wife, in charge of a flock!"

        They, along with other sisters, spread lies about me to everyone they knew, and people that I have never met. Lies, all lies! Started from a Narcissistic mother who went after me when I disclosed my father's sexual abuse of me when I was a child in order to protect my young niece who was going to stay with our parents and I did not want him to do anything to this innocent young girl, the way he did to me. I could never have lived with myself if he did.

        I don't know how these evil, vicious and vile people can live with themselves, the way they behave to others, but live they do. They seem to need someone to torment and blame in order to justify their own evil ways, and to never have to look in the mirror or look inside at the oil slick grimy tar pit they have become.

        Let them go their own way. You can go to the cemetery later on to make a private visit if you want, but there was absolutely NO REASON for you to go to the funeral and allow them to take potshots and find something else to blame you for if you had gone.

        No reason to put yourself in the line of fire with disgusting people like this. They would have joined Hitler's firing squad with glee, and if their hatred doesn't do themselves in during this life, they will have to answer to their cruel and vicious behavior in the next.

        And that's when they are going to have "a lot of explaining to do." HAHAHHAAHAA! They won't get away with their behavior for long. They will have to pay a price, sooner rather than later we hope!

        Let them go their own way and you make the best life you can for yourself. And as someone else pointed out, you don't ave to waste one more minute of your own precious time "forgiving them" for anything. Forgiveness is God's job. Ours is to learn to treat our selves with the same kindness and encouragement we extend to others. It's time for us to be kind to our selves!

        God bless and I hope you have a very good life now that you don't ever have to be around anyone like that ever again. I cut ties after my mother died and I couldn't be happier since. Hope the same thing happens for you! :) smile :)

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        Caroline 

        10 months ago

        During the holidays, my godmother (my mom's sister) passed away from cancer after a long fight. The thing is, her partner, my godfather, tried everything to prevent my mother to go see her. My mom and her sister always had a good relationship as far as I know and even in the last month before my aunt was hospitalized, my mom drive her to her appointments with her doctor and went shopping with her and visited her. But one day my mother went to visit my godmother at the hospital and my uncle was there with friends and told my mom that my aunt was tired and that it wasn't my mom's turn to visit her even though she advised in advance she was going that day and my uncle said it was okay. It turns out that two of my mom's other sisters took a day off from their work on short notice and didn't tell anyone else. For that reason somehow he singled out my mom and told her she couldn't see my godmother because she was tired. But it was okay somehow for my other aunts to see her... Then my mother asked him politely why she couldn't see her because it is her sister as well and the one she was closest to. He said she disrespected him by asking that and threw her out of the room. My mom was crushed. And then it just got worst from there. He passed through my mom's other sisters to make a visit schedule (that my mom respected even though my other aunts didn't) and one evening my mom was with my aunt and my dad went to visit my uncle. My dad and uncle always had a cordial relation, my dad did a lot of things for them and drove my uncle around several times since my uncle lost his sight. Then my uncle said to my dad that he liked him but started badmouthing my mom and my dad got really upset. From then the relation started getting worse and my uncle turned my aunts against my mom. The thing is it made the end of my godmother's life quite difficult and I would really like to cut the ties with that family. It's not the first time something like this happened to my mom. Her siblings hurt her time and time again and my mom's always been a compassionate person and excused how they acted toward her even if she didn't do anything. She started doubting herself and even think she's a bad person. I've never seen her so sad and lonely... What can I do, I feel so angry and wish I could protect her, but I don't want to make the situation worse...

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        Angelique 

        10 months ago

        How can i stop family for bad mouthing me and my family by everyone the meet for no reason. I think it is all about jealousy cause there is no reason for that or like me i just leave people alone don't talk about them even. then they also start with threats towards my work and my kids school it is getting pretty serious. what is the right procedure against them and how does it work please i can't take it anymore. I have tried staying out of contact with them that doesn't even work they keep on making trouble what can i do

      • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

        Laura Izett 

        10 months ago from The Great Northwest

        Alana- stop beating yourself up, enough people have done that already. Pay your respects to him at his burial site and get on with your life. Of course, now that they are out of the picture, you have no reason to feel bad anymore. You eliminated a thorn in your side. Take time for self-CARE, not self-PITY. If they are physically gone from your life, don’t waste mental energy and thoughts on them. Don’t torture yourself anymore than they have. Forget forgiving them, work on forgiving yourself for putting up with that and for not attending the funeral, which you had good reason.

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        Alana 

        11 months ago

        My dad died last week and my older sister was his legal guardian. He was 91 and had dementia. For nigh on 50 years my older sister would physically attack me when she was drunk, make abusive calls and text messages, sabotage family relationships for me, tell unspeakable lies and turn people against me and mock my faith which is very dear to me. When dad died last week she and her friend went to the funeral home (completely left me out of the arrangements and even his death notice, although my name was mentioned) while I packed away all his things at the aged care facility he lived in for a while. The final blow came just days after his death, when she told me I had upset him in his sleep the day before he died because my son was having issues in his marriage and I was trying to comfort him over the phone. I told her that I didn't kill dad and what a vile thing it was to say something like that and blame me for his death (he had kidney failure, dementia, COPD AND and a myriad of other illnesses). She went on to reiterate that I had distressed him in his sleep and that it somehow contributed to his death. She got her adult son, who is supposed to be a psychologist to harass me with horrid texts. My daughter had to tell him to back off and leave me alone. I was harassed so much that I was so upset and fearful of being preyed upon by her, her son and friends that I didn't go to my dad's funeral today, and I feel so horrid and guilty. I loved my dad dearly but couldn't face what was sure to happen if I went. I feel she and her son robbed me of paying my last respects to my dad. I made the decision, I have to live with it. I wish now I had gone and just ignored the nastiness. Anyway, I have cut ties with her and her arrogant, uncaring and nasty son, for my own sanity. Harsh as it sounds, I can't call them family anymore.

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        Angry man 

        11 months ago

        I have 5 siblings but there is a sister and a brother that I would really want to cut the cord I don't need to know what's going on in their lives and I am not their friend I am 50 years old and I don't want to have nothing to do with them I could literally walk away with no regret they are useless to me not angry about a certain situation I don't care about childhood incidents or accidents or what have you I have nothing in common with these people and I don't need them in my life they are poison to me

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        hlengiwe 

        11 months ago

        i went to hell because of mother and my brother from the time i was young till now thank i am not alone

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        nomsas 

        11 months ago

        thank you i am not alone

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        Cindy 

        11 months ago

        Update: They called and called and called until they decided to bug my children and husband. So, to stop the calls, I took one call. I chatted a bit, and gave nothing of myself but distant vague answers and that seemed to satisfy my main abuser. The calls have stopped and I am at peace/happy with my choice to distance myself. I am done with them. They finally exhausted my last drop of love and concern for them. My husband agrees with me, as do my children and they support my decision to distance myself from my sisters and mother. My husband of 35 yrs sees and understands the abuse I have taken from all of them. He advised me to not totally cut them off, but do refrain from calling and interacting with them as much as I did in the past. Caller ID helps....ALOT!

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        WifeofNorman 

        11 months ago

        This was a very good article. Family can be strange. I just got called a hoe today by my own aunt. I am 14. My family and I clearly get along.

      • profile image

        Melanie 

        11 months ago

        This article is great - contains a lot of relevant information and advice. One small (but important) thing:

        Effect is a noun, as in: What _effect_ will breaking up have?

        Affect is a verb, as in: lack of sleep and stress _affect_ your health.

        This article uses the word "effect" almost interchangeably as a noun and a verb. While effect can be used a verb, it is inappropriate as such within the article's context.

        I am gently recommending some quality editing here.

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        Cindy 

        11 months ago

        Distance is helpful. And cell phone ID is heaven sent. Both are helping me. So far....I have avoided all of my abusers for the last three weeks, since I had an a small melt down, and awakening. I decided, I can control the abuse. I don't have to take it anymore....and 60 plus years was long enough. Enough is enough. I have great friends...good friends...loving and giving friends. And I should be kind to myself and only let others into my life, who will be kind and loving back. This was my present to myself this year, because I can say, I finally love myself enough to have this in my life. Funny, but a cheap crap gift, given to me by my mean sister, pushed me over the reality line. So I took the crap gift out to my garage, and stomped all over it with tears streaming down my face...until I started to laugh when the squashed dollar store 'rum cake' flew out of the box, all over the floor. : ). Then I called my best friend and told her what I did and how I felts and she said...."I always wanted to stomp on a cake!" We laughed and laughed, and she listened to all of the abuse I had suffered at my birth families hands. I finally spoke out about it instead of keeping it in. I am better, and I plan on keeping my distance from my birth family, to protect my soft heart....the heart that my good friends love. Be kind to yourself. You do have to love yourself first.

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        Edith 

        11 months ago

        I have been in between jobs for months and have to live in my parents' house, but have been interviewing. Instead of getting support, my mum has been opposing everything I do, think, say, like, dislike, and decide on, depleting my positive energy. Accordingly, many people have wondered how I have so much resilience. Of course, there is history of emotional abuse and physical abuse. Although the physical abuse has stopped since turning 21, the emotional abuse carries on. Since last week, I started having signs of stress and anxiety so I just let myself rest since then. This told me something. I have stop talking unnecessarily to my mum in order to get back on deck as a person. I decided to tell her about my condition and the stress is from them (drowning me in their negativity and opposing me every two days on better days). She replied that I am not the only one and I live with them. I told her to not talk about herself when I tell her something serious is going on with me and to listen. She was about to oppose me by saying something but I stopped her by saying not to oppose me and just listen when I tell her something serious. She dismissed me by looking away and this is always happening. This was just two days ago. Today, she tried to insult me using my neighbor's kid again (I pursued my university degree from another country) when I have repeatedly avoided her whenever she brings the topic up. On other occasions, she mentioned about the kid's mental ability just because he has ADHD so has to be sent to another country to pursue a bachelor degree (just a guess he is not in the country) because the country where I live is too difficult for him to gain entry to university and I just ignored it to keep the peace. However, today, I could not and had to tell her that it is really horrible of her to talk about someone else's kid in this manner, although she did not say those horrible things directly, but indicated that some people will just send their kids to another country just to get a university degree. When I told her it was horrible of her to say those things, she said I put words in her mouth and not to talk again. I told her that her silence would be very much appreciated since she gives me stress when she talks. Following that, she did something passive aggressive (do something that I absolutely hate) just to get my attention. I have always been an emotionally resilient person, but have been "broken down" by my mum. My dad has signs of stress and anxiety too. I really have no idea how to cope with this unless a dream career opens up for me and allows me to become financially independent. Therefore, I do the ignore and avoid as much as possible method for now. Any solutions?

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        Rella H. 

        11 months ago

        This is almost the exact life I lived growing up - I lived next door to my sister who was bullies everyone in the neighborhood as she did me growing up. I moved to another part of town almost a year ago, and have been healing ever since. She is my only sibling, but I have cut ALL contact with her and have never felt better - thank you for your story :)

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        Liz R. 

        11 months ago

        I have to make a decision about a passive aggressive treacherous sister. Growing up my parents would tell my sibling, "Why can't you be more like Liz." They fostered a lot of jealousy between their girls with critical comments like that. My parents prevented us girls from bonding by keeping me working 8 hours a day and 4 hours of night school and housecleaning on days off. I have 7 other siblings. I was forced to give half my income to my parents (room & board) and forced to put all but $10 aside to pay for my lunches, the rest went into the bank. I was not allowed to use money I earned to take my sisters to: mini-golf, the pool, or window-shopping together at the mall to buy a hot cocoa for all of us and I did not have hardly "free-time". Fraternizing with my sisters was not allowed. My parents wanted me dating ASAP and looking for a husband because "college education was wasted on a girl." Eight kids was too many mouths to fee. I became a workaholic, it felt weird not working all the time. Everything was about money, not relationships. When my sisters and I became adults, my parents forbid us to speak to one another on the threat of physical violence and being disowned by "the family", if the other sister was thrown out; we were not allowed to associate with her. Sometimes we sneaked around it but once we were caught, the mud hit the fan. In my family of origin: Every holiday was loud fighting and drinking and our tea was heavily spiked and we had fear for our safety. My parents said things to force competition and get my sisters jealous of one another. It was "Hell on Earth, Ill-Will toward Men" during Christmas. When my daughter was sexually abused I put my foot down. My father put his foot right on top of mine, and refused to make the perpetrator accountable. They threatened to "throw me out of the family". We were all permanently thrown out of the family, grandchildren and all. I called, "Child Abuse" phone number, told them what happened and they said there was nothing they could do because it was a grandparent & an uncle. The first year was heartbreaking and the hardest. The second year got better, then we began to enjoy Christmas because we didn't have to listen to the fighting. Christmas became fun and something to look forward to. There was "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men". It became a fun and loving holiday. I don't miss my relatives - they were too high maintenance. My sister is trying to get back into my life. I don't care for it. She's a covert battle axe, starts the fights and covertly drags me and others into the middle, and then leaves, right in the middle of a holiday meal. She wants me to feel guilty that I am happy. I feel she is very jealous of me and I know she doesn't have a habit of treating me with mutual respect.

        We are oppositely gifted and my parents would tell her, "why can't you be more like Liz" then my life with her would become hell. She used to steal things from Mom and hide them in my drawer to create problems between Mom and I. She always seemed jealous even when she was getting the upper hand. It wasn't fair for our parents to compare us in the first place. I am gifted but on the opposite side of the brain. I never knew when she was going to sell me out, she's full of intrigue, sabotage and treachery. Her hard feelings would come "out of the blue". It affected my physical health and mental health and peace of mind. Our relationship was similar to Saul and David in the Bible. My family and I prospered in health and wealth beyond our dreams, after I was thrown out of that family. She's not the type of person who can stand seeing me successful or happy for long. My parent didn't help comparing us - as a form of reprimand. It's been 50 yrs. I don't think things are going to change. I think I've been entertaining false hope that my sister will ever get any professional help to learn how to cope with her feeling about me, she's very prideful or learn the 5 steps of How to Resolve her Own Conflicts and Disputes. Sometimes I wonder if she didn't start these fights and try to drag us in because she's jealous of me & is using it to attract attention to herself & feels if the family welcomes me back, then they have to throw another daughter out because they used to do that. I don't have a place (or niche) in that family and I don't need one anymore - it's not worth it. The things they fight about are never settled they are a family feud. The problem is: My younger sister is 60 and still doesn't know how to settle her own disputes. There is no active listening, no confronting people in private (She uses showdowns, enlisting an army of relative, etc.) She doesn't ask questions to check for understanding to see if she heard them right, she assumes - they have values just like her, She doesn't brainstorm solutions together and try to solve "the problem". Instead she acts jealous, attacks, throws blame, guilt trips, & she doesn't want restitution. She wants you to feel guilty and to hold it over your head for decades without end. I notice that her family has division in it. They are jealous as hell that my children, grandchildren and we go on camping trips and work things out together. My mother and sister have discredited me as "insane" because I had a nervous breakdown in my 20's during the Vietnam war. They are too proud: neither will listen to me about How to Resolve their own Conflicts. But an improvement my Mom has sought professional help and changed for the better but my sister hasn't. Mom and I have mended our fences and let bygones be bygones. This really upsets my sister but it's none of her business. Being around her and her stirring up strife is hell. I like peace. She swiped my address off of some unwary relative and when she writes I just have to leave it. It's not sincere, full of admiration before my face, but behind my back - she's social sabotage. I can't trust her. The relationship gives me stomach problems and affects my health. To stay healthy - I have to stay away from her. There is a lot of Skinner's Operant Conditioning and sibling abuse from her. I might be the oldest but I am the smallest & petite.

        When you move on in a family relationship: the hurt at Holidays dies off, a few years later as you build new traditions, then things become more fun and worth looking forward to. I would say: plan your fun, make reservations, and make your own fun for Christmas - find a cheap motel online and take your kids to Disney (Last time we went they had a singing Manger Scene). Florida has so many fun Springs to explore & swim in & it only takes a tent, army cots, sleeping bags, etc. to have fun, learn how to cook outdoors. Have fun with your children while they are young. Build a legacy of good memories to replace the painful ones. We can't change people, only God can. I found this out the hard way.

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        Laurie Kloski 

        11 months ago

        Thank you for the helpful tips. I am coming out of a very stressful period with my 10 younger siblings. Very helpful tome.

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        Ima 

        11 months ago

        Dear Debil,

        good for you! My husband and I have been through plenty, in the name of giving to family. Over the years we have eventually had to stop. It has been painful not to see our grandchildren, children, and certain siblings, but worse to be seen as the "bad" guys after giving so much without ever being on the receiving end of any kindness or reciprocation as we have shown and thought taught, bc we finally put our foot down. Now we stick to friends who appreciate us and keep our gifts and money to our own needs. Sure we go through painful memories, especially at the holidays, and still have to make sense of it even after years and years, but we are no longer saddled with others stresses or financial problems any more and are free in so many other ways. WE have learned that people don't change and you can't enable them into having your morals. Also, people who take will find others to take from so don't worry about them. Good luck sticking to your decisions. Sorry about your pain of loss right now. Best of luck to you and strength to you with taking care of your husband. Hugs.

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        Tiffinie 

        11 months ago

        I’m so happy to know that I’m not alone in my decision.

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        Edith 

        12 months ago

        I really appreciate all your sharing. It is an encouragement to know that I am not alone.

      • profile image

        Debil 

        12 months ago

        The beginning is hard to find and the decision was very difficult. My 48 year old daughter lost her oldest son to suicide a little over two years ago. I have walked with her every step of this tragedy, done everything humanly possible, spent thousands of dollars, made countless inquiries, kept mountains of papers, hired investigators to do what police didn't do that she could continue to be mother to her three younger boys and finish college in which she had so much time and borrowed money invested. I have literally made myself sick twice while not only doing all of the above, but also taking care of my chronically ill husband.

        But something clicked in my brain which had just turned 75 yesterday and I knew I had had enough! No more stomping through MY house, no more screaming at me and running out the door and no more money !!!!!! What did I raise? What happened to the sweet, beautiful and thoughtful child I had raised? Well for one thing she married an idiot and she has lived in hell for 24 years!! Either she likes it or doesn't recognize it..., not sure which. I knew it would be like this but what do you do with adults? What started out as doing and giving what I wanted to enhance their life and over the years the lives of their children, has turned into an expectation which has made me an emotional hostage and a senior being robbed of my life savings. I have truly lost track of the thousands of dolllars given of " loaned" to her over the years. I really never wanted them to be loans because I knew it would never be paid back. Just since Feb 20,2017 I have given over $12,000 and some of it I don't even know why and neither does she. That is just a drop in the proverbial bucket when you add in the other 23 years.

        But it is not the money as much as it is the very things it cannot buy. It is the DISRESPECT., the NO TIME except to pick up more money, the TAKING and no GIVING, the remarks that you cannot even hear yourself saying, the INABILITY to see your own behavior. ALL that angers me, frustrates me, hurts me and disgusts me!

        So I drew a line on my 75th birthday as I lay on the couch with a bad case of shingles! Not only did I make a choice., but for the first time I spoke up! I told her NO MORE of this. I will NOT be disrespected in MY home ever again. I will NOT be treated in this manner ever again. What did I get ? Oh mother, I am so sorry, forgive me. NOPE. I got none of that. I just got how horrible I am, how disrespectful I was to her and lied about in things I supposedly said and did as two innocent, precious grandsons looked at me not knowing what is going on. Now it's today..., more than 24 hours later and I'm ok. I had to draw that line to put a STOP to this behavior! The only thing that bothers me are those beautiful boys who I treasure looking at me with such confusion.

        I need some input, similar stories or advice and direction........ please

      • profile image

        Show me your friends, I'll show you your future.... 

        12 months ago

        Cut out a manipulative and abusive cousin about a year ago and have never looked back. Several of the reasons listed in this article applied to my situation. Cutting ties with family isn't easy and there will always be collateral damage with other family members. However, you have to ultimately do what is best for yourself. Some people thrive off of resentment for others and do everything they can to bring those around them down to their level. Life is too short to waste time on negative people and negative relationships even if they are your family.

      • profile image

        I appreicate your comments and how can being offered up for the price of a brand new ever be forgiven 

        12 months ago

        I dont like my family and I dont trust any of my family so you encouraged me to move on.

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        Roohi 

        12 months ago

        I really appreciated this article. I’m in a mess over a crucial family relationship. This will be a great help

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        unicorn 

        12 months ago

        fourteen years ago my mil and sil pushed me and my children out of Christmas Eve celebrations because they wanted people outside the family included,but had told me for years my mother couldn't go because she "wasn't part of their immediate family" they schemed some idea to make my husband and me mad at them my children have never had a relationship with those terrible peopple

      • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

        Laura Izett 

        12 months ago from The Great Northwest

        My mom is 71 and her sister 69. THey still have a hard time getting along. You limit your time. You agree to disagree about things in the past. You both admit you have a hard time getting along and if you care about the kids more, you let them know your niece, If you sister ever brings up old business around your kids then you break ties for a while. That is like setting a boundary. Tell her that's not OK to get the kids involved in the sister mess going on. I hate to see younger generations get involved in old business of the family. At some point you want to break the trend.

      • izettl profile imageAUTHOR

        Laura Izett 

        12 months ago from The Great Northwest

        If she lives with you, you have the control. You can offer her a choice that equals her moving out. I don't know the details, but I do know that if it's your house, your rules, your rights.

      • profile image

        City dweller 

        12 months ago

        My life has been described in this article perfectly. I have done the above recommendation because at 55, with no abatement from abuse, and save for ONE sibling, I had to sever the other siblings relating to me. Sadly, gossip about me to alot of relatives...who also sadly BELIEVE the crap, means I am dealing with the loss, but the relief from mental cruelty for over 40 years is dramatic and wonderful. There have been many attempts; breaks; letters...because the sibs don't know how to deal with letter writing, as it doesn't give them the 'pow' of loose lips like in a phone call or face to face sit-downs. One lives 3,000 miles away for 30 years now. We spoke maybe 2x a year by phone (my birthday and Christmas). I had no issues with her, as with no contact, why would I? But...she soaked up the mean slander of the other sisters about me and in recent years, thought it appropriate to yell at me for 'flaws' (she'd have had no idea about unless for the gossip from the other siblings) she suddenly was 'hurting' from in me!!!

        By the grace of God I knew since my teen years the family was not only dysfunctional, (myself included), but that not only did my parents NOT defend me when I went to them privately, I always knew I was ACTUALLY OK. I was peaceful and kind and did not get sucked into the dynamic.

        So...I am healing.

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        A sister and a mother 

        13 months ago

        My situation consist of my five year old daughter that I now have my rights suspended until further notice. Allegations have been made by her father saying that the man I am with put his hands on my daughter. My sister has agged that onby saying it in front of my children stating that my boyfriend is beating me. I had stopped my kids from going around with those allegations being made in front if them. Especially while I'm in court dealing with a custody battle. It got back to my five year olds father and he used it in court. Now the judge wants me to do supervised visits before she places my child back in the home with me. Then her father called the police stating her 8 year old brother was touching his sister inappropriately. Floyd county DCS got involved. I have complied with everything they have asked of me along with the random drug screening. When this is behind me how do I Keep it from happening again? Truthfully I want to move far away and never look back. But this stems from jealousy of having a another man in general in her father's eyes and my sister is not happy with me for leaving her home. She claims I abandoned her...

      • profile image

        A Nobody 

        13 months ago

        My situation is two of my family members, more actually, like to say humans make mistakes and when they are "over" their hurt and want back in your life, sweep it under the rug and move on.

        Okay, I have a problem with that in this particular event. I was told that because I didn't go to my sister's 2nd wedding, religious beliefs, plus my kids were sick, that all this was my fault, and I did this to myself, I was a joke. More hurtful things were said. Okay my sister told me this. However failed to see what she did. I apologized for taking up for myself and was really rude. This is the response I got from her," I let that go the day it happened. Why are you bringing it up now? Your just dragging it out." Okay so my apology was not 100% accepted. This was back in early Feb this year. Let me add, she was expecting her first child. Never told me. I pretty much was cutting her out of my life for good bc one day she said our relationship would never be better. Okay, that was right before she gave birth. In the mean time, my dearest mother would bring her up to me. Just yesterday, I find out that 4 months ago my sister wants her child to know me and my kids. My sister never called to tell me. Why you wonder? I was told bc my sister thought it would bring up an argument. Well, I guess I would be afraid too. Bc she knew what she said. To add to the mix, did my mother know the things my sister said to me? Well, You guessed it!! No. She didn't... My mom just admitted yesterday there was a lot she didn't know. Okay, I have always been the one to back down, admit my wrongs and act as if it never happened. This time I didn't. I told my mom if my sister wanted me in her life I would have to hear it from her myself, bc I dont believe my mom. Around the same time as all this came down, my dad's side of the family shut me out. Long story shortened: My 16yo cousin decided to get preg. I had baby furniture, nice stuff, that I wasnt using. I allowed her to use it. Then she wanted me to help her become a mother and refused that her mother teach her. I will tell you, i didnt know she got preg intentionally at that point. Now, when I started to teach her and show her where to better herself, it fell through. I was the problem in her relationship, her baby daddy was agreeing with me 100%, so instead of admitting it, she pushed me out. That right there isnt all of it bc it goes deeper into her parents not being parents. Not telling her how they feel about her and her taking them seriously. Instead it was me who they openly expressed their feelings about her to. I allowed to be sucker punched bc I am too caring. Great lesson learned over here... Just one thing, What do I do? I want to know my only and probably always be my only niece. There again, is it worth it? No, my sister and I dont have a sister to sister bond like you would think. That is clear. I know where it hurt her about the wedding. But to hold a child over my head. I dont get that... The child is 3 months going on 4 months and I have never seen her in person. I guess I am not worth it which she did make that clear at one point this year. The more I type the more I lean on keeping it this way. Some of you just dont know how hurt I was. How many times I thought about never speaking to any one outside my home again, or how I feel now that she wants me in her childs life but hasnt told me herself. Over a wedding:( The first wedding I went to willingly, but they were trying to forced me or remind me you better go. Okay at the time that was so weird. I couldn't understand why they were rude to me. I now know why, and all but I still have to remember, this is the norm. What family I must have. It has taken me this long, ill be 30 next month, to get that what they have done, was so wrong. My sisters words cut me so deep that I dont feel this can be easily swept under the rug. Its like now? NOW you want me in your life????? I get it. I think I should just keep to myself. The ppl who call you family....

      • profile image

        Rosalyn 

        13 months ago

        I have to say about a family whose very close friend to the family is their a reason why this family friend is hunt one person in a household, because they have something from the that they to be done whatever they had from long time and now try to come and do something to destroy and want the Revenge back and each person in a household is going to get because of from the past can't get over and human being and forgive them cause we are perfect... What kind a person don't bothering us and what their intension to this behavior? Are this human or Spirit who lost from time now their looking for right one!!!!

      • profile image

        Kimberly calmes 

        13 months ago

        I keep hearing screaming from my father beat on me in my child in everyone and then watching thru there mind with dracus being the father with people coming trying steal her home off her and tv women voices everywhere beat there kids to why this person keep talking in my life looking down the wrong walls giving people what i do cause they gotta job they denie people.

      • profile image

        Anonymous 

        13 months ago

        My Sister-in-law ignores me at every family function and pretends that I do not exist. She talks to everyone other family member in the room. It makes me feel bad, every time I get together with my family, and I always leave feeling awful. My sister-in-law seems like a very nice person, but it’s clear that she must not like me, or she would not be ignorging me completely. It makes me feel so strange. No one in the family seems to notice this... but I can longer continue to put myself in this situation. It’s sad, because I always enjoyed family events with my own family, parents, brother, and their children. I do not know the reason, and my sister-in-law does not speak to me. My views on this are that, it hurts deep down inside, and I have an “Oh Well” kind of feeling... no one seems to care about this, really what can I do. I have dropped out of family get togethers for now, which at this point, have not been many. Some of my children are older... so I am guessing that in the future they will still attend family events, drive themselves, without me included. It feels like a huge loss to me, but it feels so awkard when it is presently happening, and I cannot continue to feel this way during every holiday, barbeque, and birthday. Seems unreal... but it feels like I lost my whole family over nothing, all the years, memories, just gone. Sounds dramatic... but... “Oh Well” There was once a time when my sister-in-law did talk to me. Nothing ever happened that I know of that would prevent her from talking to me now, except that I stopped 3 years ago going to our annual week long family summer beach vacations due to my work, when I previously went 5 years in a row? That would be the only thing that was different. I can not bring myself to talk to my sister-in-law about this, although I mentioned it to my family once. That was it, no one said anything about it. I guess I just need to let this one go, and move on. That is the only thing I can think of. I only see my parents when they invite us over for family get togethers, there is never a time I would just see them on my own, that is how it is with them. It feels so odd to have someone else have such an effect on my life, and they probably do not even realize what this has created. Or worse, they do realize it. It might seem like I am being very immature or dramatic, but the emotions I feel when the ignoring part is happening are so strong. My sister-in-law really acts like I do not exist when I am in the room, does not even acknowledge that I am there, even when I speak directly to her.

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