When and How to Cut the Ties of Bad Family Relationships

Updated on March 14, 2016

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 are forgiveness, unconditional 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. 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 an 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. If they keep insisting that they've changed, then keep your eyes open to determine if that is true. Even if they have changed, they still need to earn your trust again.
  • 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? Is there any chance that your decision to take care of yourself could have positive repercussions for someone close to you or for the family as a whole? Don't hesitate to cut ties if the only reason you are keeping contact is for other family members. Enabling a harmful family member 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. For example, your role in the family could be "the baby," one who is enabled even into adulthood. Or you might be "the fixer," one who lends money and keeps the peace at all costs, taking care of everyone. Sometimes a family needs a scapegoat, one to blame everything on. Don't be this person. It takes immense effort to change your role in the family.
  • How do they feel about you? Ideally, family should be based on unconditional love within reason. If you're not feeling the love, then what are you feeling? Sometimes it's helpful 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 true feelings about you. Picking up on subtle cues may help you realize the truth of that relationship. In other words, the feeling may be mutual, they just may show it in passive aggressive ways. Keeping that in mind, remember that it's not your fault they feel this way.
  • Are there any boundaries? One thing many families have in common is a lack of boundaries: People say what they want, do what they want, and respect is nowhere in sight. Often their figurative shoe print is stamped on your back cause they've used you like an old doormat. 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.
  • 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 and then get back to your normal life. 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 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: This is a double-edged sword and requires evaluating risks versus benefits.
  • 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 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.

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 effects 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.

Please join the discussion and read the excellent comments below.

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    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 24 hours 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 26 hours 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 7 days 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 2 weeks 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 2 weeks ago

      thank you i am not alone

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      Cindy 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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.

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      Elizabethmbest10@gmail.com 3 weeks ago

      Mine title is how to tied your family and friends out of your life for good.? No.(uno).answer that is dis own thm all of your life. And no.(hace).isfor gave thm what thy said to u . But never for get what thy said .

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      Melanie 3 weeks 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 3 weeks 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 3 weeks 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. 3 weeks 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. 3 weeks 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 3 weeks 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 3 weeks 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 4 weeks ago

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

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      Edith 4 weeks ago

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

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      Debil 5 weeks 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

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      Show me your friends, I'll show you your future.... 5 weeks 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.

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      I appreicate your comments and how can being offered up for the price of a brand new ever be forgiven 5 weeks 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 7 weeks 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 8 weeks 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 image

      Lizett 8 weeks 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 image

      Lizett 8 weeks 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.

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      City dweller 8 weeks 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 2 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...

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      A Nobody 2 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....

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      Rosalyn 2 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!!!!

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      Kimberly calmes 2 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.

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      Marilyn 2 months ago

      Need help over a issue about my twin sister who's blackmailing me and lives in my house and won't leave, causing problems

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      Anonymous 2 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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      tbucket 2 months ago

      In the wake of losing both my parents within two years, I made the decision to cut ties with my siblings. Years prior, I had predicted there would be a possibility that when I lost my mother, that would be the time I would have to start thinking about parting ways. It is said that family's bond is tested when the death of a family member is involved. Mine, unfortunately, wasn't strong enough to hold. Last night, I texted my brother and told him I wanted nothing to do with this family and that they would be better off without me in the picture. After hearing family secrets, my father in particular, I felt disillusioned,

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      KJ3 2 months ago

      I have had to disown my entire family because many of them believe I am a liar and refuse to protect me. I was abused by 3 of my siblings and when I finally told my mom she ended up saying I was insane. I kept trying to be part of the family though and endured many of them ignoring me or being spiteful because she had told them what I said. Then my son was born and he had problems but they always blamed it on me saying he would be fine if I wasn't a bad parent. They criticized every move I made in my personal life, j job choices etc. Whenever I tried to stand up for myself I was always told I was too sensitive, making things up, or not mentally stable. When I was 16 my mom looked the other way while a 21 yr old man pursued me I was young and vulnerable he emotionally and verbally abused me playing games with my head and I didn't know how to stop him. He wanted my virginity and wore me down until I stopped resisting. He assaulted me 4 times and forced me to perform act on him one other time. It finally stopped when I told him I was pregnant and then he just moved on to another young girl who was 15. My mom did have him arrested all while making it clear it was my fault she even hauled me to the priest to make a confession of my sin. The final straw for me with my family came when 25 years later my sister starts dating the man who assaulted me and nobody in my family will stand up for me. I tried to talking to them and learned they either don't believe me or they think I should be over it by now or they think she has the right to date whomever she wants. So they invited us both to family events and I said I would not go if she was there, they expect me to go and be quiet I said no way. After a few days of angry phone calls and facebook messages I realized they were not going to change their minds they were going to be on her side. My dad actually said to me when I asked if he believed I was assaulted he said, "I don't know the man so I cannot judge it". My stepmom said she was to busy dealing with her own issues to weigh in on mine. My mom reminded that I was a bad kid who went with him even though I wasn't allowed to date she blamed me for all of it. One sister said over and over to me "what do you feel unloved is that it you feel unloved cuz we won't ban her from events" She goaded me for several messages provoking my anger and making fun of me as I tried to make my point. and ask her for help. So I a done with all of them and their offspring and anyone connected to them. In my mind my entire family is dead except for my husband my children and my in-laws.

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      MLS 2 months ago

      I am 32 years old. I have 2 children from a previous marriage and my current husband has 1 child from his previous marriage. Our relationship moved fast, but we knew it was right. We got married at the end of March 2017. My family does not like him. They have accused him of being abusive (completely unwarranted) they say he is controlling to me etc. They have nothing nice to say about him. He husband pays 100% of my oldest daughter's schooling at a private school (my ex doesn't pay for any of it). Hubby works hard so I can stay home and manage the house, volunteer at school and care for my youngest daughter during the day. I am happy, all of our girls are happy. My family I feel thinks that they aren't "needed" in my life. I would love them in our life, but they need to be respectful of my husband and they cannot seem to do that. My mother call him names in front of his family and our girls, as well as little remarks in conversation. My husband is a bigger guy, but no excuse to call his disgusting or fat. I have wanted to cut them out for awhile, but they always give me a sob story and I feel bad and let them back in. Recently, I just decided that I am much happier not hearing form them. I do not keep my children from them, I just don't have my parents over constantly or act like life is peachy. I do feel like I am doing something wrong, but I certainly feel like I can for once in my life, be myself!

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      2 months ago

      I am a 20 year old, I am forced to live at a relative because my mother is a single mother and she cant afford to pay for a flat. I been staying with this relative for quite some sometime. I explained the situation at home but there is nothing they can do, she often tells me to persevere. I have experienced all kinds of Insults, but still I stay there because I want to obtain my degree. I chose to comment because I cant really cope now and at times i feel like taking my life so that I could be heard that I was not not lying about the situation I live under. They use me for the rent money I pay and once that money finishes, she starts ill-treating me. I am right in the middle of my examinations. This person is my aunt. Even as kids in the house we are treated differently And it all obvious that I am the one who is not needed in there. When I am away for school holidays she is the first one to call my mother asking when I am coming back. In these situation help. I have had enough.

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      Lizett 2 months ago from The Great Northwest


      Your story is classic. So many tidbits of being raised in dysfunction emanate throughout your comment. 'Being how they want you to be'. 'Not trying to be mean'. 'Never being taught to stand up for yourself'.

      But what stands out to me is exactly why you must cut ties for a while- your family now and your health. Don't feel bad for taking care of yourself and your family now. You will hopefully learn some more valuable tools in therapy too.

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      2 months ago

      I really appreciated this article.

      I am currently not speaking to my mom, dad and younger sister who lives with them (she's an adult but moved home to 'save $' after she got let go). I have been seeing a therapist and it's helped me realize that I come from a codependent family with a lot of dysfunction and triangulation.

      I would love to have something work out but I am realizing that the only way I will likely have a relationship with them is if I adhere to their version of what they want me to be. They like to create stories where there isn't one and have painted my husband to be controlling and make him the reason I am not speaking to them. They have even gone so far as to tell these lies to other family members who are now not speaking to me ... obviously, I know this is not a reflection on me but it doesn't hurt any less.

      I hope that one day - maybe - I can have a conversation with them and explain why I cut them off cold turkey. I didn't do it to be mean or unkind but because I have spent years trying to set boundaries that were always broken and I wasn't going to do it anymore. I could no longer live not knowing which arbitrary line I will cross that will end up in me being yelled at an ostracized. My relationship with them was causing issues in my family and with my health and I refuse to continue this cycle with my own husband and kids.

      Standing up for yourself is hard when you were never taught how... but I can attest that if you have felt the way that I did - pretty much all of the "ok to say goodbye when..." reasons - the guilt seems to fade away and you find that you can live a happier life.

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      Lizett 2 months ago from The Great Northwest

      Yikes. Very unhealthy. I'm not one of those people who forgive and forget, because we both know you've been doing that for a while and the cycle only continues. YOu can be cordial and civil, but you do not need your cousin in your life to the point of her rattling off health risks or you feeling sick when she contacts you. YOu need time to get healthy. I got a chronic illness years ago and it forced me to block out the people who were not healthy.

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      Lizett 2 months ago from The Great Northwest

      Sue, What a terrible dynamic! Take your mom to a nice dinner or invite her over without him. IF she can not understand, it will be a wake-up call that she can't ignore. SHe will have to face his abusiveness. If she continues to ignore then she has some thinking to do. YOu can't put up with abuse for her. When confronting an abusive individual, you can say, "That was mean". or "DO you realize that was mean?" It puts the spotlight on them.

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      Lizett 2 months ago from The Great Northwest

      Yve,For the longest time (through my 20's) my parents helped periodically, but then tried to control me more. I saw the connection. It took me a while to get financially independent after college (without their money), but I noticed how they "squirmed" when I didn't need their money at all. Money sadly is one of those things especially narcissistic parents try to control you with. THe abuse can't end until you are independent, and the worse it is should be motivation to become independent. Being financially better off than my parents now, my mom started using more emotional manipulation like not come to see her grandkids ,etc. Watch for ways in which the manipulation changes...from money to other ways, because control is their goal. And it's not the typical worried parent, it's the psychological abuse kind. As long as they have some control, they can abuse. And they will grasp onto any kind of control they can find. THe only way is to become completely independent, and trust me, the relationship changes a lot when they have no more control. Its worth the goal of becoming financially independent. HOw do you do it? Like anyone else who goes out on their own. It happens...over time. Took me until about 32.

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      Sue 2 months ago

      My issue is an emotionally abusive stepfather and my mother who tries to convince me what he does is not abuse. After visiting for 4 days, with him trying to make me angry or cry every night by saying horrible things to me, I had had it. I asked him to stop and he refused. I left, he told me never come back. My mother has written me to forgive and forget his “rudeness.” She wants a promise to come back for the holidays. I started counseling after this incident and in a word, no. I feel guilty because outside of my issues with him, my mother and I get along well. However, I want a break from the decades of terrible holidays. For that I do not feel guilty.

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      JFGFNY 2 months ago

      I grew up in a physically and mentally abuse household. Without going into all the gory details - which mirror many of the comments already posted - I severed ties with my parent 20 years ago. As a family, we were never close to my father's sister - my aunt and her family. In fact she couldn't stand my mother and the feeling was mutual. Both women are/were NPD parents. My aunt's kids - my cousins were teenagers while my brothers and I were kids, so not much in common.

      Years later my father and aunt became estranged largely due to his borrowing money and not paying it back as well as helping himself to their mother's money. Around that time, I was still living at home and supporting my financially irresponsible parents. Via my female cousin I became the go between.

      After my father attempted to scam more money from his sister via a fake heart attack and demanded I take out a loan to pay their outstanding mortgage, I reached my enough and left.

      I continued to maintain contact with my aunt and cousin for the "sake of the family", but every call and visit was a whine fest of my parents transgressions along with the expectation that I'd foot the bill for whatever activity - baseball game, movies, dinner - I guess to payback my father's debt.

      Jump ahead a few years and I'm engaged. Take my fiancé to meet aunt and cousin and you'd have thought he was some low life as they pointedly ignored him - but allowed him to pick up the tab for dinner. Didn't even say, "Thank You". Had to explain this to him as this is their typical attitude - to their own husbands!

      My cousin, her husband and two kids were not only coming to the wedding(which was out of state), but her husband was going to do the photos/video and the kids were both flower girls. We'd planned everything out, I'd ordered(& paid for) the kids dresses and had them shipped to my cousin, ordered special meals for her and the children. Imagine my surprise when two weeks before the wedding she calls to say they're not coming as her then 4 and 6 year old would too "traumatize" by missing school.

      As a result I had to suck up the embarrassment explaining to my fiancé's family and our minister the change in plans. We also had no time to find a photographer, so we got what we got from the disposable cameras we rushed to buy for each table.

      I still maintained polite relations until a couple of years later when my cousin was attending a business conference in Orlando and wanted me to come watch the kids(i.e., take them to the theme parks) - the kids who were being pulled out of school for a week but apparently weren't going to be traumatize in this event. Good old doormat here says let me check with my husband to see if he can schedule some vacation time. She advised that she'd rather it just be me as she didn't want some strange man around her children! My husband - the beloved uncle to 10 plus nieces and nephews. That did it. The next time I heard from her was when a family member died. Since then I just haven't bothered as any contact with my "family" results in nightmares, rumination on the past, migraines...you get the picture. For my own sanity I consider my family the one I married into.

      I just got a message from the cousin via my LinkedIn profile - she wants us to get back in touch. Immediately I felt sick to my stomach. My husband - despite being treated like crap by said cousin suggested I forgive and forget - but my gut is telling me not to bring this toxic person back into my life.

      As a sidebar, I went through some serious health issues while my cousin was still in my life. Every phone call beyond her self absorbed whining included some horror story related to my condition which would result in my combing the web researching latest dire warning from this ray of sunshine. I know I'm not the only one whose had to deal with the prima Donna - when she decided to nag her kids on Facebook for shunning her religion their posted response(get over it, Mom!) - told me I'm not imagining her impact on others. Am I being unfair or am I being self-protective?

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      Lizett 2 months ago from The Great Northwest

      Great point Marie~ "You can still have a good life with the people you choose to be in your life." Unrelated by choice is hard to take that leap, but I find that many who do, do not regret it.

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      Lizett 2 months ago from The Great Northwest


      You are not alone! I've been writing on this topic for years and it never ceases to amaze me how much abuse is tolerated, or viewed as normal, in families.

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      Yve 2 months ago

      Ok I have no issue cutting ties with my narcissistic mom and two jealous, hateful sisters. What I WANT TO KNOW, Is how do I SURVIVE without both my parents? Dad was never a part of my life and he lives in another country. He has nothing to offer me and neither do my two sisters. However my mom is helping with my bills right now. I live on my own, going to school and two jobs and it still isn't enough. I'm 25 and my mom and sisters have literally wasted my youth. I feel like I'm dying and aging so fast it hurts. I cannot continue this stress anymore, for over 10 years of bullying. How do I SURVIVE?...FINANCIALLY...without my parents?

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      2 months ago

      Thank you this write up, the truth is that I was born and brought up in a family lineage of polygamy, no love, no peace, fight has become the order of the day, but my real problem is my blood brothers, am the only girl from my mother's side and the last child, i have six brothers but they hav never in their life value me for once, they beat me like thief, oh am just tired of been part of their life, i want to separate from them. But thank God for this article. It will help me.

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      Marie 2 months ago

      I've cut all ties with my elder sister and my two nieces. The main reason is that there is so much jealously and hate on there part. I started to feel calmer and happier not seeing them at all. With my sister she hated me for apparently stealing her clothes when I was about 14,yrs I have just turned 60,yrs last week. She would always say that she had forgiven me. Yet she through it up at every possible moment. I do feel sorry for her and the drink problems she has. Her children jumps to her defence like little puppy dogs. I feel DNA or whatever, some people are so much better apart. You can still have a good life with the people you choose to be in your life and not always the people you choose not too. I wish them well. But I am happy to be unrelated by choice.

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      Denise 2 months ago

      Thank you for the article. I severed ties with my mother about three years ago. I am an adult and my mother is now in her 70's. We are both only children. I tried to do counseling with her and it just made things worse. She has established that everything in my fault and that I'm a horrible daughter (yet for some reason, she still wants to have a relationship with me). She is very narcissistic and a substance abuser. She spends a lot of time and effort making me feel guilty for cutting ties. I get very nasty emails from her typically after Mother's day and her birthday. With everything that has been said, I can't go back into a mother/daughter relationship with her. I do not feel guilty at this point and my life is better without her abuse. I do however feel sad that things worked out this way. I wish her peace an feel bad for her that we can't share her senior years together.

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      Margaret 2 months ago

      I’m seriously considering cutting ties with my sister. I was the black sheep of the family. However, I stayed out of drugs & drinking as a teenager & even now. Our parents are both deceased; however, for all the years they were alive they constantly favored her. It was so blatant that others even noticed it. There was a lot of verbal & emotional abuse towards me while she was left unscathed. Lots of me being called names, degraded in front of friends, being called a whore, stupid, withholding affection, etc. However, my sister was favored and left totally unscathed. Now I’m lucky to get an email or text responded to from her. But whenever she calls or texts, it’s expected of me to drop everything. It’s like she thinks it’s perfectly normal to treat me like this. The abuse I suffered as a child left me with horrible anxiety, PTSD, and depression. Last year I had a very large back surgery. I live alone & had to take care of myself afterwards. I honestly think cutting my sister loose would feel better than the emotional torture of having her in my life. The last time I saw her was ten years ago. I honestly can’t take it anymore. Her contact with me depends on how her mood is that day. One day she will text me back, and the next time I try to contact her, it’s like she fell off the Earth. I’m honestly sick of the “I’ll try better.” I’ve heard that for over 15 years. And we each are the only family we have left. I think being done with her would feel better than the emotional torture of being treated good one day and unimportant the next. She just doesn’t get it. I wish at times my parents wouldn’t have adopted me. It’s like I didn’t even exist.

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      Hastur 2 months ago

      I have decided to stop any kind of contact with my father, and I feel guilty about it....but it is just too much. During my childhood he would critice me in a negative way...so much that it affected the way I saw myself and drove me to depression and to try to kill myself. Things got a little better after that but as time passed he became even more hurtful but I tried to not let it affect me, and it worked well until now, but he doesn't want to change and it just a constant fight with him.

      I never thought I would go to this extreme...but recently he has become even more hurtful and mean than before.

      I...hate him....and that is not good...that is way I choose this, it is the best way to stop suffering even though it makes me feel bad for doing it. No one should stay close with someone so negative and toxic....even if its your own father.

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      2 months ago

      I am young and already have so much stress my mom hates me everyday and makes me feel exclude from my family she has threatened to kill i can't really explain all of the things and emotional and verbal abuse that cause me so much pain and suffering. But it is hard to live and go to school i use to be homeschooled for two years or 3 years spending time with someone who treated me like garbage and the devil who made me feel like everything i do is wrong and now go to school have t act like everything is finea and acting perfect i hate it i self correct myself for feeling breathing thinking. I have so much anxiety and feel so alone in this world i have nowhere to go they control everything i do I get the same excuse from 3 year ago of why they can't trust me which I probably made in the first place because i was so alone. I am a burden and have no feeling to them my dad can't cut me any slack or show any love and has been brain washed by my mom my sister can't love me just today I asked what are you doing and they didn't answer and didn't answer then my sister said leave me alone to our dog and my mom yelled at with a nasty horrible face saying get leave go because i said so. anytime i try to include my self she kicks me about almost like she has a clique she says i will never last in school and i feel like she's right everyone rights and i can't i have tried everything but i can't do it school breathing living eating friend family being pure the abuse the shoving me into a wall threatening me wanting to kill me because she took it to far in front of people then lying to people that she didn't physical abuse me.

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      Deborsha 3 months ago

      Just severed ties with my biological father and this article was tremendously helpful. I did think I was going to feel fab and ended up more depressed than before. Still working through it but honestly believe that my life is much fuller and richer with him completely severed from it.

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      Lizett 3 months ago from The Great Northwest

      Wow J. that's when enough is enough. It's too bad that had to happen, but you and your spouse should not have to get in trouble for caring. She obviously knows how to manipulate and you may never beat her at that game so it's best to keep a distance.

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      J. 3 months ago

      Recently my father became ill and my spouse and I tried to take care of him when his girlfriend that he cheated on my mother with showed up with the police claiming we were holding him against his will instead of reprimanding this girlfriend who was only there to collect her rent money, about calling the police and nearly having me and my spouse arrested, he was trying to soothe the woman and was perfectly ok with the what was happening..I have totally decided to sever my relationship with him.. his loyally for this woman over the people taking care is enough

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      Lizett 3 months ago from The Great Northwest

      You don't have to tell your sister, "what happened". If you are done being manipulated by her and have set new boundaries, use those boundaries to realize YOU don't owe her anything. Why would you owe her an explanation. If she's pestering you, keep your distance. Tell her you have changed. She doesn't need anything more and won't have to think the change is somehow about her...again...

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      SadSister 3 months ago

      I have been accepting some terrible qualities from my sister for over 20 years now. I think the refusal to call her on it over the years has now developed into a severe depression and desire to remove it as I have become older and the betrayals and insults have worsened. At this time she knows something has changed/is wrong with our relationship because I have set a boundary with her that is noticeable from my usual acceptance of her walking all over me and it always being about her. It happened when my father confided in my husband that my sister had been saying horrible things about me to our father. My husband felt a duty to me to ultimately tell me of this betrayal because he loves me and couldn't stand watching me be taken advantage of by my sister, knowing all the while she was backstabbing me to our father. I am now literally being stalked by my sister to "tell her" what happened, why our relationship has changed. I am held hostage by my fear of damaging my husbands and my fathers relationship by releasing my knowledge of what they spoke of confidentially - to justify to my sister why there has been a change. The end or destruction of my husband and my father's relationship would hurt me as bad as the things my sister has done to me- what do I do?

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      Lizett 3 months ago from The Great Northwest

      Well as you can see on the comment thread, you're not alone. Most people go through off and on contact, which is like riding an emotional roller coaster. This feels like ripping a Band-Aid off slowly. Yes, there comes a time when enough is enough. I'm glad you can see where the line is drawn and chose you.

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      Lizett 3 months ago from The Great Northwest

      It was not only a heavy load, but a burden. And sometimes the burden is not yours to carry. She has made her choices and you have made yours. It seems like a very one right now. I love that saying: "Let go and let God".

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      Lizett 3 months ago from The Great Northwest

      Krystal, Sorry for this type of relationship controlled by money and greed. It's like you wrote about my dad's family- I didn't know why he cut ties with them when I was younger. It was after my grandparents died and his siblings got very greedy. At least they did not spread lies. How awful for you to go through that. Character matters more than money. Be thankful you got out of that vicious cycle. Best of luck...

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      Paid my dues 3 months ago

      I've paid my dues with my family. With two narcissistic parents, there was always adversity, anxiety, you name it. Being the youngest of four, I was alone with them for six years. By the time I left, I was almost completely destroyed--obesity, fear, no self-esteem, cast off with $10 a week to live on until I got a paycheck. I've decided to stay away from the two sisters I have left--both exhibit all the signs of narcissism and always have. They really can't stand each other. Done with both of them--not that I won't talk to them, but they're not in my life. Thanks for reading. There comes a time when you have to make a decision--you or them!

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      Load To Heavy 3 months ago

      Raised in the 60's n raised by 2 narcisist parents! I was the 2 child .My first memory as a child was runnibg with my brother and mom due to daddy was beating us and we were getting away! Fast forward to now .I have cut ties to my mom she is toxic and iv tried for years to ask her to change .Ill always love my mom in my heart but i wont let her keep breaking my hurt with her behavior She had a choice to change or at least be nice for our 20 min visits .So i have made my choice too.I pray and understand her hurt but the load was too heavy for me to carry so iv let go n let God! And one day when the lord takes me i hope to see the 1st born since iv missed him so much due to at age 10 he went heaven .

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      Krystal 3 months ago

      I am the youngest of 12 family members. I was the main caregiver for both my parents for several years. My brothers and sisters were in a court battle over a home that my mom and dad left. They were arguing about who gets to sell the house and keep the money. Two of my older siblings wanted me to choose a side but I chose not to get involved and because of this they have come against me. They began to spread horrible lies about my children and I. They even tried to contact one of my employers and my church family to turn them against me. The only thing I said was I do not want to be involved in their schemes and lies because I found out they were trying to steal from my moms estate and that set them off like an atomic bomb. They threatened me by emails and phone calls. I am absolutely astonished at what the love of money can do to a person. I finally decided to cut all ties with them. I moved and I have not heard from them. I have never felt such peace as I do now. I don't see myself ever talking with them again and I am fine with that.

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      Deb jahncke 3 months ago

      This is my life right now my family has abandoned me because the don't want to understand pain. I have had 5 surgeries at Mayo in Rochester since last August, alone except one.

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      What the 3 months ago

      Are you qualified to write an article about such things?

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      Queen 4 months ago

      My mom and sister for years going around lying on me to people now getting people to attack me. my mom covered up her bother molested me melvin PURDIE.... 2912 spellman rd 1976-1977 since then people care at first guess my mom didnt want to get the police on him or her so she started telling people i was boy crazy....... then my sister started going around saying things that not true and now she got everybody against me. to attack me i don't know whats said. this lady my mom friends i'm not around at all put her hands on me. and i'm not going to sit here do nothing i don't know this lady phone number address my mom covering up for her because its my mom to i don't understand whats going on now i'm getting feeling their trying kill me i have to get away its not going change that person done to much i dont want to hurt no body now i have to find better living with no friends or family

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      Anonymous 4 months ago

      It is hard to live up with seperated parents who despise each other and doesn't have stable job. I am the eldest and has one brother who is 3 yrs younger than me. My childhood was not easy and happy for I grew up with a father who controls everything and how strict he was that made us fear each time he comes home. I witnessed how they fight almost everyday that traumatized us. I was 16 when they finally seperated that mom took us from my dad. Mom worked abroad for years and dad doesn't have income of his own that brother and I supports him from the day I started to earn my own money at the age of 21.Now that I am 31, mom and brother lives with me in an apartment where brother and I shared all family expenses and still supports dad living in a different place. It's tiring when you feel you are doing everything you could and still not enough. Listening to both of their sentiments, their fears that they are aging, and you don't have choice but to be strong and absorb everyhing . We live below our means and doesn't have anything. Brother and I live paycheck to paycheck to survive.Being the eldest its frustrating how you want to explore and enjoy life without thinking about your toxic parents. My descendants are not bad people, but brother and I were victim of the situation.Wishing that one day I'll have my own family and be with someone you'll grow old with without ending up hating each other and putting the all the responsibilities and monetary obligations to my kids because its there job when I get old. My parents was busy fighting and dealing their disasterous marriage instead of securing the future of our offsprings. It is not easy to be the eldest in the family. It's a blessing that you become tough and independent but it's a curse that you always need to consider your family before your own happiness.

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      Sessy 4 months ago

      I have two kids with different Fathers and I was having too much stress because of those Fathers and the family, my behavior was out of control, now they want to give those fathers my kids, is it fair?

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      bella 4 months ago

      in my case family is a stress, i came from a large family, parents without work and our life was dependent from family living in the USA, life was tough, i was the 4th child from 12 siblings. it was a hell living with immature parents, father was a drunkard and mother was very violent and loud, thanks god there's grandmother who took us and showered us with love and care, but since her house was just across the parent's house, father and mother can still reach us easily. i couldn't wait to finish college to move out from the hell life i had, when i started working i send amount of my earnings to my parents despite of the sad experience from them, i heard a lot of news since i left the house, a lot of my siblings got married but i still support the parents even i worked abroad, keep supporting some siblings in school, until one brother murdered a fellow drug addict, that was the worst part, the family was asking monet from me because i am still single and i got tired because they don't have savings in the bank. i am extremely fed up of this kind of connection from a pathetic family who never gave me support but rather dragging me down, asking for money only without any concern of my life here abroad.

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      cathy anderson 4 months ago

      It is best to end ties when family you loved and raised will continue to friend ex family member that has does nothing but caused pain , hurt, the lies, the thievery and you never asked but gave to any family member that needed a place to stay , borrow money and just one time in your life you need them and their emotional support and they just want to bother

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      L14n4 4 months ago


      I have been living with my mother and stepfather for 5 years now. I am 17 years old and I have several family problems. It's like I feel in a cage everyday everywhere... If I'm with my father in Spain, I feel like everyone expects something from me yet doesn't understand or doesn't care enough. But I feel the same when I'm here in France. I have average grades at school but some of them are quite high (2o/2o). I also speak 5 languages fluently, yet I don't get much credit or praises... never.

      If I get an A+, I don't even get a "good job" or "I'm proud of you".

      I feel like I do much less of what I could do or achieve just because the people around me feel like I am some kind of burden or don't love/care enough for me.

      No one in my family understands me, and I am not saying that "just because I am a teenager", no, definitely not.

      I am supposed to have 158 Q.I, which is not even that accurate because I have concentration problems but am above "average/normal" in language, communication, grammar, vocabulary, etc.

      I've always felt like I didn't belong inside of my family... It was already a complicated one before I was even born. I feel like there are so many things that are actually my fault...

      My father is the only one besides my "brother" (father side) that gets me in the slightest... It makes me feel like I would love to be like everyone else in so many levels... I don't even have many friends ... And the ones I have (10?) are more "people I get along with" than anything else... I don't get to see half of them for at least a year, when I go to Spain.

      Right now we're having severe problems with money, in Spain and France, but mostly the last one. My mother can't work for many reasons and my stepfather only gets paid 3000€/month which, knowing we are working on "his" new house, isn't even that much. Besides, I live at the school dorms when the school year starts, so only 300€ for that, at least 100€ for food, nearly 100€ each month for my new braces, 60€ for therapy, etc.

      My father only pays 200€ per month... and my stepfather just pays food for me. Period. He treats my mother like she's the most dumb person on Earth, like she complains too much, and then he complains about us two.

      I just wish I could just go away... Because it hurts to hear my stepfather say "what kind of problems/concerns could you possibly have?"... If only he knew what he makes us go through. It's not only that, just because I'm young it doesn't mean that I'm dumb, un-experienced, or anything of the sort.

      I have been bullyied a lot since I remember, just because I was different from other children my age. But did anyone do anything? No. I have been sexually abused, 3 times, two by the new husband of my father's first wife, with whom he has my two brothers and sister. I never told my father, because he would be in prison by now if I told him that man abused me when I was sleeping at their house, because he was working late at his restaurant when I was only 9 years old and my mother was in France with my stepfather. When I was 3 my parents couldn't stop fighting, and that was only when my mother wasn't in a deep depression and couldn't pay attention to me and my father wasn't working...

      I was you could say it's complicated.

      Anyways, I just wanted to know If I could something about all of this? Specially the mother and stepfather situation.

      Thank you very much for your collaboration.

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      Deb 4 months ago

      My 16 1/2-year-old niece wants to move in with me because she is angry with her mother and her grandparents and uncle and baby sister that she currently lives with .

      She is in a toxic environment and extremely angry and is trying to break free. She wants to come live with me and I am concerned about the added stress and financial responsibility at my age . I have relocated in the last year to live next to my elderly mother to help care for her and I am concerned about her needs above having my niece live with me. My mom is a full-time job and I work a full-time job . I'm freaking out a little bit and thinking this is maybe not a good idea. Any comments would be appreciated

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      cher 4 months ago

      My husband has stolen my parents estate money by hacking all my accounts.

      he stole and gave my belongings to his prostitutes, sell my stuff on line.

      Declared me dead, has hacked our wifi, has a family with someone else, and continually lies about all of it.

      please send suggestions

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      Jeany244 4 months ago

      Sometimes you need to get the time and find space away from your family. Coming from a large family I have found it difficult to

      focus on what I need to do for myself. Excessive conscientiousness had me focusing on what everyone else was feeling. "Everybody hurts... and No one listens..." describes my family's interactional style. For me, the avoidance of conflict and trying to hold ties across all family members has been exhausting. I have been working at this my whole life. It is difficult to hold your ground when others do not respect your boundaries. Sometimes you need to focus all your energy on your own health and relationships outside of your family.

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      cameralady 5 months ago

      I am on the other side of the coin here..I feel like I am a toxic connection to be avoided..

      I feel like I am being held at arm's length by two of the most beloved people in my life, my sister and my older son...

      The story of my life is rather long, I won't even try to share here......

      Suffice it to say, I spent a lifetime helping others as a nurse..Volunteer community service..Both very rewarding..

      My life has been a combination of good and bad..

      With that said, I have never put my problems on other's shoulders or asked for money..I don't drink at all, I am not addicted to drugs..I am not disabled, I can pull my weight to take care of myself and others..

      While I wouldn't be perceived as the life of the party, I am reasonably fun/normal to be around and know how to make people laugh, once I warm up to them..When I am with friends or family, we find plenty of fun things to do..

      To my knowledge, family and I don't drive each other severely crazy during a crisis...

      I have never gotten the feeling or been told that I irritate my sister and son..My sis and son don't live close by or interact with each other on a regular basis..My sister lives across the country from me, my son lives across the state from me..

      I don't think I leave other people feeling drained..I don't need constant interaction from either my sister or my son..

      But it would have made me feel special to get a Happy Birthday text on my birthday from my son..

      I would have loved being invited to meet up for a coffee or an afternoon with my sister, those times she traveled here to see her new granddaughter..I've yet to be invited to meet my grand niece, who is 4 months old now....I feel dismayed and disturbed by recent events, because my sister and I used to meet up every time she was in town, I thought we were close friends in addition to being sisters..

      I am unpleasantly mystified with this distance I am feeling from both of them..I realize that how my sister and son are acting may have nothing to do with me and isn't something mutually decided between them.....More like a sad coincidence and an emotional WTF ...

      I recently went thru a tragedy..Death of a close (immediate) family member..I got token support from my sister, condolences/how are you texts for about two weeks.. Nothing from my son..

      Part of the despair I am feeling now is realizing that I don't know who I can count on for emotional support when times are tough..I learned that support may not always come from key people in my life..For all I know, my most meaningful support may come from my beautician or my grocer...

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      Mason 5 months ago

      My estranged mother has her friends contact my teenage kids at their workplace and ask them questions that they relay back to my mother.tough to tell someone that their friend is lying or not telling them the truth about a situation and get them involved in the narcissistic situation

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      Elisabeth Meier 5 months ago

      Wow, thank you for this article. I decided for the cut because this family made me literally sick and when it gets that serious you finally have to put yourself first. This article made me feel a little better because it is always helpful to know you're not the only one with such a problem.

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      linda dejan 5 months ago

      Great information to deal with such a difficult and complex subject.

      Thanks for sharing and caring!

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      roboy64 5 months ago

      Thank you, this article came to me at a time when I am at a crossroads trying of finally deciding to let go of a relationship that has been mostly emotionally one sided all my adult life. I am 53 years old and have decided that a family member who blames everyone for her problems, how her kids are turning out, etc is toxic and has trouble showing love to me. The most difficult part is having to look like the "bad guy" for breaking things off at a time when this family member is going through her spouse's suicide. During this bad time and a few years before this, she has been very resentful and angry at me by telling me things like she wished she was as kind as me or her daughters would be netter off with someone like me. This is very draining to me as I feel it leaves us with a very strained and unhealthyvrelationship. She is very anxious and neurotic personality and manipulative personality. When she finds out her daughters confide in me, she keeps her them from having a full relationship with me. Anyway, it's time to set boundries and focus on my immediate family husband and children. Thanks again

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      Cecilia Duenas. 6 months ago

      I didn't get any answer to my problem!!!!

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      Anne 6 months ago

      What about the siblings that are caught in the middle? It's unfair that the sibling that has cut ties has done so because of the parents, and yet the entire family have been cut out. Causing immense pain and loss for the siblings that had nothing to do with the feuds. This is what has happened to my sister and I. Unfortunately, my sister and I have over time started to resent my parents and somewhat blame them for this awful situation. We feel we've lost a brother and 3 nephews because of their (both parties) inability to get along and work through their problems. I truly think that things were left unspoken about and a lot of feeling suppressed. One day I was looking after his kids and the next no contact, no explaination. Just cut off. It's extremely difficult to not place blame on my parents, the pain is incredible. And even though I resent my brother of cutting us off too I resent my parents more, because even though no explaination was given by my brother for his cut off, I know the reasons deep down. We do after all share the same parents and same up bringing. But despite this, I just feel things could have been sorted out. Feels very unnecessary. It's been difficult for my sister and I to just "move on" and carry on like it doesn't affect us. I cry nearly every day from the pain I feel inside from both parties. I thought over time it would get better, but it's only getting worse.

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      CMJ 6 months ago

      My brother used to be my best friend until he married a girl out of the country who lived very poorly. He made over 100k in a year. Things were going fine until we went to visit. She accused my mom, myself, and my daughter of stealing her things! Which when she got in the US she bought expensive things that no female in my family cares about. She found them and did not apologize. I've tried to stay in touch with my brother for several years and mostly he's ignored my phone calls and I can never understand why. When I did get to talk his wife wasn't around and he was nice. I called him the other day and all hell broke loose. Before I could say anything he was angrily saying why was I calling him and to never call him again! My heart was broken and I had lost a piece of myself that day! It was so shocking I don't remember what I said back but I know I hung up. I thought we would always be close and I have never done anything to him. It literally hurts my soul. I don't know how this happened but he never talks to our parents either and our father paid for his wife to come over here. Maybe I am making too much out of this but I've always thought we had each other. Now I have no one!

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      Dena Chamberlain 6 months ago

      I have an identical twin sister who put me, her best friend & her children in a very dangerous situation because she's choosing to stay with this intimidating dangerous man. I still feel cry when I think about it & find myself wondering what I did wrong that she wouldn't even listen to my concerns.

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      SHIRLEE 7 months ago

      I need some advice here. I am the middle child between older sister and younger brother. My relationship with my sister has always been strained. two and half years ago my one and only child was killed in a car accident. I had just moved to a new town not knowing a sole, retired from teaching, started a new business, and my 24 yr. old son moved with me and my partner (not his father). 3 months in new place he got killed. My sister was helpful for the 1st few weeks and then was totally dedicated to taking care of our father of 90 yrs old who did not show up to my sons funeral because he couldn't face it. My sister has nothing to do with my brother now because she can be cruel to the point where she says things that are unconscionable. She completely controls my mom and her decisions. She has told me on a number of occasions that I am a fu8ck up and crazy. Recently she has experienced some health issues- not suprising- she is severly overweight and always anxious- always stressed. She doesnt work really and has 2 great kids, a husband and enough money for a lifetime. She sent me a text letting me know that she does not want to talk about her issues now so I suggested that we just talk about how I am dealing with my grief and then about her kids and what is happening. She sent me back a message "I am sorry I am not able to meet your needs at this time. I am extremely nervous about all my medical conditions right now and until I see the DR and figure out what is going on, I have little energy for anything else." I have an 88 yr old mother and a brother who I talk to if I call him. I have nothing else- even my partner and I are no longer good together. I am all alone.

      Is there something wrong with wanting family support since I am all by myself and will never have a wedding, grandchildren etc. to enjoy

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      Dinka 8 months ago

      Thank you for this article, it helps to reinforce me in my decision to cut ties with my Mom's partner as much as possible. You see, my Dad died when I was little. My Mom remarried and we suffered many years of domestic violence with my stepfather. After we left him things seemed to settle down. I grew very close to my Mom and my sister during this time. But I also grew up and started a life of my own. I discovered who I am, I learned to love myself. I know my family were not always impressed with my choices, but there was never any lasting animosity. They accepted me as the adventurous and free spirit that I am. Then came Mom's new partner, an uneducated simpleton with backward views about women and relationships. Mom likes him because he is from the same country of birth and he treats her well. Of course, that's not counting the times he gossiped about her to others and did things behind her back. Mom is good at forgiving such things, she had much practice in her abusive second marriage.

      The problem with Mom's new partner is - we don't get along. From the beginning my attitude was one of acceptance. It is Mom's choice and if he makes her happy, that's all that matters. If at times the man's stupidity and inappropriate comments (e.g. about the shape of my ass) or actions (slapping my bottom) irritated the hell out of me, I managed to get over it for my Mom's sake. My life was and remains my own. This included a short period of time when I lived with Mom and her partner, while studying a postgraduate degree. Well. I was single at the time, but I had a friend with benefits and foolishly, I confided in my Mom that he was a lot younger than I. Mom told her idiot partner. Whenever I went to see my friend, I would return home to armageddon, as Mom and her partner fought about my choice. At the time it seemed Mom was on my side, so it did not impact our relationship very much. Soon enough I secured a full time job and I moved to a different city and into my own home. I broke off my casual friendship with the young lover and for a while peace was restored to the family. Mom's partner would visit with her and make plans to help me renovate the house I had bought.

      The real trouble started when I met my current partner. I lived with him for a year as just flatmates and friends, before deciding that he was worthy of a lot more. He has the same cultural background as my family, so I thought it would be fine. It wasn't. Mom's partner acted all jealous and drove me insane from day one. His reason was, my current partner is once more a lot younger than I. This is not exactly my fault, I don't deliberately choose younger men. Nor did I choose my partner on the basis of looks. I chose him because he is a wonderful person who treats me like a princess. After years of misery and many years of being single, it feels wonderful to be in a stable relationship. But Mom's partner was dead against it. When I introduced Mom and partner to my new partner, Mom's partner pulled him aside and told him: "She is just a slut, not worth marrying. You should just fuck her and move on." Needless to say, my partner was furious. He has avoided my family ever since, although he is happy enough to entertain them if they come to visit us. I guess he just doesn't want to be alone with my Mom's partner again. I can't say I blame him, but of course Mom has been very critical of his absences and what she calls his "failure to assimilate" into the family.

      The last straw came this week, when I received an anonymous letter of threat in the mail. It said to leave my partner alone, or my horse will eat more Gillette blades. At first I took it very seriously, because I did find an old rusty blade in my horse's feed bin, just two weeks prior. But then, while talking to the police, I realised the letter was not sent from anywhere in my city. It was sent from the city where my Mom lives with her partner, in fact from her very area. It was very poorly written, in broken English. It referred to Gillette blades, which was inaccurate. I realised Mom's partner uses Gillette blades. I remembered him telling me on several occasions to "leave my partner alone". I knew that he knew about the incident with the razor blade, because I told Mom when it happened - and he over heard the conversation. Mom had me on speaker, so her partner heard every word. I even heard him making dumb remarks in the background, words to the effect "it was me, I did it". Of course he didn't do it, he didn't have the opportunity. But he had ample motive and ability to put the letter together and try to scare me.

      Unfortunately, when I asked Mom to confront him, I was met with firm resistance. Mom would not listen to any evidence I had, and kept coming up with wild theories that made no sense. My partner's family are all local, none of them would travel to Mom's city in order to post the letter. They also don't know where I keep my horse. It is highly unlikely they had anything to do with it. But the worst thing is, when Mom got angry she told me a whole lot of ugly things about my partner. How she suspected he was trying to poison me at one stage. How her partner is afraid of him, etc. I realised then that Mom actually doesn't approve of my relationship either. This has hit me very hard, because of how close I have always been with Mom. But I also realised that I am entitled to live my life. No matter what Mom has done for me, she has no right to dictate who my partner is, or to affect my relationship in such a negative way. I therefore decided to pull away, a decision that filled me with guilt and is still causing me to feel sad and to cry each day. There is no alternative, not if I want to distance myself from Mom's partner. And I must distance myself from him, because I am almost certain he sent the letter, and because of all the other things he has done to try and sabotage my relationship - for instance, a few weeks ago he gave my private mobile number to a complete stranger, telling him to ask me on a date. I was shocked and angry, but Mom just shrugged it off. In fact, she said her partner was probably just trying to find me a better man than the one I had.

      Have I been so stupid as to be too close to Mom? Is it my fault because I let her meddle in my affairs too much? Possibly. Although Mom is the type of person who thinks she is entitled to meddle, so even if she says she won't do it, she ends up doing it down the track anyway. My sister says she is "like a tank" in that regard. And it seems her current partner is only making things worse. I am so sad to be in this position. I wanted so much to share my happiness with my family. Now it seems I must choose. And I cannot choose what Mom wants. This is my life, after all.

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      Vicstefs 9 months ago

      Hello, I'm new to the site and have found it very helpful as I read all the comments. So nice to know that I am not the only one with a mother and sister that I had to eliminate from my life. To try and make my long story as short as possible here we go: when I was young I found I was adopted along with my bio brother. In high school we found our bio mom was who we knew as our aunt and our bio sister was who we knew as our cousin. At that point my brother moved out and moved in with our bio mom. I began a relationship with her & my sister years later after my divorce (my bio mom wanted a relationship with me). All went well for a couple of years until my sister had her first child (she now has 6) my one and only son was about 4 at the time. Like most of the people here she made it clear that I am not the same as my sister and I never would be so I tried to look past this knowing she didn't raise me and out relationship would be different. As time went on it became worse and worse. The more my sister pissed her off the more she would come down on me. Anyways this went on for years and my sister and I did everything to ensure she didn't tear us apart because she and her 6 kids were everything to me. When my sister decided to leave her 2nd husband and father to 3 of her children everything changed with us. my sister would do anything to land a guy/keep a guy (why she has 6 kids) and our relationship hurt because of it. Anyways 5 years ago our brother passed away and my moms treatment of me was so awful I ended our relationship. Almost 2 years ago we found out my sister sexually abused her youngest daughter because some man online asked her too. We as a family of course were devistated, the kids were shipped off to their dads and I feeling awful for my mother decided to let all the past shit go so I could be there for her (she lost 2 of her 3 children in 3 years). As we all know nothing changed she still treated me awful and once again I had to cut off all contact with her. The one big change is I also had to end things with my sister because of what she has done And she's now in prison because of what she did to my niece. The one thing not really discussed is what happens to the kids. I found that if I had any contact with the kids it pulled me back into all of my moms crazy. The guilt I've felt for breaking contact with them still breaks my heart almost a year later. Did I do the right thing? I couldn't have contact with the older kids without my mom thinking I'm plotting against her and I can't get with the younger ones because it would put them in the middle as well. Has anyone else had to deal with the kids end of things? I've basically lost all the people on that side of my family now including my sisters children. It's hard because they are the innocent ones. Any words of wisdom would help today. I know I've made the right decision regarding my mom, I've never felt more free and strong. And my sister, well I miss her and it's like she died the day she confirmed to me what she had done. Just feeling lonely today I guess. Thank you for listening!

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      Misty 10 months ago

      Things went sideways in my family around 12 years ago, and I have been the one blamed, but I am still unclear what the precipitating incident was. The initial incident started with my brother-in-law, then included my sister and now the whole family is involved.

      I have been excluded, ignored, bad mouthed, put down, and been incredibly rude to by everyone in my family other than my father. Sadly he passed away in Sept so I am now on my own dealing with this.

      This all happened at a time when my life was falling apart anyway. I became critically ill, needed an organ transplant and nearly died. I have been unable to return to work because of health issues.

      As I had been very close to my family in the past, I was stunned, depressed, and absolutely obssessed with what had happened. I can't stop thinking about it. It has kept me awake at night. I honestly have wondered what is wrong with me.

      We had major drama in Feb of this year while my husband and I were away on vacation, with me being blamed for a problem that did not happen the way the story has been told. I have absolute proof of this with a series of emails. Because of being blamed for supposedly not being willing to change plans to accommodate my mother, my mother yelled at me in a restaurant telling me that she thought I was selfish, and that she did not believe what I was saying. The whole thing, including the story that had been told was so unbelievable, that I was totally gobsmacked. It pushed me to the "RED ZONE" where I can just not tolerate any more of this. Previously I did everything I could to try and sort things out, and appease everyone.

      I have told my family members that I very much want to be part of the family, but I will not participate in family events in the future without some family counselling. Not surprisingly, I have not heard from any of them.

      Setting a boundary has been a huge relief for me. I have turned myself inside out trying to understand what is happening, and trying to sort things out, but no one else has been willing to do so. I have even seen a therapist.

      I feel so much better within myself. I still hope that my family will re-consider so that ties are not permanently cut, but I am emotionally prepared for whatever happens.

      Even with all of this, I have felt very alone in this area. (I have a great husband and great friends, who are incredibly supportive of me overall) But I don't know anyone whose family has deteriorated to such low levels.

      And tonight I stumbled on this site. It is so true that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. There are so many of you in a similar position to me. I am also most impressed that this article was written 8 years ago, and yet there are still posts being added. It clearly is very topical.

      Good job, all of you, and especially to you Laura Irwin for writing such a poignant article. Wishing you all the best of luck in reclaiming your lives and your happiness.

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      diana 10 months ago

      "Divorcing" some of my family members have been the most difficult yet the most liberating thing I could have done in my life. Difficult because I decided to separate, cut ties with some of my family members at a moment I was the most vulnerable; depressed, homeless, without a job, separating my family at the lowest moment of my life. Knowing in my heart I have been there for them. I had put together countless of family reunions with me including almost everything so the family could come together. I have listened, given them massages, gifts, cooked for them, hugged them, applaud them, cried, laugh with them but they could not be there. Divorcing them, separating myself from them, even cutting ties with some of them was the most liberating thing I could have done after a while, I realized my family was making my life more miserable, more difficult by judging me, attacking me, not accepting me, expecting me to be there for them, to respond to theirs needs, to be a cheerleader when I needed them to be there for me the most. Nowadays when I communicate with some of them with those whom have shown interest, desire to keep a relationship with me. I respond to them. I let them know I appreciate them wanting to know about me. However things have changed. I have learned the hard way. I learned they can't be there for me as I have been there for them so when they are expecting something out of me which they always do. I make sure I put myself first.

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      Joy Gill 10 months ago

      Wow this reminds me of my family and I was always the one coming to aid of everybody that needed me. I guess I made myself to available. It has not been easy by no means and I did cry alot at first never understood how my family could cause me so much pain. 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, I decided it's best to evaluate the issues as a whole. For me letting go of an entire chunk of my family would be more stressful than maintaining distance, and I did not come to that decision lightly. My mother is the one that controls everybody else in the family. It was to the point where it had got way out of control. My mother called my ex husband got him to call the police to do a welfare check on my daughter at school that embarassed her and eventually pulled her out of school and started homeschooling her got police knocking on my door one morning. I told the police had all my documentations showed them also said had my homeschooling attorneys on speed dial would they like to talk to them boy they couldn't get out door fast enough. I had done everything by the "Law" nothing illlegal. My mother was calling all of my other sides of the family involving them. I changed all numbers and email addresses because of this behavior and she sent me nasty, treatening letters in the mail. All of my life my mom was verbally abusive and she also intimadated me for years and was always controling and kept me from being able to grow into a normal healthy adult. I felt powerless as I did even as a child they treated me like I could not or have a right to make my own decsions. There were never any boundries in our familys life growing up or even into adult life. It was my mothers way or the highway. Both of my brothers older than me still live in the control and I was able to get out and it has caused all kind of problems. I have forgiven them for all of the things they have done, but just because you forgive the ones you love does give them the right to continue to treat you badly or abusive in life. I have realized that they are the ones that is losing out. You can't lose something that you NEVER had. My family dynamic is probably not all that different from many others. I am the youngest out of two older brothers. I have an manipulative mother. Every family member is prescribed roles. I had to pick up the pieces when something falls down the one who always took care of everybody. It took me years to find my enter strength and find the peace that I have today. All I ever wanted was for them to share in my life and be apart of it.I had to learn to set boundaries which is what I did. Most people cut ties because they ARE the ones willing to work on the relationsip, but the other family member is not. The toxic family member usually makes the person put up with their abuse and agree with them or get out of their life. They are the ones who need help and should have the most regrets about not even trying. Most people have already spent many years trying to mend a relationship.I can deal with boundaries as most people who decide to cut ties, but it is the other family member who disregards boundaries- they usually want control, using revenge, vindictiveness, gossip,etc. Who needs that? you go ahead and hang onto your bad relationships, but no one really knows what's best for another- only that person knows. I wanted the topic to be out there so people don't feel alone. I decided to walk away because nothing was ever going to change. It saddens me that I had to do this. It was not an easy decision but I realized that if I did not it would destroy all that I have worked for in my own life. I do believe that ever situation is not the same and you have to decide when enough is enough. I feel peace in my heart because I know I tried ever option that I could to provide that love and peace with healthy boundries. They did not want boundries they wanted control and control meant giving up my identity.

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      Kristi Dame 11 months ago

      This page is great. It really does make you think. I like how it asks questions. Lovely format. Made me think more about my own situation and how to address how my in laws ask for money and then tell you to butt out of their business. Uhh you took money and need to pay it back and find away to get a hold of your finances. If it isn't anyone else's business than don't ask for money. I have a brother in law that has put me down a lot and the excuses the family makes for him hasn't helped him grow up and be a man and he is in his fifties. I started to fight back by putting my foot down but this article makes me realize that if there are no boundaries than these people that have no respect for other people's marriages will always walk all over you and may never understand boundaries. The family is catholic and quotes that "blood is thicker than water" when actually when you get married you are "one flesh". It is 1 God 2 Spouse 3 Children 4 Parents 5 Brothers and Sisters of Christ and 6 Everyone else who is suppose to prioritize in your life. They don't have the boundaries to understand this. Love this hub!

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      Edith C 12 months ago

      I am a person who values family unity. These past 7 years has been tough like none other in my past years. It all started when one of my siblings who has always lived away from the family had come to live where the rest of us reside. Things all went bad from there. My father past away within the second year of the 7 and it just got worse. It placed a lot of stress on my health trying to keep the peace as I was the oldest of the siblings. I had two nervous break downs and was under a doctor's care. All the problems were blamed on me which prior to those 7 years there was no chaos. My husband and children got concerned and wanted me to move to where they live, so my husband and I did thinking things would be better. My daughter divorced her cheating husband who also had abused her physically and mentally. During this time, you would think your family would be supportive emotionally to those in need. This same sibling, during the month of my daughter's divorce, had approached her ex-husband and asked if he would take his boat out on the lake with her son and friends. Before she did this, she mentioned it to the rest of the family who had asked if she had mentioned this to my daughter. She told them no and she didn't need to or have to and she didn't want them all letting my daughter know or I. She even told my ex-son-in-law not to mention it. Well, he did in a bragging way. To this day, she is still friends with him which he uses it against my daughter. So, therefor, I have cut off ties with this sibling as w ell as my children has. She has caused nothing but grievance and stress. I still go to family gatherings for the sake of my mother who wants to see us back together, but I don't see that happening. I am much happier with lots less stress and grievances.

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      DeeVee5 12 months ago

      All the words...guess its "good" for some to get it out.. I did that a year ago +...i just cant anymore..im happy. To be hated by everyone.. "Whats new?"...im grateful for everything that has been given. . ive said it and said it and said it....but.. It seems my "spoiled brat" personna is all anyone will ever see... Big deal...im so over people at this point... I am so happy and glad to stay in my house..yes. They bought it for me.. .. And live on the money they gave to me.. *(which i said not to do.. And.. As usual.. Like everything elce in my entire life...i have had crammed down my throat non stop and been belittled, and made out to be so horriable to everyone in my community, my family, & all elce too... Thst i just cant let it hurt any more... Hate me.. Its fine ny me.. I live them.. But in the last 3-5 yeats.. Ive simply. Not been able to sink into tears and beg for their forgiveness and hide my pain from the public.. Ive taken. All the blame they have asked. Of me all my life... Im horriable.. Im just the most evil there is.. Happy now ? Ill be there if they need me for any crisis.. Yes.. I will. But. Why call me in a crisis when they have the perfect family members all around them.. Their family is perfect without me.. So ,..i will be a very silent and missing problem in all their lives...

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      Carlie 12 months ago

      Thank you for this… I struggled with this and even attempted cutting off my mother at times. She suffers from mental illness and within the past couple of years has decided that she can no longer take care of her self and has completely stopped trying. In the process I have found that I've had to help her financially just to keep the lights on. I am 33 years old, and nursing school and engaged to a wonderful man. I cannot afford to pay these bills. The last time I tried to not pay them… She ended up sitting in the dark of a house that had no running water or electricity for a month until I finally caved, along with my aunt, to get them turned back on. This was last month and we felt guilty and turn them on at Christmas. I have told her that she has to find the will to do something to help her self because I cannot afford to do this. I don't want to lose my path as a nurse by failing out of school over stress or not having money. I don't want to lose my fiancé over choosing her and putting us in debt on her behalf. The most unfortunate part about cutting ties for me is that I am almost positive that if I do so and actually stick to it, she will be homeless. I want to forget about this so badly but the thought of her being on the street kills me. I honestly tell myself all the time "how dare she put me in this position". I realize that she suffers from bipolar disorder but she hasn't gotten any chance of getting on disability because of being so stubborn. She is sick, and I know that! But what is too much? When do I draw the line and choose me over her? I've done everything in my life to avoid becoming like her. It's such a touchy situation but I honestly don't know where to turn. I'm very sad all the time and extremely stressed out. But like I said, I can't afford it and I don't want to lose the only positive things I have in my life that don't involve her. So unfortunately… Unless something crazy changes or a miracle happens, I think I'm going to have to cut ties. All I want is for her to try to take care of her self. Unfortunately, she has manipulated her self into thinking that she is unable to do even the simplest of tasks. I know that this goes hand-in-hand with her disorder, but there has to be some kind of fire in there somewhere. I have tried to light it 1 million times and I'm tired

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      carolyn 14 months ago

      my daughter do you really know why your lover left you do ask your self did any be-able to tell you why he left you did any Dr ever ask you these questions you no that every things happened for no reason your lover has be spell on but i we help you to bring him back that if i have the items to work for you your love we come back to you ok, but i want you to bear in your mind you are not paying me but what am asking for is the items to work for you and i want you to understand that those items are the engine room of the spell to work and grant your heart desire just as you wish fro your ex to come back to you.


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      Melinda Harold 17 months ago

      I am from China, i and my husband has been separated for 8 months now, he was the love of my life and the father of my two kids. He went out with another lady. I tried love potions and voodoo magic and the Ancient Kama Sutra just to have him back him back home to love me and settle down with his family again, it doesn't work. I was so frustrated seeing all effort becoming waste, i was so lucky i heard about Dr Priest Okojie from the shango temple. I'm so happy he was the final solution to the problem i have been fighting for almost 6 months now. I will as well like all those who are having problems such as relationship issues, fertility problems and financial difficulties or simply you need a promotion in your carrier just contact email:shangosolutiontemple @ yahoo . com Dr Okojie from the shango family temple and he will solve your problem with ease withing just 4 days.

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      HOW I GOT BACK MY EX CALL +2348079367204 19 months ago

      Our sexual life was... ummm, dead? yeah, no passion, no contact at all! (and we are still so young!). The love was there, but no spark as we used to have. You fixed that so fast! thank you, thank you, thank you! I have to beg to sleep now"Email to contact him is the omigodoshrine@hotmail.co.uk

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      annie 19 months ago

      I am the second child of four. 60 years old and retiered. I am a mother of two children and two grandchildren and married to my second husband. Our upbringing was dysfonctional which involved physical and emtional abuse. My parents are imigrants. My father was very controlling and terrorised us. My mother, submissive. We were brought up in fear, not love. Because of this, sadly, we all four suffer from one form or another of addiction, alcohalism, anxiety, co-dependency. Even in our adult life, my father would still try to control or manipulate. My mother of course would not contradict him. I developed immense anger towards him to the point that I had nightmares. I even dreamt that I killed him! I went to therapy most of my life.

      Eight years ago he passed. Being single at the time, I would care for my mother who of course was confused and helpless. But it turned out that I was her whipping post. I never saw her cry, only when he died. She was an angry, frustrated old woman. It ruined my mental health so I had no choice but to cut ties with her. We reconnected three years later. My older brother, which I was very close too, younger left the house when he was seventeen because of a physical altercation with my father. Early twenties he moved away because of his job. His wife did not want anything to do with us which was a friend of mine, so we (the whole family, parents included) would see him every 5 years even though he lived 90 minutes away and believe me we tried! He was the godfather of my other brother's son but did not attend the baptismal. He also did not attend his wedding. We had no relationship with him for 35 years. Well, his wife died and he was back. So we all forgave him. Last summer we went on vacation with him, my mother and my husband. He ruined our vacation by acting out on his alcohalism. He even disrespected my mother. She would come to us crying. So that was the last straw for me. I didn't want anything to do with him at that point. My mother being happy that he is back in her life, enables him and finds excuses. She says that what happened on vacation is all forgotten for her. She will not leave me alone and respect the fact that I cut ties with him. She kept on blackmailing me that she would not attend my family gatherings or outings if he was not there. There is no reasoning with her. She tells me that I am the one looking for problems and that there bigger problems in the world. She does not have the ability to have a mature discussion. There's no point! So I am once again the black sheep of the family, always was to her. Because I voice my opinion she compares me and says that the others don't say anything. You know how it is to have a toxic manipulative mother. She is never wrong and never admits to her wrongdoings.My brother buys her gifts and pays her things like grocery shopping etc.. So he is good to have around for her sake. That I really don't care you know. He is a yes man with her. Does not have to deal with her because he comes in town for a few days about once a month. Here I am at the same point with her as it was when I father died. She complained that my children did not call their uncle on his birthday. I mean, he was never around when they were growing up. Yes they have seen him since he's been back. But she can't expect that. She wants everything her way, to pretend that we are a big happy family. She criticizes everyone and is negative. At my grandson's second birthday she told my sister that it's always the same thing at childrens birthday parties. Not nice! For now, I am avoiding her once again! I know that as long as I don't have a relationship with my older brother, she will not stop. As long as my brother drinks and acts out, I do not want a relationship with him. I have a good relationship with my younger siblings. They respect me and my decision. This is very hard because of course I can't say that I feel good about all this. I'm hurt once again. It's like being there for her and having her at my house regularly does not seem to matter. It's my older brother that seems to matter more.

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      GEANA 20 months ago

      Ever since I split from my husband, I was in terrible spirits. Slowly I realized that I loved him deeply, but he wouldn't pick up my phone when I called him to apologize to him. On the advice of a friend I got in touch with Dr Lawrence he cast a spell and I waited. Three days out of nowhere there was a call. It was my husband. We are now back together and happier than ever. Thank you so much Dr Lawrence. i wish you best of lucks email Drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail.com or Drlawrencespelltemple@yahoo.com

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      SUSAN 20 months ago

      After being in relationship with my husband for nine years,he broke up with me, I did ev erything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email is (LAVENDERLOVESPELL@YAHOO.COM } tel.+2347053977842) you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything.

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      Jane 21 months ago

      Hey are you crying that your lover has left you and the kids for another woman, you don't have to cry anymore because i was in the same position till i heard about Great Mutaba how he has help so many people in their relationship today i can boldly recommend Great Mutaba to anyone who need help. He did not fail me i also believe he can not fail you too. you are indeed a miracle worker.I have tried so many spell casters and psychic after my husband left me. Great Mutaba was the only spell caster who could help me..For sure this is really an prosperity temple where you can get back your ex lover. Great Mutaba cast a love spell and my husband changed for good, he made him a better man and distanced all his secret lovers. I am happy to have a united family, it couldn’t be possible without the effort of Great Mutaba. My husband is back with full of love and sincerity. Make contact with Great Mutaba for relationship help Email him at: greatmutaba@yahoo.com

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      Nutcracker 21 months ago

      To WMK

      Thank you for your good wishes - the hardest part is the silence after walking away - but it is preferable to being put down all the time. For me now friends are more important. Good luck to yourself.