It doesn't matter if they raised you, grew up with you, or have been with you through your adulthood. Being family doesn't give them the right to mistreat you.
It's not blood bonds or sharing DNA that defines how important a relationship is to your life. You will reach a point in life, having survived certain relationships, that will teach you that's not always the case. It is seeing how the person is giving to you as much as you give to them that makes the relationship matter. Even family members can back stab, sabotage, and cheat you into doing things for them. When you see the red flags, you will come to realize that it is perfectly okay to cut them off as long as it is done with the intention of self-preservation. But the truth is, it is not always easy. Here are a few reasons why distancing yourself from toxic family members can be difficult.
It can take tough choices and decisions to finally be able to protect yourself. Cutting someone you call family would need setting up boundaries for yourself, and when you do so, "there will be periods of uncertainty, guilt, and possible loss in relationships," Shannon Battle, Clinical Director of Family Services of America told Her Campus, according to The Mind's Journal. Remind yourself that it's not selfish to put yourself first, because being related to you doesn't give them the right to disrespect you.
You might worry about whether straining out one relationship in your life might cause a chain reaction. If you've seen your toxic family member be petty before, they might even talk about you behind your back and tell the rest of your family members that it was your fault. But you will eventually see whom you can trust and who will have your back no matter what. And with time, you'll realize how having that one person out of your life can finally bring peace of mind that's worth the sacrifice.
Others may not have heard the lies that one person told you or see how they made you feel miserable whenever you were around them. You might even find yourself in a number of conversations and gossip that you don't want to be a part of. "There is usually a ring leader gathering the troops for the assault and because they are joined together you begin to wonder if it is, in fact, you, that is the problem," Sherrie Campbell, clinical psychologist and author, wrote for HuffPost.
However, it is important to remember that loving yourself and healing includes shutting out voices that are doing you no good.
It can be someone who raised you, the one you grew up with, or even someone you've spent a majority of your adulthood around. And if you've known them for almost your entire life, you might wonder how different your life will be without them. But remember that even if you call them "family", they are all human at the end of the day, people with insecurities who are capable of being just as manipulative and hurtful as they are of being loving and caring.
In times of serious doubt that cause emotional turmoil, it is important to take a step back and ask yourself if you would have nurtured a relationship with them if they weren't related to you. Sherrie Campbell explained that you might think you "have to" deal with their negativity because they are "family". But cutting them off might finally be the first step towards healthier wellbeing.
Growing up around someone toxic can affect your opinion of yourself and relationships so deeply that it is not surprising for many to subconsiously carry those ideas well into adulthood. If they constantly told you that you were "stupid", "ugly", or "worthless", you might even have believed it, explained physician and clinical writer, Kristen Fuller who wrote for Psychology Today. As scary as it may be to cut these family members out of your life, know that their effect on you can be reversed with the right relationships and boundaries.
It might be tricky to completely stop seeing them because they're not only related to you but also to your entire family. You might find yourself getting worked up when you think about bumping into them at the next family gathering or the next holiday. They might even come up to you and say something uncalled for.
"If you prepare yourself in advance, stay calm, and say something assertive, you will appear unscathed and will earn the admiration of all those around you," wrote Dr. Jonice Webb, psychologist and author. Then, when you go home, think it over and remind yourself that this person is attacking you because of his or her own weakness. Don’t take it in. Be Strong."
People might try to convince to keep trying, but finally, you're the only one who can decide who's worth your second chances. There's no reason to force yourself to fit in or be afraid of being judged when you're doing what's best for you.
"People can be inherently self-seeking; not all people have good intentions, even if you are related to them. Not all people want what's best for me. It's my job to make my world the best it can be," wrote Sherrie Campbell. And by cutting these people off, you're taking away their power over your lives to create a mess that you don't deserve to be in.
"This article is based on facts collated from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer."