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Family Isn’t Always Forever: When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Woman in Field

“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.” ~Edna Buchanan

A few years ago I ended all contact with my parents, and I have not seen or spoken to them since then.

The truth is I am actually okay with that. Initially, I thought I was going to lose my mind. I had been brought up to believe that family comes first. Children should respect and take care of their parents. Family should—and will—always be there for each other.

Those beliefs were based on love, and I cherished them.

I wanted so much to feel that connection—that unconditional love those beliefs promised. It was never there.

Our lives were filled with so much fear, pain, hurt, betrayal, and lies. Manipulation and deceit were at the core of our home.

I told myself that all families have degrees of dysfunction, and our family was no different. I could not allow myself to believe that our family was different. I believed that one day my parents would realize what they were doing and change. I desperately wanted their love and approval.

On the night when my husband and I ended up inside a police station explaining why I thought my father was about to come to my home and hurt me, while my two grown sons waited in the car, I realized I had to wake up.

My fantasy was over. I could no longer go on pretending our family was just like everyone else. That night I said my last goodbye to my mother as she lied to protect my father. The next day I spoke the last words to my father as he screamed into the phone repeating the lies from my childhood. It was over.

Giving up the hope that things would get better was the hardest part. I was terrified that I was doing the wrong thing. I thought I was being a bad daughter. I was going against every cherished belief about family.

It broke my heart to know that my life had been based on an illusion. The picture I had created of my parents was shattered. They had never been there for me, and they never would be.

I had lied to myself to protect my fantasy and keep them in my life. Now I could no longer do it.

Over time I began to understand why I had fought so hard to live out the lie, and I began to forgive myself for not being brave enough to stand up earlier.

One of the problems was my belief that family were always there for each other. That was the cause of my pain and my guilt. The fact that I no longer had them in my life meant that I was going against a code I held close to my heart.

I had to modify that belief. I had to change my definition of family. It was no longer those to whom I was linked by blood. My family now became the friends who had been there the whole time. People who I knew I could count on when things went wrong. That was never my parents.

I also realized that I was afraid I was not lovable. In my mind if my own parents could not love me, there had to be something wrong with me.

I did everything I could to minimize disagreements between us, keeping quiet just to keep the peace. I knew that if I spoke up we would argue, they would get mad at me, and they would not love me. I failed to realize that this was something I only experienced with them.

It was hard work just to be around them. I was always on edge, cautious, and scared. That was not a loving relationship. I came to accept that if they could not love me, it didn’t change anything about me. I had created other loving relationships around me, and they were the scaffolding holding me up.

My first Christmas after was hard. I had always gone to my parents’ house to live the fairy tale of being surrounded by love.

It was always hard to ready myself for those days. We would act out the roles of happy family, hoping in some way that was our truth. It wasn’t. I had no idea how tense I was at these interactions until I no longer had to do it.

Part of the hurt was that I now had no tradition, so I decided to start a new one. Christmas is no longer a day of obligation. I now spend it with the people who are my true family.

I’ve come to realize that the love I had for my parents was based on a childhood need for safety and security. I had to see them as the parents who loved me, despite the things they did. I could not accept that the people responsible for my well-being were also responsible for my suffering.

So much of the world I had created around my parents was simply not real. I have had to accept that truth and move on with my life.

One of my fears was that by breaking contact with my parents, I was setting an example that my sons could repeat with me. I’d like to think this won’t happen because of my parents.

The pain of my childhood taught me how important it is for a child to truly feel loved, safe, and cherished. I’ve tried to live that truth with my boys. I don’t know what the future holds for us. I can only hope that the love I’ve shown them will have created a space in their hearts where I will always be thought of with love.

I try to imagine how I’ll feel when I find out that my parents have died. I honestly don’t know. I’m sure that part of me will be sad that we did not have a better ending. However, I know in my heart of hearts that I tried for over forty years to make it work. In the end, it just wasn’t enough.

My parents were never who I thought them to be. I have had to let it all go. The fantasy of the perfect ending with them is over. I am setting out on a new horizon where I have redefined my world.

As abused children, we may feel that it is somehow our responsibility to fix the broken parts of our family. It’s not. Sometimes there is no fairy tale ending where our parents realize how truly wonderful we are.

The hard part is recognizing that and moving on. Sometimes it’s the only way to find real peace. It’s heartbreaking. It’s not easy. Finding and surrounding yourself with people who truly care for you is your gift to yourself. You deserve that. You will be okay.

I no longer believe that I have lost my family. I have only now finally recognized who they truly are.

Woman in field image via Shutterstock

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  • Tom

    yes!!! way to break away from our belief that blood is thicker than water. I’ve always said that my parents, siblings, and relatives are the family I inherited while the friends and lovers are the family I’ve chosen.

  • Iva Ursano

    Amen to that for sure!!!!!

  • Thank you for sharing your story. So many people criticize those of us who choose to end toxic relationships with our parents, citing all of the reasons you mention. I’m reminded of this Humans of New York post every time I’m feeling chastised for my decision: https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork/photos/a.102107073196735.4429.102099916530784/629879113752859/
    I, too, think about what it’s going to be like when my mother dies. My best friend is well aware that I’m going to be a wreck. But, I know I’m doing the right thing for myself.

  • Singing Bear

    Thanks for this article. It is a good reminder about seeing through delusions of how we think think should be vs. what they actually are. It took me many decades to part with ideas about obligations to an abusive family of origin, also because it was difficult for me to create a new family of my own. I have been happily married to a loving husband (miraculously, and after much healing!). However, we did not have children while I was a younger woman, in part due to my focusing on being in recovery from much childhood trauma. It is OK now that I also have come to see my friends and surrounding communities as family. Still, there is a longing there at times for a young adult(s) child figure in my life, to be like a more traditional family. Maybe one day, this could unfold…I do not know. For now..I will love the ones in my midst 🙂

  • Guest

    How timely. My Dad passed away last week and one blessing that came from that is I no longer feel the need to associate with my toxic ‘sister’, who has brought my parents and I nothing but pain for the last ten years.

  • DB Hoster

    I could have written this story as well. It is the same illusion I experienced with biological family that kept me in trauma for many years after I left the biological household. For me, the deception and the “story” of “family” was so deep, that I would walk out on the people who actually came into my life, caring about me, offering to be there with me, because they didn’t fit my idea of “family” / they weren’t the biological family that I was told was always going to be there for me, through thick and thin, and that was the most important thing in my life, which was the only thing I trusted. Yet it was that biological “family” who had abused me in every way possible and manipulated me into believing that, and who had never cared about me personally in any way. I walked away from many wonderful friends and generous people whom I mistrusted b/c they weren’t what I thought of as proper ‘family’. As time went on and the reality of my biological situation became clear, it is the bio family that I am no longer in contact with. I now understand that we create our own families. My life is better than ever and I have peace of mind for the first time. Thank you to the author for writing this. It is an exceptional situation that many of us do actually face and one in which we can be very misunderstood. However, our decisions, choices and lives are valid and we deserve peace, love, and to be surrounding only by people who have good intentions toward us.

  • Jo

    Thank you for sharing your story, it is so good to read of your brave journey away from toxic people. You are a wonderful person. If a parent passes away, try not to be too hard on yourself, (they were the adults who should have shown you love and cherished you as a child), You have probably done your greiving already. Live laugh and Love on your own journey alongside people who love and appreciate You xx

  • M

    Thank you for this article. It is as if you wrote my story…I have been struggling for 6 years breaking away from very toxic relationships with my parents and siblings. I am getting there but there is still residual guilt. I appreciate reading your story and have hopes that one day I will wake up and not dwell on the guilt I carry for having made the decision to stop the drama, manipulation and selfish behaviors. Interesting how we both want to be “anonymous” as the stigma of terminating parental and sibling relationships still exists. There is the tough decision-then the day to day living with the decision-but there is always the judgement of others that reminds you of your guilt. But every day it does get BETTER!

  • jb

    This was something SO many have needed to hear and also say for so long. Thank you for the courage to do this but especially to so perfectly share it helping countless others find their true place in this world.

  • Christine

    I am so grateful to have read this article and comments. Tomorrow will be 2 years since my dad passed away. I spent many years before his death in a constant battle with my siblings and my mother. They are mentally abusive people. My one brother is no doubt a sociopath with narcissistic personality disorder. He has poisoned my mother’s mind beyond repair. My relationship with my mother slowly deteriorated over my father’s decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. My entire life I was led to believe that my dad was not a nice person. During his illness I began to realize it was my mother who was evil. She was abusive to him while he was sick, consistently lied about his condition and kept me in the dark while manipulating me into feeling sorry for her. There’s do much damage that has been done. It was exhausting trying to maintain a relationship with my family while they gave me nothing but aggravation in return. After years of lies, deceit, mental abuse and manipulation, I decided it was time to walk away. My father was no longer on this earth. There was nothing for me to hold onto. It’s been very difficult coping with my decision even though I know it was the best decision I could make for myself and my children. I too worry about the example I am setting when I preach to my children about the importance of family and unconditional love. Then again I know my children are not being raised in the same dysfunctional environment as I was. It’s nice to see I’m not alone in my choice.

  • Perhaps the most difficult thing to do in life!?! Blessings to you and you courage. Please keep inspiring others!

  • Don Karp

    A–Thanks for having the courage to bare your soul by submitting this story. Given the number and lengths of these comments, I’d say you touched many. And the writing was a part of your healing.
    Many years ago, after a couple of sessions with my parents, my therapist told me that there is a family problem, and that I was the one showing the symptoms, so I no longer blamed myself.
    And several years after that I worked in a role-playing group to heal the relationship with my parents, and was happy to be able to do this before they died. So I no longer blamed them for my character flaws, but took on responsibility for who I was.
    I realised that they did the best parenting they could, even though it was rotten, and that maybe this came from their parents behaviors, and on indefinitely into the past.
    I invite you to continue to heal this wound and hope you can do it before they die.

  • Heather

    I to walked away from a toxic family situation along with one of my sisters ,leaving my mother,another sister and brother behind as they were still living the lie that we could no longer live, that we were a normal happy family ! My father was the main abuser,( he is now dead) while my mother did nothing to help us and in her own way added to the abuse. I have now not been in touch for over 5 years and still feel the guilt of a bad daughter, what gets me through every time i think i must go and ask forgiveness is the little me inside who cries out in fear to please stay and protect her and the feeling of how toxic my life will become again.None of us ask for the childhoods we get and we should not feel guilty when we protect ourselves by walking away. We deserve a good,loving life and I do all i can to try for it. Every year i get a little bit better at realizing i am a lovable and loving person ,my husband,children and friends are proof of that. i recognize that it isn’t easy to believe but why would all the wonderful people in our lives be there if not?We are all strong. Thank you for writing this piece , and to you and everyone reading this I wish you to be as happy and whole as you can be. love and hugs to you all. Heather xxx

  • holly

    I needed that. I could have written it myself. At 30 I came to this realization. A few years later I had a brain trauma and the things I’d like to forget come back to me more often than I’d like and occasionally I go back to that former girl so desperate for approval. I also am most afraid of my son someday walking away from me, but like you I have tried to love and support him fully in hopes of breaking the cycle. It’s refreshing today to know I’m not alone.

  • Phil Yandel

    As a parent who has lost two of my five sons because they feel we are toxic, I can tell you that it is not always because of actual abuse. Since they have never voiced their issues with us, and my other sons don’t understand either, I can only guess what their motivations are. Because we don’t know their reasons, we cannot make any changes to our behavior or whatever to heal the relationships. It is always painful to know every day my child have excluded me from their life and will not tell me why.

  • Jem

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It is in some ways my story as well, only few people know it. Although I have worked on these issues in many ways throughout much of my life, I still have difficulty telling people about it for some reason. I am now in my 60’s. I admire and respect your strength and courage. Thank you again!

  • Grace

    Thanks to you for your comments as well, DB. I am right there in the same sort of reality, having just experienced that moment of clarity in regards to my father and stepmother. Abuse, manipulation, head games long after I left home. I’m 36 years old and only just now able to let go of the fantasy I’d created of an idealized family. It is a strange process.

  • Hello
    Thank you for sharing your experience. In an ideal world, our family would be our greatest source of strength and support, everyone would get along for the most part…but it just isn’t always like that.

    And when it’s not, the misguided beliefs that you stick by family no matter what,etc..can be a huge source of stress. The idea that we should let people manipulate, abuse and do all other kinds of things, but then have to put up with it because they are ‘family’ is crazy when you think about it. We can make an effort to repair relationships, set boundaries and other strategies to try and make for smoother relations, but if that isn’t working, then some tough decisions may need to be made.

  • Mike

    I had a rough childhood as well. My father was a traveling salesman, so was gone for months at a time. Even so, he didn’t earn much money. My mother tried hard to raise 3 kids alone and work 3 jobs. My dad would finally come home when he was too drunk to work. On top of everything else, my mom had to then try to help him through the DTs, until he could sober up. Then, the yelling started up. It was mostly a continual cycle of hell. I got some reprieve when I went away to college. During that time, my parents finally divorced. And, dealing with them individually was easier. About that time, I took up meditation. As I became more aware of, and sensitive to negative energy, I grew further away from my family. And I needed that, in order to get my own life on track. A few years on, my practice was firmly established, and I could defend against negative energy much better (mostly by being in control of when to put myself into contact with it or not). I was also learning unconditional love as my base practice. In that practice, you see that everyone has buddha nature, it’s just that some are more confused than others. So, looking back at my parents, I realized that they were buddhas too, just struggling with the awareness that they had. With that realization, I could finally forgive them. OMG, when I did that it was like the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. At that point, I could reestablish ties with my family, and I really enjoyed their company. They were imperfect people trying as hard as they could, with what they had. In a way, all of that drama pointed me in the direction of my salvation… unconditional love. I’m happy to say I was able to be in their lives until the end. I really believe that you incarnate with specific people, or in a specific circumstance to learn something. For me, it was to learn to love, and forgive even the worst behavior. I hope you find this peace for yourself! Love!

  • bent yet not broken

    Man..all I could do when I read this is cry..im shaking like crazy and i know why..i just want to thank you all for having the courage to bring this issue out in the open..Iwill turn 58 years old tomorrow and you have just saved my life.

  • Tara

    Finally! Other people who have made the same decision as myself. The circumstances around having to disown/cut off parents and/or extended family are always extremely difficult/stressful and it has always irked me how other people brush off my decision or feelings about it by saying insensitive comments like “Oh I’m sure they aren’t that bad” “She’s your mother – you should love her” etc.
    The truth of the matter is this – it doesn’t matter if you are related by blood to someone, if two people don’t get along or have a toxic relationship then you have EVERY right to walk away from it in order to take care of yourself. Just because that person is your mother, father, sister does not mean you should torture and stress yourself out because society tells us “blood is thicker than water” “family is everything”.
    I have never been happier than the day I lay on the floor of my first apartment and heard nothing but silence. There was no yelling, nagging, put downs, guilt trips – I was in control of my life and I could do whatever I wanted. I knew that I had made the best decision of my life.
    Yes it sucks to see my friends and husband and their healthier family units, it makes me sad and wistful but the reality is some people are incapable of change (narcissists, abusers) and we need to accept that taking care of ourselves first is the best thing to do.

  • Guest

    A huge thank you for everyone who has read and commented. I am truly grateful for the support. I am especially glad if these words have helped in any small way.

  • Excellent article. Your parents’ lesson finally got through. Sometimes it’s in the actions instead of the words and this kind of action is difficult to put a positive spin on. But it’s there.

    Both my parents died recently; I’m 61 years old. There were actually no tears for either of them, just a bit of sadness for the parents I never had. I actually feel better with them gone. It seems like them just being on the planet was a bit draining for me. Now I feel a bit lighter and find that I actually forgive them completely now. Forgiveness is the key. Sometimes it’s too difficult to forgive someone still alive, but when they die then it’s the right time to let that last morsel of pain go. Forgiveness is the only way through the pain to freedom.

  • That is a hilarious Facebook post. Not the post, but the first comment puts it all into prospective.

  • Anon

    What an inspiring article to read, this is all to
    true for me and something I realised when I was 21. I have no contact
    with any of my blood relations and although I lost contact first with
    my parents (11yrs ago) the hardest to let go of was my brothers and
    sister. Unfortunately the damage in them was so clear but none aware
    of their problems in order to change. Drinking and drugs took over
    one of my brother who became equally as abusive as our mother. I
    tried to fix my relationships with them but was constantly battling
    against their demons that I finally lost all contact around five-six
    years ago. For me it is much better, I’ve had years to start
    repairing the damage my childhood caused that now I’m in my 30s I’ve
    recovered from the majority of abuse. I feel confident that the cycle
    of abuse will not pass onto my children, when I have them. I’m sure
    that I will not have any feelings on hearing about my parents passing
    other than its sad to hear about someone dying. For a long time I
    also held onto a fantasy of the perfect family and that one day my
    mother would realise her mistakes and change. At 26 I suddenly
    stopped believing that would happen and felt completely free of them.
    A friend asked me if I ever missed my family to which I
    replied…only the idea I had of them.

  • Survive2ski

    I could have written this article, except it is my mother whom I had to divorce. My father was the “peace keeper” and I made a silly death bed promise that I would look after my mother after he died. I tried, and tried until my depression got the worse of me and I wanted access to my inheritance so I could get the medical treatment my father would have provided me with. My mother’s loving advice was if I wanted to kill myself I should go ahead and do it, the world would be better off without me….. Unfortunately for her, I’m too smart and even more stubborn. I decided I should stick around if only to make her life a living hell. My departure from this earth would be too easy for her.

    Even though I had not celebrated holidays with my biological family in decades, cutting that final cord with my mother was tough. I went through the guilt. I kept hearing her say “the only ones you’ll ever have is your biological family…. How scary!

    I’m extremely fortunate that I’ve had a fabulous family that went from being my inlaws to my outlaws and they were the ones that rescued me and helped me put my life back together.

  • FB

    “My parents were never who I thought them to be. I have had to let it all go. The fantasy of the perfect ending with them is over. I am setting out on a new horizon where I have redefined my world”. When I read this I had all I could do to not break down in tears. I am 66 years old and the guilt of turning away from my parents years ago has, not to sound overly dramatic, haunted me ever since. Thank you for this.

  • Cindy

    I have to tell you, my parents and siblings do not understand my choice to disconnect either. I can only tell you this: all children are different and have different needs. My parents treated my siblings very different than they treated me. Their expectations, rewards, punishments, experiences, and words shared with my siblings were simply not my reality so my siblings cannot see my motivation for leaving all behind. I do not care if they see things my way. I am glad my siblings have a loving relationship with my parents. No one else can truly understand the dynamics of broken relationships. There is always that couple everyone is so shocked to see file for divorce. Two truths: outsiders do not know what really happens between two people AND the failure really does fall on both parties.

  • Shanker

    Brave, Clear and Thoughtful Article. I’ve heard about stories of parents acting totally against the spirit of parenthood. I fully agree that any highly abusive relationship should be terminated straighaway that includes the ones with Parents or Siblings. Sooner the better! (of course after reasonable efforts and time)

  • Jenny

    I am going through this process right now. I, too, am over forty and only now am beginning to come to a sense of self and seeing the truth of what happened. It was ugly and what I did was take a lot of the nonsense and acted out self-destructively. Eight years I have been recovering in many areas. I have not been going to family events for many years but have been more avoiding, controlling of situations. Now I am finally being honest with family members and telling them that I chose not to go and am walking away because this is what I need for me. I do not want to participate in sharing the lies, manipulation, deceit, minimizing, disrespect any longer. It is too toxic!! However, it is hard. But I, too, am fortunate to have many good people around me supporting me especially through this time. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Abrazos!!

  • Anon

    What do you mean by “actual abuse”? I’m sure my mother does not feel that I was “actually abused” as I was never physically abused. Yet the years of emotional abuse are what wore me down. I finally drew a line when my mother walked out on me a week after my daughter’s birth by emergency c-section, telling my husband and I that we didn’t “make an effort” to see that my mother’s wants were met. After years of only being loved when I did things the way she wanted and of trying to talk to her about it and being told I was selfish/ungrateful/mean/hateful, I have given up. It’s not even that I am excluding her – I am just not going out of my way to include her. For the most part, she chooses not to contact me (and this pre-dates our falling out). She behaves differently with my sibling, so they have a relationship.

  • Deb Hanvey

    You wrote my story I cannot believe how much relief you gave me disowned entire family inn 2014

  • Phil Yandel

    He was one to be given the switch back in the day when we fell for the “spare the rod, spoil the child” bs, mostly because he acted out every silly thought that came into his head. And it wasn’t just when he was a child, as a pre-teen, smearing mud on a neighbor’s newly painted white house, poking holes into a neighbors screened in porch, pulling down the pants of eight year old girls. He exasperated us to no end. It’s not so much we expect them to make an effort, but to just let us know what they feel we have done and what can be done to heal the relationship to any degree.

  • Phil Yandel

    And that is why we would just like to understand. maybe our hopes are too high and there never will be a relationship. But I refuse to give up.

  • Shawn

    I want to use this medium to thank this great prophet who brought happiness to my life again, Have been married for 3years now and i cant conceive any child, my mother in-law, begin to hate on me even when i visit her, she ignores me, with this reaction from my husband people, i felt abandon, i tired all pill and consultation, but all prove abortive, until i was browsing through the internet and i saw a testimony of a woman who saved her marriage from divorce.Immediately i picked courage to give a try,When i contacted prophet osaze he requested for my information and current state of my marriage and assured me that i will smile again and all those who hate on me, will now worship me.Behold after 48hours of prayer section on phone an via email with him, i experienced changes in my life style, my mother in-law called me to check on me and her son, she has never done this for 2years now, i was suprise and fully convinced when she came over to our house during the weekend to check on us, with her two other daughters. the all apologized for ignoring me and hating on me.To be short, in 4weeks of this section prayer completed, i conceived and my marriage is blessed with a baby boy. We all happy and will forever be grateful to this man. I agure all woman and men with marital or relationship problem to contact prophet Osaze via email: spirituallove @ hotmail. com, today..

  • Sarah

    My partner has tried to tell me that my family is toxic. I still have a hard time seeing it, but I have cut off contact and we moved away from them. I have some contact with my mom and I feel like a bad daughter for not trying harder to have a closer relationship with her, even though my partner is against that. Any advice to help me open my eyes?

  • Lorena

    I feel as though I could have wrote this.
    Mostly everything you have said is true to me (apart from fearing my life).
    It’s been almost two years since I broke contact with my parents and two sisters. I do however still have a feeling of sadness, question why it is they dislike me.
    What in my life have i ever done to them to make them all treat me/and make me feel the way they do.
    I will never find the answers to these questions and it is a struggle to move on. But I will, with my own 3 children and husband right beside me.

  • Ro Aroha

    Thank you for writing and sharing this article. I commend the brave decision to walk away from your parents – something I cannot imagine a child ever really wanting to do unless necessary. Nearing the end of last year I decided to cease contact with my mother, sisters, and my whole family of origin. During my early childhood my father abused me terribly. He also used the divide & conquer technique – did not abuse all children. My older sister in particular was his ‘princess’; untouched on a pedestal. I was my father’s primary victim within the family unit because of my temperament and how well I took to his conditioning. In my life, I have paid a massive toll for what my father did. Last year, out of the blue, I became suicidal. For years I thought I had healed from my past. I became more and more suicidal over the course of 7 months. Dangerously close in the end. At the same time, my eyes were slowly opening to reality. I saw my mother for who she really was; highly destructive and manipulative. My life was not my own – at age 33. Finally, I cut contact with my mother and everybody from my family of origin – my mother had worked to drive a wedge between me and everybody else over the years, anyway; creating isolation. A couple of weeks after I stopped having contact with my mother, my intense suicidal thoughts dissipated. A couple of weeks after that, I was able to attend my first mindfulness course. The course proved transformative. Just as the course was starting though, my daughter lost a very important teacher who she was close with. He committed suicide – the same way I was going to do it myself. My husband and I took our girl to her teacher’s funeral. I stood with my arm firmly around my daughter’s shoulder as we watched her teacher’s coffin being loaded and driven away in the hearse. During the funeral service, the teacher’s friend spoke. She said that the teacher had been a proponent of mindfulness, and she wanted to teach us a mindfulness technique on his behalf. So, right then and there we were taught a breathing technique. It felt like an important message, that made my experience of the mindfulness course even more vital. Months later, my daughter still struggled with the reality of her teacher’s suicide. He was a very good man. A kind, gentle human being. I am working at being more that kind of person, for my daughter and husband now. Mindfulness is transforming my life. I’ve come to realise that when we are on the right path, the road truly does rise up to meet us. I believe I was suicidal due to a subconscious battle between what I wanted to be true, and the actual reality that slowly dawned on me. I still wish for my mother, my sisters, aunties and uncles. But it’s an empty wish – a wish for something that never was. It takes strength to face up to a deeply held delusion. I am thriving now, like I never have before in my life. Best wishes for you anonymous – and for everybody on this journey.

  • Ro Aroha

    My mother (and siblings – but it started with my mother) also encouraged me to kill myself when I was very psychologically unwell during my late teens. My mother couched it in ‘loving’ terms. I am 33 now with a child who is nearly a teenager, and only recently have I come to accept that what my mother did was the opposite of loving. There is no way on earth I would treat my child that way. I am so glad you did not keep the promise to your father to your own detriment. Your life matters too. It matters immensely.

  • anxious

    I haven’t completely cut off from my family but I lost interest in them in the last year and no longer feel part of any family. That isn’t sad for me, if anything it’s very relieving. I thought I had an obligation to them, and I don’t. It was when my friends started to point out how critical they all were of me and how shocked they were when I relayed what had been said to me just after it had been said that I felt confidence that it was ok to just not care about them anymore.

    I don’t miss them, but I also don’t feel any anger or negative emotion. Sometimes I pick up the phone if they call, but it depends which one of them it is and how much I can be bothered. I think they probably feel the same way about me so I don’t feel I have hurt anyone.

    Some people have close families, others don’t. I don’t buy the whole ‘being grateful’ thing. If you don’t feel you gain anything from a relationship you shouldn’t be in it.

  • Tobi

    I need to read this, so much tonight. Your story is SO SO similar to my own. And I’m currently struggling to accept what has happened and move forward. I haven’t talked to my mother in 6 months. Same situation, abuse, trauma, feel scared and nervous, she put me through a mess as a child. I do not plan on ever talking to her again, and I’m okay with that. But lately I’ve been struggling with blaming myself, even though it is her who has caused this damage. I needed this so much tonight. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Scott

    Bravo! Check out the work of Alice Miller; she’s 100% aligned with your brave, truthful rationale.

  • Naomi Janzen Freedom Technique

    Kirsten, you might not be a wreck when she dies. That is as much a myth as the ones the author had to break through to get to a safe place. There is a good chance you have already done your grieving. A little exercise I did that really helped me which might help you: Write the ideal letter to yourself, as though penned by your mother from ‘the other side’ after she passes over and has that 20/20 hindsight and full awareness of how she affected you. Not what WOULD she say to you, but what would YOU, in a perfect world, like to read in that letter? I do this with my clients and it can be transformative.

  • Dan Reid

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    I was raised in a cult that teaches anyone who questions the religion or chooses to leave should be shunned. Whether that person is family or not. Over the years, my entire family started to leave, I was the last one out. This created an intense desire within me to preserve and improve my relationships with each of my family members. Over the last 4 years since I’ve left, I have accomplished that, except for with my mother. 18 months of conversations and emails of her refusing to accept her role, and deflecting the blame to everyone from my father to my wife, and I finally had it. I stopped beating around the bush, and told her exactly how I felt. She responded by saying we’re done, and to have a nice life. After everything our family has been through, she still can’t break that cult mentality of all or nothing. Surprisingly, I wasn’t hurt. In fact it was a massive weight off of my shoulders. What I’ve come to know is unconditional love is learned, it’s not biological. I fear that one day my child will have the same issues with me, but I think just having that fear is enough motivation to prevent it from happening, or at the very least, handle the situation better than my mother did.

  • Naomi, that sounds like a really powerful exercise; thank you for sharing. I’m definitely taking this one to heart and will give it a great deal of thought.

  • Siya

    I dont know how to thank you for such a post. I am struggling to make a decision, my problem is with my emotionally abusive father and he has been like this always, but I cant leave my mom with him and I am preparing to move out with my mom and my son soon. It is really relieving to know that there are other people who think like me and there is nothing wrong with severing ties even with parents who are emotionally abusive. Even if my father dies, I wont be sad or anything, so much I have suffered since my childhood. I too was trying to living in a dream called happy family for long, now it is time for me to come out into reality. Thanks once again.

  • Filitech

    Great article, good reminder that I am on the right road. Unfortunately most people don’t see it like something positive when you break (old) bonds with family and friends and you’ll experience a lot of rejection on the road. However, only when you can break free from these bonds and allow yourself to live YOUR life and not the life of someone else, you’ll find the ultimate freedom.

  • Melody S.

    This REALLY hit home with me today……I was raised in a cult as well where “God” was put before family and that his teachings were straight from the New World Translation….I officially cut off my mother 12 years ago, after I confronted her with the sexual abuse with my father and she simply said coldly “if you leave “the truth” we are going to have nothing to do with you” LONG story short I had to take matters in my own hands and write her a hand written note discussing our last discussion and if that was the way she felt than I am cutting her off as well (mental preservation) ….My husband and 2 children moved across the country for a fresh start to get away from all the toxic nonsense and there are days that I feel so alone and that no one “gets it”…Thank you for this article….I feel like a weight has been lifted and I can stand up cheering that I am no longer alone and will not feel like the victim when I have done absolutely nothing wrong…I also hope that everyone continues to find their new family and that they will find peace and joy in their new relationships…and you are right ….TRUE family does not have to have a bloodline attached to it….

  • Amanda

    I am so thankful that I found this today. I needed this information and validation for so long. Thank you! Thank you!

  • spiritual dragonfly

    Thank You for sharing your story…..it’s been 10 years since I’ve had contact with my family and its the best thing I could have done for myself and my well being. I’ve made peace with it all and I’m healthier for it.

  • Jude

    It’s your own personal decision to not forgive but estrange yours parents. Well and good. But don’t expect to inherit anything they worked hard for after making that decision to cut them out of your lives and leave them to dye alone in their old age. You judged them as abusive and don’t owe them anything – just as they now “don’t owe you anything”. To contest there will in court to leave you nothing as you deemed them nothing to you would be selfish, greedy and hypocritical. Parents – spend your hard earned cash before you die and enjoy.

  • Jude

    Estrange parents and not forgive them. Your choice. You judged them abused and cut them out of your life as you owe them nothing. When they cut you out if their don’t try and challenge that in court and respect their wishes as they did yours – as they also owe you nothing. To do otherwise would be to abuse their wishes, be hypocritical and greedy.

  • Guest

    There has never been an expectation of any inheritance and that in itself is a massive freedom. My forgiveness of my parents means that I have let go of the hate and anger and moved on with my life. Now when I think of them there is no longer the intense negative feelings. I have allowed them to be as they choose, and I have chosen not to have that as part of my life. I do not expect anything from them, and there will be no contesting of any wills. I have finally inherited my own freedom and that is a price worth paying.

  • K

    What if it’s the other way around- your family breaks ties with you? I have absolutely no idea what I did, but whatever it was caused my parents and one sister to break ties with me. Growing up I felt like I had to earn their love. Nothing was ever good enough, no matter how hard I tried. So 8 years ago my parents and one sister apparently decided that I was too imperfect and broke all ties with me. They won’t answer the phone when I call, and I had to miss my wonderful Grandma’s funeral because my dad said I was not welcome. I have kind of come to terms with the fact that I will never see them again. I am heartbroken for my children, who have had to miss out on growing up with grandparents, since I loved mine so much. But in the back of my mind there still is a tiny hope that I will get to see them one more time before they die.

  • Guest

    I will start by admiting my bias towards dysfunctional parents, and not needing them in your life. Just because they are your parents does not mean they are emotionally healthy individuals. Choose to look at it a different way. They have done you a tremendous favour. If they had never accepted you in the past, they were never there for you as real parents.

    They have given you the freedom from their expectations. You are now free to live your life exactly as you want and you can let them go. You have tried, you can let them go. It would also seem that your parents would not have been good grandparents, unlike your own grandma, so they may have also given your children a greater blessing.

    Sometimes there is no fairy tale ending, and that is perfectly OK. Create a new family around you and treasure them with love. I hope you find peace without your parents, it is possible, and it is perfectly ok.

  • Martha

    I came from a make believe all is wonderful and we are all so happy. In truth my father was verbally abusive to my mom who was in fear of him yet she adored and loved him and he her beyond disfunction the household. She was not
    allowed to work he would threatened 2 leave us any day then what would b of us. At age seven he began verbally abusing me w/very explicit foul words at first I didn’t know meaning since I had no knowledge of sexual behavior. I know he was a miserable coward had laws been what they r now I would have called cops as teenager. As adult I feel much more heeled I no longer cry or feel sad when relating memories and feel no guilt that I’ve taken the attitude me, myself, and I. I want no photos of my dad in view or shrine to the departed either. Enough emotional and mental manipulations. I did nothing wrong by being born as often told by him I owe no apology I was born because I have a purpose and reason now

  • Martha

    Our voice is our weapon silence only empowers abusers. An abuser, bully, or manipulate is a coward they want no audience, notice who their choice of victims r women and small children= how pathetic

  • lea

    To all of you who have cut off family
    Forgive. Let go of “expectations”. Have courage. Communicate. To inflict the silent treatment is toxic and cruel (two wrongs don’t make a right).

  • Cass

    Some family relationships need to be dissolved. When they continue to manipulate, mistreat and guilt you into behaving the way they want, you are better off without them. The use of fear to maintain control over you is soul destroying. Fear of rejection, fear of not being seen as lovable by our own family is what keeps us trapped. We would never allow others to treat us this way, no reason to continue to allow people into your life just because of the title of family.

  • Shweta Shukla

    hey ! I also feel the disconnection with my blood family . theres always a feeling of scare, fear (of losing if I do somthng or say something against them ) . They never support me in my bad times & uses & abuses me in their bad time and I have stood up against all my odds all by myself, al the time right from childhood .When they come to me , I try to giv them peace for as rational as I can be . But ,in my bad times , they will tak reference from my past ,wil try to tak my consents whatever I don’t agree with them genrally .
    I a m a proud girl , I don’t agree to them under those hard circumstances and then have to deal with my situation myself . Then they will come back later and will pose as if they did everything right for me . I feel like cursing my mom precisely .strange!
    and then its my brother , his life n death is equal to me . he is creating much fuss being alive . I have broken all my emotional bonds with him ,its just the basic ones coz I visit my parents and he lives there. I dnt need him nor I can do anything for him .
    he is 1 useless guy ,who like to do woman-gossips and he – mom teams up against his wife . pathetic! told them earlier so many times to respect a young girl coming to your family with good intentions but no use . But with experiences,I learnt n never ever I try to get into his affairs ,jus try to keep a safe distance .But , he is such a leech , will pick u up in any discussions he like , n will try to tell u that wateve bad is happening , is wat I m doing .He should be dead for me , don’t know why he is ther .I have stopped going to my parents house and will keep minimal relations in future .Expecting a change is not even there .and I canot tolerate him. You can ignore him , not a big deal , theres nothing directly related as such but coz of daughter-in-law at home , my mom also try to boost him up and tries t do all bad and wants ENCOURAGEMENT ‘from me .Its impossible! unending trap! they are lice n ticks . you jus giv them space to stay and they force you to rent it for colonies .I m fed up ! leaving them altogether isn’t possible but I hav completely cut off them for a very long time and got my peace .but , its again haunting ….

    It was a tough thing emotionally , physically to detach myself completely for around a year or 2 but believe me , it was the most peacefull , blissfull time I spent in my life having them not near to me , not even thinking about them . Its strange !!
    but I think ,our beliefs as we are raised always haunt us that if our own parent doesn’t support us , who else will ?either you completely go to your hubby side which is the next close relation, but we are raised wi th certain principles .if hubby breaks that , you want him to b on track .he mite uses this ODD situation .and then you weigh !
    and yes we have a society and I always wondered why this society and why our beliefs are so hard core written inside ,that things that keep us haunting for years ,that don’t giv us peace even for a minute , we keep on taking the burden all the time thinking that may be its my job to set it right .
    Showing blood relations their door ,gave me eternal peace and they came back in my life with my control of how much I want them .But , as time passes and you let them enter in your space (which is quite natural ) , you again come to the point ,that they aren’t worth it .They are again forcing you to the threshold where you hav to cut them off .the only point is can we cut them off forever and can live peacefully .
    Death defines some boundaries when other people(relatives , family friends who thot wer your frndz too) stop playing these cheap emotional games taking advantage of knowing your family inside story .
    I have completely stopped interfering in their family matters and jus want that I should be respected n loved and supported in my family with limited interactions. But , somehow they will lie and manipulate and will try to keep u in the same pig- fighting -mud ,which they enjoy .
    I hate my younger brother , I don’t know why . he tries to be the cool chap but he is big absurd . He is cheap in his thoughts and his intellects doesn’t match that of mine . Even if , I am not advising ,not commenting and keeping extremely limited conversations with him .He will try to use all his unused -mind and will try to advice me with the backup of those family relations which he enjoys too .I don’t value those relations too and know their In-out and why they are doing this .
    They are pretty smart not to discuss anything with the so called My family and tries to flare up small bits too . I don’t know whom to call big MAd – my family or those relatives ?
    the question is childhood teachings and importance of family –somewhere haunts you .moreover , some other relations will try to keep their scores up during this time . And , eventually , you will feel you are in No mans land . How far you will make completely new setup all untouched by family and pre-married relations? what if Husband start misusing /reusing my contacts or overpower by his ?
    I think I will again go back to a very basic relation with my family so that nobody can say I m detached but will keep no connections beyond ? But ,even if u keep limited touch , they wil ltry to call you 100 times even after telling that I m not interested or busy . they will blame you for whatever bad they are doing or is happening in their life and wil try to take u in their PIG- fight . N gosh! how difficult is to understand that I m not interested . But , they will do the same ,and will call them SANE and will keep collecting people to call them SANE .& with the hollowness covered in stupidity under shamelessness , they will come and preach you the llessons of life …..then I will hav to switch off my phone . then they will bug me on mails and messages .then one day , enough is enough I will abort them till what time I don’t know ……… dnt want bugging blood relations ,just stand aside lik dead …
    anybody has hope for me ? plz …tell me .

  • Ruthann Flentge

    Maybe it is in your best interest not to heal the relationship, no matter how hard it is. As parents, we need to respect the fact that our children as adults need to make their own decisions, no matter how hard it is on you.

    You may have appeared wonderful to a different child, but not to the one that broke away from you. My best suggestion would be to not take it personally and get counseling to accept your child’s decision. It would probably be more hurtfull and make you feel much more guilty to hear the truth.

    Yes, you probably lived a life that he doesn’t want to be part of but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you were a bad parent…and yes, it is selfish and difficult to realize that our childRen want nothing to do with the parents…but in the end…don’t we want what’s best for our children? I mean setting them free is the gretest love that we can give them.

    Why force a child to love us? Maybe they just want a different life. We all are God’s children and they have the right to live the life that they want even if it hurts you as their parent.

    If a child (as an adult) wants to abandon the patent child relationship, well than, no matter how you explain things it more than likely will not change that.

    I had to break away from my biological family also, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t love them, but I just knew that in order to fulfill the life that I was given…by God..I had to makes the most difficult decision to break away.

    Trying to get the child to change his or hers mind will only add more guilt to the child who is trying to be brave.

    I don’t want to go on too much, but maybe even fostering other chiLoren or creating a parent type relationship with someone else might fill a part of the painful gap that you are experiencing with the conscious decision of your son walking out of your life.

    Good luck my friend. Please work with a counselor or within yourself to know that you did the best you could, but in some situations your best may not have been enough. It doesn’t mean that you failed! It just means that (and it will be so difficult and take awhile!) You will need to recreate your life, but try to relieve yourself from guilt, blaming and anger because it will not be productive. Hey, maybe this was part of the soul charting even before you were birn…or you child’s soul charting for his life. God is there for you…or whichever higher power that you believe in.

    Just as children, we want to be supported during a difficult decision, we as parents need the same support when same child caused us to accept this difficult decision.

    Just be sure to talk to counselors that don’t berate your child’s decision or agree wit it necessarily, but talk to one that is truly working with you to go forward in a healthy way. Sure, you will tell them your disappointments with your child’s decision, but remember, we cannot change others, we can only change the way we process and react to ourselves internally whend faced with such a difficult situation such as this.

    Be gentle with yourself. Will be thinking of all of us as we struggle with such difficult situations in life that may not make sense and are so hard to process!

  • Phil Yandel

    Thank you for your words. They help me to refocus and heal within myself.

    Peace

  • Ruthann Flentge

    Yes, Phil. We can only heal ourselves. Hey, you may have been a fabulous parent, but not every child is alike. Please feel free to contact me if you wish… ruthannflentge@hotmail.com Well wishes my friend.

  • David Mann

    sometimes a journey into the unknown is what it takes for us to become the person we were meant to be

  • Christy

    Phil bam … right in the response that starts about the switch .. the switch well we all got the switch , shoe , or belt if we’re honest… and darn right in those days your only choice , was what you knew . But now we know better. So now can we do better , I’ll tell u what I see . If I were your child and I saw you tell the world these mistakes and the term acted out every silly thought … omg. First I just don’t get talking about flaws of a person and acting like they won’t be offended … really ??? It is plain to see you have written, memorized, highlighted, dated , and alphabetised all those certain “common” child hood “actions” .. and yes every kid breaks Windows , starts fires shows his privates as he streaks out the front door … if you don’t watch them … and sometimes they look you right in the eye with a big smile while they put a rock through the window..FOR God sake kids don’t know better than to do what pops in their still forming brain . it is pretty safe to say that your poor kid set through that same list every time you felt like regurgitating it up , just for the sake of conversation. He exasperated us to no end ??? Poor you ??? Oh honey EVERY parent is EXASPERATED to no end… BUT ….. the difference between ME and you is I am fully aware and I would NOT have changed a single experience I have had with my son on his part , ONLY my own uneducated responces. He’s almost 21 ”” and my daughter is 7 ”’ so although I know it’s awful hard to be a mom and I am not even close to being a good mom , no joke … I got pregnant , as a homeless teen on drugs , I made a Very good decision to do ANYTHING it took to give that child a life , I just could not just feel bad about my life .I had to find out how to even find out what he needed. It is tragic how we treat our children… And we all LEARNED it from our mom’s , Fathers, grandparents . I mean FIND out what love is … God introduced HIS son Jesus … HE said THIS is MY SON in whom I Am WELL PLEASED. Not Ya that’s my kid.I sure hope he doesn’t BLOW this , because he DID take off and go to the temple that day with out telling his Mom . And then that time he brought that Ole stinky bird and frog in the kitchen and used ThE good dishes … Ya boy JESUS sure we a hassle but you know his Mom was a teen aged unwed mother … and … WOW … NO … Find a NEW example …not what abused people taught thru our generations … molestation , spousal abuse, drug addiction , alcohol consumption while parenting , one parent homes with dad or mom coming and going … all these are things that I noticed had bad parent modeling present. Even if I Could have stayed clean forever and never relapsed in my kids lifetime there is such deep rooted beliefs in my parenting I still want to just throw up when I see them in me … because I feel I should have KNOWN what I did was WRONG and seen I was hurting my children …and it makes me feel bad that my mom and her mom and so on have been just hurting the next not knowingly . Remember ITS hurt people , THAT hurt people. I AM TOTALLY HURT … I feel it in my heart … so I think how is my pain getting passed on to my kids… OH and by the way my dad is passing from this life any minute … I had to walk away … and I HURT so very much my heart is literally breaking … and for periods of time I feel like I can’t breath ..I don’t even think of him like I use to I haven’t missed him in a long time because I know he is a junkie who never came around for anything good … But even though I know he was so very not ok ever . bad bad like evil …. but I love him and I have no way to stop feeling the anger that I am getting robbed right now … I hoped one day I would get to meet the best parts of him … well just telling you guys It SUCKS so very bad no matter what they are.

  • Emmy Roulette

    Just say you’re sorry for the hurt you caused, admit you’re flawed, and work slowly back into your sons’ good graces. Dont give advice unless they ask, and even then be as neutral as possible. Try to help in any way you can. It’s worth respecting the men they’ve become, so long as they’re not total miscreants. It’s tragic to lose touch with your adult children. Repeat throughout your life as necessary.

  • Phil Yandel

    Nope, I will not apologize for something I have not done. I feel badly they feel slighted, but I have nothing to apologize for.

  • Missie toth

    Thank you for sharing your story, our family also has a toxic family member, my niece Jolie Gavin. I can relate to many of your feelings because growing up in a huge family my mother always instilled in us the importance of family and maintaining that family bond. My sister had an only child who is mentally ill. Over the last year she was dying from cancer…not one cancer, but she actually truly believed she had 7 different kinds of cancers. Her entire year was filled with going to doctors and reading about different cancers she truly believed she was dying from. There was absolutely no reasoning with her, it destroyed her marriage, she couldn’t even be a mother to her own children. She went from being OCD, to living in complete filth. After making it through the dying year, we moved on to the next year..do as I say, or my sister would be punished by her daughter by with holding her grandchildren. This has been going on off and on for years. At first we tried to intervene, but dealing with a mentally ill person no reasoning worked. But you better believe every time she needed something from my sister she was back in her life once again. Money, gutting her house, garage,.yard, and once it was all done my sister was cut out again…No grandchildren. It’s been three months now and we are all standing behind our sister…some quietly, some voicing their opinions, and some standing their ground to end this chaos. I told my niece off along with my sister because I am just done with her pure evil hatred. I have never in my life met a person who would wish death on their mother, or constantly state I hate you. I can understand why people need to walk from this craziness.

  • Gabby

    In my case, I had to disconnect from a sister-in-law. Sadly, I lost my brother too. She love-bombed my brother with so many compliments that I was shocked that he fell for it. She convinced him to move in quickly, even though it meant his Autistic son (my nephew) would have to change schools. My brother knew he was moving in with her for at least two months and told his son the weekend of the move. Of course, his son decided to stay with his mother so he could stay in his school until he graduated in 6 months. The two of them were quickly engaged, another shock since my brother swore he’d only marry a woman who could contribute financially and had no children left to support. She is in grad school and her adult daughter and grandchild live with them. This is the third marriage for each of them. She isolated my brother from his ex-wife (the mother of his two children), a woman who had a great co-parenting relationship with my brother. They remained friends. His new wife couldn’t accept this. The wedding was getting close and I kept asking if my brother’s two children would be there. The nearly 50 year old fiance’ kept saying that she didn’t want my brother’s ex to make things hard for them. She wouldn’t do anything. This was all in her head. I kept telling them that autistic children need to process things, that you can’t just tell him at the last minute. She told me via text on my brother’s phone (I know how he texts) to butt-out. Nine days before the wedding, she sent my nephew a text about the wedding. He was really upset and did not come to the wedding. His sister got there right after it because they told her so late that she didn’t have time to arrange a ride. I went to the wedding because my elderly parents would be there and my nearly dying sister who lived far away would be there. She did a number of other crappy things that revealed her true borderline personality disorder, so I decided to disconnect from her. She tried to call and text me as if she had never done anything wrong and I ignored her. That angered her,so she decided my brother can’t have a relationship with me either. My brother doesn’t get a pass. He should have stood up for his children, but she knew she had that power over him. Frankly, I don’t think he realizes what hit him. According to her,I butted in to their business. Maybe so,but I stand by that. Children first. Anyway, one more attempt to extend an olive branch and she went crazy on me in a text. I won’t have her in my life. Sadly, that means I can’t have my once close brother. I can tell by the texts on his phone that she is writing them. I know how he writes and I know he’d never use teenage abbreviations. She is family. She is manipulative and abusive. I had no idea my brother was that lonely.
    Rambling, I know,but thanks for letting me vent.

  • Lisa

    I can tell you are deeply hurt about this. I hope your brother will come around. I think you are right about him not knowing what hit him. If this were reversed and your brother were doing this to her, it would be called abuse. Her behavior is abuse. I weep for you and hope your sister is healthy and a part of your life still.

  • Jessica

    I think all parents of “slighted” children feel this way, and because of this, the relationship can never fully be reconciled. Do you think it it easy to cut your parents out? You owe your life to these people (literally) and want nothing but to pay them back by living a productive and happy life. If you did nothing, you are implying that your children are heartless sociopaths that can just cut you out without repercussion. They did it for a reason, and that reason was more important to them than the pain involved with not speaking to your family. It’s your job to figure out what it is and APOLOGIZE for it. Otherwise, get used to life without your kid.

  • Jenine Smith

    Another great article by the tiny Buddha. 🙂 I personally want to thank you for writing this. I’m in the process of cutting ties with my entire family. Growing up, my mom was a single parent and had me and my older half-sibling by two different men. Needless to say, she was a train wreck from the start. Not only did she raise us under this cult, but I believe she may have mentally and verbally abuse us as well. She got angry over the littlest stuff we did like spill something (even if it was by accident). As I may have mentioned in another article on this site, my older half-sister finally cut me out of her life after I stopped answering her Facebook messages. She molested me years ago and now that I’ve spoken out about it, she’s trying to deny it and say I’m jealous of her success. Pathetic. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up skipping town once everyone in our family finds out what she did. Anyway, I know I need to get out of Baltimore. There is definitely no future here for me and absolutely nothing for me to hold onto.
    Both sides of my family are dysfunctional. On my mom’s side, they all jump down each other’s throats and stop speaking to each other for whatever the reason may be. Dad’s half just uses money to cover up whatever problems they have. I can’t even bring up any real issues without someone getting mad at me. And now, everyone is distancing themselves from me because I made a scene. Part of it was my fault and I still gotta send out that apology letter to my grandmother. Still, even though I may apologize to her, it’s a good chance I’ll never be invited back down for the holidays. And I just gotta accept it. When it comes to my sister, even though I may feel this “gap” in my life for now, I’m actually happy she stopped talking to me. I was gonna cut her off first. She knew she treated me horrible for the last 18 years and tried to take the blame off herself by talking down to me. I don’t need this drama in my life anymore.

  • Jenine Smith

    Sometimes cutting ties is for the best. This is especially true for those who don’t even want to change because in their mind, they did nothing wrong. Sure, it may feel different for a while, but eventually we’ll get used to it. Besides, if that relative was the one who cut you off first, they’re sure as hell not thinking of you to begin with.

  • TheScienceEnthusiast1130

    Fuck off

  • Fake Name

    I am just 6 months after breaking contact with my family. I had a child and it was like a tidal wave of perspective change. Of how each and everything I do will influence who this tiny person will grow into. And how they’ll carry what I’ve taught them, into this wild and dangerous world.

    I knew from that moment I could not dare to allow my child to be infected by the darkness of my family and their massive walk in closets stuffed full of skeletons.

    Each month that goes by I realize more and more of how right this decision is.
    But your article helps quiet a few nagging things in the back of my mind.

  • Kym

    I ended my relationship with my toxic mother and brother! However, thanksgiving my daughter went to visit. All they did was talk bad about me to her. I’m so irritated!!! She’s 6 months pregnant and doesn’t need this. Any help, comments or suggestions would be most appreciated!!!

    Heartbroken in Bama

  • achabob

    Hi Jenine, sounds like my family. Why does this happen to good people like us? I can’t even get a phone call on holidays. I haven’t spoke to my sister in 5 years and never will. She caused most problems. She blamed everything on my older sister and my mother would tell my father to beat her (my older sister). My parents favored my middle sister and younger brother. The rest of us were treated like crap. My mother hit my older sister in the eye with a belt, she’s been blind in one eye since she was 5. DON’T THESE ABUSIVE PARENTS REALIZE THAT WHEN THEY’RE OLD, WHOSE GOING TO TAKE CARE OF THEM? THEY TREAT US LIKE CRAP AND EXPECT US TO BE THERE FOR THEM IN THEIR OLD AGE? Well, I already told everyone in my fuc—– up dysfunctional family. DON’T COME CRYING TO ME, I’M NOT PAYING FOR ANY FUNERALS AND IM NOT HELPING OR VISITING IN THE OLD HOME. NONE OF THEM WOULD BE THERE FOR ME!! Now my only son is going to suffer when he’s older. Cousins, aunts, uncles, no one bothers with him. My sister and younger brother and mother made it this way. They got everyone hating everyone and my poor son is going to suffer now because of those ruthless pieces of crap. I HOPE TO GOD THEY GET THEIRS SOMEDAY. I TRULY BELIEVE WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND!! I will never forgive them. Now I know why people go on shooting rampages. Heck, I might be the next one so they better lock their doors!!

  • Jenine Smith

    “Why does this happen to good people like us?” I don’t know. I guess we were the unlucky ones in life. It turns out that many of my mother’s relatives already know about my accusation against my sister, but yet they seem to not want to deal with it. For instance, a couple weeks ago, my aunt came over my house with my 11 year old cousin (she shouldn’t have been there btw because my aunt brought up some personal stuff about me) and confronted what I said to one of my cousins’ ex-girlfriends on Facebook. They still want to hold to the cult beliefs of HWA and deny that this man was anything but one. I just don’t understand it. My mother’s mental illness should speak volumes. And she basically told me to forgive and forget in regards to my sister because to her “life is short.” But, my sister doesn’t want to own up to what she’s done. Instead, she’s denying it and making me look like I’m crazy. Everyone is telling me to get help, but they won’t tell her that. And to make matters worse, she’s using my job and school situation against me. I should’ve known she was gonna fight dirty. Someday, I just hope and pray that all of her lies will come to the surface. I’ll take a lie detector test just to prove my innocence. I need to leave Baltimore. I was always the odd ball in the family anyway, but mainly because of my disability. I just don’t feel anything for these people anymore except my dad. I’ll keep in touch with him once I leave.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve just read this post and currently reading the responses from people.

    Well, I’ve Just said goodbye to mine 2015 November. First Christmas to officially be alone for the very first time.

    I’m an emotional wreck, but have been in mourning (for years) with the fact that reality is the hardest to admit defeat to. They’ve never been the family I’ve been praying so hard each and everyday to have a beautiful relationship with. Didn’t matter what I did to try and make it better. It was simply never good enough….and god it cuts deep when others say

    “Oh but they’re your family, go and see them, I’m sure it’s not that bad, what have you done for them to do this? Spend time with family this Christmas? Etc etc etc”

    How can I explain? And why should I have to? I’ve always wanted a family, please don’t remind me of what I can’t have.

    I’m wishing everyday that this leaves me, because it’s heart rendering.

    I absolutely adore them all, and yet, it’s not reciprocal. I felt like I was going mad for years, it’s taken me up until now (I’m 31)to change, to accept the truth.

    I have very little confidence and I would love these negative feelings to leave me.

    I don’t like saying this, but having a narsacissstic mother and father that does whatever she says regardless, leaves you broken. To conquer and divide all siblings, being one of five, I don’t have a relationship with a single one of them.

    I’m full of love to give, I feel wasted. I’m doing the best I can however and slowly but surely I have a few friends that love me for me. Thank god for them.

    Blessings to all of you and may you all be forever warm and happy in your chosen families.

    X

  • sharon

    I know some of what you went through. It took me a very long time to make that finally decision to end any contact with my Mother. I felt I was going against God and against everything I believed in. When I finally made the decision to keep my peace of mind I was happier for it. I always wished my Mother happiness, health and a good life but I could not be a part of it in anyway. I hadn’t spoken to her in 7 years when I got a call letting me know she passed away. She was actually someone I never knew. I said a prayer for her but have never regretted what I did for myself releasing me from all the drama , lies and toxicitity

  • sharon

    Abuse comes in many forms. Bruises go away but the mental abuse stays with a person for a lifetime. You could start by talking to the sons that still want to talk with you and ask them to please tell you how they think their childhood was. Let them talk and listen to them and let them know you want them to be very open. If two of your sons dont want to bother with you there is something there.

  • Christine Gates

    Thank you for sharing. I felt like I was writing your story. I have felt the same ways that you have. I mostly recognized myself with fear of confrontation, peacemaking & awkwardness at being around certain members. I discontinued doing group things and if I did go, I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Yelling at, mocking or putting me down in front of my face was common esp. with my sisters. The clothes I wore, my looks/hair/whatever and even my state of mind was a source of derision. Many times I tried not to cry since I was doing my best. The stress was pretty bad. It was easy for them since they had designer clothes and drove fancy cars that they got my parents or rich friends to pay for. I didn’t do things like that. I couldn’t stand that they did. I refused to make friends w/ ppl based solely on money b/c of what I saw. They dogged me for that. I realize I went about it in a different way, but I preferred my way. It was my choice. I don’t regret my choices though. I wouldn’t change a thing. Over the years, I tried everything but, I would always end up hating myself. I expected that those who knew would help me, but I finally figured out that it was my responsibility to do something. No one else’s. I learned that laying a guilt trip on me was the biggest way that relatives tried to get me to eternally put up with it. They knew I wash hurting and rather than try to stop the bad behavior they encouraged me to continue putting up with it. Maybe they knew they could manipulate me. You see, I confused their advice with love. But if you love somebody, you don’t ever encourage them to continue to be hurt just for the sake of cohesion. The love I had and the trust and credit I gave certain members overrode my need to be treated with love. Like you, I also always believed that family is supposed to be there 4 each other. The thing was, that was how ONLY I behaved. I was always there. I could always be counted on. But, I was the ONLY one who felt that way. Everyone else couldn’t be relied upon when I needed something. I would try even harder until I finally gave up. I knew it wasn’t about me since I had done everything. I knew there were ppl in my family who would expect me to be treated with abuse no matter what. They would never change. I probably didn’t feel lovable b/c clearly that was how most of my family members treated me. I am grateful that there was a piece of me somewhere I guess, thanks to God, where I had made friends and knew other families who really liked me. Some of them really loved me and appreciated me. I knew because of that that I was lovable. I just couldn’t understand why not them. I thought they would change, but that was only a that wish that I held. I also really dreaded and feared what ppl would say and think if I didn’t stay close to them. I feared that they’d think I was some terrible person. That fear kept me going back. I feared also about what my future family would think. They would ask why I don’t speak to my sisters or mom and dad. I didn’t know what I would say to them. It was important to me for them to have access to grandma and an extended family. But, then it dawned on me, that my relatives would probably continue to treat me badly and they would likely do that in front of my children. A marriage I had to a man which I had hoped would end the abuse didn’t stop them. I had hoped for two things. 1: they would finally treat me better since someone new was there and 2: that my partner would defend and support me in front of them. That didn’t happen. I went about it in the wrong way, I realize, but at the time I wanted to survive. My husband learned, sadly, that it was ok to treat me the way they did. I just hadn’t seen it going that direction. I learned that this was something I would need to fix before a marriage or I’d likely end up picking the wrong ppll based on fear. A big part of why I chose to do as you have was children. That was my number 1 reason. My kids were going to respect me & I would not raise them to be abusive. No way. That was the do or die moment for me. Ironically, that had less to do with my needs and more to do with wanting the best for ppl who weren’t even here yet. After my life, it would have been easy to raise kids in that environment and just had them the blueprint that I had been handed. I could check out, not care and watch them destroy each other. That would have been easy. It was harder to say I would do something different and to stick to that. In a few words, it’s been really hard. But, am I glad I made that choice. F-ing A I am. I got out of an unhealthy marriage, see not easy, and tried one last time with my family, but only if they treated me the way that I knew I deserved. 1 by 1 they protested, argued, blamed and continued to treat me badly. And 1 by 1, I had to let them go. It;s been hard b/c none of that just goes away real easy. I took the hard road, remember. Holidays have been hard esp. at first. But, now they are better. Things are better. I am happy to say that. The best thing about all of this is that I know if/when I have children they will not be sad that mommy is treated badly by her family, but that we still have to see them. If a relative begs to see my child, he’ll have to go through someone else. If that someone else is my husband and he grants leniency, he’d better do it w/ out me knowing beforehand. And he better wait until later to tell me like on my death bed in a letter far away from where I can’t scream at him. Seriously. It had best be a supervised visit and a quick one. I’m relieved my kids will not have to be put in an uncomfortable situation or made to choose b/w abuse and love. I’m still not sure what I will tell them. Probably that mommy’s family was really unhealthy for mommy. They hurt mommy alot and made her feel sad so mommy had to let them go. I did it so they didn’t have to go through that kind pain. And hopefully, we’ll be surrounded by all sorts of people who can act as uncles, aunts and grandpas so my kids will never know there is anything missing and neither will I. I hope one day they’ll get it, they’ll understand and they’ll not judge me for it. Thanks again for sharing your story. You hit the nail on the head with me.

  • elle mi breen

    I think I’m the problem. But anyway have attempted cutting contact as the pain and stress is too much. But that’s brought another avalanche of recriminations. I worry about the impact on my kids. The only thing I can think of is to remove myself.

  • Monique Saporsky

    Thank you for sharing your story. This really helped me come to terms withand understand what my husband is going through with his parents. It’s such a hard decision to make, but all that’s there is an idea of family and a fantasy of what he wants his family to be. We are just to the point where we are starting fresh. New traditions, new people.

  • Kai Summers

    when a child cuts contact with their parents, it is NEVER the child’s fault, you don’t cut yourself off from what nourishes and protects you, i.e. your parents, unless you absolutely have to. Some people should never be parents.

  • niks

    Sometimes parents feel this way about children. But they dont let go… as its not right thing to do. Just a thought.

    Oh… another thought. You choose your parents before birth for greatest spiritual growth.

    Maybe they were also happy it came to an end? That could have been the point?

  • anon

    Thank you. Your comment about not encouraging someone to be hurt for the sake of cohesion has been the most useful thing that I have read. After decades of emotional abuse to me, but not my sister, I attempted to stand up to my family at Christmas ….not only were they doing it in front of my children, but also to my children. I haven’t cut them off, but they haven’t contacted me since. I am heartbroken. But they said that the only hope of reconciliation is if I allow myself to be abused. I can no longer do that for the sake of my children. I’m finding it so hard though.

  • Christine Gates

    I’m sorry that you are going through that. I completely understand. Did they actually say that in order to stay together as a group you would have to agree to be abused? That is just awful. I know it is really hard to cut off an abusive family. I really, truly do. In my case, I have an abundance of relatives who seemingly are good members of society, at least, on paper. The fact that so many people supported them for who they claimed to be made standing up to them even harder. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who people are. If they are abusive, they are in the wrong. I’m really sorry b/c I do truly understand. I was scapegoated like they just picked me to be some sacrificial lamb or something. I didn’t volunteer. It was just mean. I wish things had been different, but they weren’t. It is hard to be alone, but people who love you will truly understand why and your kids deserve not to be exposed. Is it worth it to see your children being abused? Wouldn’t it be better to be alone and technically a bit lonely or even ostracized rather than abused? It is hard…hard….hard…hard. But, there is eventually a light. You will meet other ppl who will treat you well. It may take some time, but it will eventually happen. The only choice you have to make is one in which you agree to discontinue spending any time with ppl who abuse you. Give up on hoping that they will change. They won’t. The sad thing is that some ppl feel better about themselves when they hurt other ppl. Asking them to stop would be like asking them not to eat. They just can’t. This isn’t about you. It really is about someone else needing power and the way they get it is by hurting you and your kids. You don’t deserve that. No one does. The ppl who have abused you and myself, they are the ones who need to check themselves and in need of lots of serious help. Despite the fact that I was always being told that it was me who needed “help,” it’s quite the opposite and probably for yourself as well. You deserve to get away from that, so do your children. I understand feeling heartbroken, but think about what you are losing. If you stick with your family, you will be abused i.e. you should be heartbroken over that. If you go, you will feel a loss. Either way, it is rather easy to feel heartbreak. But, if you get out, that pain will eventually fade. Staying in the hopes it will change, while knowing it probably never will, guarantees you perpetual heartbreak. I hope you can see what I’m attempting to convey. Stay strong and know it’s ok to go it alone. It gets better.

  • Lola

    I get you Tara. I can totally relate. I have had a really tough time. My mother and father had six children. I was born very late so my position was the role of the only child. This caused in itself great grief. A lot of jealousy came my way from the older children, who I honestly barely knew. The oldest child is 22 years my senior. I was at the mercy of one sibling who was very, very abusive to me. She would catch me off guard with comments out of the blue. I never knew how to react to it, so I never did. I didn’t know how to handle it. The sad thing was I couldn’t’ figure out what I did wrong and wanted to fix it. I would run around after her like a begging dog to try and make things better, but this seemed to make things worse. Even I was 12, I left my bike in the driveway, it was new. She pulled in with her car and could definitely see it. Nashe ran over it. I cried and said she just said to me, that’s what happens. Another time she had bought a kitten. It was really little. It had been given table scraps and made a mistake on the couch from having diarrhea. She picked it up by the neck, said get in the car to me. We drove down a road in a snow storm. I asked her what we were doing. She said throw it out in the field. I said no and she grabbed it and threw it out in the deep snow. I was shocked. She threatened me if I went back t get it. I cried for hours. I phoned my mom. When my sister was at work we went out looking for the kitten but we couldn’t find it. I still feel sick over it. These are two examples of her abuse. My mother always said she had a very sharp manner and tongue and could reduce people to a grain of salt in a second if she wanted. My confusion was that she seemed to have no compassion, yet she can make people feel really good by knowing exactly what to say. I know, I’ve experienced it.

    As years went on, it got worse. I couldn’t enter a family gathering without her acting out towards me. I was unfortunately made the executor of my parent’s Will and the POA, because I was so much younger than everyone. Now I have decided to give it up to someone else. Fortunately for them I am a very honest person, which they will realize after my mom has passed. I’ve been the one who has paid for a lot of things out of my own pocket. It is not a good position to be in, I don’t recommend it. Unfortunately, because I never knew what I was going to experience with my sibling, especially at a gathering, I had to cut the connection off with her and my niece because the two of them live together, and are now a team of abuse. I think my sister gets my niece to do some dirty deeds. I seem to be their entertainment and for some reason they know more about me than I do. I’ve become their obsession and they are extremely mad because I won’t see them. My sister always says that she has not been treated the same as the other children. She also cannot be alone. Her daughter and two children and husband all live together. She at one time had disowned her other daughter for moving out of the country to have her own life apart from her mother’s.

    The issue for me was they made it their goal to spread untrue rumours about me to the other siblings and their families on various topics about me. I have a sister that wanted me to know what was being discussed so she filled me in. In return I was shunned by the other family members who believed her. Sounds crazy I know.

    I always thought I had a good relationship with my daughter. That I was blessed, but my daughter started seeing my sister and niece and she too has become infected with their toxic behaviour. Very sad. My daughter is going to give birth, and I have not been informed of a time in which to come and rejoice, however, they have. I realized at this point, I can’t do anything about how anyone is going to think or what their decisions will be. I am forced to painfully let go. A birth, and what should be an exciting day for me, is not in the cards for me. My daughter is young and doesn’t know the history of what’s happened. I don’t want to start talking about them, because it will make things worse all around. Right now I’m sitting silent and can only hope that Karma will take care of things.

    So….to make a long story short, I am actually in the process of realizing that I am on my own. I am familiness. Sometimes I have my moments when things don’t go so well in the outside world, but I’ll be ok. I always enjoyed my own company, thank goodness. I realized the other day, I’ve always been on my own. I’ve always had to do my own thing. I do have friends and keep myself involved so that’s good. Unfortunately I have a chronic illness and do worry that I could end up dying on my own, but I’m getting to the point where that might have to be okay too.

  • anon

    Thank you so much. I asked them to stop calling me names, especially in front of my children. They agreed, but only on the basis that they could not have a relationship with me. My sister does not allow me and my husband and children into her house, I dont know why, so I always host family get togethers, like Christmas. I am told that this is okay, and I need to just do it for the sake of the family. Etc etc. My husband is a good man, and I would do anything for my children, so I have a lot of good things too. But there’s no family on my husbands side either. It’s hard seeing how easily I, and their grandchildren, we’re discarded, when we no longer wanted to put up with it. I had hoped for some sort of talking things through. My role in the family was the scapegoat. It’s also hard that I miss them so much. In the past I would have given in, just to stay in the family. But I won’t do that now, because of the children. You are right that it’s all about control. If they can’t control me, they don’t want me. On my better days,I can already see signs of my self esteem improving. But the grief comes in waves. Thank you so much for your support, it means so much. I hope that things keep getting better for you too.

  • Christine Gates

    You’re welcome and thank you for your well wishes. The situation you are being put in sounds terrible on the part of your family. When I read that they would not even allow you in their house, I shook my head. That is unbelievably rude. Unless they have some legal reason for that, that is just terribly mean. If that were me, I’d say “fine” and stop going to their house. Indirectly, they are telling you how they feel about you in the most cruel way and you do not need to put up with that. Agreeing to host gatherings in exchange for their rudeness is too nice. You shouldn’t have to do that for ppl who think so little of you. Open your home to ppl who DO like you and would welcome you in theirs. I’m glad they no longer call you names, but again, that is something that you shouldn’t have to ask ppl NOT to do if they love you. I strongly suggest that you stick with the positives here. You have a good man and children of your own. Focus on them entirely. To heck with your family. I know it hurts you, b/c subconsciously or whatever, they trained you to think that your worth was based on being abused. So, you routinely feel/felt bad as an exchange to be part of the family unit. I can completely relate as that was the same script that I was handed. But really, think about what they are really asking you to do. It’s just like bullies in school,”sure you can sit with us only if we get to dump on you and treat you like garbage. Then, of course we’ll be your friends.” I mean is that really worth it to you? You need to decide that. I know it’s not ok for me and I’ve basically eliminated anyone from my life who treated me that way. I can eat alone, spend holidays alone or whatever I need to do alone in order to distance myself from unhealthy situations like that and so can you. It doesn’t get better right away, in fact, it can take a really long time. Things like endurance and patience are really key. I understand that you are having tons of emotions and that is to be expected. But, if you want my advice, it is to take good, wonderful, awesome, loving care of yourself. You have probably never really had that and you deserve it. Once you start to treat yourself the way that you want to be treated all of the time, you will find it less and less acceptable to accept anything less than that from others, including your family. I know you may have heard this before, but do things that build your esteem up even more. Write, paint, cook, clean, work out, do whatever you can to love yourself and the people in your life who support you. I am truly wishing you the very best. I’m so glad that you spoke up. Stay strong and most of all, believe that it will always be ok.

  • Bumblebee

    I am grateful to all to all the people who have written articles about their personal experiences of going no contact with their family of origin. I have decided to post a comment here as this article is the perfect explanation of what I have been feeling my whole life and I’m sure there are many of us who struggle to explain our situations without confusing the other person or feeling they don’t believe us. In fact I will be showing this article to my husband in a bid to try and get him to understand “it all” a bit better. He completely supports my decision to cut contact with my family but I’m not sure he fully agrees with it – there’s still the whole “but they are your parents at the end of the day” thing with him. It’s hard, but I’ve had to train myself to not care if no-one believes or agrees with me (even my if its my own husband). It’s hard because I would feel a lot of fear, anger and anxiety over being doubted. If I was being doubted then I would be forced to have a relationship with people I considered toxic. As an example, at the beginning of our marriage, my husband used to always make arrangements with my family to come over for dinner before asking me. He could never understand the elevated levels of anxiety I felt as soon as I knew they were coming. They always treated him like a king and were on their best behavior when he was around but as soon as I was on my own with them the façade would drop. My instinctive self-trained reaction to this would be to clam up. I became the timid person I hated being while living under their roof. If they insulted me as a “joke” I would laugh along. If they made any bigoted comments during general conversation, I would smile and agree. I would let them break my spirit every time I had to see them and afterwards I would spend the next couple of days in a dark hole, psychologically and emotionally until I could work my way up to the light again.
    I grew up in a physically and emotionally abusive family – mainly at the hands of my mum. My dad used to try and fight my corner when I was younger but I think that just caused more grief for him so he let my mum manipulate him and brainwash him until the close relationship I had with him broke. I have a younger sister who my mum basically molded into a mini version of her. Growing up my mum would get her to spy on my phone conversations and encouraged her to talk to me like I was a piece of s*** – and I had to take it….with a smile.
    I hope some day I can get rid of all this emotional baggage that stops me from really living.

  • Christine Gates

    I completely understand what you are saying. I tolerated so much crap from my relatives over my lifetime, it is not even funny. I’ve been yelled at in front of groups, at my brother’s wedding by my uncle, ignored when I was in need, disregarded, mocked, insulted both to and away from my face and so on. I’ve been hung up on and annihilated with vitriolic behavior from partners of my relatives. I can not express how horrible it is to systematically go through that for an entire lifetime. Almost all of these instances resorted me to tears which was evidence that what they were doing was harmful. There was no doubt. Outside of the few instances in which I was hit, by my parents and my sister, the emotional abuse I endured was enough to end a life easily. I have spent much of my life wondering what I did wrong, beating myself up, afraid to mess up and just an absolute shred of a human being. That is what this does to people. I know that it is really important for people to understand this and why we/you feel the need to explain this to others is common. We want to be heard and understood for maybe the first times in our entire lives. After what I just wrote, I’d be concerned with the people who wanted me to stay close to that. Anyone dumb enough to encourage a relationship with abusers or listening to them after they systematically abused another person is retarded because abusers shouldn’t be trusted. I’m done with that. I’m fortunate and was literally grasped away from a terrible storm in which I knew no way out. I still have compassion for the people who abused me. Some I will always love, but what outsiders need to realize, is that openly and collaboratively abusing a person, especially one who is very negatively effected by it and to the point that this person becomes so distraught is ABUSE. To blame this person for their anxiety, problems or other issues because of that abuse is evil. The only acceptable response is that this person is this way because of how the abuser treated them. They abused them so badly to the point that they were effected, and they don’t act that way because they are crazy or on drugs or some other stupid reason. When I was told that I suffered from abused child syndrome, I was stunned. I had been so extensively abused that I thought I was completely messed up in other ways. Not true. I still have days where I feel a sadness in the pit of my stomach when I acknowledge my decision to cut ties and that this means not spending time with these people again in any way and it hurts, but not enough to want to reconnect. I have accepted this and it is not very comfortable, but it is the reality. Where I lived for most of my life, as a need to survive, was in a fantasy land. I went out and partied and thought it’d get better and pushed it out of my mind. I cried with my friends and tried whatever I could but, honestly, the best thing was just walking away and calling it what I was. I do not need to cope with that, but I did as long as I stayed. I’m sorry that some of my relatives have been left with no explanation and some of them are probably upset. My response is that they must have known at some point and if they weren’t the aggressors, they were enabling the abuse by not saying or doing anything to help it. It is so dysfunctional. For the ones who are the main culprits, they need to know that it is never alright to hurt another person so pervasively and with no regard for their well being. When they found that they had a penchant for that, was when they all should have marched their hinds directly into a shrink’s office, but for me, it was the other way around. I had to leave that and they can find someone else to bully and abuse, but I’m done. I feel confident that people who I thought were my friends took their advice at times and that is more than betrayal. It was the actual transference of abuse from my family to an outsider who I deserved an actual and fair shot with, untainted by their sick abuse, but that’s not the way it works. Things would never ever be fair with my relatives no matter what I did, which is why I left. Abuse becomes an infection spreading to others and I’ve survived this. I’ve come out the other end. They would never sing my praises, be happy for me or give me credit for anything I’ve done well in my life despite the fact that I’ve done alot of good things. I’m sure they only talk about the misfortunes and hardships because it furthers their agenda to trample all over a person they have spent a lifetime trying to destroy. Those abusive and hateful thoughts being accepted by someone I thought cared about me is just as painful as the abuse in the first place. I guess if anyone had a part in that, they had a part in abusing me by association. And needless to say, people who love you and are your friends will never stand for that, which means it’s probably best that those people have exited my life. Thank you for sharing.

  • Natalie M

    It is very hard doing something like this, you feel like you are the only person going through it.. Then you feel like it is all your fault. I am still struggling with my decision.. I know it was the right one.. but still I wish I had ‘normal’ parents who truly cared… I got married last year and it was the best day ever.. I worried at first wishing that my mum wouldn’t find out about my wedding in case she appeared up drunk… However I didn’t even think about her on the day at all.. IT was their choice to bring me into this world.. but then put me to the side like a broken toy. It is nice to see other people going through something similar.. I worry when I have children, will I be like my mum? Will I be good a parent? I am still healing but I will get there. Thank you for sharing.

  • Rod Krause

    This scares me so much. My wife and I have two daughters. One has almost completely cut off her mother, and I’m afraid the other one will, too. I think I’ll be next, although I’ve done nothing to hurt them. I’ve been trying for years to fix this, but I don’t think it’s possible. Mom destroyed the girls’ trust in her-I guess it’s up to her to try to rebuild it, but she’s making no effort.

  • mbcooks

    I, too, could have written this post. Even the 40 years of effort part, though for me it was closer to 30. The author speaks the truth throughout, but this part especially moved me: “Sometimes there is no fairy tale ending where our parents realize how truly wonderful we are.”

    It’s been 15 years since I severed contact with my addicted, violent mother. In some ways it seems like she was never in my life and in others – dreams – it’s as if she still lives inside me, which sounds nice, but represents harmful enmeshment. I hear she’s still furious and apparently baffled at the break, despite a letter explaining why and what she would need to do to begin to mend the relationship.

    I was an only child with a single mother and I never knew where she stopped and I began. All of her life experiences were mine somehow. She had a terrible time in school, so I grew up telling that same story – the horrors of high school. It was only when a therapist pointed out the many pictures of a smiling young woman in yearbook pictures that I knew school traumas were my mother’s and not mine. When I argued that maybe I was faking those smiles, she replied that depressed children who hate school generally don’t appear in pictures or join clubs.

    When you’re enmeshed with a damaged person, you believe their reality is yours. As a child, this is particularly difficult to overcome. Your very survival depends on that person; you must do whatever is expected. You swallow the lies whole. It isn’t that bad, you tell yourself. Other people had it much worse. So the shame spiral starts. It must be something I’m doing. And later in life, you tell yourself that only a weak person blames their parents. I mean, how long can you blame them for your problems, right?

    One of the best pieces of advice I ever received on how to banish that thinking is to say “The choices and actions of (insert family members here) affected me.” Then you can move beyond blaming them and yourself and get to some true healing.

    We tell the stories that help us cope with our trauma. We have to. To face the reality that our parents didn’t (or couldn’t) love us is horrifying. Why else would we tell the “I was hit, but everyone did it back then. I was a bad kid and deserved it” story?

    And like many of you, I’ve heard the “your mother did the best she could” argument, and “can’t you forgive her?” woeful plea. One of the things that helped enormously with the guilt I felt in the early years of the schism was Alice Miller’s book “The Drama of the Gifted Child.” Don’t let the title put you off; it’s a well-researched book on the effects of childhood trauma. It was so close to my story that I had to put it down at times. It was as if Miller had lived in my house. Anyone who grew up with unstable, addicted, depressed or violent parents will see their lives in this book. It can be intense, so be sure you’re ready. When you are, it’s definitely worth the effort.

    Best to all.

    mb

  • Karen Leah

    I recently cut contact with parts of my family. As I grew older, I started receiving the worse in verbal and emotional abuse from sisters, and in laws. A week ago they wounded me so deep that I am still trying to recover. I was called a b****, liar, and selfish. I had a breakdown right before I was suppose to teach my 4th graders. Before this point, I was starting to say no to their requests, but getting nothing in return. I would always do things because they were family. I have lupus and they think I am lying and selfish when I try to take care of myself. They don’t know I was hospitalized many times for my lupus. Because they are family it wounded me more deeply than what just someone else could say. I could never let it go and depression and anxiety have taken hold of my life. My husband is my only family now. I have some great friends and coworkers. Thank you for sharing this. I won’t feel so guilty about cutting them off from my life.

  • Katheryn

    The story of my extended family. Thank you for the courage it took to take action, stick to it, share it and grow from it. Cheers!!

  • Kim McCallen

    I was 40 when contact ceased between my parents and myself. My Mother had spent a lifetime playing our family members one against the other, manipulating her children, her husband, whomever she needed to in order to have what she wanted or just to stir up shit. I love my Father (may he rest in peace) and have forgiven him for his physical abuse, but I still have trouble with the fact that he couldn’t or wouldn’t protect us from her. I won’t go into detail about all the heinous things she did, except to say that it was traumatizing to have her as a Mother, and at age 60 I am still battling cptsd and a major depressive disorder, with anxiety, to boot. I have had some great therapists, good meds, and I function pretty well, but I will never be whole. I am riddled with shame and self-loathing, though intellectually I am very clear that I was an innocent child who did nothing more than be born. My Father died first, 13 years ago, and it was painful, but I had already done a lot of grieving over the fact that he never ever reached out to me before he died. My Mother died three years ago, and aside from a couple of hours of suffocating rage that she left this planet and got off scot free for all the awful things she did, I felt nothing. She had been dead to me for years. She gets none of my energy, good or bad. I don’t “forgive” her, but I feel no animosity. I am so grateful for my few good loving friends, for my husband and children and grandchildren, for my little dogs. I have had 20 years of sweet peace, but those came at a mighty cost. My siblings and I were a fractured mess, and we all lost contact with each other. I lost my baby brother a few months ago, not having seen him for 15 years. I went to him in the hospital, but he was brain dead, I was there just in time for them to extubate him, and then he was gone. I loved him so much and missed him so much all those years, and now he’s gone. The biggest heartbreak of my life. Love and peace to all of you, and thanks for sharing.

  • Cheyenna Rose Lamb

    As the young adult (21) of a Narcissistic parent with an Enabling parent, I feel so sympathetic as well as empathetic towards this article. It is so difficult to feel like it isn’t your fault. But having only been an adult for a few years, and enduring abusive behavior for most of my life (especially after the age of 10), I knew it couldn’t have been my fault

    A 14 year old me wouldn’t know what my parents’ hangups were (with me, themselves, their jobs, the world) and how that translated into abuse towards me (and is not an excuse, regardless).

    If I go to the (seemingly) non-offending parent and am basically told that there is an issue but they’re not ready to deal with it and simultaneously defend the offending parent, that’s a huge problem. That is Enabling.

    If withholding love and respect, or use humiliation in its place as a form of punishment, that is Emotional Abuse.

    If you are gas-lighted, or are told that your memory of something very specific and hurtful is incorrect, that you are lying about said event, should be ashamed to think that any such event could or would have occurred and therefore you have a warped sense of reality and are mentally inept, this is Psychological Abuse.

    As well, it shouldn’t have been up to me to diagnose myself with Major Depression, Social Phobia, Generalized Anxiety, and Panic Anxiety. She works in a hospital under a Neurologist – this was not a foreign matter to her (In fact, she so commonly thinks herself highly knowledgeable about quite a few things, including mental health – which is another symptom of NPD). I thought I was just shy, honestly. Now I know how ridiculously false that is. My parents should have known me well enough to know something wasn’t right long before things got so out of hand and gotten help. They should have known something was wrong when the severe signs showed up and my school counselor noticed before they did, or cared enough to do something about it in the least. Not doing so was Neglect.

    When the one thing you love at school is choir, and it is the highlight of your day where you forget about everything for an hour and she thinks it’s stupid and pointless – never shows up to performances, pressures you to quit and do something else, and doesn’t care what you think about it – that is Lack of Empathy, or just plain selfish.

    And when I had these psychological and emotional struggles, that did not make me crazy and unlovable. If nothing else, it meant I needed more love, and needed help from someone who knew what to do.

    For me, it wasn’t until I had come across an article written by a family psychologist, titled “You’re Not Crazy…It’s Your Mother!”, that I realized how brainwashed I’d become into thinking I was a problem child, that I was the source of my own anguish, emotional isolation, and for the dysfunction within my family for so many years. Clue 1 before coming across the article was that my parents didn’t think I needed help (even though I had nightmares, panic attacks, self-harmed, feared school and panicked whenever I had to go back, went from A’s and high B’s to failing nearly every class consistently, tried to starve myself from severe self-consciousness, and being suicidal – just to show how grossly obvious it was that I was not okay and did in fact require help).

    Afterward, I began devouring every source of information I could get about this form of abuse, what it was, how it manifests, what to do about it, etc. After meeting my now-fiance’s family and understanding how a real family functions, I realized how different mine was. When they worried I didn’t like them and noticed how closed off I was because I didn’t know how to let them love me, I got myself into therapy and on medication. And after reaching an “okay” point for the first time in a very long time, I was able to focus on my physical health, my social well-being and make new connections, as well as gain confidence by learning more about myself that I couldn’t before. At 21, I am happier than ever with myself, with the woman I’ve grown up to be, have a very healthy and happy relationship of 4 years, and am excited about what my future has the possibility of becoming. I still have anxiety and depression, but I’ve learned healthy and efficient ways to cope. I realize how much surrounding myself with people who love me without conditions leads to true happiness and healthy relationships.

    It is never okay for ANYONE to treat you like you are a problem to be rid of, that your self worth is dependent on how easy you make their life, especially not by your parents. If you don’t feel loved, appreciated, or respected – bottom line – leave. You do not have to have anymore reason than your feelings to leave. Toxic relationships are not acceptable just because they’re blood.

    If any of this sounds familiar, please do NOT wait to get help and leave. It took me my whole life to realize what was going on, and even now I still struggle with identifying if or when I am the issue. It’s mind-bending. Don’t let yourself be manipulated anymore. And if you need someone to talk to, I will always listen – It does not matter if I have never met you, or we never speak. Everyone needs someone to talk to and I can lend an understanding ear and a bit of perspective. No one should define your self-worth but you.

    Much love and positivity <3

  • Cheyenna Rose Lamb

    Thank you for this. <3

  • Cheyenna Rose Lamb

    This. So. Much. <3

  • Mel Insky

    🙁 I’d like to extend a hand in friendship to you Lola if you like? I have experienced a lot of hurt also… but have only one sister (who ignores me)… and am very isolated also… melinsky@ymail.com

  • Mel Insky

    this is a really amazing and wonderful reply… thanks Christy x

  • Very moving, Very real, Very relatable. Thank you!!

  • Sam

    “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” – the original full quote is saying that literal blood, shed with and for your ‘brothers’ is stronger than family ties.
    So yeah, next time some family member tries to pull that one on you, agree, flip them the bird, and walk away.

  • Cathy Cronje

    Well done to the author for so clearly articulating what many others are also experiencing. I always think that writing down a personal story, such as this, contributes in some way to the healing process. Although I can only imagine how difficult your choice was, I don’t think it is ever wrong to leave an abusive relationship or situation. Wishing you all the happiness you deserve with your new ‘family’.

  • Sandy Trovato

    I have not spoken with my father since Christmas. I tried to have an open conversation about the hurt I felt as a child and how I am working to overcome it. But it was turned around on me to make me think I was being selfish. I went over for Christmas thinking it was a starting point. Until i quietly opened my gift while my father and step-mother were out of the room. I opened a box that contained a tiara. I knew immediately what they meant by it. i was being called a princess so for asking for time to work through my feelings. I was expected to be the dutiful daughter and take care of my father. A father who abandoned me at the age of 14. At the age of 14 I was living on my own. I asked my father for a place to stay as I was tired of being abused by my step-father. My father said no. I asked him recently, how can I make you a priority in my life when I was never one in yours??? For this I get a tiara….. I’m felling VERY guilty for not wanting to talk to him. I feel like I need permission to let go of the fantasy relationship.

  • Tarissa Nichols

    Wow, while this may not be exactly my situation as fortunately my parents are loving. BUT, it is still so very close to home for me though as I too have been living in a life similar where I feel I’m walking on egg shells with certain people who are meant to be ‘family’! I too have finally had to take a stand and ‘let go’ of the years of hurt and abuse that has troubled and haunted me to let me feel at peace in my own life. Have faith to know that you deserve better and that sometimes your ‘family’ is those who are your closest friends and care about you more than you think xoxo

  • Elizabeth Kerns VanderEsch

    All of this what what I needed today.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this. I am finding myself right in the middle of feeling like I have to make this decision with regards to my mother. She spent our entire childhood making it perfectly clear to me and my sister that we were a burden and that we ruined her life. We grew up in a very violent and emotionally abusive home. The final straw was when my mother threatened my sister with a knife to the throat, and we moved out – I was 17 and my sister was 15. I didn’t speak to her for several years afterwards, and I’ve lived independently ever since.

    Now that we are grown and no longer her responsibility (read: no longer a burden to her), she is now desperate to have a relationship with us. I’ve even had a full-on argument with her once because she DEMANDED that I be friends with her. Her demands are mostly driven by the fact that we actually have a fantastic relationship with with my father (my parents are long divorced) and his entire side of the family, and she’s jealous that she doesn’t have that for herself.

    If I had it my way, I wouldn’t have anything to do with her. We have nothing in common and if she were someone non-biological, like a colleague, I wouldn’t be friends with her. On top of this, I’m finding it difficult to let go of everything we went through growing up. The only thing that is keeping me around is that I truly adore my stepfather and my maternal grandparents, who fail to understand that I don’t get along with my mother. That, and the fact that society pushes you to think you should have a relationship with your family at all costs.

    I’m honestly not sure if I love my mother or not. A part of me believes I don’t. I’ve actually had the question posed to me if I’d be upset if she died. The simple (and rather cold-hearted) answer has been no: she’s threatened to commit suicide so many times in her life – so often that it’s started to feel like attention seeking – that I’ve simply become numb to the idea. And all of this makes me feel rather rotten and unloving, so I keep on keeping on.

  • Ceunei

    “I’ve come to realize that the love I had for my parents was based on a childhood need for safety and security. I had to see them as the parents who loved me, despite the things they did. I could not accept that the people responsible for my well-being were also responsible for my suffering.” Only replace ‘parents’ with ‘family.’
    Only now, that I am in Middle Age, can I face the fantasy I created for myself, believing my family loved me. Their subterfuge began to crack when I was pregnant and at my baby shower, no one wanted a picture with me. It only got worse.
    I still want to write my NPD grandmother a scathing letter, but I tried everything as it was to make that spider love me, and the more I tried, the more the rest of the family stopped acknowledging me and my baby existed. When my grandmother used the very same slicing words she used on me on my baby, and in my presence so sure was she of her power over me, I suddenly rejoined my two year old self to my forty-one year old self, and realized those words are what my grandmother used to set up all the babies to be her flying monkeys in the first place. As I dug into things, I discovered, my mother used to think we, her children liked her mother (my grandmother) more than we liked her, our mother. It was simply not true but my mother withdrew emotionally from us none the less, and only a very cruel soulless mother would do that to their very own daughter. But, it turns out my mother was my maternal grandparent’s scape-goat. Her father almost killed her for hiding his alcohol, and her mother always bemoaned my mom wasn’t a boy, then played favorites with the prettiest girl. Very strange because my mother was very beautiful as a child. Come to think of it, so was I.
    What a bitch my grandmother is, and she has outlived my almost 18 year old cat. Oh well. I’ve learned my lesson. My maternal family will not see me or my baby, ever again, and it was my spouse’s suggestion we break contact in the first place, and the research bore up his suggestion. I will actually be very relieved when I hear Grandmother dies. She is evil, and she was trained to be the way she is by the mother just like her, and no doubt that person was also trained to be that way, too, by a primary parent or two, so, this has to end.
    I suggest everyone reads “Screamfree Parenting” by Hal Edward Runkel so we parents stop the cycle of very bad parenting here in the USA with ourselves.

  • Ceunei

    My mom changed. They can, but it is rare. My father has not changed, and still does not see how I am his target (we are trying an electronic relationship at my brother’s pleading). But, re read your own comment and you will find what you need to do.
    “If I had it my way, I wouldn’t have anything to do with her.”
    If you follow your own advice and go non-contact as I did with the entire family from whence my mother came, I’ll bet you feel just as happy and relieved as I do that I no longer have to put up with those people’s hooey.
    This year, I dumped my paternal family, but I told my Aunt why because she asked. I told her how to fix it, but hey, that is all on her and her family.

  • Ceunei

    I’m glad I read this comment. Now I understand why I avoided many wonderful and generous people in my life, too.

  • Ceunei

    I learned the hard way, and luckily my child was very young. A woman who scapegoats her daughter will scapegoat her daughter’s daughter and also attempt to scapegoat her daughter’s daughter’s daughter.
    One simply cannot allow one’s own child around those that abused them. It does not get better.
    I hope your daughter will mature and see the light. Why is being toxic to one’s family such an enjoyable hobby, these days?

  • Ceunei

    Or one could say, “I’ve already given enough blood to Red Cross,” and leave a with a smile.
    I just thought of that, but I always try to exit any situation with a smile on my face even if I can’t provoke one elsewhere. That way my karma is super shiny, and their last memory of me is a joke.

    I couldn’t do that with the family, though, had to go through it to become strong enough to be able to make a joke of it, just now. I was quite wounded for a very long time.

  • Ceunei

    I have forgiven my family. I know the history and how they came to be the way they are.
    But I do not need to go back to see them. That last time when they pretended I wasn’t there, I got the hint.
    I am glad it has worked out for you.
    But some families are far too damaged to return to, although I still love them and hope for the best for all of them, they simply do not love me. I tried. I didn’t succeed, and now, I’m safely gone.

  • Chantel

    I have issues with family like this as well. I wish mine was worse so I could just let them go, but instead they are somewhat decent but I am still very saddened that they are not more in my life. Partially I blame myself, I had severe anxiety as a young adult and my solution was to avoid them to deal with myself. Nobody ever said anything about my isolating ways. My sister (very manipulative) used my anxiety to isolate me from them even more. I love all of them dearly but now I try to be close, I moved across the country. They all but ignore me… I hate the holidays, I have panic attacks when I think of going to visit them. I have panic attacks when I think about getting married or needing them in my life… I wish I could fix this, I just dont know how. I know it is me I need to fix, I fear most relationships and my go to (safe) way of dealing with this is to just walk away and (not care)… In reality I care more than most… I can be such a mess. Meh.

  • Guest

    You don’t need anyone’s permission, it is your right and responsibility to yourselve to live your truth.I have struggled for years trying to deal with a father who abused our entire family. I was his favorite target. My mother covered for him and told me how mean and selfish I was. When I told her that he had molested me throughout my childhood she told me I was an a adult now so she was not going to leave him. She even called around trying to find counseling for HIM. I was on my own. This was 20 years ago and only after marrying a man who built my self-esteem and made me feel valuable and loveable did I realize none of this was my fault. I thought that I had overcome the abuse but my husband died a few months ago and all those feelings have come back. I want to establish a life in which I have minimal contact with my parents but am afraid I will lose the relationship I have with my sister and nieces. My sister still feels she has to please our parents and that it is our responsibility to take care of them. But they have always treated her better than me. They built her a house, paid the majority of her bills after a divorce, anything she needs, so I understand why she feels differently even though she suffered physical and emotional abuse from our father too. I don’t know yet what I am going to do but I believe I will never be truly whole and happy until I make a break from my parents. I feel I could possibly forgive my mother if she would acknowledge the truth and leave my father but I don’t see that ever happening.

  • In my experience the trade off for speaking and living my truth has been accepting that some family and friends will choose not to be in contact with me. It hurts alot but it hurts more when I am not honest and true to myself. I feel for you and I send you the courage and peace you need to know what to do inside of yourself without the permission of others and sadly the support of your husband. Love to you Sandy,

  • Aidan

    I enjoyed this and it showed some light to the situation I’m having with my parents who have been treating me inhuman.

  • annonimouse (!)

    I have a similar experience. Suffering ptsd after physical and sexual abuse. I was brain washed drugged and tortured by him. She protected him. Though my relationship with her was better it was still very manipulative and held me in his clutches. My first break away was for a couple of years but I returned out of guilt. This time has been longer but even after many years of counselling I still feel like I have done them wrong. The brainwashing illusion still persists one day flashbacks of abuse the next I belive the public image we were forced to present. To this day I fear relationships and struggle to form meaningful connections. I come across as confident thanks to excellent coping mechanisms learned but I generally keep folk at arms length and stay on the outside looking in. My extended family has taken the soft option of believing my parents story and took every opportunity to tell me my duty to them and to stop perpetuating my so called lies. Cutting ties stopped the cycle of abuse but it did not bring me any closer to finding a sense of belonging elsewhere. I am trying to focus on being my own family of just me. I wish I had found the strength as a teenager to speak up and get out. I just wanted to protect her from him but only ended up putting myself at risk. I have no idea if I will ever find myself able to be close with anyone properly but I am trying to be complete as a single unit, taking each day as it comes. Middle age has me quite apprehensive but at the end of the day I can hold my head up and make my own choices. I feel about ready to enter my teens just as my body is starting to wind down! I find the complications of my condition is too challenging for the majority of people I encounter on a personal level, and like others have said here get a lot of ‘it can’t have been that bad’ comments when I give in to pressure and talk about my past. Some people walk away for a lot less and I respect anyone who can do so without looking back. I also dread hearing my parents have died, and wonder if I could find a way to dissappear without trace like that part of my life never happened. Some people stay alone. I might just be one of them. Better alone and safe than keeping toxic company. Coming home to peace, never experiencing shouting or having things town at me and not walking on eggshells is wonderful. I never have rows at my house… I dream of living in a place where I can have a cat, that would be purrrfect!

  • Samantha Harris

    Ever since I was a child, I’ve longed to separate from my family. My mother didn’t want me, made that clear, and was horribly abusive to me growing up. She took my autism as disobedience, not that I ever really was. I was too afraid of her. When my depression started becoming obvious, and the family started asking questions, she spread horrible rumors about me. To this day, none of my family really treats me as family.

    I have been so damaged, physically, emotionally/psychologically, and spiritually, that people on the outside look at my life and judge harshly. I live alone with my son, who also has autism. A few weeks ago he jumped out of my bedroom window and broke his foot. He has no concept of danger; he just saw kids he wanted to play with. Most of my neighbors now think I’m a negligent mother, but they at least get a break. I can’t leave the room that my son is in longer than three or four minutes. There’s always a chance he will get into something or hurt himself. I have no help because it took until just recently to learn what healthy relationships are, and I was attracting unhealthy ones. I’m not ready to let new people into my life, because I feel I need to learn better discernment.

    My mother’s abuse and her emotional manipulation of my already effed up family has been difficult. I’m not allowed to speak about my childhood around my family, or any adult who knows my mother. It’s seen as a violation of the 5th commandment. No one knows the truth, and it’s been so hard.

    I’ve decided to just stop dealing with my mother and her family. They can see facebook updates; they know better than to show their true colors there. But as far as any reunions, gatherings…never again. They’ve caused me too much pain, and I know, from the bottom of my heart, that I will always be struggling and miserable, if I let these people near me. I feel bad that so many people have gone through things like this. Do what’s best for your heart and soul, and those who don’t support you, don’t deserve you.

  • Dena Martinez

    WOW! I was just laying here in TEARS as I’ve left my entire family & moved 3,000 miles away I don’t even get on Facebook for fear they will try to contact me. I cannot say THANK YOU enough for this & I FINALLY feel validated & at PEACE what a beautiful day today truly is.. I’m no longer the ONLY one who’s done this!!

    Thank you so very much!

  • Dena Martinez

    WOW! I was just laying here in TEARS as I’ve left my entire family & moved 3,000 miles away I don’t even get on Facebook for fear they will try to contact me. I cannot say THANK YOU enough for this & I FINALLY feel validated & at PEACE what a beautiful day today truly is.. I’m no longer the ONLY one who’s done this!!
    Thank you so very much!

  • Dana

    Must disagree, my daughter who lives hundreds of miles away suddenly decided that I was “negative”, too negative to be around ( which is once / twice a year ). Demanded we go to counselling to “fix” me. According to her I used to be great, but the last # of years , not so much. Fact is her timeline exactly fits when I became ill with a chronic life altering illness. Going to counselling together when I am mostly bedbound and live hours away ( and cannot drive ) was physically impossible. I see her write on groups about how I wouldn’t go to counselling etc. Many lies and exagerations of the situation. She gets lots of positive reinforcement for these lies which I now realize she had come to believe. She has 2 young children who I see once or twice a year under awkward cirucumstances ( knowing she hates me ) but she never lets me know what they are up to , their milestones etc. thus preventing us from bonding. My grandson 4 asked me why he doesn’t get to see me ? I am never acknowledged for gifts sent ( do they get them ? ) Won’t let them talk on the phone. My other children are at a loss for why she has done this, my son doesn’t even want anything to do with her when he’s read some of her posts. Especially the one where she says I didn’t tell her that my mother ( who lives in her city ) was dying. So much BS, Mom was in hospital for months and she never went to see her ( although I had informed her she was there, kept her updated via email/text etc always unacknowledged by her. I told her that we were coming b/c Mom was not doing well. She chose not to ask “how not well? ” Mom passed away a few days later. I see her posting that I didn’t tell her, that she’s furious how I handled this, couldn’t visit b/c of her relationship with me etc. Of course the feedback was ” oh poor you, how awful that your Mom couldn’t set aside differences blah blah. It’s all feedback based on her lying. In all those months she could have seen my Mom ( mild dementia ) and I wouldn’t even have known as I live so far away. ( I always hoped she was visiting ). Now she’s pulled my grandchildren away even further to punish me, because SHE chose to not visit my mother. I am negative because of my illness ( many things I cannot do anymore, and that makes me labelled Negative. I take anything written on these sites with a grain of salt and unless you hear both sides so should everyone.

  • NowThis

    As a parent of an adult child who has gone No Contact, I have to express my dismay at the avalanche of sites, articles, comments that are so one-sided about this situation. If you Google “estranged child” or “estranged parent” you’ll find that it is easily 25-to-1 the perspective of the child who has gone “low contact” or “no contact” with parents. In some cases it is easy to understand: sexual, physical abuse, neglect, etc. When you read the horrific stories of childhoods lived in terror or abject neglect any feeling person would be touched by the heart-breaking stories. However, there is a subset of the NC community. That subset consists of people who have found a role to play and get so caught up in it that they see the past through a lens which colors life with a very limited palate. My concern (and the reason I’m posting here) is for people who read these posts/sites, get caught up in reliving every hurt moment of childhood and begin to believe that going LC or NC is a good idea. I think there is a good chance that for many of them it is not. In fact, at the risk of having an avalance of angry defensive responses, I will say I think that in most cases when an adult child goes LC or NC in the absence of physical/sexual abuse and/or abject neglect it is a very bad idea. As humans we have to learn to be inclusive of those who are unlike ourselves. Not all parents/children are the same. You may be more like one parent or another or even a grandparent. Does that mean you cannot have a relationship with someone who sees life differently? Work on relationships within the family? Ask yourself some of the problem is your own inability to interact as an adult with your parents before you pull the plug on the parent-child relationship. You may find that the community of people who support you on line cannot be there for you in any real way in the real world. To hug you when your pet dies, or take you for a drink when you get that job you hoped for, or take a long walk to just talk and talk. Even in the real world, you will find it is a rare friend who will stand with you through lean or hard or stressful times. In fact, you may already have found you have to censor what you share with most real-world friends and colleagues. Blood-is-thicker-than-water is an adage for a reason: most family WILL stick with you through thick-and-thin. My daughter always had a villain growing up. Usually a friend who she decided was being mean to her. Or a boss who was being unfair. Or a boy who rejected her. Then, when she got into a long-term relationship, the list of people in her boyfriend’s family who were demons was unbelievable. They both trash-talked his family. I guess I should have realized that eventually I’d be the target – but I was genuinely shocked to discover that I was the new villain. It’s been about 18 months since my daughter and I last shared a meal together. Since then I’ve learned that she has declared me a narcissist. Although, she confides that she doesn’t talk about the “facts” of her childhood with real-world people because when she does, people don’t seem to understand the way the on-line community does. BTW she has siblings. We sat them down and said, “No holds barred – speak completely honestly – we want to make sure we have good communication and we’re not unaware of your needs/feelings.” The response is that they cannot understand her behavior. When we cite her comments, they say they don’t get it. They come over to hang out and we have a good, warm, mutually-supportive relationship (no, we’re not financially supporting them – all our kids are self-supporting and university educated). So, NOT saying this is true of ALL NC or LC situations but I suspect that for a good portion of those going this route, there will come a day of realization that they have lost their family through their own actions/statements and when they do – I hope they can rebuild the relationships they worked so hard to destroy.

  • akire

    I’m not far away from moving on just like you did. Thank you ALL for all your comments, and sharing your own experience on the subject.

    As I’m laying here on my bed, I can’t stop thinking on what the outcome for my family would be after I leave… I have a son and I want to make sure he grows up different than how inward brought up, in a home full of violence and abuse, lies, just a mess….

    My son means the world to me and would love for him to grow up to be a great man. His Dad and I are divorced but maintain a very healthy relationship nonetheless, we are two matured individuals and want the best for the little one.

    But my family,… Sigh. I just cannot deal with anymore. I’m seeking peace and my own quiet place to continue with my life.

    <3
    🙂 there is hope… Always!

  • I’ve live both sides of this issue, cut my parents off in my 50’s and then when 2 of my kids left home they cut me off. My parents were abusive, I wasn’t.

    I think some people just need to go it alone. At one point my kids have made attempts to communicate, but I know them and really don’t want to play with them again unless and until they are able to take responsibility. My daughter has come back to me a couple times and each time my heart sank as I realized there must be something she needed from me. Each time she came back she asked me for favors and I delivered and each time she promptly abandoned me again in anger-after she got the favor.

    My son wrote me an email via facebook and addressed it to me by my first name instead of ‘Mom.’ Do I accept a continuation of the drama I had to endure while they were growing up?

    My son used to tell me I’d never see my grandchildren from him when he’d get mad at me. All he was doing from the time he hit puberty was to manipulate me to get what he wanted and didn’t even know which day the garbage men came; this was his only household chore and I worked full time.

    How long do you want to put up with abuse? How long do you want to play a game that you can only lose at? Enjoy your life and release your children to enjoy theirs. Give yourself permission to. It’s OK to do so.

  • Shattered Mom

    I ended my affiliation with my parents and siblings at the age of 49. I was the family scape goat since I was about the age of two. My bother and sister were treated very well in comparison.

    After years of verbal abuse and being snickered at by my siblings, left out of family events, being put down at every opportunity, and watching my siblings receive money, a lake house, and down payments for mortgages and cars, and then told that I will not receive any inheritance because my father will not allow it, I finally had to understand that my “family” had no regard for me. In fact, it was like a blood sport for them, looking down on me, my life, my husband, and my kids. I am not a materialistic person, but to be told since the age of eight that I would not receive anything when my father died, but that my brother and sister would, just made me feel unloved.

    The final straw was when my father attempted to assault my husband in front of our young son. It was scary to see an 84 year old man with a pacemaker chasing my husband around threatening to knock him out and swinging his fists at him. This was after we returned from taking my parents out to dinner. My father was enraged because my husband pulled some phone chargers out of the plugs too quickly. He felt it was disrespectful. My mother stood there calmly and did nothing, as usual. I grew up with these types of scenarios, but thought that somehow having my own kids, that they would change their attitude towards me and start to treat my family and I with love. Boy was that naive of me, in retrospect.

    We fled their house, and the next day my mother sends an email requesting i bring her grandson back, since my husband and I no longer liked the cottage! My brother and sister were told what happened in a kind and concerned email i wrote to them and they never reached out. Instead they forwarded the email to my parents.

    That prompted my father to send one last gasp of an email stating that he was “ending all affiliation with me and my family.”

    My mother continued to reach out and wanted to see my daughter and take her shopping alone. She did not want to see the rest of my family. After careful thought and doing some research, I sent my mother and siblings a letter many months later, that they in turn described as a “manifesto”. I told them i was breaking off all contact permanently. My mother has continued to try to contact me through email, has sent my husband scathing emails, and has some relatives reaching out to me to tell me that she is not getting any younger and is broken hearted. Heck, she should probably have started with an apology rather than go around spreading lies and half truths, something she has done my entire life. I don’t trust her to be alone with my kids as she has a way of poisoning people against me, and painting me out to be something that I am not.

    The point of this note is this: I felt i had no choice to break off all contact, but it is very hard and makes me very sad. It has been 2 years, and has not gotten any easier. I feel guilty and dirty, and full of shame. I worry about the example I have set for my own kids, but hope this will never happen to me because i treat them with great love and care, and will always have their backs. I write this the day before Mother’s Day, as Holidays are especially difficult, but on the other hand, I know there is not much to be missed except for back stabbing, cruel gossip, and betrayal at every level. It is just so darn hard. As they say you are darned if you do, and darned if you don’t. Both options are terrible.

    I have resigned myself to the fact that I will always be broken. I always was broken, The damage has been done, and I have felt like half a person, if even that, my entire life. I have few friends, hate to go to social events due to extreme social anxiety and low self esteem, and have been depressed my entire life.

    I am very sorry to hear so many others are suffering through a form of what I have been through. Your stories have touched me and helped me feel that I am less alone.

    I wish I could find a support group and meet with some people so I did not feel so isolated in this pool of pain I can’t seem to move out of. As my life passes by, it would be nice to find some feeling of peace and happiness at some point. I just cannot seem to heal.

    Wishing you all strength and peace.

  • DB

    You wrote my story, and I’m so grateful. My decision to finally set myself free came only 6 months ago, when the abuse and manipulation crossed the line by being projected upon *my* daughter, by my mother, on my daughter’s wedding weekend no less. She almost succeeded in ruining her own granddaughter’s wedding day, with no remorse whatsoever. With my daughter shattered, I stepped in and put a final stop to it. She was banned from coming to the wedding, and that was the end of it. I haven’t had this much peace in my life, ever. My only – aggravation? – is in the fact that most distant relatives don’t understand, and therefore see me as “the bad daughter”. Its a tough one that I haven’t figured out how to best handle, but I the last thing I want to do is proclaim that I’m a victim. I don’t want to rally anyone around me, but I also don’t want to be judged unfairly. Still learning my way through this.

  • I did the same in December 2015. By far the hardest part to reconcile within myself is also “My only – aggravation? – is in the fact that most distant relatives don’t understand, and therefore see me as “the bad daughter”. There are so many layers to this. If you figure it out do let me know. Best wishes to you

  • Broken but healing

    This article gives me peace. After recognizing the toxicity of my relationship with my parents after college (a few years of peace, quiet and distance yields such clarity) I too broke away. After becoming a mother my guilt returned and I swallowed all to get my parents back in my life. I only wanted grandparents for my 3 kids. I told myself that it was worth it to give them these relationships. I was WRONG. My dad recently threatened to take legal action against me for losing some items he had been storing at my place, a tiny house with 5 living in it, so that they wouldn’t clutter up his apartment. He has since found the items. Desperate for a vent I called my mother explaining the situation. She added more hurtful things about him and then skillfully directed the conversation to herself asking me why I didn’t like her when I was a kid. I told her I had been scared of her and left it at that. (The woman actually gave me 3rd degree chemical burns once just out of spite. I lost hair and looked like a monster the pain was exruciating) I knew I had to be done. The stress and anxiety of my childhood was now beginning to dominate my family because of my reactions to the hurt I was experiencing with my parents and brother. I wrote them break up letters and watched anxiously while the mailman carried them away. Before it could be delivered my guilt got the best of me with my mother and I called to try and soften the blow. During this conversation she said that she never knew I was afraid of her and that it explained why “it was ok for your dad to beat me”. I breathed listening to her tearful comments and then calmly, like the adult I had always been in this mother daughter relationship, explained to her that it was inappropriate for her to assume that I had thought it was okay. She replied by telling me that when I was 12 if I had told my dad to stop he would have and she just couldn’t understand why I hadn’t done this for her. As a sane rational adult I new I had got it right the first time enough was enough.
    You don’t want to let go of those beautiful lies after all they are the only way you can validate your entire childhood when you are in these situations but sometimes we are raised by narricistic abuser and the childhood we experienced simply was not right. As this author put it there is no love and the lies you put yourself through to experience the sickening substitute you’ve known do nothing to cultivate it. The peace making serves only to tell you that this is what you deserve. It teaches you that the true love you experience later is to be rejected, so foreign and unbelievable, the brain wobbling in and out of focus while you try to rectify the drastic differences between the two.
    It is never wrong to do for yourself what you need to feel loved, safe and sane even if that means cutting the people that gave you life off. It is like cutting off an appendage and I suppose the phantom pains from this experience are much the same, coming and going. But like a lost limb these people are not there, not for you nor shall they ever be, through no fault of our own. The only thing we can do is replace them with people who do love us and learn to see them as the family we deserve. The family to which we belong. And that is very freeing.

  • Mykyl

    Hey Please give my question answer – I Live with my family there are 5 members…a week ago i visited my cousin sister marriage (maternal side) all came there but when the time come to say good bye i feel very cry lots of tears now i am feeling alone b’coz all were my brothers and sisters who came there! I am missing them a lot please give me a cure

  • BuffyDawn Summers

    I woke up a lot earlier, although in one horrible way. The day my mother tried to stab me with a par of scissors… in my back. I finally realized that there was nothing I could do to make her even respect me let alone love me. There was really nothing in that supposed relationship. She had negated everything… and in doing so, gave me my freedom. The first night I slept in a strange house, an apartment I was renting with a friend, I felt safe. I got out, made a life for myself and I will never take care of that woman. I have three brothers and the one near me is the favorite son. He is the one to take care of her. I was never good. So, I’ll stay like that. I will never trade the happiness I found with my fulfilled life with that hell again no matter what.

  • BuffyDawn Summers

    I did this. It was liberating. Eheheheh… I was never good to them, so why fight it? I embraced it with gusto. Flipped them and walked away.

  • Scottsdale007

    Well stated and so well received. So true and so much healthier saying Goodby to not only toxic parents but your siblings who also live their entire lives in a lie which affect you and your own children.

  • BetterdaysLE

    Dear Lola I’m so very sorry you have been the target of what sounds like a text book narcissist. The pitting the others against you. No compassion for the kitten. It’s NPD on steroids and you are better off away from your sister and anyone who will share information about you with her.
    Maybe you should speak honestly to your adult daughter. I no longer speak to my narcissist mother and my dad is pretty self centered and hasn’t ever gone out of his way to get to know me or spend time alone with me. My parents divorced when I was five. In my 40’s, I can’t believe I’m still struggling over not feeling cared for or respected as an adult. Determined to push through it and move on in love and peace, I found this article. May we all build up our own network big or small of loving people who celebrate us, not abuse us. You are not alone.

  • BetterdaysLE

    And Lola, my mom also spoke bad about me to my son I later figured out after going no contact. It’s part of the narcissist web of manipulation.

  • Princessp

    I know this comment is late but I’m hoping to get some feedback/support. My sister and I were molosted by my stepdad and my mother stayed with him. When I was about 10 I told her about the abuse and she told me I was over exaggerating. There were beatings also. He would have my mom call me and my sister from upstairs so he could give us a kiss. Why didn’t she think that was weird? Why didn’t she think it strange that he would want a little girl to ride with him places after dark?

    Fast forward 20 years I was still living with her and him. I literally watched him die of AIDS. I just thought when does the torture end. His son also molested me when I was a teenager. I’m leaving out so much. Til this day when there is talk about him it’s like none of this ever happened.

    My mom would allow my brothers to do whatever they wanted (play music at high volume and bring all kind of strange people to our home) and if I complained it was almost like she got a kick out of allowing it more.

    This woman calls and reports people anonymously just to try and ruin their lives. I have a suspicion she’s started to do this to me too.

    I’m starting to realize none of these things were normal and I want to get the hell away form her and my siblings. Nobody would believe it since everyone acts like we have this storybook family. I have a one year old daughter now and I don’t want her to experience any of this crazyness. I’ve never talked about any of this to anyone but after reading this article and lots of prayer I’m convinced it’s time tomorrow on.

  • Sonia S.

    I feel like i was reading my life story!!
    i have a little brother and we also dont get along.
    i was sexual abused by my father…i told my mom about it. and she told me it was all my fault. she never left him or faced him…sge was too afraid. she also blames for every single problems we have. my father passed away 5 yrs ago ..and i thank god for leaving this world bcos he was a bad man.
    i am now 32 yrs old, married with 2 kids…and my mom and brother live downstairs. my brother is a college dropout and a big loser… he doesnt know how to talk to ppl, and always thinks hes the best. im a university graduate and i have always had good jobs in upper management.

    im very successful and smart…and ppl love me a lot ! im very kind and always ready to help. i feel like im constantly looking for my moms love. she criticizes me for everything i do… nothing is good enough…she alwayz points out the bad but never the good. but shes always putting my brothers opinion first… i hate that. when i tell her something, she ignores me. but he tells her the same thing, she will right away listen to him.

    i almost feel like shes a bit jealous of me… how im successful and i have a happy family….shes always trying to stir something up with my husband….
    if i dont call her one day, she will make me feel super bad….and tell me stuff like “u dont even check up on me…. u wouldnt even know if i was dead”

    shes a good person. .but sometimes she supports the wrong ppl in her life…she takes me for granted…and i have become her punching bag.

    im at a point in my life where i need space and need distance from both of them.

    everything i say…she twists it up… i cant readon with her…she even tells me how to raise my kids.
    im kinda fed up.
    ohhh and my brother…well u uses me when ge needs help from me… im fed up!!

  • ahorsewithnoname

    I broke my “Birth family contract” on 2014 too..As hard as it’s being to adjust I’m still strongly moving forward..sending you good vibes!

  • ahorsewithnoname

    Beautiful…thank you

  • mycs villamater

    It was very touching,which really moved me

  • Annie

    DB – Thank you for the clarity you bring! I have six siblings and a living mother. A year ago when our father passed away (he was 91), I thought it might be time for me to move closer to my family as I neared retirement. I thought since I am older than my siblings, I would retire first and then have lots of time to help out with mom who is becoming more and more dependent on health care providers. So, while I was there for the funeral, my husband and I began to look around the area (New England) to find a place to live. While there I discovered that four of my siblings viewed my desire to move closer as a plot to take away our mother’s house! Mom told my husband and I that if we needed to, we could stay with her while we looked around for a home in that area, as it was difficult to find something in New England while living in western New York. As soon as siblings heard that they all attacked my husband and I and in no uncertain terms made it abundantly clear how they felt about me. When we tried to explain what our plan was, the just ignored us and continued harassing us about trying to take mom’s house. There is no way we would ever want to live where mom lives – it’s in a congested neighborhood with traffic from hell! We are country folks, and were looking at northern New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont to live. Bottom line: we decided to cut all ties to them and bought a nice home here in western New York. They have tried several times to email me to find out what’s going on, but I have not responded and will not. I’m done with them, and are going to have a nice barbecue with good friends today. Reading your words makes me feel calmer and happier that I am doing the right thing. Thank you very, VERY much!

  • K. L.

    Thank you for sharing this story. There are so many similar stories out there that are just like yours and mine. I divorced by parents 4 years ago, more to protect myself emotionally than anything else. My sister said she went through “regression” hypnotherapy and all of a sudden had a memory of me abusing her (in the worse way possible) when she was 3. that would have made me 11 at the time. Regardless, it was not true but from that day on I was no longer welcome at family holiday events, no longer invited to group events and anytime I, my wife or daughter wanted to see them, it had to be on their terms when no one else was around. After 8 years of this I snapped and could not take the emotional strain of always thinking and feeling like they believed my sister, mostly because their actions made that clear.

    So 4 years ago I walked away. I can’t say it’s been easy, I had a large family and now I never really see any of them as when they are in town they are always with my parents and its just too emotionally hard to see me to. I’ve done my best to move on and for the most part I’m happy, or was until today. So out of the blue my father knocks on the door to tell me my mother has had a stroke and that he wanted me to know.

    No a word for years, no birthday wishes (from either of them), no holiday cheer, not for me, not for my wife, not for my daughter, nothing. Now I’m conflicted. I in many ways don’t care, I’m sure of that, but all the same I feel all this guilt building inside about “doing the right thing” by my mother so if this is the end, she passes with no regrets. The problem is doing so will damage me further and I’m already pretty damn damaged. I don’t know, I guess I just needed to vent. I really don’t think it’s healthy for me to go and “do the right thing” as the consequences for me are all negative.

  • AliBabaHey

    I think you should write a note to your father. In that note, tell him that you truly appreciate him coming to tell you about your mom. Let him know that the separation from family has been difficult for you, and you would like to see your mother. However, while the false memory your sister accused you of was hard to hear, what was even more painful was how the rest of the family accepted it as truth. You would like to see your mother, you just Need to know if the family has come to understand that you never did anything to your sister, and that rebuilding normal relationships is possible. If the family still believes the false memory about you, then you accept that as their decision, but you can’t subject yourself to that kind of thinking. AND end it with. AS a father I would do anything to protect my daughter – but I would not destroy someone unfairly. By the same token, I cannot let my daughter hear lies about me, and allow our relationship to be tainted by false innuendo.

  • Call me Fleece

    I know this is an old post, but thanks for sharing. It really helps with what I’m going through.

  • Asw

    My father stole 50k from me and my mum lie to protect him. I cut them both of my life. Its really hard cos they literally live down the street. Every time i pass him i literally wanted to run him to the groud with my car. That is until he lost his hand to protect me and my gf. We threw a house party and my friend got into a minor scuffle with a random dude that is jogging in front of my house. After most of the guest and my friend that fight the dude has go home. The dude brings his friend arm with machete to find my friend. When he learn my friend is gone they try to robbed us. Then out of no where my father run them with his bike(he buys it using the money he stole.my crazy dad is well off, he stole that money just to mess with my head and put me down because he doesnt agree with the way i live my life) the dudes snap and try to kill him. He aim for his head but my father block it with his hand. When the other guy is coming towards me he grabbed the guy leg with his other hand. They kick him 3 times before they run off. In that instance i realize what a selfish bitch i am. Of cos i think that cutting all ties with them was the right choice. And before that incident i really have no regret, cos thats the human nature. We hide our own weakness and cowardness with the claim of self love. Maybe my mum and you guys mum that you abandone was right when they say they should have an abortion or give you to foster care. My parents is still shitty sometimes but i realize that i must take the step for reconciliation not them. I sincerely hope none of you guys will grew old alone. Wishing that your family visit you in the festive season or waking up in the hospital and you call your child and they say “why wont you just die”. If that moment really comes i hope your mind wont go back to the things that you did to your family and wonder what if or i am a bad child, so i deserve everything that my children did to me even though i give them the best thing in life. Now they want me to die so they can inherit my fortune while shedding some crocodile tears on my grave

  • Luciana Francis

    the best post Ive seen on the subject. I have tried to cut ties for years. It was an arms length ‘relationship’ with my ‘family’ until my son was born. Ive managed a certain distance until then ( I moved countries even though someone from my family who has mentally and verbally abused me lives in the same country too) but when I became a mother a felt a new need to connect with them. It was still abuse and lies, not acknowledging my growth and whats happening in my life and emotional manipulation. They found in my ‘rebellion’ something to bond over. I grew up with them bad mouthing each other behind their backs to me! It was almost unbearable the pain of this even stronger realization- I have always knew but yes for some sick reason we expect approval from people who do not know or care about us. I thought Id not be able to take it all in.Then I realized that they would never ever change and I could not bare my son being part in any of this. I am upset with myself for letting it go on for so long ( I’m forty and my son is over 20 months old). And I am hurt and need to look after myself too. It is so hard to try and explain to people why things are how they are or why don’t you call them or speak to them. Unless you’ve been through it you do not know the pain and the impact. Thank you for this post. From all posts Ive read trying to find the strength and solace this is the best.

  • Charay

    Greetings and Peace to everyone here. As I read the above article, I kept repeating to myself, who is this person? This person is me.It sounds just like me and my story. I have been struggling with my decision of leaving my home state and leaving behind my parents and family. I have struggled with abusive parents for years. I am 47 years old now. I have a very domineering mother and a father who suffers from PTSD from being a Vietnam Vet. Both of my parents have unresolved issues from their childhood which I believe should have prompted them both not to have children until they resolved them. I truly believe that there is something seriously wrong with a person or parent who wants their child to feel the same type of pain or abuse they felt as a child. This is what I endured. It is also amazing to me how when I made my decision, I have had so called friends say I am seeking attention because I seek out information and knowledge online and have made comments on sites like this because I was so compelled by the articles and comments of others. It’s like really? Why am I the attention seeker or drama queen because I want to be a whole healed human being? So after reading this article and reading a few comments, I know now I have made the right decision. I know that I have not been a perfect daughter, but I did do my best to be a good daughter. I am no longer going to carry the burden of trying to fix us. Nor am I going to allow myself to suffer from the decision to protect myself from them or it. I too lived in an illusion trying my best to remain clearly where I was not wanted thinking it was my duty to keep us whole. Thinking that people would say I was a bad daughter if I did not remain or worse that I was ungrateful for all my parents have done for me. People are going to talk about you regardless of what you do, so to hell with them and that thought. People who view my parents as saints and angels, don’t know the whole truth or the reality of my childhood or adulthood with them. They saw one side with them. And of course they would put on their best side with others but were devils and demons at home. Straight evil at home. I even had someone tell me, “I been over your parents house, I don’t sense what you are saying there.I don’t believe you.” You know that was the other thing that I feared the most that kept me quiet for a long time, that no one would believe me. I once opened up when I was in high school to a counselor about my life at home and the only thing he did was say, “how do you live with those people?” Really? Hell, I was seeking help, a way out and all this counselor could say is “how do you live with those people?” Then there are people who really know what has happened in my life as a child growing up and they simply ignored it and attempted to blame it on being black.Saying black people don’t expose their family life and they definitely don’t tell on their parents. You cannot imagine how hard it is to be raised in a dysfunctional black family. We have too many isoms and things that hold us back as a people and race. One of those things is what happens at home stays at home. How many times that was drilled into my psyche. Black folks don’t have mental illnesses, that’s a white person’s disease.You are just weak. You need to be strong and deal with it. Yeah right. Mental Illness does not discriminate and most of the time it is hereditary. And that includes black folks. My mother was and is overbearing and domineering. Overprotective and very calculating. I cannot begin to tell you about her hypocrisies and hate alone. Mind manipulator, she was a master. She could make you feel like a speck of dust, hell, less than a speck of dust just from her presence in the room. I was always tense around her, fearful of her. Wondering to myself, what is she going to do or say next? My father was destroyed by Vietnam. I did not know him before, but I heard stories of how he was and he was nothing like those stories at home. He would say some of the cruelest things a father could say to their daughter. His act and expertise was mental abuse. I loved my daddy but he always made me feel like he really didn’t care for me and one time he told me as a teenager, he did not like me. So, in my mind that confirmed everything I was thinking. I was a constant reminder of his mistake he made with my mother when he impregnated her 47 years ago. Now, remind you, that they decided to have unprotected sex, so why was I punished for that? And on top of that, my mother was an unwed mother back when that was taboo. They did not get married until I was 18 months old. My brother was born in 1975 when they were married. And when he came, it was like I was an urchin to my father. It was all about my brother from then on and still til this day. My father looks at me with disgust but my brother who has torn his butt from a to appetite, can do no wrong. Me, I am the black sheep, such a horrible daughter. The things that have been said to me by both parents throughout the years are not even worth repeating but I can tell you are horrible. The things done even worse. So, one day, I decided enough is enough and I left my beloved home state and moved way way far away from them to another state. It was horrible at first. I kept asking God did I make the right decision. I wanted God to know I did it to protect myself. To protect my psyche and mental health. I wanted God to know I tried and I am a good daughter and I do have a good heart and I had good intentions and I do love them still but I just cannot be around them cause they cause me so much grief and pain and distraught. They make me so depressed and make me feel worthless. I didn’t want to be around people like that especially when the people are my parents and family. Nothing good was going to come from continued abuse like that and the sad thing is they show no signs of changing or forgiving. In fact, they were getting worse as they aged. I too, wonder what would I do if I ever got a call saying somebody died. I don’t know yet, but I can tell you all that evil will not be missed. I have given my number and address, so they have means to contact me. At this point, they are choosing to say nothing, do nothing or even try to reconcile and I am at the point, I have done all I can to do all those things, I will not be the one to give in once again and call or visit and subject myself again to their comments and ridicule and demands and guilt and abuse. This time, they will have to apologize and I will forgive as I have before and I have forgiven them this time as well, but this time, it will be different. I am staying my distance until I see actions that line up with words. If I see no sign, I will not allow them back in my life. And I will not feel guilty and I won’t be ashame. I know that God directed me to this article just like He did to the other ones I have searched out and I know that I have made a good decision when I decided to walk away and seek truth, light and peace after being raised in darkness, hate, chaos and hate. Good luck to others seeking and I pray we all find peace in our decision to let go and protect ourselves. But one thing I want all of you to do is find a good therapist to really heal and reconcile with yourself and know that you are not a bad person because you wanted the cycle of abuse to end. You are not responsible for your parent’s “fixing”. YOu are worthy of a life worth living, so LIVE! ~Charay47

  • 0O0OO00OOO00

    There is nothing that would ever make this person “understand.”

  • 0O0OO00OOO00

    This is an article about real abuse followed by many comments about abuse. This goes over your head and says more than you intended.

  • KayEss

    I gave up spending more than a day or two a year with my parents because they caused me pain and vowed I would be a much better parent to my own children who I love unconditionally. Sadly, they – in turn – can barely tolerate me and have all but cut me out of their lives. I know I must have somehow replicated a pattern and let them down in ways I don’t fully understand, but I miss them desperately. What’s worse is that since my parents died, I forget why I had to be so distant from them and what it was they did wrong.

    I only hope my children realise how loved they were at some point in their lives.

  • James Carl garrity

    I really enjoy the time I spend alone.i never quite feel alone my twin flame is always with me.someday for her I will branch out just not yet.people were really disrespectful.

  • Vega5

    Wow! Everything I’ve been going through for the last 25 years is right here. My struggle has just come to a head. Anonymous said everything I’ve been feeling. I, just this very month, have decided to wash my hands of all the toxic people in my life. I too have been told “she’s your mother” or “family is everything”. Well it isn’t, and I finally realized that having them in my life hurts more than having them in my life. This story will continue, but I am so grateful for finding this page and all who share in this transition.

  • Justin Pickering

    Reading this thread makes me feel deep compassion for all humanity. It seems that one of our main struggles in the ongoing saga of our daily lives is to mediate our feelings of brokenness from the past…. from the moment we realized that a friend or loved one really isn’t such a swell person or really did us some physical, psychological, psychic, or even financial harm. I think there are varying degrees of abuse but the pain in the end is pain. No use in comparing suffering. One may have had. father who got angry and used his fists. Another may have a deadbeat brother who mooches money. You may be like me with a severely alcoholic mother who drains 2L of wine per night and verbally abuses people. Most people you will meet in this life are full of crap. We all come from broken homes. We all experience that moment where our soul splits from the divine. I am almost 40 but have done and seen a lot more than my peers. My life has been storied and dangerous and risky and I’ve loved the journey…. even the hard parts. I’ve truly lived which is why I am 100% content in my business and marriage. I say all this to illustrate that we will suffer, we certainly will suffer, and at the hands of people we lover and who supposedly love us. A wise man once told me… truly wise man… millionaire…. leads seminars in front of hundreds of people for past 20 years… he told me that love is really just being generous enough with someone to let them be exactly who they are and who they are not. So few people even comprehend what this wise man means, but in my own marriage I live this refrain with my wife. My family was alcoholic chaos. There are still some bad days. My parents will probably die miserable because my father goes to AA and my mother is a problem drinker. It’s an odd dynamic. They insist everything is fine but it’s not. For over 10 years, she drains a huge bottle of wine down her gullet. He sits there and listens to her slurred speech. I am debating back and forth whether to disappear from their lives. I get caught between romantic notions of the past and what the reality in front of me is. I continue to pray for answers. They will come. For nearly 40 years, those answers always have. Good luck to you all in your journey. Pray that what happens is for the highest good of all involved.

  • Marina Levit

    your comment is called gaslighting – just so you are aware – you are telling the writer that she said more than she intended. pure narcissistic maneuver to disregard another person’s thoughts, feelings and intents. makes me want to throw up.

  • Shannon Hill

    I am so happy I read this article; it helps me feel that I’m not alone. I quit talking to my family over the past few years and I had to go into therapy because I felt like I was a bad person & blamed myself for the constant issues. I learned several things, one was that the healthier one becomes the less tolerance they have for the dysfunction so I took myself out of the equation so I don’t have to “pretend” anymore. My friends are my family – and I have two teenagers that have helped me to be a good mom. My therapist pointed it out – she said: you were not parented with love but you did the opposite, so being ignored as a child and moved around every year or introduced to tons of different men – I have taken my parenting serious …. I have been mocked by being too over protective and insulted for taking my children away from the family party when they were younger. Today, my children are good kids & they have both parents loving them no matter what. We listen to them and allow them to speak their feelings without shaming!

  • Rachel

    I’ve just stumbled across this article and it speaks to me on so many levels, Im 27 and living at home with my father. We have recently fallen out due to his selfish behaviour and stubbornness to accept when he has made a mistake and upset me. I feel drained always giving and helping and being taken for granted. I’m scared to take the plunge but am leaning towards a life of cutting family ties and moving away. I’ve recently quit drinking alcohol as I feel I’ve been using it to numb a crap home life and deal with people that are supposed to love me, like a lot of people here, I was raised that family is everything but is family really everything when all they do is make life more stressful and difficult. Thank you for this article and showing me it’s ok to do this and re build a life that I can be a successful and happy human being.

  • AliBabaHey

    I would suggest that it might be helpful to think of yourself as an individual and not be so focused on the reflection of yourself you see in your father’s eyes. I notice you write specifics about yourself, such as (1) you’re 27 (2) you are living in your father’s home (3) you feel drained, taken for granted, scared, you’ve quit drinking, feel numb, stressed, unsuccessful and unhappy. But – no specifics about your father so it’s hard to make suggestions. Perhaps consider the concrete issues. For example, if you are contributing by paying rent & towards utilities & groceries but you’re not allowed to feel as though you have rights within the house those are concrete examples of unfairness. If your father frequently has guests in the house that you help maintain (cleaning, cooking, gardening, financially, etc) yet feels he has the right to dictate who or when you can have guests that is unfair. If your father has helped siblings with their goals but not towards your goals, what is different in your relationships? It usually helps to make things concrete. Make a list of the ways in which you show your the kinds of respect and support and then a list of the ways he does the same for you. Make a list of the concrete things that would make a difference to you in the home – and how they might be achieved. Being hurt and feeling taken advantage of is going to make things worse and will carry over throughout your life even if you move out and break off contact. Better to deal with things in a concrete way and then go forward on solid ground in a clear way. Best of luck.

  • AliBabaHey

    I’m so glad to hear you have made the choice to use therapy to deal with your self-image. As they say, friends are the family you choose – and having children you can build a loving family with is wonderful.

  • uncommonsense2010

    Let me recommend to you DANM, Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers. It may not be exact but as the son of one I found this site to be the closest to a healing wakeup call as anything available to me. If you sign up on the mailing list there are things she will send to offer, some CD’s and other stuff for a price, but every email she sends out has tidbits that help you keep going and realize it’s not you that is the problem. I’ve been on her mailing list for a almost 2 years and haven’t bought anything. I’m realizing all over again that not just my mom is the problem but now facing the fact my dad is just as bad as mom however he has always been more passive so I didn’t notice. I can see me cutting them off for good, both of them. http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/

  • Sharon Numnut

    For my peace of mind I had to disconnect from my biological family. THey were full of lies and drama. They didn’t care who they hurt along the way. I tried for many years to keep a connection til I woke up and realized what I was allowing them to do to me with me being in their lives. I saw other families that seemed close and always envied them but finally realized I was never going to have that type of family with my Mother, sister and brothers, I think the only sane one was my Father.

  • dilshani

    Thank you for this I know what I should do ✌

  • Vida

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I grew up abused by my father and I have also lived the fantasy that I had a loving father. As painful as it has been for me, I have also decided not to have a relationship with him now that I am an adult and have a family of my own. The dream of being in a loving family was so strong and, just as you experienced, I wanted to keep my end of the bargain by continuing to make him a part of my life because it seems like the right thing to do, no matter how high of a price I was paying. I’m a few weeks away from moving out of state and feel so much better because these past few years I have distanced myself from him emotionally. This physical move out of state can only help me keep him out of my life. I echo your sentiment “I no longer believe that I have lost my family. I have only now finally recognized who they truly are.” Thank you!

  • Steve

    I suspect there are many people like the person in this article – sad to say. Its probably in part a sign of the changing world we’ve always understood to be – or have been told was better to be -traditional. These days with media we know a lot of “stuff” among some good things though in many ways we’re not smarter and often about the same or worse for it.

    Notwithstanding those who sneak peek at estranged family on the social sites, there are many who don’t do it but replace it with socializing or social media that is for all practical purposes the “new” family of sorts. It used to be thought crazy to talk to oneself but on facebook its okay to talk to anyone as long as you play by the rules. It often beats the social scene too in many ways as you don’t have to meet a lot of losers finding friends.

    I do think that a lot of what my own experience has been with family is to rationalize pain as being on all sides but the real truth I believe for our family was that we never had much of a family life to reconcile. Perhaps it has to do with a one-parent family growing up and/or an emotionally distant one. That perhaps is what some may relate to and if it offers any comfort to others so be it. It helps me to take some of the burden off of my own shoulders and its enough to know if you tried to tango many times but were refused and as any dancer knows when you get rejected – try another partner.

  • Kevin Smith

    Hey people i just stumbled onto this page trying to find awnsers that i cant find in my own heart i know i need to let my family go but im so scared to do so ive always been there for them no matter what was needed but as years go by im comming to the point where im there poison for what it is they always blame me for every little thing (even things im not involved in) i have been beaten down time after time and took the bullet for them so many times i cant count but for some reason i stick with them for a hope they will see what they are doing and be the family i always hoped they would be
    I guess what im trying to say is im scared as hell to let them go but its come to the point they have financially ruined me and i have two kids to look after my partner is my rock and been there even when she didnt need to be can someone please help me i dont know how to walk away im scared

  • Jennifer Moore

    This could have been my story….when I broke things off with my family in 2008, I searched the internet for “grieving processes” when you cut your parents off or even “divorcing” your parents. It was so hard to find anything. It gives me some peace to realize I am not alone. It is also hard when you have 2 other siblings (with children) that don’t leave the situation and therefore you are on your own….

  • sunny lilly

    I broke away from my mother 5 days ago, she had cancer and I took over her care for over a year, now she is cancer free and is healthy, but she wanted me to keep taking care of her and cooking big meals for everyone in her house so I rebelled and complained! When I did this she insulted me and called me ungrateful so I walked away and left, last night she called my sister who has always been a bully and verbally abusive to me and told her I walked out on her so I got more insults and belittled, treated like I was the idiot maid ! Now I decided I don’t want to see those 2 ever again, this has happened before whenever I’ve said something I always get bullied by both of them I do not need that mental deterioration! I’m moving on I’m still young , good bye mother and sister..

  • sunny lilly

    Everyone was always telling keep up the good work and you’re doing a great thing caring for your mom, yes sister you’re great etc… Soon as I complained about why I had to feed everyone of my adult nephews their kid and wife, I got slammed and thrown into a pit with lions… NO MORE…

  • Anxietychic

    I have five siblings most of whom only talk to me when they want something, my oldest brother is pure toxic. He tells lies to two of my other brothers so they’ll treat me bad. This all happened when I quit letting them use me or only call when they wanted something (babysitter, money, help with car, etc.). It hurt because I always thought we were close but I see that was an illusion, a way for me to pretend it was ok, “that’s what family does” etc. it got really bad after my dad died, we never really got along he was not a good man. My four brothers spent life pretending he was even inviting him to what used to be separate holidays (him and my mom divorced when I was very young due to alcohol, cheating and abuse) at my moms house regardless of how uncomfortable it made us women (he also molested my sister) because even thought he made in appropriate comments to me a lot and still to my mom it was “just the way he is.” When I was younger I fought with them to try and get them to see I wasn’t any worse then they were but after I turned 29 I just quit realizing they would always treat me like a “bastard child,” I grew out of it, got therapy, healed myself and now because I won’t participate and backed away from them I’m a piece of shit. It’s hard because I have an anxiety disorder but I am much less stressed even though I miss them.

  • ghostaliaz

    Your sister is what I call a very acidic person that you must get from around. Anyone that would treat you so ignorant is just that ignorant and you need to get them out of your life before it is to late & something bad happens, because everyone has their breaking point. If I were you I would get the heck out of there and leave those evil monsters in there hateful stew and I would move to a whole other city and I would not tell them where I went and I would only talk to my daughter and go and build you a family of friends because they sound like monsters. I am currently on my way to clean house of family and when I leave I am going to leave them all behind and I am going to build my self a new positive family of friends in the new city where I move & I am saying good bye forever because negative dysfunctional family members are something that I can do without. I can walk in and say to my Mom, oh it is a very beautiful day, then she would probably say something negative no matter what and I have never cared if people are true blood or not, if they are an *ss, then get them out of your life and if it is a major problem like yours and mine I say move away and never look back because wasting your life getting treated bad by people that are suppose to be your family is simply just not worth it no matter if they are family or not, no one is worth receiving bad treatment. I want positive uplifting people in my life no matter if they are family or friends, but the negative ignorant irritants have got to go especially me being Aries because you can only poke us Aries so many times before we turn around and take a bite out of the person and I don’t mean a real bite but a ballistic going off on the person. I usually will warn my negative family members and I will say, you know how I get down so you should stop before I snap and then they usually stop because I do not take any crap and not many Aries do without something going BOOM snap ballistic snapping. If a person a positive with me/Aries then we are fine and calm, but if they act crazy and say some messed up stuff to an Aries, then I say run because it is about to be world war 3 literally, so I know that it is best for me to leave from around these negative people because I want to smile and I want to be around others that want to smile and be happy also and I do not need family to do that because I can do that with new friends instead and you should also. Get out of there before it’s to late because I know I’m going to and I will never look back! Plus I’m one of those people who don’t like contrast and arguments because to me they are a waste of time and a waste of good energy that could be used more productive having a respectful conversation, so I do not do well with volatile people at all.

  • ghostaliaz

    Your sister is what I call a very acidic person that you must get from around. Anyone that would treat you so ignorant is just that ignorant and you need to get them out of your life before it is to late & something bad happens, because everyone has their breaking point. If I were you I would get the heck out of there and leave those evil monsters in there hateful stew and I would move to a whole other city and I would not tell them where I went and I would only talk to my daughter and go and build you a family of friends because they sound like monsters. I am currently on my way to clean house of family and when I leave I am going to leave them all behind and I am going to build my self a new positive family of friends in the new city where I move & I am saying good bye forever because negative dysfunctional family members are something that I can do without. I can walk in and say to my Mom, oh it is a very beautiful day, then she would probably say something negative no matter what and I have never cared if people are true blood or not, if they are an *ss, then get them out of your life and if it is a major problem like yours and mine I say move away and never look back because wasting your life getting treated bad by people that are suppose to be your family is simply just not worth it no matter if they are family or not, no one is worth receiving bad treatment. I want positive uplifting people in my life no matter if they are family or friends, but the negative ignorant irritants have got to go especially me being Aries because you can only poke us Aries so many times before we turn around and take a bite out of the person and I don’t mean a real bite but a ballistic going off on the person. I usually will warn my negative family members and I will say, you know how I get down so you should stop before I snap and then they usually stop because I do not take any crap and not many Aries do without something going BOOM snap ballistic snapping. When people are positive with me/Aries then we are fine and calm and we will stay that way forever, but if they act crazy and say some messed up stuff to an Aries, then I say run because it is about to be world war 3 literally, so I know that it is best for me to leave from around these negative people because I want to smile and I want to be around others that want to smile and be happy also and I do not need family to do that because I can do that with new friends instead and you should also. Get out of there before it’s to late because I know I’m going to and I will never look back! Plus I’m one of those people who don’t like contrast and arguments because to me they are a waste of time and a waste of good energy that could be used more productive having a respectful conversation, so I do not do well with volatile people at all

  • Daniel Sisemore

    Thank you. I needed to read this right now. I’m dealing with similar feelings with my own folks. I won’t get into details, but know that this helped me immensely. Again, thank you.

  • CB

    Hey,

    I have been searching for something like this after this sudden feeling of being lost. My therapist encouraged me to do what was best for me and maybe cutting ties is the best option. I didn’t go to my parents on Thanksgiving because of the repeated heartbreak, and this would have been a more “intense-than-ever” gathering because my dad is dying.
    I saw my parents a couple of weeks ago. My mother wanted all of us to have pictures taken (yeah, now and not when we were growing up) because of my dad dying. I tried to sit down and actually talk with my dad and just level with him. He told me that he died 2 years ago. He has always been like this as long as I can remember. Both my parents are empty shells of people. That was my breaking point.
    It sucks, but I can’t keep bringing my past into my present. I am happily married and I can very well see the issues it was causing at the beginning of our union.
    However, I do feel rather lost in my emotions, almost like I am void of emotion. I guess this is normal since I just did a major step in my life?

  • Brac

    I guess this is as good a place to vent as any. A little about myself: I’m a 20 year old guy from Memphis in my junior year of college, out of state of course. For about 12 years now I have had to deal with the and physical ramifications of the abuse i received from both my sister and brother, but mostly my brother. I wouldn’t consider my family broken in the least, but my siblings and I did not have the same father, as they were both children who dealt with a messy divorce. My mother remarried and along came me. In my own opinion i guess my siblings always saw me as the favorite of my parents. “Their child, the one they loved more.” That type of thing. Their father had a lot to do with the way they treated me. He’s not a good man, he abused my mother during their marriage, and my siblings as they grew up. He played psychological games and in a sense brainwashed them both to hate me and my father, as somehow we were the instruments of their pain. As far as I’m aware at this point they have little to no contact with him, which is a sign they’re heading in the right direction. But, for me, that still doesn’t change the past. I was around 8 when the beatings from my brother started. He was older, physically fit, and both my parents had to work until 6, so from the time we got out of school til then he had free reign over me. I was, in a word, plump, weak, more book-smart than anything else. I had no real way to defend myself. My parents did the usual thing of telling him to stop, punishing him, and usually he stopped around wednesday or thursday, but every sunday, when he came home from his fathers he would start again. I had thoughts of killing him, myself, running away, etc., but for the most part it was all just thoughts. It went on like that til I was 16. He went too far once, put me in the hospital. My parents couldn’t hide it from everyone else anymore, couldn’t act like this was normal. They sent him to live with his father, and for a two year period I barely every saw him. I’m not ashamed to say I was happy with things like that. I wasn’t scared, I didn’t have bruises when i went to school. I was able to graduate in peace. He moved back in with my parents when I was 18, just before I moved off to college. He’d gotten tired of his father, and my mother was under the impression he’d changed. I of course was adamantly against this. Nonetheless he came home, and sure enough it all started again. It’s been another two years now, and I still barely see him. I’ve moved out of that house and am a legal resident in my college’s state. I don’t go home unless I have to. The times I have seen him recently I’ve noticed he has a problem with alcohol. My eldest sister says he gets angry when he drinks. I’ve started taking better care of myself. I’m not chubby anymore. I go to the gym 5 times a week now. Mainly because he can’t call me fat anymore. He can’t make fun of my physical appearance anymore. I grew my beard out, started shaving my head. I don’t want to look the same as I did when i was young. I’m probably going to get my concealed carry permit when i turn 21 as a defense measure. I have no ill thoughts on his well-being, but my brother-in-law tells me he is unstable these days, and i see no choice but to have the option to defend myself if the time every came to that. The emotional burden is still there. I’ve started opening up to the friends I’ve made in college, and I think they get why I tend to be distant to people. It’s something I’m actively working to improve, but it hasnt been easy. I can’t really keep a relationship, let alone be “normal” around new people. I tend to just sit quiet until I’m comfortable with them. I doubt I’ll ever be able to forgive him for the things he did to me, but I’ve learned to cope with the past. I guess the opportunistic saying is “Out of sight, Out of mind.” It’s just easier for me not to see him. The last time I visited my parents he got drunk and tried to punch me in the face. Some people don’t change or just haven’t seen the error of their ways yet. My sister wasnt as bad. She made fun of me as a child, which, looking back now it wasnt a big deal, but on top of everything else then i couldn’t help but have resentment towards her. I still see her every now again. I have forgiven her, and she deeply regrets our past. But my brother still causes fights, still acts like a child. But we’ve never been close, and I don’t see him fixing himself any time soon. I know this was a little long, but it just feels good to get it out every now and again.

  • Catherina Wilhelmina Van Den B

    I tear everyday about 5 years ago my astranged brother moved back from a horrible marriage I the fool helped him through his divorce with free help of working friends I stood by him and thought I was doing the right thing. I came to realise my brother was having an affair with the girl who would shatter my once fairy tail loving family I was immediately the outsider of my home which my husband and I built in my folks yard. They treated us like filth that my husband decided it was time to find our own place. We stayed there for about 4 years then I got continuesome calls from my mother and father complaining on how they getting abused by my brother and his now wife. It tore my world upside down when I stood up for theme they acted as if it was all lies.both my brothers immigrated to new Zealand my parents are going to. I was hurt to hear of this and was told I’m a selfish cold hearted b…. I sit today at home with the parents who don’t talk to me as I ha
    ve bought there home using my furniture to help them but I’m told I’m making them feel out as I’m trying to bring all my stuff indoors. I’m still hurting and your story really gave me some light that I’m not crazy.

  • Anontino

    I was disowned by my mother 23 years ago when I married someone she didn’t want me to marry because “it looked bad to her friends.” My father had already passed away many years before so he wasn’t around to help manage her irrational attitude. She just passed away this year and I was officially disowned and cut out of the will. Didn’t care too much about that, but the nasty, vile, hateful things she wrote and said over the years are what bothers me the most. The fact that my whole extended family didn’t stand up to her and allowed her to bully them really bothers me. For 23 years I wasn’t invited to a wedding, holiday, birthday, shower, NOTHING. I’ve seen all the pictures of them all enjoying themselves at her house on Christmas and Thanksgiving. It’s like I was completely cut out of everyone’s life, whether they agreed with her or not.
    Now that she’s dead, they keep asking me when I’m moving back (I live five hours away) and they want to see me at holidays and lunches, etc. It just doesn’t cross their minds that I actually have a life, made a life where I live now because they certainly weren’t going to include me in theirs once my mother started her tirade.
    And it’s not just family, it’s family friends too, lifelong friends that knew the situation and didn’t do anything. I have very mixed feelings about all of it. I’m really torn because she was such a bully and I don’t think they wanted to insert themselves and have the same treatment as me. But I don’t agree with their years of silence and basically not having much to do with me.
    I attended her wake and the look of surprise on people’s faces was astonishing. She clearly had not told people in her new neighborhood that she actually had another daughter. I truly believe that’s the reason she didn’t want a funeral, so no one would ever know she had another life that she didn’t tell them about. And it so goes against any of the pictures of her volunteering her time with underprivileged children and volunteering at the park and baking cookies for the neighbors kids….to me, she was a fraud. And seeing all these people that thought she was the best thing since sliced bread, then telling them I am her estranged daughter, well, that was kind of like the best revenge.

  • disqus_sYSR764rQV

    even though it is for the best, it’s still not easy. I am the youngest. I haven’t spoken to my brother in almost 1.5 years b/c I didn’t agree with how he, his wife and daughter treated our mother. I put up with his crap my whole life in order to maintain a relationship with him and as soon as I stood my ground and had an opinion, he wants nothing more to do with me. Now suddenly, my other brother has stopped contact with me after I called out his son (23) for being rude at christmas (i hosted christmas last year and he didn’t thank me for the gift we gave him and his girlfriend, neither him or his girlfriend talked to me or wished me a merry christmas, and they only answered when i spoke to them, and then they left without saying goodbye or thank you). I know my estranged brother got to my other brother and poisoned him against me. I invited my other brother and his family over to see my new house a couple months ago after having gone bankrupt, and they were away, but hasn’t made an effort to see my new house or even ask about it. I’ve caught him in lies and I know his wife helped to convince him to cut ties. Now I thought I was getting along good with my 2-sisters, but then I see on facebook they went to the city together with my 2-nieces – why wasn’t I invited? i live less than 10-minutes from my 1-sister. I even texted her about it, in a light-hearted way saying I would have liked to come,but glad you had a good time but did not get a response. I now realize I won’t ever get a reply or be recognized for having my feelings hurt. I feel so alone – both my parents are in poor health and b/c of that, I really don’t have the ability to talk to my mom anymore like I used to. I feel so angry that my siblings robbed me of a family that could count on each other! they also robbed my kids from knowing their Uncles/Aunts/cousins and I can’t figure out why they would choose this way to live. so now my brothers don’t talk to me or my 2-sisters, my 2-sisters are close and I feel left out when all i ever wanted was to belong. thanks

  • AliBabaHey

    I have to ask – extended family, neighbors, friends all stayed friends with your mom who stayed in the area. You moved five hours away and are upset they didn’t make an effort to keep up their relationships with you … what did you do to reach out to them? I understand you and your mom fell out – but why assume that anyone else knew the reasons, or that they saw things from your perspective?

  • I had a similar childhood and am now 63. You can read my other comments to get an understanding. I never had much of a relationship with my mother and father and due to that dysfunctional nature of our home there was a similar abrasiveness that’s been in the shadows of our family.

    How to cope? I have had wonderful mothers along the way. They taught me so much. I now have a great relationship with one brother and feel like he was my best friend all my life. But we did had a falling out for about 5 years. He is my soul mate and the one person in the world for me to count on.

    Think of life as a journey with many adventures along the way. You will be benefited in the long term because your family allowed you to be on your own and grow in your own way. You will look back on this time as the catalyst that sparked the best changes in you. They are letting you fly. If you re-frame this as such in your own way you will be able to see it as a blessing. And you will be right. But if you continue to hold on to the way you wanted it to be you will also be right. The question is, ‘Which scenario do you want to guide your life; that of a victim or a free person?’

  • Anontino

    I had moved five hours away four or so years before all this happened so I was still regularly in touch and had contact with friends and family before the falling out with my mother. So all friends and family knew exactly what the reasons were.

  • max

    it is the way of things today. first was the morals that was the 60’s, than it was family values that was the 90’s , than came don’t agree with me people ended family’s the oo’s. Its happening right now over this Clinton Trump nightmare. But I say if you need to have a year of family counseling, try that first. and see what can be done to help the mental ill people in the family first. to many times, some one gets sick, and ever one runs for the hill. leaving the wife husband or kids to deal with it on their own. I was one and I was 14 years old my father walked out when my mother was told she was dying and had may be 6 month, if she didn’t stop drinking. I had two younger sister that I try my best to watch out for. It would have been nice, to have my two older sisters help, but they had their own life I was told and it was to hard for them to deal with Mom. the uncharitable, self centeredness was the call of my family. friends are great you pick them, but no one gets to pick your family. If its physical abuse yes you have to save your self. But if its things that have gotten out of control over who said what and who did what that stuff can be clear up by counseling. And if you don’t get it clear up you have a good therapist that can help you walk away.

  • CarolinaLife

    I have a brother who I have really tried to have a relationship with. Years ago my parents begged me to give him another chance after years of being bullied by him. I really tried and I was naive enough to think that it was going better than expected. I tried to buy things for him that he would like. I was pleased that we had some of the same interests. Same thing for his wife. Tried to always treat them well and be polite and thoughtful. Unfortunately when my parents got older and I had to make some difficult decisions, he and his wife turned against me. It became clear that he wanted me gone. He told me as much. When his verbal abuse, which he had always used, did not get the reaction he wanted, he turned physical.
    He is a very active in his church and has them all fooled, and now he is using other church members to get back at me. This really disgusts me – that he has them helping him with his dirty work and that they are so naive as to believe he is a fine upstanding Christian. Of course, from reading articles about sociopaths, I know that this is how they work.
    My dad thinks that he is after the family money ( we are not rich). It hurts me to think how much he hates me, because I had finally forgiven him and had moved on ( and it wasn’t easy after years of being bullied). My parents have finally seen him for what he is. He is a bully and selfish and is perhaps even a sociopath.
    I always envied people with siblings that treated them with even a little bit of respect and kindness, and wished that I could have that kind of family, but it is not to be. For my own well being, I cannot have any contact with this person. My parents agree. He will now get to be the ‘only child’ that he has always wanted to be.
    In his own mind, anyway.

  • Unsilent majority

    OMG this is an awesome article. Here we are approaching a new year and this is the frame work i needed to jettison dead fucking, narcissistic, condescending family members who treat you as if you were 12 years old.

  • Jenine Smith

    Sorry for my late reply. I get what you’re saying, and even I went through withdrawal after my sister (this was the one who sexually abused me) decided to stop speaking to me because I didn’t answer her Facebook messages. Keep in mind that I did answer them most of the time. But, those measly two times basically showed me that she never really gave a damn about me. Sadly though, I realized in my situation that she didn’t care or love me like she said. To be honest, I think almost everything she’s told me has been a lie. And she still has everyone on my mom’s side fooled as to how she really operates. She’s the type of person who would kick someone to the curb after she’s done using them and that’s exactly what she did to me.

    In your situation, I think your family may just be toxic like mine based on what you’ve told me so far. The fact that you called out one of your nephews for being rude shows that you can’t bring up a real issue with them without someone being upset. And they’re clearly scapegoating you for what’s obviously been one of many issues for a long time. I’m not the type who tells people what to do with their lives. But, I want you to consider this: are you truly better off with these people in your life? I don’t say this to be cruel. I just want to make you think. Clearly, your folks are also showing signs of favoritism with one another. Seeing that as a person is not good for one’s well-being. Furthermore, being talked down to (like in my case and so many others) is even worse.

  • Iris Brady

    I have 5 siblings but no brothers or sisters, what am I?…such a strange riddle.
    The cycle of abuse can be broken. You cured yourself by working with a therapist. Therapy clears away the illusions because you hear your own thoughts and objective comments. It is work. Keep telling yourself: you were not born mentally ill. This is healing a wound caused by “family”.
    Where does the idea that being intrusive or belligerent or grabby or boastful or otherwise creepy is OK behavior because it’s “family” come from?

  • Iris Brady

    Where does the idea that being intrusive or belligerent or grabby or boastful or otherwise creepy is OK behavior because it’s “family” come from?

  • Andrea

    This story describes my situation exactly to the T. I’m so hurt, but in my heart I have done everything I possibly can. Thank you so much for this article. Its hard moving on but every time I struggle I read this and I feel better. God bless.

  • Loopy

    They have helped.

  • Really Hate Being Single

    And what about many of us Good Single Men that are still Not Married today?

  • M lewis

    Today I was struggling, arguing with the little voice on my shoulder whispering in my ear. “Just ring them, it’ll be like nothing happened”. Then I read this, truly everything I have been trying to get to in the last few months. I’m a survivor of sexual and childhood abuse. Not all from my parents, I was abused by my brother and three years ago plucked up the courage to go to the police. In my rose tinted mind I thought they would shop him in, no. He broke bail conditions and they let him without informing the police. They knew I was telling the truth and after the 7years of abuse I took and endless amounts of confessions of what was going on to my parents – still nothing happened. Even though this and my bad childhood with my abusive father, who likes to think he is the victim. I decided with the help of my counsellor to stop contact, to show that if they do really care, they’ll call or email. Christmas and New Years went by, they don’t know if I’m dead or alive. And it hurts, it feels likes I’m grieving for them. Like I’ve held onto the thought of them changing, for so many years, accepting me, being proud and loving me like I would love a child. I know it can’t happen now, this life experience has thrown me three steps forward. Now I have a husband and his mother texts me to make sure I’m safe everyday!! Love to all on here

  • tnjazzgal

    Exactly – thank you, RHBS. And likewise, us good single women, who are still hurting so much at 63 from unresolved family rejections that they have never been able to find a long term relationship, much less marry. 🙁

  • tnjazzgal

    Amen! And add to that constant criticism, judgment & “putting one in one’s place” & never once acknowledging or appreciating a person’s (very real & abundant) good qualities. How is that o.k.?

  • tnjazzgal

    BINGO, U.M!! You just spoke for me… God bless u….

  • tnjazzgal

    Thank you, Bluebelle7. You just struck a huge chord in me. I also have that bullying, self-righteous, fanatically “Christian” brother, who emotionally abuses me, and always has. I also tried with everything in me to give him lots of second chances, & wanted to build on the things we had in common (would have given anything to be able to enjoy those together). Wasn’t in the cards. And what makes it SO very hard, is that in spite of the abuse, he still actually helps me occasionally with work at my home (I am single). And now that I’m 63, he has now raised his family to treat me the same way, though I have done nothing to hurt any of them (except not have money – that’s a crime, right?!). I don’t “qualify” for their love. I am as disgusted as you that he and his entire family use Christianity to portray a “loving, positive, outgoing, shining example to the community”, and everyone brags on all of them on FB for being such amazing, exceptional people! In spite of their treatment, the last 3 Christmases I have still tried to make things o.k. – spent way more than I could afford, put lots of time & effort into making their presents beautiful, etc. In return, I’ve gotten one teensy present from all of them, and no appreciation for my efforts. This Christmas, I decided to forego all presents, except for this brother, since he had done work for me on my house. But NEVER AGAIN. Though I got him something he asked for, and wrote him a nice card of thanks, not one word of thanks did I get. And for the icing on the cake, he called me a few days ago to ask me to get medicine for him when he was sick, and STILL no hint of appreciation!! There are no words in the English language to express my anger, pain & exasperation. I am so beyond over it… thank you for your inspiring post, and thank you to everyone here for your greatly helpful comments and support.

  • Tarsvini

    I felt better when i see im not the only one to face this issue. I too have problem but with my negative mother whom just cant change her shallow and negative thinking. And constant fight with my dad.im facing this ever since small. I have become phobic of this it has created fear in myself and lots of inferiority . Its unbearable. I just dont feel the love for her at all. Cz she is positive only at some times and then back to her normal routine of talking or thinking destructive things. I cannot pretend to like her anymore. Im tired . But i learnt a lot from this hard situation . U gotta stoo expecting that others will come n love you. Instead u should love yourself. People might or not love u. And thats ok. U just move on. But u will find such a good soul in life in any form. Let it happen by itself. Then u just gotta be independent without hoping too much on family. U came alone to this world and will die alone. So nothing to worry if you are lonely especially with destructive family relationship. And lastly just enjoy ur life as it is cz its extremey short. Cant u see its just passing by in front of you ..so live the moment and only be with positive people and love you..

  • Betty K.

    Finally someone who feels exactly the way I feel..my father is the only one who hasn’t hurt my physically or emotionally..my brother was mentally unstable and abusive to me when I was 6 or 7 while he was around 13/14.. he would hit hard and in the face every time..I’m a girl by the way, he was a coward fighting someone so much smaller..he hit me again when I was 15 he was 22..I said something to my friend about him, he ran other and smacked the phone into my mouth which made me bIeed..I remember being so mad because I couldn’t reach his face to smack him back..he’ll turn his body so I could only slap his back..when I was little I always hid in my parents and my bedroom (we shared a large one). I’m glad Im a girl otherwise I would have been put in the same room as him..My mother is a complete narcissist ..who never truly loved me..she only had me because she wanted another kid before she got any older. She said many hurtful things that cut me deeply..she had/has absolutely no empathy..watching me cry only fueled her anger each time..My father keeps saying that she “really” loves me and that I should give her a chance. I love my father and I know he means well but I know better than to let her keep hurting me.. I want to stay in touch with my dad(still married to my mom) and I don’t know what to do about my aunt and grandmother, who always thinks I’m making the issues bigger than they really are..because I’m too sensitive. She puts on a mask in front of them and they always tell me to be nicer to her..of course after she talked behind my back to them, she does it all the time. I don’t have a family of my own like you do and very limited friends..sometimes I wonder way I’m still here.. if I leave them I’ll be alone and I don’t want to have no contact with my dad..other family close to me will ask why I left her while she continues to play her victim role.. I would be known as the horrible daughter who neglected her parents. Living with and thinking about them put me in tears all the time…don’t know what to do anymore..sometimes I want to end it all

  • Benjamin

    Hello my name is benjamin. 17 y/o
    When i was 12 my father and mother had a fight (argument) then things got worst. After i saw my mother leaving the house 4:30 AM i was scared that she will be in danger. Because i live in middle east.
    I took her tablet found her last chat she was talking to a man (can’t remember what was the subject about) but i quickly thought the man brainwashed her and he was the resone for the fight between my father and mother. I left the house 5:00 AM running to my friend’s house to use the phone so i can call my father. Told him: mom left and im afraid that a man brain washed her from the Internet.
    My father came home showed him the chat i read it for him it was in arabic, then time passed mother came home. I fell asleep.
    Next morning my mother and father had a decision about yesterday and the chat. Some how it was blamed on me for the fight. Because i miss understood the chat between my mother and the man. After that day my mother talked with my siblings about me. Of how 2 faced i am. And how i wanted to ruin their marriage

  • BellaTerra66

    I ‘divorced’ my two adult sons about 15 years ago. I had offered, more than once, to pay for counseling for all of us, and I told them they could pick the counselor, but they always refused. To this day, I have no idea why they hate me. I gave them thousands of dollars over a period of years to help them out of tights spots they had gotten themselves into. They became increasingly disrespectful and mentally/emotionally abusive, and when I realized I was afraid that my oldest son would physically harm me — I left. I felt bad for a couple of years, and then I moved on with my life. I’ve had a great life. I loved raising my kids, and now I very much love my life without them. Once in a while, of course, I wonder how this happened. Oh well. Family estrangement isn’t always the fault of the parents.

  • AliBabaHey

    The reality is that there are people so self-absorbed they only relate to others in terms of what others can do for them, I’m sorry your sons turned out to be incapable of maturing as human beings. But I’m glad you were able to realize that you could not do any more than you have done, and now are able to live without the love they are incapable of giving.

  • achabob

    Hi Lola, I am a true animal lover. I will KILL your sister for killing that kitten. Tell me where she lives. I will literally STAB her to death!!

  • achabob

    Mine too. Only call when they want something so I don’t answer the phone or the door! They treat me like crap and expect them to help them out? They are dullisional!! Just remember, if your parents treated you like crap, the other toxic siblings are going to have to take care of them in their old age! I already told my sister in law (my mother’s favorite) “my mother favored 1 brother and 1 sister and treated the rest of us like crap so your going to have to pay for her home she’s going in and you are going to take care of her! So you better start saving your money!” And my brother is a very selfish person and treats people like shit. There in for a RUDE AWAKENING! Not my problem. She made it this way.

  • G. Shuttleworth

    Brilliant article that has clearly touched a nerve with many. One day you wake up and realise that you have nobody, that nobody cares, you are alone and your mind has been bending over backwards to fit you to a narrative that can’t work. For some unknown reason, some of us are simply less bound to the Earth by blood than others. We have to be willing to accept that no matter how difficult and see where the river of life takes us.

  • Jane Doe

    Thanks for the article. I am looking for people like me. My family (parents and sibling) drove me to become depressed in a span of 11 years. The serious depression and stress brought more physical diseases in my body. And though I tried to tell them, they would not believe or accept the fact that I was sick… also physically, not only mentally… as I was diagnosed by my doctor. My mental being became worse and worse over the years…so it also brought physical diseases to my body… My body could no longer handle being “healthy”. Now, I am 22, out of school and wanting to leave my family for good. But I have no idea how to leave because I do not have emotional, physical, and financial support from anybody… I really want to leave and start all over again because staying brings so much toxic in my life both mentally and physically… Its very exhausting and dreadful… My only request is that someone make a guide in how to leave my toxic family behind forever…and stay away from them permanently, especially if you do not have money to do so. Will you please teach me how you made things happen? How do I prepare and do you have any advice? Thank you so much in advance… Any advice is welcome. 🙂

  • JADE BASSON

    Sine I can recall I have been the “scapegoat” in the family. I was told by my own mother who I still consider a good woman, that your father spoilt you until the age of two, I do not recall it, but I do recall constant beatings from my father, I am the second youngest of seven children, a brother a year younger than myself, very spoilt by my mother but not by my father, a sister four years older, made a mass of fuss of by my four brothers older than herself, they always sided with her even though she often started trouble with me, I was considered the pretty one when growing up, I always felt left out no matter how much I tried to include myself. I am not perfect but I know that I am kind, I matriculated and at 24 married a man who I believed was charming and the right one, he turned out to be just as abusive. The eldest brother he turned out to be what the others called the “outcast” I did all I could to make a nice home, raise my two sons I had, eventually I faced so much abuse, I raised them alone, I lived in another town and everytime I make the effort to go and see my siblings, I was made to feel as if they did me a favour to see me, When my mother died, they literally stole all the money out her bank shared it among themselves and gave my eldest brother and I about a thousand each saying that is all there was left, they had my mothers bank cards, then my aunt got ill and died and they pulled the same move, they take a great interest in those who become frail making out they care, getting them to entrust their bank accounts etc to them, as I am not in the same town but showed great concern for these old dears by calling them all the time I got to hear that their bank accounts were been emptied but they felt helpless, now my other aunt has passed away suddenly, she was very aware of this and appointed an executor, be as it may she told me that she had left not only a cash amount to me the contents of her apartment were to be divided among myself and her other niece, now my cousin has been mixing with my abusive siblings and once again they trying to pull the wool over my eyes saying what is not stated in the will, basically they intending and have started to steal my inheritance, I feel helpless, however I am thinking the best thing I can do is literally cut all ties with these people and have nothing more to do with anyone of them ever again, its sad because when we were at my aunts funeral they tried to win my two sons over who are young by making a massive fuss of them and when I go and greet them they lierally turn around and walk off, I have tried for years to find out what is the problem I cannot get to the bottom of it, they basically have written my eldest brother off, I am thinking its time now to cut all ties, let them take whatever and just have nothing more to do with them, the problem is that one or two of them who are just as abusive try now and then to keep some type of contact via email, they ask me a lot of questions about my life its as if they make no effort to come and see me but at the same time they need a scapegoat to abuse, its become so bad I am thinking of getting court interdicts against them all just so they will leave me alone, I have stopped explaining myself to anyone of them, because every single thing I say they twist and intentionally misunderstand me, I am their punchbag, my aunts were very close to me but at the same time they did not wish to upset the rest of them and this I understand but now that they are gone and my parents who in truth did not always treat me nicely at all, as I was always to blame for every single thing, there is no need any longer for me to keep contact with them, I have right throughout the years tried very hard, wishing them each birthday, making effort, I told some of the siblings you welcome to my portion of the inheritance left of the contents of the flat, immediately they twisted it, saying I am treating them like charity cases and making out I am doing them a favour, no matter what I say I am always wrong, its sad but its time to cut all ties with thee exception of the eldest brother who is the outcast according to them, sad indeed, family we born with friends we choose

  • My sister needed care for cancer and decided I was trying to steal her home and money. Our of pure malice, she cut me off just as I was trying desperately to see that she received proper care, comfort and security as she was dying. It was heartbreaking to watch.

  • Mahnaz Masoumian

    I heard you and i agree with you.
    In the end you said you no longer think you lost your family. My dear you never had them.
    You came up to realization for yourself and this truth set you free.

  • Crazy woman

    I am glad I found this article tonight. I have a headache from banging my head against the wall after dealing with “good Christian family” who make me feel inadequate and guilty when I feel angry or hurt. I’m trying to disconnect emotionally from these people who say they love me, yet scare me with the uncanny ability to say exactly the wrong thing every time.
    I’m feel as if I’ve been plunged into childhood when I was beaten, molested and neglected whenever I trust them again. Yet, they leave me feeling guilty when I disconnect. I realize also, if I allow myself to pursue this fantasy loving sibling scenario any longer it’s my own fault. Not only do I have to live through insinuations about being a lesbian (unmarried), my spiritual beliefs which I should have kept to myself are also routinely ridiculed. I am accused of drug abuse (not) by alcoholics, being “immoral” by adulterers, and being stark raving crazy when the long suppressed anger surfaces.
    I am terrified of ever being at the mercy of these people if in need and consider death a better alternative.
    So I turn off the phone although the emotionally needy part of me wants to tell them I’m sorry for being angry, you were kind to buy me dinner while you ransacked my spiritual and emotional self with your comments.
    I only thought you would accept who I am.
    My advice to others, you can someday forgive but don’t ever go back. Odds are it hasn’t changed but you can. I can’t call emotional attachment love, for me it’s painful so I leave it behind.

  • Elisabeth

    Thank you for this article, it was very touching to read a story similar to mine. I’ve been struggling with distancing myself from my family for the last year or so, and spent considerable time in therapy discussing it. Ultimately, I agree with you, it comes down to this guilt that you’re betraying a bond that is supposed to be sacred. For me, it was also a fear of how others would react or how society would judge me. But ultimately we just have to do what is right for us and try to surround ourselves with people who love and support us, whether our blood relatives or not.

  • Seser Lok

    I teared up reading this.

  • yannix

    I have ended up completely alone. You know the Eagles song, ‘Wasted Time’ from Hotel California? I was always drawn to the line, “You never thought you’d be alone, this far down the line.” And it’s actually happened. First my parents died; totally abusive and dysfunctional family life they ‘provided’. Then my younger brother, who I had loved very much, decided he didn’t want to have anything to do with me any longer. It’s because I’m a single parent, I think. He’s worried in case I might ever ask him for something. My elder brother I decided myself to ‘cut loose’. He’d abused me as a child and I just felt the time was right to let him go. He continued to abuse me emotionally as an adult. He even contaminated his daughter’s mind against me; telling her lies. However, after bringing up my son, as a single parent from his birth, he has slowly withdrawn towards his partner’s family. He has been with this partner since age 18; he’s nearly 28. I gave them a 20% deposit towards buying their first home in January this year, and have seen her twice since but not since the end of January. I’ve seen my son a few times more but now ‘visits’ are for a few minutes, not very often.

  • Happy at last

    Thank you for writing this. I grew up in a divorced family and my mother put everything on me. She hated me because my father lived me. Even though he was never around much, he showed me more love in a day then she showed me for years. She is kind to everyone but very manipulative. She plays sweet to your face while stabbing her own in the back every minute. I never noticed it because she would always act like she cared but when I would look around her home , I noticed that things that I gave her were broke. I found a private shrine with candela and lrayers but only my two brothers pictures were there, not mine. I never called when I was in need of help so I wouldn’t bother them. She called me every time my brothers needed help, rather it be a court case or drug problems. One year I even drive 45 each way, each week to check in the youngest and would go to his court cases. My husband, kids and I have done so much fir them and they never return the favor but only expected more and if I said no they would put me down and make me believe that I was a terrible person. One of my brothers tried to commit suicide several times and his last one it happened. Instead of my mother below thinking that he was a grown man and made his own decisions or maybe that he was a product from a divorced family she instead blame me. I had severe PS TD because I truly believed that I was the fault of my brothers death and that reflected on my own children . With the exercise good friends a great husband and a great children I came out of that PS TD. Walking and talking with people and learning to drawl is the best therapy that you can do antidepressants did not work and I immediately stopped those. I was strong enough and decided to forgive my mother and I started going up there several times a week to hang out with her and my other brother and we were as happy as we have ever been because of the birth of my brothers child. That went on for two years and one day my uncle from Hawaii said he was coming with the big surprise but I never learned what that surprise was and eventually forgot about it. Several months later went on and because my kids were getting older I advise them I could not make Thanksgiving one year and immediately I started getting terrible text and that I never came around and that I was terrible and Karma is a bitch. I received emails putting me down from my brother for things that were lies, and I could not figure out what was going on. They were paranoid and taking their guilt out in me. I just couldn’t understand why they were treating me this way after we had all been so close. I decided to stay home for Christmas with my husband and kids. For my own sanity , I could not go back to the negativity. After Christmas a rage came again and my husband text my mother and brother and said we know everyone is hurt but with the bad things said back and fourth that we needed to take a break and to put it behind us and start a new year. After several weeks me and my two oldest came to get her and take her to lunch and shopping. ( I paid) we all had a great day. Then One day she text me and asked me if I could come up to her house and take her to the dentist to get her teeth pulled now mind you I live an hour drive from her and had to take off work for this but I did because it’s my mother and that’s what you were supposed to do. When I picked her up she was not ready she had made me come in our early before her doctors appointment and they had luggage laying out all over I asked what the luggage was for and they said they were going on a trip . I am a travel agent but they did not use me. It hurt me so much because I would’ve gave them a discount I am a giving person I would’ve gotten anything that I could for them and that means slashing my own commission but the pain that it caused me that my own mother and brother and their family could not use me was more pain then I could endure. I started second-guessing who I was as a person and if I really was bad and terrible as they made me out to be. Then something inside told me to look up something on the Internet and I did and they had received $800,000 and Heritance and did not shared nothing with me nor could they even use me to book their big fancy trip. So all those mean emails and texts when I wouldn’t come up with their own guilty eating at them because of the betrayal they had done. I counted up all the things I had done for them and the things they have done for me and it was zero and this whole time it was a one-sided love. The only thing that I was ever guilty of is that the times I could not make it to their house on certain occasions for parties but I always tried to make up for it in other ways. When I look back I see signs many of them but to find the strength to get through this will only come from God. I am glad that I was not the one who did this to their family and I am so glad that my children have learned from this. I will be better off and I will not allow me to hurt me ever again.

  • Ocean Of Tears

    Same problem, but with my two siblings, both older than me, thrown in and their children — who learned how to regard me from my brother and sister — their parents. I am not young, I have no kids, I have no significant relationship with a man because the two that are still interested after all these years, are extremely abusive. They were physically abusive as well in earlier years. I am not interested in romantic relationship with them; I speak to them and accept their help because they offered and I am alone living in a state in which I never intended to still be living. I called my brother this evening who lives in a state far away. The last two times I called him, he seemed friendly. Tonight, I asked him if he believed any horrible lies about me that my mother and sister fostered a few years ago that caused a tidal wave of terrible events in my life, including a major shunning by a whole community of people who believed the lies. I initially had tried to talk about the whole thing with my sister and brother, nieces and nephews, but they all shut me up and shut me down instantly. Not one of them has ever permitted me to discuss what happened, starting from when it was first occurring and no one would allow me to speak,( as I just explained here). When I simply asked my brother tonight if he had heard any of the lies, he instantly yelled at me, very stern and threateningly in tone, as always. He (They all, all of my life) stated my name as one would state a profanity. It is like my first name is a hammer bludgeoning me; nothing new re/ all of them. I hate my first name my entire life. It makes me feel like s— instantly, no matter how many people have said, “Oh! What a beautiful name.” I am unable to hear the name the way they do. I intend to adjust my first name when I can afford to do so legally. Anyway, my brother yelled at me on the phone tonight, told me what I was asking was something he does not want to talk about, said he was about to eat his dinner when I called and abruptly hung up the phone on me. I found this site just now and glad it’s here. I love my family of origin, always treated them with respect and love, but tonight I realized that I actually do have to completely cut off from them, probably forever. It’s quite a feeling. If I had a better life, I’d be feeling as sad about it, but I’d not be as scared as I am feeling now. I’m even worried about who will take some valueless, but sentimental belongings and photographs and urns that I have of my beloved pets who are in Heaven now, when I die; that bothers me an awfully lot. I wish I had enough money to plan my own burial and instructions for someone, but anyone I know to ask is either older like me or wouldn’t necessarily care about keeping those things, nor do they have anyone that they know who would be happy to keep those things for me. Being shunned and lied about is a terrible experience, especially when your own sister is especially behind it all. I never knew that my sister was jealous of me (and had a greedy streak) until our mother was dying. My sister’s daughter — my niece — finally blurted out to me that much information about two years later when I called my niece and asked if she knew why my sister (her mother) did what she did to me which had been done to me in a series of surprise ‘nuclear’ shocks to me at the time. I will read everyone’s comments here now, as I need to discover that I’m definitely not alone in having this awful situation. As two police officers told me when I called them in desperation the night of the first shock, “It’s more common than you know, Hon. We’ve seen this type of thing often.” Wow.

  • silverspirit

    You should stay away from animals you sycophant. You caused problems and your whole family hates you. Did you get your crab situation fixed yet ho bag?

  • Darly Read

    OMG .. all my family lied about me after I took care of all of them , financially and every way I could. I do have a loving heart.. my mother called me f’n bitch , liar, back stabber after I bought her a condo and gave her 18 K in money and always tried to take care of her. my two sisters got in trouble with the law and I paid their legal bills. I never did anything but love them and it makes no sense. my husband was murdered and I had 3 little babies, and all I got was a whatever. I walked away to save myself.. there is so much more to this, but I cannot go on with it. I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND LOVING SOMEONE WHO DOESNT EVEN LOVE YOU BACK.. now why???????????????

  • Deepti Shahi

    My mum and bro are always fighting.when one stops other starts.sometime i think i am the cause.when i stop them they beat me and start again.i also think negative about them…..is that the cause???can anyone help to solve the problem and put an end to my mum and bro fight?Pls i need ur help

  • Baily

    I did the same thing and then after 15years when back to help after my stepfather death. I said it for 2 years and had to stop it was one of the worse this I could have done to me so I left again my mom is 86 but I had to to save me – the pain was so great .

  • TrueLoveIsSelfLove

    “It can’t be that bad, she’s your mother”, and other gaslighting tricks. Whoever says these things are as insensitive as the abusers, for they cannot see beyond their own nose that they were not there, were not inside your head, and did not feel what you felt.

  • Star

    Hi all, I came across this today whilst searching for answers…coming from a traditional family it was drilled into me to always show respect to elders and family. However in my childhood, i suffered psychological abuse from my parents and to this day (I am in my 30’s), I still hear so many negative things thrown at me and it hurts. I feel that I have experienced many traumatic experiences due to my upbringing and my health is now suffering from it too. I don’t know how to break free from it without being judged or made out to feel selfish 🙁

  • Star

    Hi Deepti, have you spoken to anyone else in your family about this? Maybe they can help? Please do not think you are the cause.

  • TrueLoveIsSelfLove

    The comments I’ve read about toxic parents dying is that they are so relieved, mostly because the grieving already took place. Now they can move on without that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  • Mark

    Bravo! I left my entire family this year but it should’ve been 7 years ago. My parents, brother and majority of my extended family just don’t fit in my life today and I am so proud of my self for having the strength and courage to take my wife and kids out of that toxic environment and start fresh with peace and happiness. I would never change anything that has happen to me because it brought me to where I am today. Blessing in disguises. I have very much similarities to this story as well as all the comments I am reading. Life is meant to live in happiness. Ensure you are happy! Bless

  • Old Lady

    Saw this net surfing. First I want to congratulate you on having not only survived a horrible situation, but going on to create a loving family despite it all. I am also from a toxic family, went no contact decades ago, and my only regret is that I didn’t do it about 10 years prior to when I actually did. The worst narcissist is dead now, so are many of the lesser narcissists/enablers/flying monkeys, etc. I don’t know what it will be like for you when yours are gone, but I will tell you that when the worst one of mine died, it was just another day. No real lifting of spirit, no real big relief, no big anything. Just another day of work, chores, etc. Maybe that’s as it should be. I did not attend the funeral, and at my own request my name and other identifying info was left off the obituary. Some people understand, some don’t, and for the most part none of it matters all that much. What does matter is that I finally found the strength to do what I should have done a decade before I did. And I hope you find peace too, and very much wish you well.

  • Elsa Johnson

    Mee too!

  • Elsa Johnson

    I realized that the sadness i was feeling when i cut off my siblings was grieving them like a desth and having to come to the realization that they would never change. My ending was on the heels of my fathers funeral. I will never see or speak to my brotherand sister again. I have no regrets and realized it happened exactly as it should. They are very sick people and i refuse to be their whipping post any longer. I have always had minimal contact except around my parents decline and death, but their absolute toxic treatment of me during and after my fathers death was enough for me to cut off all contact. Its a relief and a very sad circumstance.

  • COME GET SOME

    I cut the ties a few years ago too….enough is enough….

    You’re not alone.

  • Lisa

    Thank you so much for sharing this website. As others have shared, I could have written this story myself. I reached a point where I was done with the abuse and mean treatment.

  • Lisa

    Wow, I could have written this article myself. Thank you so much for sharing this experience. I know it is difficult to break away from family, but at the same time the abuse gets exhausting because their love is the kind that hurts and it always was.

  • Badlands

    Yannix… I can relate in all the above. I went no contact with my mother close to seven years ago, She’s a toxic narcissist & like anonymous wrote in the main piece, I too had somehow hoped all the dysfunction & horrific abuse that I suffered at the hands of this narcissistic woman would one day stop & that she’d realize what a good daughter & person I am & I too lived the illusion that we could actually be a loving family… Laugh my ass off. The straw that broke the camels back had to do with the Holiday’s… It’s always something about the Holiday’s… I was brought up being a people pleaser, it was a surviving mechanism & what happens when your mother has an undiagnosed mental / personality disorder she would never acknowledge or get help for & definitely needs meds. Each day revolved around her mood & that could change from one minute to the next. So, I learned to be a people pleaser at a very young age & a piece maker & the scapegoat & take all the abuse to save someone else from having to, or as a way to prevent her from causing an embarrassing scene. I spent my entire life being treated like crap, & unloved because there was no love….You see I was no longer willing to host the Holiday’s at my place. I might as well have been a restaurant. I’d bust my ass every year making the entire meal, just so they could show up, eat & leave. How dare I bring up rotation, or participation in these holiday meals, what nerve I had… Neither she or my brother stepped up to say anything, their both narcissists, if I wasn’t going to continue hosting, catering, cooking, cleaning & sending them out with leftover’s, then they weren’t interested…I decided I was finally done with the illusion of family that I’d created & hoped for.
    There’s never been any love between us but, there’s been plenty of abuse, dysfunction, lies & pain.
    When I went no contact with my mother, it wasn’t hard at all. I immediately realized how one sided the relationship always was. I was the one who did all the reaching out. She just took whatever it was I was giving & my brother, whom I was a mom & care giver to & I would be the diversion placing myself between my mother & he when she’d have one of her episodes flying into rages for no reason, she would beat us physically while telling us what pieces of crap we were. Last summer he stopped talking to me & told me he no longer had a sister. He’s always been the golden boy. So, my son who will be 31 this year & I was always close with & he just as close to me, my mother used to say we were two pea’s in a pod. She was very jealous of the closeness we shared, his father, my ex passed a year & three months ago & my son greeted me at the door when I got the news & went over to offer my love & support, & informed me that I was not welcome there & I needed to leave immediately. I was very shocked & confused & I still am. He told me this as my mother who didn’t even care for my ex, but she found her way over there lickety split & stood right next too him trying not to smirk as my son was telling this & my son hasn’t spoken to me since. I was a great mother to my boy, after what I grew up in, I vowed that my son would never be treated like I was. So, losing him was & still is devastating he wasn’t just my son, he was like a best & dear friend. Now, it’s just me. I have a few friends that I’ve always considered more family to me than my dysfunctional family ever was & I have myself. But, I’m okay with it, I like myself, I like the person that I am & I’ll always be a work in progress & I’m okay with that. When it comes right down to it, there’s you & nature, as my best friend for over 30 years who passed away 6 years ago once told me, & she’s right. I can honestly say, that I did one helluva job of being a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a wife & a mother, & it really is their loss, so excuse my French when I say, if they don’t like everything I’ve done, given provided & gone out of my way for out of nothing but goodness & the true unconditional & non judgemental love from my heart that accompanied it all, & without ever having any expectation of anything in return, & they aren’t willing to sit down & none is willing to dit down & ever have an adult discussion with me because, clearly its much easier for them to be toxic, parasitic assholes, yes, I truly wish them all well & don’t want anything bad for anyone, but seriously, then fuck them…
    God & I are good, & I like who I am & that’s something I couldn’t always say coming from what I did…I’m moving on, growing, & always making progress to better myself & that’s all that really matters in the end.

  • Chris

    I love this. Thank you for sharing. Both my husband and I have quit getting together with our families due to abusive behavior. We are much happier with our kids now. We love it! The level of meddling and disturbing behavior from my husbands family was atrocious. Their behavior became more vile and sick as time went on. For my side of the family it was a horribly negative experience for everyone involved with constant insults being thrown and nasty behavior. I could not understand how people with so much hatred between them kept wanting to spend time together in groups. Why is the idea and illusion of “family” more important than the safety and protection of our own sanity, mental health, autonomy and, especially, the protection of children from abuse? Walk away from the illusion and embrace your strength to live an authentic existence! Do not feel guilt for leaving behind cowards who would rather hurt another than examine their own wounds.

  • KJV1611

    Thanks for sharing. For health reasons I had to completely disown my sister and unfortunately her children since they live with her. My other siblings did the same so I’m not alone but it is still hard. This encouraged me so much.

  • Drake

    Your story hits home. My parents are gone now and I realize that I never was unconditionally loved. I had that illusion and was trying to help them, I was an empath even though I was sued as an emotional punching bag behind closed doors. No I wasn’t perfect, but I wanted their encouragement and support. The support was for their image-to brag to others about me. Me-who I am inside was never cherished. I think my mother tried at times but deferred to my controlling father. So there it is. I look at pictures of the beautiful child I was so smiling and happy and I try to nurture that babe now-to the best of my ability-for the rest of my days. I do thank my dead parents for the gifts they did give me-it could be worse. The rest, I had to do for myself. I woke up-and got real about all of the people around me. Many are just self serving. So I decided to serve me as a top priority, and it feels great. I’m at peace-and guess what-I’m still here and alive.

  • jazmyn m MAKEUP

    So if I’m just sad and cry over stuff my family is or does or feel uncomfortable around them is it ok to move at 15 and tell them it’s for the best and never to contact cops or anything