It is very difficult to make the decision to move away from a toxic parent, but it is much healthier in the long run to do so than to continue to interact with violent, addicted or hard-to-hang people. If you want to cut ties with your parents, start by assessing how your family is functioning and seriously consider how best to proceed. After that reflection, do whatever is necessary to distance yourself from this dysfunctional family. In the process, also consider taking care of your mental and emotional health.
Part 1 of 3: Evaluate Your Relationships
Step 1. Recognize a toxic relationship
Think about your current family relationships. Try to identify which ones are toxic and distinguish them from those which are just difficult. If you don't mind, consider enlisting the help of a therapist to do it. A mental health professional will help you identify toxic relationships.
- Aggression, violence, constant recriminations, manipulation and constant negativity are all clues that a relationship is toxic.
- Sometimes it’s hard to tell a difficult relationship from a toxic one. So trust your own judgment and remember that some people will try to downplay what you are going through. However, if someone is violent towards you, don't accept the excuses others might come up with.
Step 2. Think about solutions
Find out if you can afford to cope with this situation without having to sever ties with your family for good. Consider skipping some family gatherings, being prepared to resist bullying or ignoring conflicts, and avoiding arguments with your parents.
- It is not always easy to find a simple solution. However, it is always better to defuse a conflict situation than to sever ties entirely.
- Join the Al-Anon group. It is created to help and support family members of people with drug addiction. However, it has grown and is now helping people who go through all kinds of situations.
Step 3. Consider how much it will cost you to break ties
Before you cut ties with a family member, think about the impact it will have on your life and on your relationships with other family members. Make sure you are prepared to deal with any negative consequences that may arise.
- For example, you may decide to cut ties with a brother who is often toxic to you, but that may not be to the liking of your other brother who would take your gesture for an affront. As a result, you will lose two brothers instead of one. Weigh the pros and cons before making your decision. Assess what it would cost you to sever ties with this toxic person and see if it might not be better to keep your ties to preserve your relationships with other members of your family.
- List the pros and cons. Such a list will let you know if the breakup is worth it in terms of the benefits of the relationship and its costs. Put your list somewhere where you can read it regularly. Ask a friend or family member to help you make it happen because they would most likely be thinking about things that you have forgotten.
Step 4. Agree to face the consequences
Face the consequences of “not cutting ties”. Breaking up with dysfunctional parents is painful or emotional, but doing so will also bring you peace. This is especially true if your loved ones tend to make your life difficult because of their toxic behaviors.
- For example, if some members of your family steal from you, lie, cheat on you, bully you, take drugs and drink, they will cause you more worry than joy. Getting away from them will have a positive impact on your mental health and give you peace of mind.
- Take a look at the list of pros and cons, if you've ever managed to make one. If not, list the pros and cons to better assess what it would cost you and do for you if you decided to keep your links. Read the list regularly and ask a friend or family member to help you expand it.
Part 2 of 3: detaching yourself from toxic parents
Step 1. Stop wanting to change the dysfunctional person
Accept that your parent will never behave differently unless they want to. Don't try to convince him to change or make him understand how you are feeling. Instead, take a step back and make a conscious decision to prioritize your personal well-being over your own for a period of time.
- If your parent is self-destructive, know that you cannot save them from themselves. You may even inadvertently encourage his behavior if you give him the attention he wants.
- Don't feel like you have to explain the choices you've made, especially avoid doing it more than once. Likewise, avoid getting drawn into discussions that will push you to defend your choices.
Step 2. Avoid blaming yourself or others
Avoid doing this because of your parent's behavior. Your loved one is fully responsible for their own actions, even if they say otherwise. Don't make excuses for him or allow him to tell you it's your fault.
Passive aggression is the preferred tactic of toxic people. If your parent becomes passive-aggressive towards you, know that this is a manipulative tactic and don't let it get to you. Your best bet is not to respond at all, and then discuss it later with a trusted friend or therapist
Step 3. Set healthy boundaries
Determine which situations and behaviors you no longer wish to face. Let those around you know what to expect from you and what you expect from them. Be firm about your limits. Don't back down and don't apologize.
- List the behaviors that you are not ready to tolerate. Share it with your parents. Say, "I loaned Joseph a lot of money, but he never bothered to pay me back. For this reason, I will never lend money to a family member again. "
- It will take time and practice to enforce your boundaries if you have been influenced by others in the past. If someone is trying to get you to break your rules, tell them, “We talked about this before. I am firm on my decision. "If they continue to pressure you, then ignore them. Hang up your phone or end the conversation as soon as it starts forcing you to step away from one of your terminals.
Step 4. Take your distance
Whether or not you plan to break up your relationship, put some distance between you and the dysfunctional parent. Do not visit him, answer his phone calls, or attend family gatherings that take place in his presence. See how it feels when that person is no longer a part of your life.
- Distancing yourself will make you feel guilty, especially if you were in a codependent relationship with your parent. Don't feel like you have to break the silence until you are ready.
- Pulling away from your parent for a while will help you get your head around, see things from a different perspective, and know if you need to cut ties for good.
- Decide what to say to other family members who ask you about your reasons for distancing yourself. Keep it short and to the point, and don't allow your answer to be discussed. For example, say, “I told myself that taking my distance is the best thing I can do to keep myself well and I still haven't changed my mind about it. "
Part 3 of 3: Promote your well-being
Step 1. Keep in touch with your loved ones
Above all, don't stray from parents you are really close to. If you have healthy family relationships, take care of them. Emotional support is especially important when you are having family problems, and often other family members understand what you are going through better than anyone else.
They can give you good advice on how to deal with your dysfunctional parents because they have a better understanding of the situation you find yourself in
Step 2. Take care of yourself
If you are used to putting the needs and feelings of others before your own, you may not be used to taking good care of yourself. Seek to find the right balance between respecting your responsibilities and preserving your personal well-being.
- Don't feel guilty for taking care of yourself. Remember, you deserve as much attention as anyone else.
- Make your health a priority by getting enough sleep, getting enough exercise, and eating a healthy diet.
- Make time each day or week to do something you enjoy.
- Pick one person and task them to grab your attention as soon as you begin to put the needs of others ahead of your own.
Step 3. Feel your emotions
Find a healthy way to recognize your emotions and express them instead of suppressing them. Write them down in a journal, discuss them with someone you trust, or take a long walk.
- The best way to get over your emotions is to let them come over you and face them.
- It's common to feel angry after living in a dysfunctional family situation, especially if the problem was with your parents.
- Keep in mind that loneliness is a very common feeling for those who are going through such a situation, even if you are spending time with relatives and friends who are supportive and there for you. It is very sad to lose someone who meant so much to you. Just keep in mind that as you heal from this sadness, you will feel much better.
Step 4. Spend time with supportive people
You haven't chosen your family and you can't even do it, but you can still choose the friends you want to surround yourself with. Strive to develop positive and mutually beneficial relationships in your life. Connect with people who make you feel loved and who are always there for you when you need them.
Step 5. Ask for help
Being away from your parents will create certain feelings in you that will be very difficult for you to deal with on your own. If you're having trouble getting by, get help from a therapist or counselor. Contact him and make an appointment.