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Is it okay to distance yourself from your parents if you feel as if you're in a toxic relationship with them?

30 Answers
Last Updated: 03/12/2019 at 3:01am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Lisa Meighan, BSc Psychology (Honours)


Hello, I am Lisa and I work in a person-centred approach mixed with cognitive behavioural therapy. I believe we all have the potential to be the best we can be.

Top Rated Answers
August 17th, 2015 1:36pm
Society does tend to push that whole idea of a perfect family and a strong bond with parents. If your parents aren't the best and your relationship isn't good and negative for you then it is definitely fine to distance yourself from them.
February 16th, 2015 3:37am
Yes. Your parents are your parents, but if the relationship is toxic then having some distance is healthy. You have to make the best decisions for yourself, even if they're decisions that don't seem like they're the popular option for most.
July 20th, 2015 2:41pm
Yes. If a relationship is bearing down on you to the point where it is no longer bearable, as when you feel attacked or invalidated when you are with them, it can greatly help your viewpoint if you take some time away from their influence.
September 7th, 2015 5:45pm
Absolutely. It is crucial to protect yourself from anything that brings unhealthy toxicity to your life.
March 28th, 2016 2:03pm
No. Not all all. It will make things worse. You should talk to them about it and express your feelings.. Communication is very crucial.
November 14th, 2017 12:32am
It's very much ok to do this, esp. if you're a grown up. I left home early and my mindset and worldview got so transformed than when i return to stay with parents for a short time years after, I could not believe I once used to live with that. It was demoralizing. So glad, I got the chance to be away. Now, I can be a catalyst for better with them. From the distance. lol It still works. ;)
May 1st, 2015 10:36am
It is definitely ok! If you feel that your relationship with your parents is emotionally harmful for you and you can remove some of that, then there is nothing wrong in doing it. You have to look after yourself.
July 25th, 2017 1:46pm
Yes! I personally believe that going no contact or low contact with toxic parents is the best option. If you're in a toxic relationship, it's deemed acceptable to leave them - so why shouldn't it be that way for family members?
April 8th, 2015 9:52pm
It's perfectly acceptable to distance yourself from those that are toxic. Those that are 'toxic' people are only going to bring one down and they just harm you more than they help you. It's difficult to distance oneself-- I had to do this with my sibling and his wife actually-- but I rarely speak to them/spend time around them because the kind of people they are...they're just not-so-great...And small doses leaves me utterly exhausted. But with that, if you have to be around them, limit your time so that way you're not being dragged into a cesspool of negativity.
November 2nd, 2015 9:05am
I would have to say yes. It may not seem normal but making distance can prevent bad events from happening. Try not to be too distant for too long or you may not be able to reunite yourself with them.
December 7th, 2015 7:38am
Totally! However before you do that, you may want to try and repair the relationship with the help of a therapist (a reeeaal good one). Weigh your options and the pros and cons of distancing yourself from them so that you will be making an informed decision. Sometimes parents don't know that their actions are hurting you and it needs to be communicated in the right manner so that they won't feel attacked and in turn will listen to you.
September 6th, 2016 5:42pm
No, thats not a solution. you cant just keep distance from your parents . they always worries about they care about you they want your good future. its better to sort it then taking such steps.
Anonymous - Expert in Family Stress
January 19th, 2015 10:50am
No matter who they are, if the relationship is harming you in anyway, you have every right to distance yourself from it - this is the logical and mature thing to do
April 4th, 2015 3:51pm
Yes, absolutely it is. Toxic relationships are never good, regardless of whether or not they are family. At the very least, consider setting firm boundaries. It is difficult to be involved in a toxic relationship if firm boundaries are in place and enforced.
May 22nd, 2015 7:57pm
If you feel like you're feeling threatened then you have the right to remove yourself from the problem
June 4th, 2015 11:44pm
Sometimes. But maybe sit down with them and talk to them, get to know them and think about why you feel the relationship has become toxic and if there's anyway they can see things from your perspective.
May 10th, 2016 10:30pm
It depends on your age. If you're a minor and don't have anywhere to go, you don't have much of a choice. But if you're not living in your house, have something to support yourself by, and are safe, then I consider it okay.
August 16th, 2016 9:18am
It is okay to have a distance between them yes. But do remember to still check on them from time to time. After all they are your parents.
October 10th, 2016 10:46am
Sometimes space is needed but not to the point you will sever ties with them. You can distance yourself to think over the things you want to tell them and make them understand.
December 19th, 2016 7:52am
Keeping your distance from someone whom you're in a toxic relation with is a great step towards healing; even if that someone is one or both your parents. It might be complicated to keep your distance if you live in the same house as them, but I'm sure there's a solution you can work on with someone. Distancing yourself from your parents might seem to make things worse at first, but with time, each person will become aware of his/her own toxic behaviors and things will get better. So yes, it is okay to distance yourself from your parents if you're in a toxic relationship with them.
June 12th, 2017 5:17am
Yes. While it is sad that some parental relationships can end up toxic or feeling toxic there are times you need to do what is best for yourself. Not everyone has the best of relationships with their parents, and while they are your parents that does not mean you have an obligation to remain by their side and keep the relationship. If you can, I would try and discuss how you feel with them and resolve it. Sometimes people are willing to change or work on things to better the relationship. They could not be aware of it themselves and could need someone to give them a wake up call.
June 17th, 2015 11:04am
I feel like it's perfectly fine. stressing yourself out is just as toxic as an environment like that.
April 19th, 2016 4:34am
Yes but I'd suggest you speak with a licenced therapist to work through issues you may be experiencing with your parents.
June 14th, 2016 6:42am
Yes, of course, it is... Your first concern is your own mental health, not anyone else's, after all!
September 26th, 2016 8:49pm
Yes! Distance doesn't mean no relationship. It just means that you need to keep space from negativity. Alway, always, distance yourself from toxic people. No one needs negativity in their life. Distance can save a relationship, were staying in the bad relationship can ruin everything.
November 15th, 2016 6:53am
Of course. Being related to someone does not mean that you are obligated to maintain a relationship. If the relationship is toxic, then cutting them out may be the only option to ensure your wellbeing
May 16th, 2017 2:06am
I believe so yes, I grew up with drug adictied parents I suffered severe emotional and physical abuse, I put up with it for years I even supported them financially at one point. It wasn't till I had my baby that I realized I will not let her go though what I went though, I let them make a choice go to rehab or be with me and my child. they made their choice and now I'm living a way from them and as much as I miss them my life has gotten so much better. it's a hard choice to make but it is yours to make.
June 19th, 2017 2:19am
Yes I think it is important for your own mental and physical wellbeing to distance yourself from toxic relationships be they with parents, family or friends.
October 1st, 2018 12:57pm
Yes, absolutely. Family is important but at times, it is family who will bring you down. As you are in that situation, it is healthy for your own wellbeing to be distant from them and for the most drastic measure, to completely cut ties with them. However, in order to do so, you have to ensure that you're financially independent of them as you don't want to find yourself homeless somewhere. Remember that your mental and physical wellbeing is very important and therefore, don't let anyone damage that. Stay strong and I hope everything works out for you. Take care
March 12th, 2019 3:01am
Personally, it depends. If they care and have the best intentions for you, then maybe you guys can work it out and it could be worth a shot. If your parents are not understanding at all and have the opposite of what you have planned for your life, then absolutely. You should give your parents a chance, but when you are legally old enough to move out you should feel free to do whatever is best for you. Your mental and physical health is more important than that relationship, but that relationship is still pretty important. If they are still pretty toxic up until you are legally allowed to leave, then you should be free to leave and take care of yourself. If you tried to fix that relationship and it didn't work out, move on.