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My family is unhealthy for me, how do I break ties?

22 Answers
Last Updated: 01/23/2018 at 11:41pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

April Zamzow, CSW, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

There are many times in our lives when we could use an ear to listen and help us through the things that we are struggling with. I can do that.

Top Rated Answers
October 23rd, 2014 9:53pm
Set boundaries, and if they can't respect that sometimes you have to remove yourself from toxic situations and love them from a distance!
October 29th, 2014 8:38am
You can ask for help from someone bigger so you can get helped. So don't worry and you will be happy again :)
November 20th, 2014 3:12am
I think it depends on the situation and the family member in question but I would explain to them that your relationship with them is not healthy/ is stressful and until they can become more mature (or change for the better in general) you cannot have a relationship with them.
December 18th, 2014 1:31pm
If you are sure that your family is detrimental for you and you are an independent individual, you should move to another place. Although residual emotions and mental ties will take longer to get over with, physical distance and zero contact are the baby steps. Hope I helped :)
December 22nd, 2014 4:23pm
Be as pragmatic as possible and plan before you break the ties. Identify what things will be solved or at least alleviated by ending the relationship and what are issues that you may still need help with despite not having them around. Also, try to work on the relationships you plan to keep, the friends and members of your community who will provide new security. Reach out to them, allow yourself to be supported and encouraged as you transition with your family. If you don't need to or want to, there is no need to mark a moment to break the ties. Just slowly wean yourself from their company and conversation. Allow yourself to mourn the loss. Even if the relationship is toxic and you will be happier in the long run, you are still leaving something behind and that is emotional. Finally, just allow yourself to think and use your instinct. You can decide what is best and safe for you. You don't need to justify your emotions or choices to the world. Only you can percieve things as you do right now and that is reason enough to act.
December 28th, 2014 12:06am
Sometimes you have to do what is best. They will more than likely try to push and blame you and try to guilt you to stay but remind yourself that you are better to cut ties and make life better for yourself.
March 12th, 2015 4:33am
If you can do it in the most amicable way possible, which to me is telling them why you are doing what you are doing, and that is because you understand that you need to put yourself first. If they do not want to own up to their actions in your wanting to leave, then that is their own fault.
December 22nd, 2015 5:35am
First of all make sure that your family is unhealthy for you. Family does play a very important role in our lives both negatively and positively and it's good that you've realized the negative aspects but do take time to understand that they have positive parts too. So it is very important that you think this over completely. I wouldn't suggest you completely break ties with them -just try maintaining a distance from them- unless it's having a completely negative influence in your life without any positive side at all. After all, they are the one thing you can most rely on when you need help or encouragement. If they really are that unhealthy for you, I suggest you sit down and have a talk with them. Tell them why you think you should do this and why it is important for you. Make them understand why you are doing this. A lot of people suggested breaking contact with them immediately, but that is unreasonable. Breaking ties with your family without them even knowing if you are safe or not is just not right. Tell them honestly and amiably.
March 1st, 2016 8:57am
You can start by having a heart to heart and laying out the problems you feel are there. If that does not work then you have to start setting boundaries and limiting contact with those who seek to harm you.
April 5th, 2016 5:48pm
That is a really tough situation to be in. I had to cut ties with my family and in order for me to do so in a healthy way, I needed a strong support system to help me through it. This included my spouse, in laws, and friends. With their help, I made it clear I wanted nothing more to do with them and told them why, so there was no confusion. Then I blocked them on my phone, social media, etc. I can say, that 5 yrs later, I am finally 100% free to be me and am the happiest I have ever been!!! If you ever want to talk about it, feel free to message me!! :)
October 22nd, 2014 5:37pm
It's difficult to break ties with people whom we're emotionally connected to. But if you truly feel as if it's not healthy for you to be around your family, then you should definitely consider breaking yourself off. As for the specific way to minimize their negative influence on you, that is entirely up to you and your specific situation. You have to realize for yourself what's the best way to do this, if carefully consider it is indeed the correct thing to do.
October 23rd, 2014 4:04pm
If your old enough to go to college you can always go away for college. Also after you graduate you can get a job that's not in the same area as your family and do more of a gradual breaking apart
October 29th, 2014 11:58am
If you're a minor, you probably should wait till you become a legal adult. If you're an adult, I'd say stop contacting them and asking for help. Start slowly and drift away from them.
November 11th, 2014 12:03pm
You need to think about it first, and discuss with your family what you feel is unhealthy for you. Breaking ties is never easy, and rarely the answer.
December 30th, 2014 11:14pm
To break ties with your family, you must completely understand why you must stop contact with them. It may be difficult but it can be done. After you figure this out, tell the person/persons why you must stop contact. They might not understand at first, but in time they will forgive you.
January 3rd, 2015 12:15am
Back when I was trying to break ties with my family I just slowly stopped showing my face. I just started to live my life apart from them more and more.
June 5th, 2015 1:21am
Put yourself first. This saying applies to many types of people. For example, ex-colleagues, ex-friends, ex-partners etc. "Ex's are ex's for a reason". Think about what you need, what's good for you. Don't feel guilty because you put yourself first. It's your life, no one else's.
October 26th, 2015 11:34am
First off, I wouldn't recommend breaking ties completely if it isn't absolutely necessary for your safety. This doesn't mean you can't distance yourself from your family, just that there remains some open line of communication that may later give opportunity for forgiveness and maybe even reconciliation. I believe that it is important in this situation to find a new network of people to support you, a bit like a "second family". This may be a circle of friends or room mates that you feel close to. I also think that, so as to distance yourself, it may be good to move away from your family, to put a distance between you that can not be breached by a 2-hour car drive. This may also be a good "excuse" to leave your family, since you could look for a job in a region of your choice and have this be your reason for moving.
March 14th, 2016 8:47pm
Talking about your feelings is the first step to find a solution for all your problems. If your family is unhealthy for you talk to them about how you feel and try change and guide them. If this is not working up then find their weakest point against them to change them. Breaking ties with family is easy. Try something difficult like surviving with your family
May 24th, 2016 6:34pm
You can try to find other relatives that may be able to help you, otherwise maybe a school councelor or a friend who can take you in.
March 7th, 2017 4:21pm
By learning how to simply place your energy elsewhere into more things that would be beneficial to your health and well being in the long run. If you can, manage to spend less time with people who don't have your best interests, and start investing more of yourself into things and people who want to help you succeed.
January 23rd, 2018 11:41pm
If your family is unhealthy, you can break the tie by not following in the path and choices and decisions their making for themselves and instead choice a different one to where you can feel satisfied.