Thanks for sharing.

In the last year, I’ve quite literally had to cut ties with several members of my immediate family because of one particularly toxic relative who — through years of manipulation and heavy-handed gaslighting — painted me out to be a monster simply because I could no longer afford to supplement their income by letting them stay in a house I owned essentially rent-free. I had also been supporting this relative through years of an illness that later turned out to be faked. I’d been helping the family out for years and had gotten to the point where no matter what I did (good or bad) nothing was every good enough or enough period. And when I dare suggest someone else take on responsibilities I had been handling for nearly 2 decades, I was met with abuse and vitriol. But that is how some people can be when they’ve had it easy for far too long while others have been doing the heavy lifting. Over the years, I was increasingly treated as a stranger off the street instead of a beloved family member, and my wants, needs, even safety were never taken into consideration.

Finally, I told them I could no longer continue helping — especially given how horribly I had been treated. It wasn’t worth one more minute of their abuse, lies, and overall entitled attitudes. Ultimately, I knew if I burned the bridge with one I would lose several other family members in the process as this particular family member had more than successfully made me out to look heartless and selfish when she herself had lied about an illness, manipulated friends and loved ones to financially support her, etc. Sadly, she had done this to other friends and family members over the years — a pattern of gaslighting to get her way. But there are a few who are still brainwashed and act as her muscle, protecting her from the rest of us as though we’re the ones who wronged her instead of the other way around.

Anyway, long story short, while I no longer have the relationships I would want to have with those who are not completely aware of the full scope of the situation and chose to believe her version — I have never been happier. Sure, it sounds a hint frosty to be elated to be free of a supposed loved one (blood no less), but the loss of toxic people (by estrangement, divorce, etc.), can at times, be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. For the first time, in literal decades, I feel wonderful. I’m not as frustrated or anxious, my personal life and mood have improved, I don’t feel like a disappointment, and am confident that regardless of what they all think of me, I did the right thing (then and now). I took care of the family for as long as I could but eventually accepted that the moment I pulled my resources they would petulantly react; threats, entitled bickering, besmirching my reputation, etc. All of which they did. I am simply disappointed that I wasted so many years, so much money and energy on these toxic people who dominated my life for so long. It is sad when you accept that your own kin will use you for what they can get out of you and never respect or love you. Silly me, I thought that is what family was (people who unconditionally loved one another). I guess that is why I stuck it out for as long as I did instead of walking away years ago as others had.

Point is, if there are toxic people in your life — related or not — it is worth it to consider cutting ties. And if other family members try to guilt-trip or chide you into sticking it out, you may have to bow out of those connections as well for a while until they either come around to understand why you feel the way you do or else accept the loss of those relationships in order to spare yourself the torment and abuse at the hands of the one person you really need to get the hell away from.

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Technophobe Who Codes | UX Generalist | Freelance Writer | Egalitarian-Feminist | True-Crime/Forensics Enthusiast

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