We choose our friends throughout our life but as for our family members, we are born into that relationship. We don’t have a choice when it comes to our parents, siblings, cousins or any other relatives and sometimes, we just don’t get along. You really need to wonder if there is a limit as to how much you can expect to take and when to know to cut off those toxic family relationships.
Professionals have provided some tips to help you know when it is time to cut the ties. These tips come from psychologists and scientists who make these types of relationships their life’s study.
This first tip comes from Sherrie Campbell, a licensed California psychologist and author of the book Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. She said that there is a sign you can watch for to know when it is time to cut that family tie. It has to do with the family member becoming abusive. She said: ‘when the relationship is based on any kind of abuse, mentally, physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally. When the relationship is based on manipulation, overt or covert, you can be sure you are being used and abused. When you are living in constant anxiety never knowing or being able to predict how any engagement is going to turn out, it is time to love yourself enough to let go.’
Jamye Waxman, who has a Masters in Education and is the author of How to Break Up With Anyone: Letting Go of Friends, Family, and Everyone In-Between also had something to say about toxic family relationships. She said that those types of relationships can really affect your health in a negative way. According to research, stressful relationships, including those of relatives can increase your blood pressure and your risk of associated headaches and stomach aches. It can affect your sleep, lower your self-esteem and lead to anxiety and depression. In her words: “ditching that toxic family member can be good for your health.”
Campbell talks about how being in a toxic family relationship can have an impact on other areas of your life. When it does, it is a good indication that it is time to duck out of the relationship. She said that when the stress from one relationship impacts other areas of the life, it’s time to make a change.
Mark Goulston, MD, a clinical psychiatrist as well as the author of Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life talks about the negative feelings that can be created by another person. If there are negative emotions associated with that relationship, it may be time to end the relationship. “The person makes you sick. If just the mention of the relative’s name, or a text message, e-mail, or voicemail from the person puts a huge knot in your stomach, that’s a clue the relationship has become unhealthy.”
Steven J. Hanley, Ph.D., clinical psychologist talks about how a relationship with a toxic individual can negatively impact your family, including your spouse and your children. At that point, it may not be worth maintaining a relationship. He said: “If maintaining the relationship is harmful to your spouse or children—for instance, your mom clearly favors one of your children while neglecting the others—you may need to take a step back for your family’s sake.”
If the relationship is one-sided, Sherrie says it may be time to leave the relationship. When it is all about their feelings, decisions or if the talk is about money, it may be time to take your leave. A good example is if a family member borrows money constantly and continues to need it then it might be time to cut the relationship short. According to a Huffington Post article: “when the relationship is completely all about the other person and there is no real reason why the other person cannot make any effort towards the health and maintenance of the relationship with you.”