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5 reasons why it’s okay to remove toxic family members from your life

Sherrie Campbell, a licensed psychologist in California and author of “Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person” said: 

“We spend years sacrificing our mental and emotional health in abusive relationships under the notion that we have to because these people are our family”.

In a perfect world, every family is the best thing one could ever wish for. Ideally, a family is one who is the first to protect and defend you from all of the dangers of the world. It is where you get to be surrounded by people who believe in your dreams and aspirations.

But what if the people who should be giving you words of encouragement to lift you up, are the ones who are holding you back?

What if, instead of being a safe haven, the family becomes a place where you couldn’t breathe?

As a part of the Loving Yourself project, you deserve to have peace of mind. And you wouldn’t be able to achieve this if you will continue to be surrounded by people with too much negativity. Just as how poison is bad for your health, so are toxic people.

You might be having second thoughts about this, after all, cutting a family member out of your life is not an easy decision to make.

But we have to keep in mind that not all family members have the same respect, love, and support as we have for them. We should never set ourselves on fire just to keep them warm and comfortable.

Stop letting your family members stress the hell out of you. Stop wasting your energy over their never-ending drama, criticism, and narcissism.

Start making your physical, emotional, and mental well-being a priority. Here are 5 reassuring reasons why it is okay to remove toxic family members from your life!

[1] They make you feel insecure

Constructive criticism is important in our lives, this is how we make room for improvements, and this is how we grow and develop.

But finding yourself always being slapped with repeated and unwelcome criticisms every time you are attending a family gathering, will definitely consume your faith in yourself.

Photo of a man looking at the horizon. Stock photo.

No matter what you achieve in your life, these types of family members would always find a way to belittle you and demean how you view yourself.

Stop allowing yourself to be affected by their unsolicited and pointless observations. Nothing good ever comes out of people who make you feel insecure and feel bad about yourself.

[2] They find ways to manipulate how you feel

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The time that you finally distance yourself away from them, would also be the time when they would be suddenly super affectionate and supportive to you. Do not be fooled by their inconsistent behavior.

An ideal family shows you love and support 24/ 7, and not only when it is convenient for them.

They are the kind of people who would make you feel bad about yourself every time you say no to a favor they ask you of. 

At moments, your toxic family member would throw insulting words at you, and one minute later will make it look like it was your fault.

They would coax you back into their arms and start taking advantage of you once again. Stop participating in their mind games you would never be a victor of. Be kind to yourself by surrounding yourself with people who are just as kind.

[3] They are only there for you during their difficult times

Stock photo of the word 'support' in it.

A toxic family member will only remember you when their days are not as sunny as they used to be. It could be a matter of borrowing money, that you know won’t ever be returned again.

Or doing favors for them every now and then. But once you have served your purpose, you won’t be able to hear from them again.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong about helping a family, in fact, it is a must. However, if you don’t see yourself being able to depend on them if the tables would be turned, then it is time to remove toxic family members who only remember you when it’s convenient for them.

A stock photo of a woman raising her arms as if saying she doesn't care.

[4] You always have to be mindful of your words around them

Ideally, a family is a group of people who should be comfortable being themselves around each other.

So if you find yourself always observing too much caution about the words that you might blurt out, because a member of the family will get upset or will misinterpret what you are trying to say, you might as well evaluate keeping your relationship with them.

Not being able to express yourself when you are with family is very taxing on your part. You don’t walk on eggshells around family.

Stock photo of a sad woman.

[5] You don’t feel happy around them

You don’t look forward to seeing them. Learning that there will be a family gathering next month is something you dread hearing. In fact, you always find excuses just so you won’t spend time with them.

Interacting with these toxic family members drain your energy and your happiness. You cannot express yourself, you cannot be yourself around them. And the only reason why you spend time with them is your family values.

Keep in mind that nothing should ever take your happiness away from your number one priority. You don’t want to spend time with them for a reason, and you owe no one any explanation.

Blood may be thicker than water but we did not choose the family we are blessed with. Fortunately, since it is your life, it is you who have the final say about who gets to stay in your life.

You may feel guilty  when you remove toxic family members because of your relationship. But remember that a true family understands what is good for you, and wants the best for you.

True to Robert Tew’s words, “You don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out!”

(Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not to be treated as a professional opinion or diagnosis. If you’re dealing with any of these signs & symptoms or know someone who does, it’s important to always consult with your doctor or a specialist.)

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Jacki Battersby

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. We are elderly and our son has been a real problem for a long time. He cut us off after we did not listen to his lies and refused to take his advice on every possible matter in our lives. He was bullying us and his sister until we could not take it any longer. We are happier now and more relaxed but needed to be reassured that we made the right decision not to beg him back.


Monday 14th of December 2020

God doesn't cut off toxic people as alleged is appropriate

Thursday 28th of September 2023

@Gene, God??

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