Is It Okay to Cut Ties with A Toxic Family Member This Holiday Season?


mental therapist in towson md | B'well Counseling Services

Many people believe it is necessary to stay in contact with toxic family members because they do not want to sever family ties. This may cause a great deal of anxiety, especially during the holiday season as you plan to see that family member for get-togethers. If you need a mental therapist in Towson MD to help you navigate a relationship with a toxic family member, B'well Counseling Services can help.


Signs It May Be Time to End a Relationship with a Toxic Family Member

One of the signs that it may be time to end a relationship with a toxic family member is when you notice that person ignoring your boundaries and/or gaslighting you. Relationships should be a safe space where you can communicate clearly, respectfully, and honestly. If your family member is overstepping your clearly-communicated boundaries or is making you question your reality, it may be time to distance yourself from that relative.


The second sign that it may be time to cut ties is not feeling emotionally supported by your relative. Empathy and compassion are key factors to any relationship. If you feel as though you are the only one providing emotional support and that the relationship is unbalanced, it may be time to take a step back.


The third sign that you need to cut ties with a family member is if there has been any form of abuse - mental, physical, or verbal. Oftentimes, abuse can be very subtle such as a sibling who acted aggressively towards you growing up. Their behavior may even have been normalized because "that's just what they're like". Both overt and subtle forms of abuse are serious issues and should be addressed immediately by removing yourself from the situation and seeking help from a mental health provider or close friend.


How to Distance Yourself from a Toxic Family Member

It is important to remember that while the bond of family is incredibly important for lots of people, it does not excuse harmful and abusive behavior. Family should be a safe haven where you can openly and candidly express yourself to those around you. If you do not feel mutual support within the relationships you have with your family members or if your attempts at communicating your feelings have not been heard, it may mean that that person is unable to provide the type of support and relationship that you're seeking.

To distance yourself, you must first accept that it may be a process. Since your relative likely does not respect your boundaries, they may try to seek out a relationship even after you have explained your need for space. When talking to that family member, choose to do so in a neutral setting such as a public place. You can explain to them clearly and concisely the reasons that you're choosing to end your relationship or you can simply say that you will be ending the relationship without much explanation. If an argument ensues, try not to engage. Simply restate your boundaries clearly and concisely. If an in-person conversation is too overwhelming, consider writing a letter to clarify your thoughts and articulate your feelings.


Looking for a Mental Therapist in Towson MD? Contact B’well Counseling Services.

B'well Counseling Services is a mental health therapy practice offering a full range of therapeutic services including online counseling in Towson, MD and the Greater Baltimore area. We believe in helping people rekindle their curiosity and reconnect to their core selves so that they can truly be well. We value wellness and connection over happiness because we understand that being able to experience the full range of human emotions and experiences is what helps us heal and grow. At B'well, we are dedicated to creating a space for anyone who has ever felt unwelcome because of their identity, orientation, or expression.


B'well Counseling Services offers Telehealth Therapy Services. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.


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