If I was in a relationship with someone who treated me like I was worthless, then everyone would advise me to break up with them. To delete them from my phone — to delete them from my life — because I deserve to be loved like I matter.
Why is it different when a family member is toxic? What difference does it make if the person who is bringing me more stress and anxiety than I can handle is related by blood? Why is it any different when they are my father? My sister? My uncle? My cousin?
Why is there some unbreakable rule that says I should remain loyal to my family members no matter what they do, no matter how horribly they treat me?
If I chose to cut an abusive boyfriend out of my world, then I would be applauded for my strength. But when I choose to cut out an abusive family member, people try to make me feel guilty. They try to make me feel like I am a bad person.
They swarm me with sob stories about how their father is dead and they wish they would have been nicer to him while he was alive and I should cherish mine while he is still there because I will regret it when he is gone.
They can’t seem to wrap their head around the fact that not everybody comes from a happy family. Some uncles are abusive. Some sisters lie. Some aunts steal. Some families are better off separated.
However, everyone makes the assumption that I am overreacting, that I am upset about something unreasonable. They don’t understand that I would never cut out a family member over something stupid. Over twenty dollars. Over a difference in opinion. Over a single argument.
If I am cutting someone out of my life — especially someone who has been there for me since the day I was born — then they must have done something unforgivable. They must be unredeemable in my eyes. I must be better off without them.
All I want is for my choice to be respected. I don’t want to be judged for doing what is best for my mental health. I don’t want to be pushed to reunite with someone who I know is unhealthy for me. I don’t want to be punished for doing the right thing for myself, just because it makes other people feel uncomfortable.
I will never understand the code of loyalty that families are supposed to have for each other. I will never understand the people who say that families are supposed to stick together, no matter what.
No, I would never cut someone out of my life because of a small disagreement over Thanksgiving dinner. But if someone has repeatedly been a source of pain for me, if they have hit me or stolen from me or hurt me one too many times, then I have every right to cut them out of my life.
I’m sorry, but being related by blood does not give anyone a free pass to treat me like shit.