You Don’t Get A Free Pass Because You Are Family

Unsplash / Kendyle Nelsen

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. TC mark

The truth is that you can be struggling and still be loved.

You don’t have to solve your whole life tonight. You just have to show up and try. Focus on the most immediate thing in front of you. You’ll figure out the rest along the way.

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