1. Some people are never going to understand. They might understand walking away from a toxic relationship — but a toxic parent or sibling? They won’t be able to wrap their minds around it. They will encourage you to make amends. They will say things like, “But they’re family,” as if that means something. As if a blood relation gives someone permission to treat you like shit. When you cut out a toxic relative, you’re going to lose more than that person. You’re going to lose everyone who takes their side, everyone who thinks you’re overreacting — or worse, a heartless monster — for choosing your own sanity over your family.
2. It’s never as easy as you think. Even if you know you’re making the right decision, even if the people around you are surprisingly supportive, it sucks to walk away from someone who is so important to you. It sucks to admit that their love for you wasn’t enough to change them. Even when you know it’s for the best to walk away from them, it doesn’t make the situation sting any less. And it’s not like you can rip off the bandage once and forget about them forever. You’re going to be reminded of them every birthday, every holiday, every time you see a happy family on a movie screen. The pain will last longer than you want to admit.
3. You have absolutely no control over anyone — except yourself. You can try to explain to this person how much they’ve hurt you, but they might not listen. They might not care. They might drop a million excuses. No matter how you approach them, no matter how many second chances you give them, there’s nothing you can do to change their attitude or their toxic behavior. You can’t save them. You can only save yourself. So instead of arguing with them again and again, do what you have to do, even if it means deleting their name from your phone and finding happiness without them.
4. You’re not going to get out of the situation unscathed. Toxic people will change you. Some of their toxic traits will rub off on you — or you will develop your own toxic traits as coping mechanisms to deal with their behavior. Maybe you’ll develop a fear of commitment. Maybe you’ll have trust issues. Maybe you’ll have an itch to snoop through a partner’s phone or scream at them the second they make the smallest mistake. Maybe you won’t even realize those things are wrong because they’re not nearly as bad as what you grew up witnessing. However, unlike your relative, you can do something about the problem. If you want to change, you can change. You just have to put in the work.
5. Your new family is going to bring you so much joy. Your family doesn’t have to be related to you by blood. You can consider your friends your family. You can consider your partner your family. You can create a circle of people who you trust, who uplift you, who make you feel loved and appreciated. After all, that’s what a real family does.