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I don't want to have anything to do with my family ... ever again!

Tagged as: Big Questions, Family, Health, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (30 October 2016) 5 Answers - (Newest, 16 November 2016)
A female United States age 22-25, anonymous writes:

I want to go far away from my family without telling them where I am going and never ever wanting any contact with them again.

I don't know if anyone here knows how it feels to be manipulated by family members till you become a dry well then they cut ties with you or ignore you. I have a brother who's 10 years older, a sister who is my age and a mum who's well into her late 50's. To my own detriment, I spent all my money feeding, renting houses and catering for people who should be catering for themselves against my therapists advice.

I have never in my life received money as a gift or compensation from anybody. Every penny I had, I earned it, worked for it. Whenever they make unreasonable demands from me, I refuse and then they start saying I am proud and selfish because I have way more than them. Then I obliged to their wishes.

I recently took a downturn financially as my spending habit for my family was way more than my earnings. Now I'm dead broke and out of ideas. My brother and mum owe me a lot of money and have refused to say a word about it. They say I've always had money, I can take care of myself. I am willing to let the money go but I cannot forgive their betrayal and deceit.

Would I be wrong as to never ever want to have anything to want to do with them in my life again? My brother married a rich girl who feeds and shelters him. He's never for once asked how I'm doing financially or call me. Or pay his debt but he keeps sending my mum money for silly things. The only time he called me was to ask me for money. The only time my mum talks to me is to either mock me or beg me for money that I don't have. I am at my wits end.

I don't want to sound like I'm looking for sympathy but I keep hearing blood is thicker than water. I'd say the blood on my side has thinned out. Am I mean or unrealistic to never want to see or hear from my manipulative family? I don't want to go into details of what they've done as this post would be too lengthy.

View related questions: debt, money

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A female reader, Eagle'sfan1986 United States +, writes (16 November 2016):

I don't think you are mean at all if your mom and your brother are taking advantage of you and wanting to take everything that you work so hard for. You have every right to save up your money to pay bills and groceries. And that you can't keep on giving alot of your money to them. If you don't want to have contact with your family it is your call. The way your mom and your brother treated you. I wouldn't blame you if you don't want anything to do with them at all.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (31 October 2016):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntI've been there - not paying for them, but being emotionally abused (unintentionally). They'd always put me down and treat my younger brother like a saint. I've strongly considered giving up contact with them, but here's why I don't think you should....

I think if we cut them off completely, we suffer and it's immature. As adults, we need to learn to set boundaries with people and not let them walk all over us. You don't need to talk to them often and you don't need to pay any more for them at all (learn to be assertive enough to say no), but cutting them out completely will most likely harm you because you'll be all alone. If they were abusive, then I'd suggest cutting contact completely, but part of their behaviour can be changed by you, in how it affects you, because you can say no.

My dad's mum was horrible to me, growing up. She never liked my mum and my dad was her least favourite of three children, so she used to insult my mum to me and complain about me a lot. I have always been sort of outcastes from my dad's side. My mum's side is similar, in the sense that my cousin's grew up close (my aunts are twins) and only my mum's mum puts effort into talking to me.

The reason I told you all that is because I do feel shut out from my own family and that's really hard as a child and teen - you don't understand it. If you have children, unless your family do drugs or are aggressive, it's usually before for children to have some contact with their family, even if it's supervised and limited.

Distance yourself and learn to say no, but I wouldn't advise cutting off all contact yet.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (31 October 2016):

Setting boundaries and saying "no" is the most difficult thing to do when it comes to family. Yes, families help each other out; but if you never say no, you will spoil them. They will become dependent.

For some cultures, families pool their resources for survival. So you give only to survive, not to purchase their approval and fulfill all their wishes.

Blame yourself, if you're so foolish that you give when you can't afford to.

You've been a softy, allowing them to bully you with words. You have to learn to say no and take your punches. Remind them you're still family whether you give them money or not. You shouldn't have to pay for their love and affection.

Put your foot down, they think you're still a child.

Learn to take the mocking and insults with dignity. Tell them you don't like helping them when they're mean and nasty to you. Also remind them they've been a financial strain and that has now come to an end. If they wish to be family and show love, you're all for it. Otherwise; keep your distance, and turn on your voicemail to screen your calls. Send them birthday and holiday cards.

Go quiet on your mother for a little while to get your bearings. Show-up only in a real emergency. Let her feel the coldness of your distance and silence; so she will remember the difference between a daughter and an ATM machine. She knows you and how to manipulate you. So you've got to outgrow it. Don't allow guilt to make a fool of you.

Remember this advice. As you go through life people absolutely hate when you say no. You've waited too long with your family.

So now, give them distance; but be available to offer emotional-support during family-crisis, during illness, or losses. Don't bring your purse and bank book.

Distance is not the same as abandoning your family. It means staying out of reach until you feel needed, respected, and loved. Let them miss you. Never turn your back on family, you will regret it. Money doesn't always have to be involved.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (31 October 2016):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntPeople can only treat you the way you allow them to treat you. I think you need to learn to be more assertive, to say "no" and mean it. You need to make yourself your #1 priority and look out for your own needs.

Personally I found it very empowering when I learned to say no to people - just "no" - no explanation, no apology, no justification. I love to use the phrase "I don't think that's a good idea" and leave it at that. Try it next time someone asks you for something you don't want to do. It is very empowering.

As far as your family are concerned, do you need them in your life? Do you gain anything from maintaining contact with them? Will you miss any of them if you cut ties?

Do you have friends who support you? I like to think that friends are the family we choose for ourselves. Blood ties are not always good.

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A male reader, Xearo Trinidad and Tobago +, writes (31 October 2016):

I do believe they are in the wrong in the way they choose to treat you. They would not mind to lose you as I believe people like that are very shallow. I understand that you are very upset, but you chose to lend them money even when you were given advice not to. Yes they are in the wrong but you can not blame other people for your own actions. You have to accept what is lost and gone.

It is all fine to cut ties with family. Many people face this dilemma as well and also choose to cut ties. The bigger choice you have to make is learning to out right say no and to stick up for yourself when their toxic needs comes knocking on your door.

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