Is It Okay To Cut Out Toxic Family Members From Our Lives?

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Snigdha, a student of Delhi University, was 13 when she started maintaining a journal to write about everyday stuff. Her mother got suspicious and went through her diary and the next day she asked her about everything she wrote in it. “Even though it was all childish stuff I felt it as a massive breach of trust. I stopped writing altogether. Since then I am paranoid about keeping a journal or being open about myself for the fear of being vulnerable and mocked at by people.” she shared with SheThePeople.TV

She also revealed how her mother, her sister and her aunts would constantly body shame her for being too skinny, too fat, too unattractive. As a result, to this day, she struggled with body image and confidence issues. “A huge part of my anxiety disorder is centred on all the flaws that were highlighted by my family during my teenage years and I now associate them with every failure I ever encounter; be it in friendships or academics. However, reading made me realise that it is okay to distance yourself from family if they pull you down. And now I feel more in control of my feelings.” she says.

“If your parents aren’t supportive, they don’t understand you and constantly pressure you, it is okay to distance yourself from them.” – Snigdha

Let’s admit it, life is complicated. With hundreds of things demanding our attention, the last we would want is a toxic family member sapping you of your energy day and night. But how do you get rid of such ties? And is it morally correct to distance oneself from one’s kith and kin. How do we draw a line between care and intrusion?

On whether it is right to distance oneself from their kith and kin, Snigdha says, “It is important to see our family members more as individuals than just our parents or siblings. Sometimes our family can be a toxic environment to be in, and it is important to distance yourself. If your parents aren’t supportive, they don’t understand you and constantly pressurise you, it is okay to distance yourself from them.”

But how does one cut out their kin considering the familial ties we have with them? Karishma Verma working with a reputed airline spills the beans, says, “We ignore them, don’t wish them on their birthdays, everyone keeps their relatives blocked on social media, don’t share our achievements with them because they don’t appreciate them, neither sorrows because they never help.”

“We cut them out by not sharing our achievements with them because they don’t appreciate them, neither sorrows because they never help.”- Karishma Verma

Toxic relations can sometimes play havoc with your mental peace and that’s what law student Shruti Saronia realised. “It is absolutely okay to cut toxic family members even if that is your father from your life. I’ve been doing that ever since I was three and am thankful that physical distance from that ‘very toxic’ person was one big reason it was easier for me to shut out this unhealthy and hazardous relation out of my life.” she says. She further added that just because someone is related to you doesn’t make them a part of your family.

“Remove toxic people likes pages from the book of your life.” – Aastha Mittal

Writer and artist Aastha Mittal says, “There came a point in my life where my relatives became very toxic. They would ask me why I am not getting married, instigate my parents and I would wonder who they are to ask such questions. Even friends can be very toxic and try to put you down for no reason. I try to give them a second chance and if they still put me down, I cut them out from my life.”

But do all have the courage to let go of their relations? Can a balance be maintained where the relationship stay cordial without disrupting your inner life much?

Himani Mishra, Founder of Brand Radiator feels that toxicity and family can’t go hand in hand. “The attitude of balance is something that is required everywhere be it is a parent-child relationship, husband-wife relation, sibling’s relationship or with your close friends. So start loving yourself more and consider creating distance, not separation. Do not argue just reinforce your boundaries”, she suggests.

Educator Shampa Moitra says that she doesn’t believe in cutting off relationships but admits that she had to suffer a lot for that. “With time I realised that it is also important to call a spade a spade. I have always been open for suggestions but if someone would criticise my parenting or my work and try to paint my image, I have taught them a lesson through words or action to shut them up.” she admits.

How would you react if your relative showed toxic behaviour? Will you entertain it or start avoiding them?