Is it Ever Okay to Cut Ties With Your Own Flesh and Blood?

Kin No More

Written by Dr. Sherrie Campbell

Cutting ties with family members is one of the hardest decisions we may face in life because we are conditioned to believe that to terminate relationships with family is morally and inherently wrong. The fact is that family members are sometimes people we’d never allow in our lives if it weren’t for the blood tie.

Under the ideal of family some spend years sacrificing mental and emotional health in abusive relationships under the notion that they “have to” because the people are family.

Valid Reasons to Terminate Relationships with Family

1. When the relationship is based in any type of abuse mentally, physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally. When the relationship is based in manipulation, overt or covert, you can be sure you are being used and abused. When you are living in constant anxiety never knowing or being able to predict how any engagement is going to turn out, it is time to love yourself enough to let go.

2. When the only contact you have with them is negative. When the contact you have with them serves to bring you down, put you down and/or make you feel you are not good enough, or you haven’t done enough for them, it may be time to part ways.

3. When the relationship creates so much stress that it impacts the important areas of your life at work and/or at home. When your emotions are totally caught up in trying to defend or explain yourself, and the chaos of your relationships with these people is all you talk about, it is time to let go.

4. When the relationship is only about borrowing or needing money.

Most people know intuitively when it’s time to cut ties. Sadly, many carry this knowing a long time before making the choice.

A Caveat
Families without problems don’t exist. Selfishness, gossip and unkindness are sure to be part of every family’s struggle, and you yourself have probably been the source of at least some negativity. Cutting ties with family should always be preceded by open communication, forgiveness and an attempt to reconcile differences.

Sherrie Campbell, PhD is a veteran, licensed Psychologist with two decades of clinical training and experience providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of the new book Loving Yourself : The Mastery of Being Your Own Person, which is available on and in bookstores.

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