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Unread 04-04-2011, 09:06 AM
 
96 posts, read 99,388 times
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Default Toxic family- low contact v. no contact

Anyone with experience or thoughts on removing toxicity of immediate family members from one's life?

How difficult is it to go no-contact, and does that effectively delete their toxicity or does it stay alive in your mind anyway due to experiences already had plus knowing they're still out there?
Is low-contact (i.e., intermittent email/phone few visits if any) a better route?

Conflict:
Low contact is a bow to untrue, but nonetheless v. real & impactful pressures-- wondering why you couldn't have just managed the situation someway instead of zeroing out; dread of the typical accusations ("can't believe you won't speak to your own family, they seem pleasant enough to me..."); albeit unwarranted guilt likely to creep in etc. etc.
No-contact is what's merited in the situation-- they are not nice people, unhealthy to be around them, wish to not know them-- But does it work in practice given the subtleties of all this...
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Unread 04-04-2011, 09:12 AM
 
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I have a toxic family.

Without getting into the details I will just say I have chosen the no-contact route.
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Unread 04-04-2011, 09:14 AM
 
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I have one toxic family member and have gone no-contact. I did it to protect my own mental and physical health.

Yes, you second-guess yourself, but that's better than inviting new stress on a constant basis.
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Unread 04-04-2011, 09:22 AM
 
Location: US
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I went no contact for awhile. Then after a few years started talking to them again. If they start up with any toxic behavior I cut them off verbally. After I took some space and did not talk it was much easier to stand up to them and just roll my eyes at how they are. I probably would not been able to do that without a little vacation from them. Now we have minimal contact. Thats been working out for me.
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Unread 04-04-2011, 10:04 AM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
12,517 posts, read 19,719,824 times
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The best way to deal with toxic family members is to move far away from them. If you live in the same area, they will try to stay in contact with you. But if you live a long distance away, they can't really intrude into your life with visits and dinner invites. If they try to call or email you, you can just not answer or read their messages to you.
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Unread 04-04-2011, 10:13 AM
 
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Some I have no contact with and one I have minimal contact with but I moved so I'm not too close to the one I have minimal contact with.
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Unread 04-04-2011, 10:29 AM
 
Location: All over
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My Mother is the only person in the family I have contact with. I simply do not know enough to really give you any helpful advice, but I also know this is likely all very private and involved as well. I will not ask you to put it all out here, but I can say this in a mostly general vein of thought for you:

The fact is that family relationships are not always easy to maintain. Each person has their own tendencies, frailties, opinions, and comfort zone. We are living in a time when the closeness of family is frowned upon and at the same time, removing family from your life is also seen as taboo no matter how bad the situation. We are living in times when the rule of the day is hypocrisy and no matter what you do, you're wrong for it.

Toxic relationships have far reaching consequences and they include a long list of nasty traumas. Removing the toxic stuff from your own life is going to take work. It takes time, because you actually have to personally process everything once the angry, vengeful , emotions wear off. YOU have to heal YOU. I wish I could say that I have a cure for you and your situation, but I just don't have the answer.

Do you remember an old 70s tune from a band called "Kansas"? The song was called "Carry on Wayward Son". The specific line I am thinking of right now goes..."If I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know."
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Unread 04-04-2011, 11:39 AM
 
Location: beautiful NC mountains!
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I have a toxic family as well. I have very little contact and moved 500 miles away to avoid them. I do feel a little guilty as my parents are aging and my brother, who lives in the same town has recently become homeless. He is of no help to them. At some point, I will have to figure out what to do with my parents but the time has not come yet. I just can't handle the constant racist rants, the guilt trips, the "poor me" conversations, etc. They wallow in their own drama and I have gone on with my life.
Sometimes it's the only way.
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Unread 04-04-2011, 12:16 PM
 
Location: North Carolina
2,630 posts, read 4,456,336 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neway99 View Post
dread of the typical accusations ("can't believe you won't speak to your own family, they seem pleasant enough to me...");
Sounds like you want to diminish the contact with the toxic members but continue associating with the people who will be their flying monkeys?

Detachment from the toxic presence and strict boundaries with their minions. Practice phrases beforehand
"I have a different kind of relationship with them than you and prefer not to discuss it"
"That is between me and them. I appreciate your concern but prefer you respect my way of handling this"
Of course, it may come down to a strict "if you don't butt out of my business, I'll cut you off like I did them."

We aren't given a choice in who we are born to. I don't believe that such a crap shoot obliges you to continue a close association with people who do nothing but make you unhappy.
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Unread 04-04-2011, 12:17 PM
 
96 posts, read 99,388 times
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Thank you all for your feedback, esp. it's an unpleasant topic.

I've been low-contact for awhile, then tried a visit couple of months ago and it went poorly. Got me thinking what's next, how much more low-contact can I go if a once in 5 yrs. visit failed... I'd prefer some middle-ground scenario, had thought I was ready to do the eye-rolling bit (per Opsimathia's post) after the break I'd given myself but it didn't work out that way.

I am disappointed that I still feel the intrusion, across the miles just an email or call does it both because they continue to be toxic even from a distance and because of the history already tolerated. It's what I meant that even with no-contact, you'd know they are there and it's discomfiting anyway?

I'm not going to try forever, probably have one more attempt in me before zeroing out. just worried to affirmatively go no-contact in the face of those other boomerang repercussions... I'm having a hard time envisioning the finality of it-- the explanations, outsider-status, second-guessing and so on.

Thinking_Out_Loud, I do know the Kansas song, very apropos too re "masquerading... charading... and though my eyes could see still blind..." goes to your comment that removing family from your life is also seen as taboo no matter how bad the situation. We are living in times when the rule of the day is hypocrisy and no matter what you do, you're wrong for it. Probably why it all feels so conflicting...

Isn't there a way to go no-contact without flat out saying it, or does the conscience demand more.
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