Living in a toxic family is hard, as they would constantly emotionally and mentally abuse you. Not only that, the constant beratement and gaslighting would contribute to and cause health deterioration. A home is where you should feel safe – not a place where you would feel threatened on a daily basis.
However, being in an Asian family – even a toxic one – would be a bit hard to navigate around, and it would be hard to sever ties. Leaving one’s family is frowned upon in any Asian community. But it’s totally okay to sever ties with them if it’s for the greater good of your mental health.
It’s never easy cutting ties with family, as it takes a big leap of faith and a lot of courage to do so. Not to mention, the aftermath of it. Factors that contribute to the difficulty of severing ties with toxic families are loyalty towards the family, which confirms the saying “blood is thicker than water”; and guilt over “abandoning” people who are biologically related to you. But psychologists confirm that it’s okay to cut off any toxic relations who do more harm than good for your life.
If you aren’t sure how to cut ties with toxic family members, here are some tips that might help you:
Decide when to cut ties
How to deliver the news
There’s no ‘right’ way to deliver the news to your family that you are severing ties with them. But obstacles include extended relatives, i.e. aunts and uncles, whom you only see once in a while during big family reunions. However, you don’t have to abruptly stop answering calls or reply to messages. You can tell them that the relationship isn’t benefitting either of you right now and that you’ll be withdrawing yourself from them.
If they are not going to respect your decision on it, at this point, it’s totally okay to stop answering or replying to any messages or calls.
Handling emotional aftermath
An easier way for you to sort out conflicting feelings in the aftermath of severing ties would be to talk to a therapist, as this would provide you with some peace within yourself.
It may be a norm for Asian families to not talk about mental health issues, including toxicity. But always remember that when you are at your breaking point, talk it out with them first. If they are not going to respect your decision, severing ties might the solution.
YOU matter the most, above all else!