“Remove yourself from people who treat you like your time doesn’t matter, like your feelings are worthless, or like your soul is replaceable.”
-s. mcnutt

I’ve written about cutting negative people out of your life or at least keeping a social distance (pun intended, ha) in some of my earlier posts. But a tweet I saw this morning made me think a little. A person’s tweet asked what if the toxic comes from a parent and/or an adult child? Should they cut them off?

The responses were quite polarizing. Half the people that responded said they could cut a parent out of their lives but a child, no matter what their age, would be difficult to do. The other half said, family or not, if they’re toxic, it’s time to cut them off.

While I’m not a parent, I can certainly imagine the dilemma one is in if a son or a daughter is the primary cause of toxicity. But since complete empathy is not possible for me with this issue, a disclaimer is necessary.

I state my opinions on this issue with any family member in mind whether they’re a parent, a child, a sibling, an aunt or uncle or anyone of blood relations. For that matter, I count my closest friends as family, blood related or otherwise.

To me cutting someone out of your life does not necessarily mean that they cease to exist for you. There are various levels at which you can cut someone off. You can drastically reduce the amount of interaction with the person(s) but still say the occasional “hello” if you see them at a family reunion or anywhere else. You can decide to cut off all casual contact (calling or texting just randomly) and only talk to them for crucial matters.

It’s only when even the most minimalist interactions become volatile that a complete cut-off is necessary. Should that happen, I believe that you should go ahead such a drastic step even if it is a loved one. I believe this for two reasons.

Firstly, reconciliation is not out of the picture completely even if your current relationship with a loved one is. Nobody knows what circumstances we will go through in the future that will prove to be pivotal in our way of thinking. Perhaps tomorrow or a year later, both of you will go through experiences that will make each of you more empathetic towards each other. So do what you have to do at the moment as nothing is permanent. It’s never the end definitively till death.

Secondly, if you continue to be in a toxic relationship with anyone, you will serve no purpose to yourself or others. One can draw parallels here with the conflict of someone on life support: should you pull the plug or let them live in a vegetative state knowing that their heart might keep beating but they’ll never have feelings or any other sensations again?

Just like being in a vegetative state, you might be alive and breathing in a toxic relationship but psychologically, your feelings and emotions are dead as they’ve been wrecked to a point beyond return. In this state, you are no good to yourself and no good to others except to keep throwing turmoil at you.

So pull the plug or in this case, let the other person out of your life. This is no doubt, easier said than done. That’s why it’s important to keep the two points I’ve made in mind. To reiterate, cutting someone off doesn’t mean a permanent end and a person full of toxic with family members around is of very little value compared to a person at peace with nobody around.

How do you feel about cutting all toxicity of your life? What if a dear family member was causing it? Would it be easier or harder for you to cut them off? What is your breaking point personally? At what point do you decide that enough is enough? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below on our secure servers.

Hi, I'm Neel! I'm a writer (fiction and poetry), a journalist and currently working in the advertising business. I'm also a mental health advocate, having been diagnosed with clinical depression a few years ago.
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