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<p>After having been through an emotionally traumatizing childhood (physical and emotional abuse from my parents and sister), I have come to the conclusion that if I am ever going to heal myself from my past and 'turn the page', I need to cut off all ties from my family.</p>
<p>Except that I have two beautiful children, who really enjoy having contact (albeit not very frequent) with their grandparents who live on the other side of the continent.</p>
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<p>On the one hand, I think that cutting myself off from them might help me progress in my self-esteem struggle.  On the other hand, I am feeling that maybe cutting them off and denying my children contact with them might not be the right move.  We already live in a place without many close friends or family around.</p>
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<p>Anyone BTDT?</p>
 

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<p>when ds1 was almost 1 year old, stbx decided to stop speaking to his dad.  i felt really bad for his dad, but he was an abusive . . . um, it's so hard to think of a nice word here, anyway, he was abusive to stbx growing up (and his mom).  so even though it's his dad, and our kids' grandparent, and even though i felt sorry for him, and even though our baby liked his grandpa, whatever - i am so glad stbx decided to cut ties with him.  it does make things complicated, like we don't go to their cousin's b'day parties because sil is still close with her dad.  it's for the best though.  even though he loves the cute little kids, i could already see him starting to lose his temper with them anytime they got near his precious stereo, computer, or camera.  he's just not a nice guy.</p>
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<p>more recently, i found out my grandfather molested my aunt and two cousins (and probably other people, but those are the ones i found out about for sure).  my aunt, dad, and the other three siblings had an intervention with their dad and a professional who works with sexual abusers.  it seemed like he was going to go through the program and do whatever he had to in order to maintain some kind of relationship with his family.  however, he has back-pedaled and took back everything he admitted to, saying none of this ever happened and trying to intimidate everyone into keeping their mouths shut.  i told my kids he is not well, and it's not safe to be around him, and we won't be seeing him until he gets treatment - or possibly never, because he may never choose to.  my grandmother is back him up, so it means we don't get to see her anymore either, and possibly others in the family, i don't know yet.</p>
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<p>neither of my experiences are as difficult a decision as cutting ties with your parents and sibling.  i just wanted to share my little bit of experience to say i don't regret these decisions.  my duty is to my kids and myself, and i feel completely at peace with it.</p>
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<p>another way to look at it is, when your kids are older, will it be easier to explain, "we don't have a relationship with those people because they hurt me and i wouldn't take the risk that they might hurt you," or, "i'm sorry, i wanted you to have a relationship with your grandparents and aunt even though they hurt me; i never thought they would hurt you."</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>doubledutch</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282308/cutting-off-ties-with-my-family-will-it-really-help-a-person-heal#post_16079776"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a><br><p>another way to look at it is, when your kids are older, will it be easier to explain, "we don't have a relationship with those people because they hurt me and i wouldn't take the risk that they might hurt you," or, "i'm sorry, i wanted you to have a relationship with your grandparents and aunt even though they hurt me; i never thought they would hurt you."</p>
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<br><br><p> Well, you know what I think, but I thought this section of doubledutch's post bears repeating.</p>
 

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Hi, mama. <img alt="hug.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif"><br><br>
I cut off my bioparents about two years ago. They were emotionally, verbally, and at times physically abusive to me during my entire childhood and into my young adulthood. I suffered from chronic depression, crippling anxiety, alcoholism, and agoraphobia for years thinking it was just me. Then I got pregnant with my first and my mother came to visit DH and me in our apartment for a few days. The sheer violence and rage I felt around her scared me to death, and I started therapy.<br><br>
I already knew she was crazy and toxic but it wasn't until my therapist began gently pointing out how abusive she and my father had been, and my subsequent PTSD diagnosis, that I made the decision to firmly distance myself. After my first was born, she and my father visited and behaved so atrociously, along with my brother, that I decided that unless they changed their behavior, they would never see my child or any future children again. I still clung to the fantasy that my mother was most of the problem and my father wasn't so bad, so I wrote my father a letter. In the letter, I explained how hurt I was and expressed how much I wanted a relationship with him and wanted him to know my children, but that I was not interested in letting my mother be a part of our lives. My parents had been divorced for a decade, at this point, and I thought my father would understand.<br><br>
I got no response to the letter for many months. No calls, no emails, no replies...until around Mother's Day, my first Mother's Day, when my father sent me a poison pen email that was so hateful and so full of vicious lies, craziness, gaslighting, and rage that my DH, who had previously somewhat liked my father, almost couldn't believe he'd written it. In fact, parts of the email were in a different font and clearly copied and pasted from something else, so I'm sure my mother wrote much of it. This is consistent with my father's enabling of her abuse, and, I now realize, his abuse as well.<br><br>
I wanted SO. BADLY. to respond to that letter and defend myself, but by then I knew that would have been just what they wanted. So I archived it for future legal purposes, contacted our attorney about changing our wills so that guardianship of our children would NEVER be given to my biological parents (we even put in a letter requesting that they be denied visitation, although that would probably be up to the courts), blocked their email addresses, and stopped all contact with them.<br><br>
As a result, most of my extended family has stopped speaking to us. My brother has also cut us off. My little sister and my maternal grandparents still speak to me and we have a cordial, loving relationship, but to everyone else--many aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends--we no longer exist. It hurts but you know what? As I told someone else in a recent thread about this very situation,<br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">I can tell you that since deciding to let my parents go, I'm happier, stronger, healthier, and more ALIVE than I've ever been. The emotional vampirism, crazymaking, gaslighting (rewriting history to make me doubt my own sanity), abuse, and other dysfunctions are over. I don't live in this haze of fear and self-loathing anymore. My self-destructive habits and self-sabotage have all but vanished. I actually look forward to getting up every morning! There really is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not a train this time.</div>
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My parents have only met my oldest child once, when he was a newborn, and have never met my youngest. And if I have any say in it, they never will as long as the children are under my care. As my children's mother, it's my job to protect them--and my parents, who insist that they've never done anything wrong as parents, who have never given me so much as an apology, who treat me with such contempt and disrespect, who excuse and justify even the worst of the abuse if they even acknowledge it at all, are unrepentant child abusers. Why would I let abusive people have access to my children?<br><br>
I tell you this because I want you to know that you are not alone. Cutting off abusers can and should be done if they refuse to make any effort to change their behavior. It's important that you and your partner/spouse are in agreement about cutting them out, because you have to take a united stand. And it's very important, IMHO, that you see a therapist privately while you do this. Find someone who specializes in PTSD and adult survivors of child abuse. Too many clueless therapists out there will insist that you need to let bygones be bygones, or will warn you that cutting off your parents makes your children more likely to cut you off, or will tell you that you can't get better until you forgive your abusers. Nonsense, all of it. No one tells a battered woman that she has to forgive her abuser to heal, or that she should let bygones be bygones. This is NO DIFFERENT and don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. Get the book <i>Toxic Parents</i> by Susan Forward if you haven't already read it. That book is incredibly validating.<br><br>
Your situation is more complicated than mine because your children already have a relationship with your abusers. But if they're truly abusive, even if it's only to you, then you have every right to cut them off. Your children learn how to treat others--and how to let themselves be treated--by what they observe in the adult relationships all around them. What message does it send if their grandparents are allowed to abuse their mother? Are they learning that abuse is acceptable as long as it's kept in the family? Are they learning that you, their mother, doesn't deserve to be loved and treated with respect? Kids pick up on such toxic dynamics more easily than we realize. If you're going to cut contact, the fact that they're (currently) nice to the children (assuming they are) doesn't make much difference. If they can't be decent to you, then they don't get to know your children. Period.<br><br>
I'm sorry this is so long and probably rambling. I feel really strongly about this issue because it's just not talked about much. Society is quick to judge people who leave abusive relationships if the abusers are the victim's biological parents. If you decide to take this step, there will be repercussions. People you thought would understand won't; people you thought would judge you harshly will surprise you by being supportive and understanding. People from good families will be almost universally horrified; people from broken families will either nod and get it or judge you the harshest of all, because your bravery makes them feel threatened. It's a lonely place, which is why therapy with someone who knows a lot about adult survivors of child abuse is vital.<br><br>
I'm not going to pretend that it's all roses and rainbows. I still think about them a lot, especially around the holidays and events like births and weddings. I miss having a huge family and I'm sad that my children only have one set of grandparents to love them as much as DH and I do (but those grandparents, DH's parents, are amazing and we're so blessed to have them!). And in some ways, it was easier to stay in contact with them. But it was slowly killing me, and I know that now. I know that because I've gotten so much healthier that I look back on my old life and can't believe the thoughts I used to have, the things I used to do and assume. I can't believe how much I put up with because "They're faaaaaaaamilyyyyyy!"<br><br>
Your family is who you choose it to be. Life is way too short to waste on users and abusers and you and your children deserve better. Once you have some real distance from this toxic dynamic you're going to look back on the way you are right now and be amazed at how far you've come. You deserve to be happy. <img alt="hug.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif"><img alt="hug.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif"><img alt="hug.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/hug.gif">
 

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<p>Although it's been difficult, I've also found it incredibly empowering. </p>
 
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<p>NAK so this will be brief.  I have no contact with most of my biological family.  I am now talking to my brother again (since February--I hadn't spoken to him in years before that by his choice) and I talk to my aunt and my niece once in a while.  My sister and mother are people I can't have any association with.  My dad is dead--suicide when I was a teenager.  Not talking to my family is the single best thing I have ever done in my life.  I am so much happier.  I am more stable.  I am not being constantly sent into emotional tailspins.  I am really proud of myself for making this choice and I'm glad every single day that my kids will never know how awful my family is.</p>
 

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<p>If they hurt you, they'll hurt your kids. It sounds like you're better off without them, if for no other reason than so your kids don't learn from them how to treat YOU.</p>
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<p>I used to listen to Dr. Laura on the radio a lot, and have read her book "Bad Childhood, Good Life". You might want to check that out.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>bananabee</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282308/cutting-off-ties-with-my-family-will-it-really-help-a-person-heal#post_16080991"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>If they hurt you, they'll hurt your kids. It sounds like you're better off without them, if for no other reason than so your kids don't learn from them how to treat YOU.</p>
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THIS!!!</p>
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<p>I did it 1.5 years ago--and it's been the hardes, but best thing!  TOTALLY if they treat you that way, eventually they are going to treat your kids that way.  If you need to protect YOURSELF from them, you need to protect your kids from them!</p>
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<p>My oldest sort of remember them...but the youngest two don't at all.  It'll be an adjustment for all of you--but once you go through the grief stages (cause I did, even though they were SUPER abusive, I still went through the "my parents don't even love and accept me--the only people in the world who are SUPPOSED to, DON'T" and through all the stages of grief--I got stuck in anger for a long time)--you'll find TREMEDOUS peace!</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.luke173ministries.org/templates/System/details.asp?id=39548&PID=629759" target="_blank">http://www.luke173ministries.org/templates/System/details.asp?id=39548&PID=629759</a> (if you're not religious, please excuse the scripture--but there is a WEALTH of information here about how to have no-contact--how to prepare yourself for "hoovering" and just dealing with cutting off family in general.</p>
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<p>My husband's greatest support for me in regard to cutting my family off, "would you accept this behavior from anyone else?  What makes it ok for family to treat you the worst?  It is NOT ok for them to treat you however they want, for them to walk all over you, and for them to expect you to just take it, because they are 'family.' That's not love.  That's not acceptance.  That's not 'family.'  That's torture, abuse, unkindness, and WRONG."</p>
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<p>It sucks but it's so worth it!</p>
<p> </p>
 

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<p>My dad is dead, and I've cut contact with my mother.  She was totally abusive when I was a kid and she continues to be toxic and a drug abuser.  She is not someone I ever want my son to be around.  Too much crazy from that woman.</p>
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<p>My husband's family was pretty messed up too and there was some SA when he was younger.  His parents are playing the "It never happened", "you don't know the facts of the situation" and "I don't have to discuss this with you" hand, so he has cut all ties with both of his parents as well as one of his brothers.  He has limited phone contact with two remaining brothers, but he cut off the one because he is an enabler to his parents and he allows them free access to his children.</p>
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<p>Sometimes it's really, really hard not to have any parental figures I can lean on.  Sometimes my heart breaks for my grandparent-less son.  Sometimes I feel like some kind of horrible and evil daughter.  But I truly believe that my son is going to grow up healthier because of this decision.  He is eight and all he knows is that we don't talk to my mother because she hurt me a lot and won't apologize and refuses to try to get better.  We don't talk to dad's parents for the same reason.  He seems to understand it and doesn't seem to be lacking those relationships.  In an ideal world, he'd have four devoted grandparents.  But in this world, he has two parents who went through hell as children and who will go through hell as adults to make sure his life is safe and happy.</p>
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<p>Since I've cut her out, I feel so much stronger and happier.  Even in my darkest times, I don't regret it.</p>
 
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