This is an important post. The most important post that I’ve written here on the blog. It’s also a labyrinth of a situation to be in.  I really don’t know if I can do this post justice, because there is nothing simple about knowing how to deal with toxic family members.

Here is what we all know: 

  • Toxic co-workers are difficult and can be detrimental.
  • Toxic romances are difficult and can be detrimental.
  • Toxic friendships are difficult and can be detrimental.

So, we know the same will apply to toxic family members. However, it is an especially insidious connection to have, as our family is meant to be the safe haven that we fall back on in life.

We can choose our friends, but our family is a choiceless deal.

For better or worse, these are your relatives. Love them, hate them, or loathe them.

  • It is where we first learn about love, boundaries, and how to connect with others.
  • It is where we learn patterns – healthy or otherwise.
  • It is where we learn the value of loyalty, being loved, being cared for, and valued.

Sadly, these qualities are sometimes learned through growing up and being denied them.

This is a naked fact. Not a pleasant one, but a fact nonetheless.

Toxicity in relationships. There are four ways it presents itself:

  • Physical abuse
  • Mental abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse

First, know that if you are in a situation where you are dealing with toxic family members (or anyone else for that matter)…

When a family member is toxic, remember that you do not deserve to be treated badly or abused. We are meant to flourish, be happy, feel loved and cared for. To be safe. If you are dealing with a toxic family member who shows no respect for your feelings or boundaries, as crushing as it can be, it doesn’t have to be your forever. Staying away from toxic family can be defined in many ways.

We start life belonging to a special group, taking these people for granted in some ways, as the ones who will always be there for us. We call them our family. The ones with whom we share special traditions, things we do on birthdays, at Christmas or holidays, ways that are passed down through generations.

We share recipes, physical traits, heirlooms, and secrets. Sometimes, we also share toxic traits with toxic parents; behaviors that serve no one but exist anyway.

This is where the labyrinth becomes twisted.

We cannot give out free passes to family though just because they are family. If you are dealing with a destructive relative, it is no more acceptable than it would be in any other individual.

Excuses – not reasons.

There are people who damage others and refuse to own their behavior in any way. They are full of excuses, or others provide excuses for them. Well-being isn’t of importance here. And we feel guilty.

As a child, there is little to nothing we can do about a parent who is addicted to alcohol, drugs, in and out of relationships, violent, verbally abusive, sexually inappropriate, or narcissistic. That is the travesty. We must live with it. This becomes daily life, our reality, the way we grow up. What is even harder, is almost always, the toxic family member doesn’t care about the negative impact they have on others. On us. On our growth and development.

Sadly, often other family members who are aware of the toxicity are either powerless to change it or too afraid to make any attempt to intervene. In a way, this is one of the hardest things to swallow about a toxic family member: sometimes others that we trust and depend on, enable and endorse their sickness by covering it up or excusing it.

People may turn a blind eye towards the toxic person’s conduct. Especially when we try and bring it to light:

“Oh, he didn’t mean it.”

“I didn’t see him hit you…”

“She only swore at you because she was drunk. She wasn’t herself.”

“You are being too sensitive.”

“Don’t upset anyone. Just say nothing.”

“Let sleeping dogs lie.”

“You must have done something to make her angry or else she wouldn’t have reacted that way.”

These transactions are toxic too, as they do not allow anything to be dealt with. Everything gets swept under the proverbial carpet.

We also learn to behave in a certain way related to the toxicity we are dealing with. We might feel we have no voice.  We may often feel we are walking on eggshells. We might feel anxiety, fear, and anger or a mix of these. We might find ourselves developing co-dependent behaviors. We might have distorted ideas about disagreements, conflict, and how to share our feelings. What we grow up with may not match what we see in the outside world.

Some of the underlying messages we receive when dealing with toxic family members are:

We are not good enough.

We are not important.

We are not a priority.

We have no right to complain.

We are a nuisance.

We are nothing to be proud of.

We are the problem.

We are not lovable.

We are not worthy.

We are losers.

And…

Our feelings don’t matter.

Our wants and needs are not important and therefore, overlooked.

Our opinions mean nothing.

Our ideas are stupid and meaningless.

Our safety isn’t important.

Our mental well-being isn’t important.

Our happiness isn’t important.

What are some examples of toxic family member dynamics?

This list is not exhaustive. It is merely a guide.

Some examples include:

  • Alcohol abuse (and this can be evident without someone being an alcoholic).
  • Using drugs.
  • Other addictions such as gambling, sex, medication, work, and spending.
  • Violence – through anger or after drinking or using drugs or any combination of these.
  • Relying on crime to bring in an income.
  • Personality disorders.
  • Learned behaviors passed down from other generations.

Toxic people change the dynamic of a family because they create dysfunctional patterns of relating to others which in turn, puts an unstable slant on how life works. Negative circumstances continue to breed more dysfunction, which has a flow-on effect towards other family members. Anger is a problem. Things are said and done that should never have been said or done. Emotionally destructive behaviors run rampant. There is often a refusal to consider the needs of others and a feeling of safety is eroded.

Much of the problem is because the focus isn’t on taking care of the family, but accommodating the dysfunctional behavior and the person responsible for it.

What happens to us if we are dealing with a toxic family member and what does it look like? 

The biggest thing that happens: our boundaries shift. We shift them so we can deal with the circumstances. We normalize abusive treatment, so it seems easier to tolerate. It becomes our reality. We learn to navigate it.

What kind of behaviors do toxic family members exhibit?

  • Control. expecting us to make decisions they approve of and belittling us if we don’t. May use sarcasm, “jokes,” and putdowns to undermine us further.
  • Micromanaging everything in our lives. This is control when it is “completely out of control”.
  • Threats. Telling us things will be taken away or refused unless we do things a certain way. Their way. Our views and feelings are not taken into account, only theirs.
  • Constant criticism. About our life, views, opinions, religious beliefs, dress code, friends, career choices, sexuality.
  • Gaslighting. Turning things they have said around, to make us feel like we are the problem and we have misunderstood/ confused things: denying what they said and making us feel like we are going insane
  • Blaming. It is always us. We are the reason something isn’t good; we are the problem and we are causing the toxic family member to feel bad.
  • Dismissing our feelings. We are not given a voice, a choice or a second thought. We are not valued
  • Neglect. Not taking care of a minor if unwell; not providing proper food and emotional support. Not taking any interest in us, refusal to support us and help us when in need.
  • Emotional abuse. Silent treatments, laughing/making fun of an individual, verbal abuse, and mind games.
  • Lies. Told to cover up things said and done, or to manipulate.

How do I talk about this?

Something to consider…

Sometimes toxic family members are not aware that how they behave is hurtful and damaging. And there are those members who do know but go ahead and do it anyway.

If you think a toxic family member is not aware of the damage they are doing, you have an opportunity to confront them and discuss their behavior and the negative impact it is having.

If they genuinely are unaware of the negativity they are creating, and they care, it is possible that through honest discussion some change is likely. Perhaps this is the start of a new way of relating to each other. Sometimes taking a time out may give everyone the space they need to reassess and try again.

You are allowed to feel happy, wanted, loved, and appreciated. Confronting someone you love but find toxic can be powerful. You need to decide what outcome you want and contact the toxic party, letting them know the rules you need respected if they are to interact with you.

For example, if alcohol is a problem, you will only visit or see them if there is no drinking. If the problem is they don’t like your partner and become sarcastic and difficult when around them, ruining everything for everyone – explain that you won’t accept this, and if it begins, you will both be leaving.

These kinds of rules aren’t manipulative. They are setting a clear boundary that defines how you wish to be treated. Everything will go ahead as planned unless things get abusive. That is healthy.

Make sure you enforce your rules. Stand by them. If you don’t value them, a toxic family member certainly won’t.

Create change by being the change.

How to deal with toxic family members: Is it ever ok to walk away and cut them off?

I cannot answer this for everyone. Sometimes it really is the only option. But making the choice to cut someone off for good… this is not the answer for some. If you are alone and subjected to abuse in private that is hidden from others, then you owe it to yourself to get out.

Anything that is hidden from others but happening to you in private is a reason to leave and find your own safe space. Never accept being someone’s emotional punching bag… or physical one. Sometimes leaving gives you the space to relate to someone in a new, safer and more self-empowered way.

A child cannot make this choice, but as adults, we can. We can choose. Moving out of home, moving away. Placing your own stamp of independence on your life. Learning to be self-sufficient is a challenging but rewarding adventure when you have escaped the clutches of a toxic family who want to control and define you.

The dynamics of toxic families can be such a hidden undercurrent. Some families appear highly functional… respected career paths, intelligent people and a nice family home, comfortable with financial wealth.

However, what goes on behind closed doors in that same home with those same “functional people’ might actually be a destructive cocktail of physical and mental abuse, verbal torment and mind games. And yet, everyone gets up the next day to go out into the world and act normally.

Dealing with toxic family members is hard. And it is often a dirty secret we want to hide. So, how else can you deal with them?

It all comes down again to…

Boundaries.

You might not be able to stop them.

But you don’t have to be them. 

How to deal with toxic family members? 

  • If you feel abused and unloved and uncared for, but are trying to put up with it because it comes from a family member… protect yourself.
  • Keep your distance as much as you can. Watch for trigger situations and avoid them, do not engage if you can avoid it.

Also, know this: You are not there to fix them.

  • You do not have to assist and help them through every crisis and drama that they are involved with. Sometimes, the transaction gets worse before it gets better, so be clear about your boundaries and enforce them.
  • Expect them to not like your boundaries. Do not buy into emotional and manipulative arguments about your requests, just stand by them.
  • If you cannot get support from other family members who are also aware of the situation – do your best to love yourself.

Self-care is your first priority.

  • Talk to someone who you trust and can confide in. Get some help from a professional or seek legal advice if you have real concerns about your safety or mental wellbeing.
  • Don’t keep everything under wraps. There is a saying “we are only as sick as our secrets”. Think about that. What are you hiding? And why? It is probably tied to guilt and shame regarding your family circumstances. If you know you need help, then get it. Love yourself enough to do this. Remember: self-care is your priority when you are in a toxic situation.

We have all heard about blood being “thicker than water” but with a toxic family member, no strong and wholesome bond is created. The bond does not exist in a healthy, sustainable way.

Key message: This is what relationships are really about… the bond between people.

 You owe yourself the highest duty of care when toxic family members are unable to treat you with decency, love and respect. You owe it to yourself to stay emotionally unentwined so you can stay emotionally healthy. To identify those toxic family patterns and behaviors. To recognize the destructive outcomes of these behaviors and to not accept them.

I will say it again: Remember, relationships are all about the bond. Stay healthy, keep your boundaries strong, and walk away from toxic people and situations that mirror any destruction you grew up with.

If it is still happening with toxic family members, you need to protect yourself from further damage by distancing yourself.  Do not give countless chances to abusive people. If they are family, that does complicate it incredibly, but abuse is abuse. We can learn all kinds of unhealthy behaviors when living with toxicity. We shift our boundaries and accept, excuse and condone unhealthy patterns and sometimes even begin to act the same way.

By staying healthy you give yourself the opportunity to create bonds with other healthy people. This is where you will find the love and peace you are looking for. Sometimes the tribe we connect with are not the same people we grew up with. Sometimes the love and kindness we receive aren’t from the ones we share blood ties with. Grieve it, but don’t let it hold you frozen in time.

Time is the one thing we cannot ever get back. It is gone, spent, wasted. The past doesn’t have to define your future. Do not waste your time watering rocks (I have said this before) and don’t waste your time hoping someone might morph into the person you desperately wish they were.

There are varying degrees of toxicity in relationships but dealing with people who are toxic is draining. Nothing is simple. Everything seems to be a drama; the goalposts keep being shifted and you can end up being hurt and feeling very low about yourself. Over time, you may also be filled with unresolved anger.

Trust these feelings because they come from your gut. Know that these feelings are telling you to find a way to stay safe and feel valued. No matter how hard it is, sometimes we must accept that the people who should mean the most to us, are sometimes the ones who do the least for us.

Accept that you cannot change them, it is not your responsibility to fix them and there is probably nothing you have done to contribute to their behavior.

If you are really struggling with breaking free from the family dynamic you are used to, write down the behaviors you would like to see in others. Write down the things you want to hear, do and feel with others. This is where you want to put your focus.

Breaking the chain

I believe that even in a negative situation, there is usually something good to find. My story is one where it took me years to find myself, but it was a goal I never gave up on.

I clung to that goal and it gave me fuel to keep going during the times I was falling down and getting back up. I had my core values and I wanted to live my life by those. It was worth fighting for. Here is something beautiful to think about if you are dealing with toxic family members….

Be the person they cannot be. Stand up and lead the way to a better way of doing things. A better way of life. A life where love and trust exist. A new way of thinking.

We are all scarred in some way. We all have a past. Many of us have endured unimaginable hurts, damage, and pain. These scars are reminders that you fought, that you survived and you made a choice about the way you wanted to live your life.

We are not the sum total of the people who have hurt or damaged us. We are people who have lived with things we do not like or want and have moved on and are wanting to thrive. To live. Not to exist in another person’s toxic world of pain and shame. To ensure that we will not replicate that same world of toxicity.

Break the chain!

There is a massive difference between tolerating familial toxicity and feeling powerless to change it – as opposed to defining our boundaries about what we will and won’t accept. Stand by your boundaries.

And something else to remember…

Even if someone else cannot respect those boundaries – as long as YOU do, you can move forward.

In the darkest places, the smallest slither of light can shine the brightest.

  • Do not let destructive people define you.
  • See your own worth when others cannot.
  • Treat yourself with self-love and decide on the person you want to be. Work towards that.
  • Set yourself goals that mean something to you and stay focused on them.
  • Stop wanting people who cannot love, accept, and support you to fill your bucket with happiness and make you feel good.
  • Fill your own bucket – and protect your happiness. You deserve it.
  • Discover in this huge world what makes you feel good. Focus on that.
  • Do things that you love, go to places that you feel good in, choose people who are like-minded and care about you.
  • Spend time with people who are enjoyable to be around. Don’t tolerate uncomfortable situations where your boundaries are being trampled on.

And never give someone else the power to continually and deliberately treat you badly – even if it is a family member.

But what if you are feeling truly alone and have no one? What if you cannot continue the relationship with a toxic family member because it is too painful?

If you have lived with a very toxic familial relationship and you feel emotional turmoil from it and are unable to continue this damaging connection, know this:

Although we all want to be loved and accepted, sometimes we don’t get these things from the people we should. You are still lovable, and you will still find acceptance in this world. Remember that adversity teaches us we can survive hardships we never thought we could. And from this, you learn the boundary of all boundaries:

You can live without the approval of others.

The hard part is, we often desperately want the approval of others when we are going through these hard times. Hardship builds a strong person. You learn very quickly that your priorities matter, especially if they are at the expense of someone else’s damaging behavior. You connect with yourself in a way many people never learn to do.

There is always something great to be born out of pain. Some of the most beautiful souls out there have learned to take care of themselves because they had to. You may not realize it but you have identified with your worthiness despite it not being recognized or respected by others.

We develop the incredible quality of resiliency when faced with criticism and unloving treatment off others. Resiliency is the bomb because it teaches you to bounce back. You don’t absorb others’ negativity. It is like a weatherproof coating. You begin to see and understand that what happens around you and to you, does not define your worth. It doesn’t need to define what your future is either.

When you do not need acceptance or validation from others – you learn who you are. You create a rock for a foundation, not a raft that floats along with the ever-changing direction of the tide – or in this case, other people’s agendas or toxic behavior.

You are never alone. You always have yourself.

And when you truly value yourself, you will know just how powerful this place is.

My final word is this: When you see unhealthy and hurtful patterns in your family, you have the power to make a choice that they will end with you.

Be brave.

Be strong.

Be purposeful.

Know you can be a different person and attract different people. Know that you are not the same.  Break the chain. Be that tiny slither of light…and let others be responsible for carrying their own darkness.

This post was written by Lorelle xx

Lorelle, this was one of the most powerful, vulnerable, and healing posts that I have ever read. It hit so painfully home that all I can say right now is “thank you.” Thank you for refusing to be a victim and for becoming a survivor. Thank you for surviving your past, your pain, and the shame that was never yours to carry. Thank you for surviving so that we could all *be* your family and feel less alone in our own. Thank you for this beautiful post. Lorelle will be answering your comments and questions below 🙂

If you need further and more personalized help with toxic relationships, please look into working with Natasha here.

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30 comments

Reply

Natasha, my dear and sweet friend,

thank you for your beautiful words, to write here is always a special thing for me. This is my 9th post, but, it is the most vulnerable one I have written. But I have discovered that vulnerability can be a superpower. It is what reveals our deepest fears and wants and hurts and most importantly, the things we really stand for and have fought for.

This article is truly written from my heart – and my past. Lots of brokenness and painful moments stitched back together.
Stitched back into a different story. A story of resilience and hope. A story that ended – and where new things started.

This is a little quilt. It’s a quilt to keep us warm when its cold. It’s a quilt filled with love so we never feel unwanted. It’s stitched by hand with threads of hope and self-belief to make sure it holds together and stays strong. A quilt to last many years.
This is also what you and your blog are to so many, many people. A quilt, something real, tangible and warm. Something to bring comfort and hope in those dark times where we feel unloved, unlovable and unseen. Like so many, I am truly grateful for it, and the tribe that exists here.

The people you have introduced me to, the happiness writing brings me, and the absolute love I have for responding to the readers – I cannot thank you enough for what these things have given to me. And then there is our friendship. I love having you in my world. So thank you Natasha. And the readers, everyone. I would never have written this piece without you. And this is the real thing I have discovered through this blog, we are all pieces of the same quilt. We all add our own burst of color, patterns, stories and uniqueness to it. We all stitched together with love and compassion.

I just hope and want this post to be read by the people who need to read it. Because we are truly never alone. There is always a way. Always.

Love you Natasha…xxx

Reply

I am so proud of you and proud to know you. Before my own Mother, you were the first person that I handed this baby of mine over to, to write a guest post. Just like your comments, your posts have healed not only me but so many others. They have helped us all feel less alone ♥️

This post will always be my favorite.

Love you too. Thanks for being my family. xx

Reply

Lorelle and Natasha … your timing is impeccable… I deal with 3 sisters and a mother who triangulate – who never speak face to face about issues. They consistently bad-mouth each other and I’m assuming me as well. We grew up with in a very dysfunctional family where lies, alcohol abuse, cheating and “what everyone thinks” dictated our every move and every emotion. (My father who led us through all that garbage is ever so slightly removed) But we are still struggling with the chaos of our past. It’s a strange place of competition for approval, success, and family possessions to a degree that is ridiculous. I get heat for trying to talk about things face to face – where people in my family say that I am scary. Thing is – I never hold a grudge – I am so happy to discuss how things can go wrong in hopes that it’s a miscommunication and things can get sorted out. This style does not work with my sisters and mother. The toxicity of our childhood has run into our adult life like a waterfall. The ironic thing for me is that I want nothing to do with the nonsense, but continually feel like an outsider. Your words on boundaries are going on my fridge. xx S

Reply

Hello Susie,

I love your analogy about the waterfall. What I love even more is that you don’t want anything to do with it, and that’s the exact reason you feel like an outsider. You’re not the same kind of chain link they are – so you aren’t able to connect.

This is most bittersweet – because we so want to be able to fit in and blend with our family – to be loved and accepted.
At the same time – we are woke enough to see it for what it is. A place of toxicity where nothing grows or changes.
There have been few comments on this post – it’s takes so much courage to be vulnerable and share – to reach out. .
So know that I admire you for writing here, I can see you and I know where you are. You may feel stuck but you are not. You are free because you can see the situation for what it is. That’s an incredibly powerful place to be.

It’s also lonely though, I I feel that too. I’m sending you so much love and I truly admire your courage to reply.
The fridge is a great place to put up things you want to read constantly. I like your style. Stay strong, and know you’ll find the people who will love you the way your family cannot. Xxx

Lorelle xx
🔥🔥🔥🕊🌱❤️

Reply

Oh Lorelle! This is such a good post. I wish I had had it years ago!

The parts that really resonate with my experiences are where the section of quotes that people say to excuse the abuser, the “blind eye” and the subsequent list of underlying messages. Thank you for making me feel seen, when no one, even to this day, in my family will.

I also love the list of what to do to be the light in the darkness. So perfectly succinct! I want to copy it down and drawn lines out from each one and start listing specific ways I can do just that in my own life.

And from all this mess, the gift of resiliency…so good!

Sheer poetry, as always Lorelle. Sending you and Natasha so much love!

Reply

I’m so glad that you loved this post as much as I do. Love you too! 🤗

Reply

Hello Ranyoi,

Thank you for your words. I am so grateful to know you can use this post to create positive changes in your situation to bring happiness and peace to your situation. And it fills my heart to read your words as feeling connected to others is a big part of who I am. I articulate far more in my writing than I do in conversation – your reply is something so special.

It is often in our family of origin that we learn to accept excuses for poor and toxic behaviour – but when we see it for what it truly is, we regain our sanity and self-worth. And you are truly worth so much. And I’m sending you love and appreciation. Thank you for your uplifting message xxx

Lorelle xx
🔥❤️🦄💐

Reply

Hi Lorelle, this post is so powerful yet such a painful pill to swallow. I keep going back and forth between creating some distance with toxic family members and continuing to love and basically be a doormat for them.

I have watched so many self help videos that talk about re-parenting yourself and how to heal from childhood traumas. It’s quite difficult because I feel like I’m in such a raw vulnerable place like 90% of the time. Because family is basically where you’re supposed to be loved and accepted but not in my case. So it’s been quite tough, my relationships with other people have been affected because as you said I feel I need to please everyone, I seek their approval. It’s all too much and I’m ready to break free of this burden. Thank you so much Lorelle❤️❤️

Reply

Hello Denise,
everything I know about your situation will improve beyond belief when you get the opportunity to leave. It is one of the gifts of adulthood – we can choose our own path. I know it’s painful and some days are unbearable for you.
You cannot change other people. You alone cannot repair the toxic dynamic that you are dealing with. But you can love and approve of yourself and who you are. Your goals- they will help propel you forward, you will not always be in this situation.

Self-love is so much more productive than trying to endlessly please a person who can never be happy with who you are, unless they are micromanaging your every decision. You have the guts to have made a plan, you have the insight to see this situation for what it truly is.
The future is taking root in the present – you have planted your goals and that’s where you will thrive – by focusing on them, not unloving people. Don’t worry about what others think – most people are truly only interested in themselves. Don’t go to the well when you know there is no water there.

I absolutely believe in you. I know you are going to be successful, that you make your goals a reality. You are brave, you are so much stronger than you know. If you can accept this person for who they are, it will free you. Life isn’t always fair – and family can be the biggest disappointment. You have learnt from them who you do not want to be. That is the gift. Stay true to yourself.

We can read material that inspires us listen to others and have our story heard many times, but there are still painful days and moments we are scared, angry or full of self-doubt. Be kind to yourself in these moments. And never go back to what broke you.

You will find the right people come into your life when you least expect it. For now, focus on being the person you want to be. Then they will recognise you and you will see them too. Live your truth, Denise. That is the first step to a happy life. You cannot be seen by a person who is blind. You cannot give them that gift – that is their lesson in life to learn.Not yours. I know you will understand exactly what I’m talking about.

It will be ok, Denise. Keep the faith. I’m here for you. So is Natasha. Xxx
Lorelle xx much love xx

🦄🔥🦄🔥🦄🔥🦄

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Thank you so much Lorelle. I am beyond thankful for all your posts as well as your words of encouragement, This is a different form of heartbreak I’ve had to endure, but I know I just have to invest and take care of me now. Thank you so very much Lorelle.

Reply

I was at the end of my rope. This blog and this post quite literally saved my life.

Reply

Dear New Hope,

When you are at the end of your rope, swing as hard as you, and as you gain speed and height, let go.
Let go because that rope is holding you to a situation that isn’t allowing you to be happy.

Instead, focus on exactly what you want, and stay loyal to that list. Distancing ourselves from other people’s selfishness and ever changing agenda’s can seem like the scariest thing to do. But you find relief and peace with that distance, it’s like a cushion, it absorbs so much of the drama.

When you’re at the end of your rope, do not climb back up it. We know what resides there, swing on it, let go, and build on your freedom – the choices you want to make. Get the Tarzan girl moves going, you’re nor a puppet and you aren’t dangling there so someone else can make your life a misery. You’re worth more than that and that’s why you wrote these words. I’m so proud of you for recognising what you don’t want as it will start the next chapter for you…much love. I get it, I really do xxx

Lorelle xxx

🔥🔥🔥🌱🕊💪🏻

Reply

Hi Lorelle.

What a moving and emotional post. I think it was so brave of you to write it and share it with so many. I do not think that is very easy. I had no doubt when reading this you were speaking from your heart. It was very raw and so very powerful.
Your posts are always very inspirational to me and I expected nothing less this time but honestly you should be so proud of yourself for what you captured here.
Thank you again.
🌸💕😘🦄

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Agreed ♥️♥️♥️♥️

Reply

Dearest Linda,
You have no idea how much your words have touched my heart. So compassionate and warm. You are correct, it wasn’t easy to write. It is the most vulnerable I have ever been on paper, and I could hug you for seeing that. I have read your words a few times – thank you so very, very much. It means a lot, and although I feel so incredibly exposed through this post, It was written it in the hope that it would empower others and for them to know they are not alone. Thank you for your message. Priceless. Sending you love and a huge hug., I hope you are well and happy. Xxx

Lorelle xx
💓💫🌟🦄💐

Reply

This was one of the most important and life changing articles I have ever read. Thank you for sharing your truth. Every day my heart breaks because my sisters don’t talk to me and my Mother cut me off. Thank you. I don’t feel so alone anymore.

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Hello Mary,
Thank you to you for reading, and I’m so happy to know you have connected to this post. It’s very hard to be in the position you are in. Very. There is one thing worse than being cut off from your mother. That’s living within her web of toxicity by having to deal with her dysfunction on the daily. It is not the ideal outcome but you now have the freedom to choose a path where you can create a future where you can find love and happiness. We can love our family but know in our hearts they are people we need to shield ourselves from.

We can try our best to love them and never get that back. You are brave, you are riding your white horse through this. Just stand by your truth and live to please yourself, not those toxic family members who treat you badly. There can be so much shame in these situations, but I like to think it’s like being warrior. Surviving battle and riding on to a new place. Wiser. Stronger. Having a plan to stay safe and survive. Finding a new map to follow in life.

I’m just sorry I cannot speak to you in person, but know my thoughts are with you. It is not your job to fix others – it is your responsibility to take care of yourself so you can connect with others in healthy ways.
I hear you. I see you. You’re living your own Phoenix rising story. And it is a story worth living. Love to you, Mary xx
Keep going. Xx
Lorelle xx
🦄🔥💪🏻❣️🌹

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Hi Natasha and Lorelle

I found this blog when I had just come out of a relationship with a man and felt absolutely broken, barely able to function, totally paralysed in disbelief at what had happened, searching for answers. I learned through reading the articles that I had clearly been involved with someone who was very narcissistic/emotionally unavailable and that I had been part of a repeating pattern of toxicity. Initially, I focused very strongly on understanding these behaviours and validating how awful they’d made me feel….I read and re-read post after post, feeling as if the words written were my thoughts and feelings. They really were the only things which made me feel any better, knowing I wasn’t alone. Often crying and often laughing out loud.
Slowly, as I began to recover, I started to understand my role in the relationship I had been in. I looked back at previous relationships and realised that I had attracted the same person, again and again; had accepted the same behaviour time and again. In discovering these things about myself, I also realised how my own childhood relationships had programmed me into thinking it was normal to accept toxic behaviour, to continually seek love and acceptance where it will never be given. And that these toxic family members were continuing to affect my self esteem and sense of worth. So, I cut contact with them almost a year ago.
It isn’t an easy thing to do but, for me, it was absolutely necessary in order to rebuild any sense of self worth.
Thank you both for, quite literally, saving my life and continuing to light the way down what can be a really lonely path. Whenever I am feeling low, I always come to the blog to find the resources I need and always feel calmer for doing so.
And thanks for the article, Lorelle. Beautifully written as always.

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Hello Claire,
I am certain Natasha will reply to this, but I wanted to say to you what an amazing job you have done in your life! Childhood experiences teach us so much, for better or worse. You have done the work to see how unempowering many of those things were for you. To walk away – that is a true badass move. It isn’t without its complications, many people would not know this. It is definitely a road less travelled, but it gives us the real chance to grow and live a life that isn’t about surviving, but thriving. It is still a hard decision to make though.
You are in the right place here, and I am full of admiration for you and your incredible strength. What an incredible story, and look at how you own it.
Thank you for your words, and for sharing. Gutsy and strong woman you are.
I really am thinking of you, and if you don’t know already, you are courageous and a true phoenix! So much love to you…stay on your path. Never accept abuse as a way of life. Biggest hugs xxx Love Lorelle xx xx

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Claire, your message has brought me to tears ♥️ Thank you for surviving, for not giving up, and for affirming that I am not alone in so many things you touched on, that I was convinced I was alone in for most of my life. Thank you for existing. Thank you for being a part of this tribe. It’s inspiring to see the connections you’re made and the odds you’ve slayed. I love you. With all my heart. Thanks for giving us all the gift that is YOU ♥️ Glad that you love Lorelle and this incredible post as much as I do 😊

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What an beautiful and brave post 💛 Thank you for sharing and for helping someone you don’t know, more than you know. Love from Japan. Xx

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Dear Cindy,

Japan! That is one place I haven’t been, but it is beautiful to know you have read this post there, and I’m grateful to know it helped you in some way. I sometimes feel there is not enough love in the world. There is nothing worse than feeling alone and unlovable. That you are unseen and not understood. If you found some love and solace in this post then I’m the one to say thank you. Please come back to PMS, this is a tribe full of positivity and love. I’m so happy you are here.
And thank you for your kind words. We are all brave in different ways. Love and blessings to you (from Australia) xx

Lorelle xx

🇯🇵 ❤️🦄🌱🔥 🇦🇺

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There is so much shame I have associated with this. So much so, I wanted to voluntarily check myself into hospital this week. I read this and feel like someone has put into words what I cannot. What heartbreaks me the most is everything you Lorelle have had to survive to be able to write this. Please know that we are your family here. This is a family. You have become my family without even knowing me. I’m sorry for my English. It is not my first language. Thank you for saving me more than I can tell you. Thank you Natasha for creating this community of family. I want to live now.

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Dear PJ,

Your English is great, I understand everything you write easily. I really wish I was fluent in a second language, you are clever!
I am very moved reading your comment. I know how low you can feel in these situations and it is very hard to talk about. To divulge in any way. Which is where the shame part comes in. And it can rule your world, if you let it. It is isolating and a heavy secret to hold.
In my darkest moments, I would get angry and I was determined never to be a victim. To never let them win. It was like fuel, to keep going, to not give in, to remind me one day I would not be living this way. With these people. One day, I would have choices and I would choose very different things.
Leaving, being free, cutting people off, whatever we go through, it still leaves an imprint. We overthink, we feel changed by events and sometimes we have to mourn for the life we would have loved to have had in that time.
I am so glad you are able to connect to this message. I can feel how sad you are. You are fragile right now, take the very best care of yourself. I wish I could do something nice for you in real. You are right, we are family here. A big quilt of hearts, sewn together, many stories, many countries and much love. I am grateful for your words. I know you understand. You are a survivor. Your spirit will not break. You are loved…know that.
Sending you love and the biggest hug, xxx Stay strong.
Lorelle xxx
PS I cannot put emoticons on this post as I am replying on a PC. I am sorry, I would send hearts, flowers, and a dove to you. xx Peace for your heart xx

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Thank you for this incredibly beautiful, raw, honest, practical, and inspiring post. I sincerely resonated with your words and am grateful for how you continue to share this validating, supportive, and healing writing. Much love to you!

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Dear Irena,
That means so much, especially since you write on the blog as well. It is never something I take for granted, that people will understand my message, and this post was incredibly raw to write. I know you wrote these words with honesty, and thank you for your beautiful, heartfelt comment.
It means a lot, I have felt like a tiny boat on an ocean, since this post hit the internet. I am not sure why, but, I am always happy to identify with my feelings, even if they make me uncomfortable. I guess we cannot meet anyone else, until we have met ourselves-much love back to you xxxx Lorelle xx

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It takes a lot of strength to comment on a post like this. I think it’s because by doing so, we are accepting that the people who are supposed to make us feel like we are never alone, make us feel more alone than “lonely” could ever begin to describe.

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Dear Anonymous,

you are so right. It does take a lot of strength. And I also agree, it is a very lonely position in life. It feels like being denied your story. The story you hoped to tell about your life.
I also believe though, that when we see these people for who they really are, and we accept they will not be different, that is when we turn a corner in our own life. It is still a lonely transition, but I felt like it was a clean slate. Most of all, I felt like I was letting them know I wasn’t going to accept being treated without love and concern for my wellbeing.
I think I have learnt our biggest story comes out of how we treat ourselves. In the face of abuse of any kind, it can take years to learn to love ourselves properly. We can really struggle with that.

I want you to know I understand. I know that lonely place. I will tell you I felt solace in many ways to walk away. The drama stopped. The words, the things done, they all stopped.
It is a chance to find people who will love and connect with you. But it is hard and not an easy place to be sometimes, because we mourn for what we thought we had.

If you write back here, I will reply. I am sorry for the delay. I will look for you here. You are not alone. Over time, you will see that.
Biggest hug to you. I want you to know you are still seen and heard. That was the thing I struggled with them most.
Thank you for writing. You are a phoenix rising. The view is pretty amazing when you are up there.

Keep coming back here. I will look for you. xxx Lorelle xxx

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You are an angel on earth <3 Thank you for this. Love you. xx

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This made me tear up. You are not alone. Read Lorelle’s reply and just know that you have family here. xo

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