Holidays shaping up to be more stressful than joyful? If this past weekend wasn't all you imagined it would be, it might be time to rethink certain family relationships.
Sometimes we "spend years sacrificing our mental and emotional health in abusive relationships under the notion that we have to" because these people are our family,” said Sherrie Campbell, a licensed California psychologist and author of the book “Loving Yourself : The Mastery of Being Your Own Person.”
"Cutting ties with family members is one of the hardest decisions we may face in life.”
But who wants to be the person who doesn't speak to their family? No one, really. But sometimes, Campbell said, it's for our own health.
"The facts are that family members are just people and not always healthy people, and if these people weren't family, we would never choose them to be a part of our lives due to their poor treatment of us," Campbell said.
Campbell's 7 reasons to terminate relationships with family:
1. When the relationship is based in any kind of abuse, mentally, physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally. When the relationship is based in manipulation, overt or covert, you can be sure you are being used and abused. When you are living in constant anxiety never knowing or being able to predict how any engagement is going to turn out, it is time to love yourself enough to let go.
2. It is time to terminate a relationship when the only contact you have with them is negative. The contact you have with them serves to bring you down, put you down and/or make you feel you are not good enough, or you haven't done enough for them.
3. When the relationship creates so much stress that it affects the important areas of your life at work, home or both. When your emotions are totally caught up in defending yourself and wanting to explain yourself and the chaos of your relationships with these people is all you talk about, it is time to let go.
4. If you find yourself obsessed with the gossip about you and trying to right wrong information, and you are constantly being ostracized to the point you are losing sleep over it, you are becoming poisoned with their toxicity. Gossip only serves one family member to get others to gang up on you and you are left defenseless against the false beliefs about you being thrown your way. There is usually a ring leader gathering the troops for the assault and because they are joined together, you begin to wonder whether it is you that is the problem.
5. When the relationship is completely all about the other person and there is no real reason why the other person cannot make any effort toward the health and maintenance of the relationship with you. One sided relationships are set up for your failure. When you realize there is never going to be an "enough" place for you to reach in the relationship, you need to let go and start to focus on your own healing.
6. When and whether the relationship is only about borrowing or needing money.
7. When crazy-making, no-win games dominate the relationship such as the silent treatment, blame-games, no-win arguments that spin around on you, there is no point in continuing in this battle. Verbal warfare is never the place you will convince them of anything and these kinds of verbal interactions are set up to be their way or the highway. If these are the negative consequences you receive each time this person or people don't get their way, it is time to let go.
(Editor's note: This article originally ran in 2014.)