Boundaries are Great! [NOT 24/5/21]

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Hi, friends!

So this week my treadmill Netflix tv time has been watching the season they have of Hoarders. I’m only a few episodes in, but goddamn am I pissed off at the one therapist.

The hoarder (mother) and the enabler (son) were so fricking aggressive and vicious to the one other family member (daughter) there. And that daughter just took and took and took the abuse. The therapist mentioned it more than once in the narration, etc, but like when the daughter breaks down over the abuse, his bullshit comment was “I think you’re really brave.” Fuck him. The appropriate comment should have been “hey, you don’t have to be here, it’s okay if you want to leave.”

Anyways, this PSA brought to you by brightersideoflife —

It’s 100% okay to cut off family members who are horrible to you. Or even if not horrible by whatever metric people use to justify being assholes, still okay. Just because you didn’t get physically abused, doesn’t mean all other abusive or toxic treatment is okay.

It’s 100% okay to set boundaries with family members. Boundaries can change. If there was a point in your life that you needed more space from someone and that’s changed, also fine! What is needed for your mental and emotional health can change and if someone tries to give you shit about that, they can fuck right off. If someone is a toxic dickbag to you and a decade ago you stopped all contact and now you can spend time with them at family bbqs? Doesn’t mean they weren’t a toxic dickbag. They’re probably still a toxic dickbag. It just means currently you’ll tolerate them in some settings.

It’s 100% okay to say someone is toxic or abusive even if that person or other people in the family say you’re wrong. People are great at excusing behavior they don’t want to acknowledge. People doing the toxic/abusive behavior will convince themselves that you’re full of shit and gaslight you.

Side note – there’s physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, and financial abuse. A dear friend ran into all sorts of issues when applying for student loans only to find out a parent opened up credit cards in their name and ran up the bills and defaulted. Just because the parent didn’t beat them doesn’t mean that financial abuse was okay. My dad used financial abuse to keep my mom from filing divorce or leaving him for years. It’s probably waaaaaaay more common than people realize.

Anyways, you all are dear to me and I hope you have good, healthy boundaries with family.



  1. This resonates deeply with me. The only form of abuse I was spared was sexual. It took most of my twenties to come to terms with my childhood/young adulthood and set effective boundaries. I moved across the continent to reinforce those boundaries, but I haven’t fully cut ties.

    • Oh significant geographical distance is a lovely thing from the people who are assholes!

    • Me, too, but the sexual abuse came from the people next door. It took until I was 38 to say enough is enough and then of course they told everyone I was mentally ill. No matter, I have never been happier. I haven’t had any contact with those people in years and I live about 1/4 mile away.

      • No contact with horrible people is great! I’m super glad you don’t see them. 

  2. Boundaries rule! 

  3. Oh man, could not agree more. And I say that as someone who is fairly fortunate in that regard. But I see friends dealing with this shit all the time. And all I can really do is tell them that I love them and that they don’t have to put up with shit that the do not want to put up with. Family is not an excuse.

  4. Preach. I cut off communication with my father about 7 years before he died. I didn’t shed any tears when I got the news because I had already done all my grieving for him not being the father he should have been ages ago. 
    I stopped communicating with my total piece of shit brother around 30 years ago. He dealt with my father’s estate because he was local, and in those 10 months he fully demonstrated that he is still the complete fucking shitbag he was when I stopped talking to him. I only had one brief email exchange with him when the estate was getting settled when he had the gall to ask me to “loan” him my half of what was left over after he’d already pissed away about 80% of the estate’s value through his antics. Needless to say I told him no and that was that. 

  5. I could go on for hours, but it’s not my family. It’s my wife’s. Mother is a toxic narcissist, father was an alcoholic workaholic who actually sucked at his job, sister is a meth addict with four arrests and jail time on her record (and no teeth). Her niece and nephew are marginally better but still trashy. She has one cousin that’s actually normal and that we like. 
    We can’t wait to cut all these assholes out of our lives once my MIL is gone. They’ve basically given my wife one mental breakdown that she’s being treated for. My MIL is completely helpless, and my idiot FIL left a massive financial mess to clean up when he died, which my wife did. My wife pays all her bills, handles all her correspondence, takes care of making sure she has food, and gets bitched at incessantly in return.
    The addict sister keeps sniffing around trying to get her hands on what little money is left after cleaning up the mess. She messages and texts my wife with bullshit drama to try and convince my wife to give her money. Life was so much easier when she was in jail and couldn’t be a nuisance. It’s going to be even worse when my MIL dies, because the shitbird sister doesn’t have a fixed address, and she’s going to want my MIL’s house, and try to get us to pay the bills. I’m like fuck no, we sell EVERYTHING, split the money, and we never, ever speak to any of these people again. Probably won’t be much left, but if there’s anything, it’s because my wife busted her ass to salvage it. 
    Yes, I’m completely okay with cutting scumbags out of your life. You owe them nothing. 

  6. I always feel sheepish talking about family boundaries because I have such good relationships with basically everyone in my family, but also, yeah, I wouldn’t be afraid to cut someone out if I felt like things were getting toxic. I’ve certainly done it with friends!

    • It wasn’t fear but guilt and shame that I had to deal with. Everytime you turn around the message is nothing is more important than family. TV, movies, commercials, politicians, fucking hallmark. Counseling helped.

    • That’s a good thing!  I envy people who having close relationships with family.

  7. I know all about that.
    I got lectured by a sanctimonious ass over not forgiving the cokehead narcissist and letting her back  into my life.  I snarled at the ass and told him that you live with her, let her nearly ruin your life and then you can lecture me about forgiveness.
    Extorting money from me by threatening to sick her non existent pals to kill my parents and rape my sister is one of the things I don’t forgive.
    Fuck.  That.
    As for family, well… my mom usually gets sad because my sister and I missed out on the extended Asian family experience.  My sister and I talked about it.  As much as we miss some of our aunts and cousins, the actions of the rest make us glad that we didn’t.
    Both of us inherited our dad’s ability to cut people off cold when they mess with us.  We can deal with a certain amount of personal friction as with any relationship, but once the line is crossed (whatever that may be) boom.  It’s over.  I discovered to my surprised that I’m the softie of the two of us as I’m more forgiving than my sister.

    • My mother and I both have this threshold we call “fuck it, I’m done.”

      With people, jobs, etc. It’s just like this threshold where emotion is gone and the decision is ice cold and easy to make. 

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