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How to Deal with Hurtful Family Members and Moving on from Toxic Relationships

Updated on October 22, 2015

This evening as I browsed the lists of Hubpages questions, I ran into one that really struck a chord with me...and I didn't even really realize it had struck a chord until I began typing my reply to the poster, and the thoughts and feelings began to flow. Before I knew it the word count was far too long for an answer and had deviated somewhat from the original question, and so I choose to share it here with my fellow hubbers. No doubt others have been in similar situations with hurtful or toxic family members, through no discernible fault of their own, and it is a hurt that is often the most difficult to understand and get over. The question was, "How often do you talk to your parents?" and here is the answer I wrote...but check back, or comment if you'd like to be notified about updates, because I plan to further develop the thoughts here at a later date.

I live three miles from my mom and see her often, and we generally go out for lunch together 2-3 times a month. As for my dad...I have tried to be close to him in the past, though in my younger life he worked all the time so I didn't really get a chance to get to know him until my late teens and early 20s. After my parents' divorce all my dad wanted to talk about to my sister and I was about what a horrible person our mom was and, despite numerous requests that he refrain from talking about her, he persisted until neither of us wanted to talk to him anymore. He seemed quite convinced that she was doing the same thing and that could be the only way to explain why we were growing more distant from him, and to this day insists that she poisoned our minds against him...he still can't see how he did his own poisoning.

In the past several years, after my son was born and while I was living near my dad I tried to get to know him and build a relationship with him again long after the bitterness of the divorce, and that seemed to be going well for some time. When I left my first husband I moved back to my hometown, where my mother also happens to live, and he immediately stopped talking to me and threw his support to my ex-husband during divorce and custody proceedings.

While I'm not sure what all precipitated this sudden change, I know that at least some of it is that he chose to believe the lies my ex told about me, as well as the lies he and his girlfriend continue to tell about me to this day...whenever they see anything (mostly age-appropriate) in my son that they don't like, they say I taught him, and often it's things I never even heard of before...or things that my son will say to try to get a reaction when he's angry and came up with all on his own. Add to that, my dad seems to have always considered my relationship with my mom as a personal affront to him, having never gotten past the juvenile "with me or against me" mentality.

To date I have not spoken to my father for about two years, he has never met my current husband, and does not seem to have one bit of interest in being part of my life. I have finally gotten to the point that, despite still missing him sometimes in spite of all the hurt, I no longer feel the need to pursue a relationship with him when he clearly doesn't want one with me. I have my mom, my other mother (my mom's best friend since I was 3), and numerous others who have claimed me as an honorary daughter and who have gotten to know and love me, as well as a loving and supportive husband and wonderful extended family. While it's true you can't pick your family at the start of life, later in life there's no reason you can't choose family that may or may not be blood related, and let go of those blood relatives who only want to bring you down.


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    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 4 years ago from The Great Northwest

      I can relate to this.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Families can be so difficult, and hurtful. Particular members that often act out the most or cause the most hurt, have a lot of inner pain I think. Or it helps me to understand them a little better to think so. To just be hurtful makes no sense to me.

      What is really tricky at times, is when its hurting the most, you have to figure out a way to move on through the day and not let the toxicity get to you in one form or another.

      I wish you the best with your family, and I hope all things work out much better in the future.

    • profile image

      Amanda 6 years ago

      It's not a matter of who is right or wrong, it is a matter if a person will be continually abused by the family member. It is obvious you have given plenty of chances to him but he is still the same ol' bitter person he always has been. EVEN IF he were to change, he would have to prove he is a changed person. I have been there and done that, forgiven for horrendous actions, but only to be hurt and let down again. I know people can change, because I am a prime example, but I also have seen that people CAN'T/WON'T change.

    • wychic profile image

      Rebecca Mikulin 7 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

      No apologies whatsoever! :) Sometimes it takes getting thoughts out on paper to make sense of them, and this is one of those things that's in the closing stages now, finally :).

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Sorry that I brought up past hurts when asking the question you answered. I hope you can heal and forgive. I know it is very difficult for you after all that has happened.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 7 years ago

      I can only imagine how difficult it must be to deal with indifferent parents or those that don't care. But you seem to have a circle of loving people around you, wychic...revel in them instead of brooding over past hurts.

    • wychic profile image

      Rebecca Mikulin 7 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

      Manthy, thank you for your comment...and I guess the best way to put it is that I can forgive but I can't forget. He doesn't want to be in my life, and has done little else but damage when he was in it, and frankly I wish him a long and happy life...far, far away from me. Many family members wondered why it took me so long to come to that conclusion, and I guess I just had to see what the worst could be...I don't know if I've seen it, but I know I can't imagine any worse and don't want to test the theory.

      Pebbles...I'm glad to hear you've moved on! That's the point I've only recently reached, realizing that not only is approval often unattainable through no fault of our own, it's completely unnecessary for a happy, fulfilled life. I"m sorry to hear about your daughter, my own fight to get my son back has, I believe, only just begun and I only hope it can be concluded before any permanent damage is done. Luckily I have had some very wonderful, supportive people in my life who have finally made me realize that I don't deserve any of that other junk, and frankly anyone that doesn't want me around doesn't deserve me either.

    • pebblesflintstone profile image

      Kimberly Hartman 7 years ago from Canada

      I can relate with your hub only my relationship problems are with my mother, she never has anything good to say and has in the past called children's services on me. She had taken my daughter from me and has turned her against me and I have no answers to her reasoning. I have no time for ignorant people and so I have chose to disassociate myself with her because I'm fed up with the constant battle for approval that I'll never get. I have moved on in my life even though the loss hurts obviously she has wanted it this way so be it!!! Don't carry the burden of their ignorance you'll only be hurting yourself it is their loss!!! Keep smiling and do the best you can never mind what they think.

    • manthy profile image

      Mark 7 years ago from Alabama,USA

      Very Interesting Hub, I can't imagine how you are feeling but I can offer a little advice, learn to take the high road and forgive, in the end who is right or wrong doesn't matter, if you can forgive your father you will have him in your life again ;0)

      I wish you only the best