I thought families were supposed to stick together

Many/most families do stick together. Most families love each other.
Most families go out of their way to help each member become what ever it is they want to be.
Most family homes are the safest environment for us to be. Everyone has everyone else’s back.
Most Families.
Then there is the other side.
The Toxic family member or family.
These situations are very bad for members who are not of that bent.
It saddens me immensely when I read how many people have families that are less than ideal.
So many people are living in a personal hell because of family members who use every means they can to belittle, tell lies about, gossip about, even physically beat their siblings, children.
For the victim in this situation, and you are a victim, this environment can, and does have lifetime consequences.
I have seen many families who seem to think that families are meant to be based on abuse, mental, physical, sexual, verbal or emotional. They seem to think that the family relationship is based on manipulation.
I want you to know that if this is your family environment then you are being used and abused.
When you are living in constant anxiety never knowing or being able to predict how any interaction is going to turn out, it is time to love yourself enough to let go.
The naysayers will try to convince you that we must stick by families no matter what.
I’m sure they are not going through what the abused family member is enduring.
There comes a time to end 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.
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.
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.
Always remember that toxic family members are bullies and there is usually a ring leader gathering their siblings for the assault and because they are joined together, you begin to wonder whether it is you that is the problem.
Ask yourself, Do you want someone in your life who’s actively opposed to making your life better?
Do you start to doubt that you are a good person and do you tell yourself that maybe they are right?
One of the ways we are brought down by this toxicity is that we become toxic ourselves. We actually take on some of those same qualities of those whom you resent. It is called them bringing you down to their level.
Before you become that person, get out.
Not always easy to do but an absolute necessity if you want to remain sane. If you want to remain healthy, if you want positive self esteem.
Staying in a toxic environment WILL destroy you as a person. It will make you bitter and resentful. It will poison any future relationships you may have in the future because you would have become the epitome of that which you have so despised.
You owe your toxic family nothing. You certainly do not owe them an explanation if and when you walk out on them.
Now the hardest part of all this is that when you make the break, it must be a complete break. Because without doubt, if you allow them back in they will continue where they left off. Belittling you, abusing you, et al.
An easier thing to do after you have made the break is to write yourself a letter as a sort of dress rehearsal for an in-person conversation.
Because you may want to, down the track, to reengage with your family/sibling.
You will be surprised at how easy it is to write that letter. Pick up a pen and the words will flow. I assure you. Also very cathartic. You will feel refreshed simply putting all your thoughts down on paper.
I do not write this post with a glib attitude. Moving away from family is not an easy decision to make.
You just need your own space for awhile to find the real you. Not influenced by those who want nothing better than to see you fail in life.
I wish you well.
Remember, you are a good person and you deserve happiness, as we all do.


I understand your post completly,I lived in such a family and I did walk away , and then when my first child was due was welcomed back , but it all went sour again , And I put a distance between me and them . And calmness entered my life ,and im hanging onto it .


Our family life was reasonably harmonious.
My BH’s uncle however,told his wife that he didn’t want her mother living with them and she’d have to go into a home.It was either him or her.She chose him.Her children have just done the same to her.

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Living proof that the abusers do not change. Well done for finally severing the ties.
Sad but very necessary.

Dysfunctional=learning curve.


I had an unusual childhood my father was absent and my mother suffered with mental illness and was often hospitalised…its weird because when she died the church was full …so much so that people were stood outside not able to get in…so many people said lovely things about her…but there I was honest I didn’t recognise the person they were talking about. My sister wasn’t there she refused to attend…I looked at the coffin and although she was my mother…really I had no idea who she was.

I’m very close to my kids I love them to.bits I doubt the church will be so full when I die but the people there will know the real me and the kids will know they were loved.


Sadly not in my case or my sisters . My sister has been estranged from her eldest daughter 5 yrs and not met her 2 grandaughters they live 10 mins from her . Her other daughter does the bare minimum and rarely spends time with her mother . Sister has cancer I’m tooing and frowing 125miles regularly to help and assist her .

I rarely see my adult children my daughter keeps her children to herself . I have no idea why . I truly am alone . Sadly as life and time goes by I have become used to being alone . The worst is when I see families visiting neighbours I feel it deeply .


One of my sons is in Australia .
I go out there next year .I will keep going out while I have the health and wherewithal.


So sad what so many children go through.
Same with my father… He was the most revered and respected person in my home town. Would help anybody and everybody. OAM to boot. (Order of Australia medal).
Helped everyone but destroyed his own family.
When all his children were old enough they fled that town. None ever returned.

For many years my eyes would fill with tears when I saw happy families. I avoided “feel good” movies because they saddened me too much.
Thankfully I have come to terms with my past, put it in the background.
These days I love the person I have become. My early life of adversity made me who I am today…An empathetic, caring person who does his little bit to help those who can not help themselves.


Broken families are very sad . My sister and I ask ourselves and each other why? What did we do wrong ? But the estrangement continues throughout our large family .

I too am empathic and a caring person I think it’s because we have known deep pain and don’t like to see suffering in others .

That’s the common idea but nowadays there’s no need to stick together at all costs, as the expression “are supposed to” rightly implies. That’s hardly surprising given the complexity of emotional ties and dependencies which are based on a power structure that is often hierarchical for some time leading to a desire to leave all that as soon as possible. Moreover, part of the family is related by marriage so that other family members may be confronted with different views and values. Each member of a family has got their own idea of what a family should be like. Younger members are influenced differently in secondary and tertiary socialisation. Family ties have been changing since families don’t need to stick together out of economic necessity as they had to. People have a lot more choices and may turn their back on their family if they feel that conditions are not acceptable.

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For me it was not the easiest run. Initially it was ok but it then my (e-xife) got more and more irrational. Then she decided to divorce me. My solicitor suggested that the divorce very weak but it that point wasn’t worth pressing it. But she stretched forever. It was difficult for me - I did all the domestic chores and still had to do my engineering projects. Not the easiest life for me. But we hung in there…

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There is a thin line between estrangement and can’t be arsed.


I’m a Boomer of the early 50s .
Born in London then moved as a child to Hampshire .
There were wildflower meadow , streams and tadpoles, woods , bluebells and dens to build .
Was a lovely time to be a kid . Use to get up an all sorts !

I have 2 sisters and a brother , as children we had our own friends to play with , however as we grew up we’ve grown closer indeed very close to my sisters.

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It depends if you had a happy childhood or not.
If your siblings were kind and supportive to you .
Childhood trauma goes deep and can cause feelings of disconnection and loneliness that carries on to adulthood .

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As children us 3 kids got on well. No problems at all. My younger brother met and married a very needy and controlling woman and the relationship changed our family. I think she may be a psychopath. before they married they split up for a while. She came to my Mum’s house, smiling and friendly and said could she collect some things she had left in his room. Mum agreed and she left.

It turned out she had brought scissors with her and sliced up most of his shirts in the wardrobe. We all warned him then but he wouldn’t listen.

I could write a book about all the dreadful things the pair of them have tried to do to my family but it’s too upsetting.

It was tough, but now its Ok, you just need to dig in.

I was first nurtured in the dying stages of the extended family era UK style, then watched it slowly fall apart - often gradually not all at once, I do hear that the same is happening in the Middle East these days - I think when the entire globe becomes nuclear family we’ll just fall apart?

I once lived next door to my grandmother maternal and youngest aunt and all my cousins - that was fun we played on the bombed sites across the street! - we always seemed to be sticking together but then two older cousins wanted to get married - oh dear that caused a stink! they just sorta disappeared until many years later!!

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