Distancing yourself with someone, especially if it’s a family member, is no easy feat. I mean, you’re creating distance with someone in your life that potentially meant a great deal to you at one time or another. It’s obviously something that you need to put a great deal of time thinking about before making definite decision.
A while back my family was going through some stuff and some pretty hardcore lines were being drawn. Things were said that can’t be taken back, and lies were told that can’t be untold. My sister and I had just lost our father, and we’re being put in an unrealistic position of choosing between my mothers side of the family and my late fathers.
In the end we did the best we could with the situation we were given and it’s severely impacted some very crucial relationships (or what I perceived to be crucial relationships) in my life. These people just dropped me like a hot potato.
They won’t respond to any form of communication, and if they weren’t at my grandmothers house every weekend and talking to other members of my family, it would have been, 100% hands down, a ghosting situation. I was upset for a while because these were people I spent EVERY WEEKEND with and now they’re acting as if I don’t exist and that hurt.
BUT…I wasn’t going to give them my hurt, or scream and cry and bad mouth them. I was going to treat them with more respect than they probably deserved, and leave them alone. Like they hadn’t dug a space into my life and then decided they didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. Even if I didn’t understand it. Even if they told other people lies about why they no longer speak to me.
Apparently they meant more to me than I did to them. That’s just something I’m going to have to make peace with. In the end, I know the truth of the matter, and I know what I needed to do to keep my sanity and mental well-being in a positive state. I needed to distance myself from these people and I needed to do it quickly.
In the end, I can’t help but feel sorry for them, they’re so bitter and so cynical, that they can’t even find happiness in the most positive of situations, and I can’t have that in my life anymore. Effectively distancing yourself can seem almost impossible, but with these steps, you’ll be confident in your decision making process when and if you decide that the space is indeed needed.
Make a List
Making a list of reasons why you’re in need of some distance can really help you remember why you needed the space to begin with. It’ll get hard, but as long as you have your list of reasons why, then you’ll keep yourself straight. Now, in saying this, the reasoning doesn’t need to be one big fat reason. Make a list of the little things that have made you uncomfortable, or angry.
Look at how they treat other people, and how other people perceive this person. If you only give yourself one reason, then you’ll likely falter in distancing yourself in the long run. We tend to slip in our resolve if we equate our feelings to a one off incident. Instead, try looking at the bigger picture, and you’ll do better.
Talking with someone about their toxic behaviors in a non threatening manner can sometimes really help the situation. Sometimes they aren’t even aware of the behaviors their exhibiting. After you talk to them about what’s bothering you and they either act like they have no clue what you’re talking about or that you’re the one with the problem then you can start thinking about the process of getting some distance from that person all together.
Gather a Support System
If you have other loved ones or friends that you have healthy relationships with, then you need to take time and cultivate those relationships. Don’t shut yourself off. You have all these people that love you and want to see you happy.
Check out this TED Talk on The Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Love
Weigh the Pros and Cons
Make sure you weigh the consequences of cutting ties, and keeping the relationship. Take your time. The toxic behaviors likely didn’t begin overnight and the process of detaching yourself from this person won’t be as easy.
Start to Distance Little by Little
Start by deleting text messages, or limiting the number of times you talk to this person. There are some things that you can’t let go of all together on the first day and that’s ok. Everything we do in our lives starts as something small and this is no different. If you start small and build from there you’ll find that you’ll have a strong foundation to keep building on!
Find Some Release
Find a way to release your emotions in a healthy way. Keeping your feelings about this person and their actions can do more damage than the original actions itself. Make a self care routine that includes some things that you love. This will help you release some of these emotions. If you’re not sure about how to start planning a self care routine then click here to check out our post.