I’ve noticed recently that the search terms that bring people to my blog the most are ones about removing toxic people from your life. The blog post that I wrote back at the beginning of this year about my decision to cut my sister out of my life, entitled “Removing toxic people from your life, even if they’re family…” gets around 20-30 views a day lately. Now, I know that it’s possible that not all of those people are actually reading my entire blog post, but the fact that that many people are searching for advice on how to deal with toxic people in their lives is shocking and sad to me.
When I first wrote that blog post and the ones that followed dealing with my relationship with my sister, I never expected that anyone would be able to identify with my situation. I braced myself for negative comments about how I was being selfish, or how I would eventually have to give my sister another chance because she was family. But those comments have not come. Instead people have recently been commenting about how my story reminds them of their own story and have been asking for and giving each other advice on how to deal with their situations. I never expected to be giving people advice on how to decide whether or not to cut someone out of their life. When I wrote those blog posts I felt like a complete failure as a sister, and as much as I hate the fact that anyone else might be going through a situation like mine, it helps to know that I am not alone in this. The guilt over my decision has lessened considerably and I hope that my story will help others to let go of any guilt that they might be feeling as well.
When I was first struggling with the idea of no longer allowing my sister a place in my life I kept having the thought that “this isn’t how things are supposed to work. You aren’t supposed to have to cut your sister out of your life.” I felt like I had failed in some way. Until I realized that the fact that my sister and I couldn’t have a “normal” healthy relationship had nothing to do with me or my choices. I couldn’t choose how my sister interacted with me. The success or failure of my relationship with my sister was not solely my responsibility. A relationship where only one person is doing all the work to keep it going is not worth it. A relationship where one person is being abusive toward the other is definitely not worth it.
Like I said before, I never expected to be giving advice on how to decide if you should cut someone that you think is toxic out of your life, but since so many people have been ending up at my blog while looking for this sort of information I think I’ll share a bit of my advice here in this post. I recently wrote a reply to a comment that someone else had written on my blog asking for advice on her situation and I’m going to go ahead and post my reply here with some added emphasis.
How you should proceed really depends on whether or not you actually want to have your sisters in your life or not. If you want to try to have a relationship with them then you should go ahead and allow them to continue to be a part of your life. However, if the only reason that you are considering giving your sisters another chance is because they are making you feel guilty, that is not a good enough reason to allow them back in your life in my opinion. You should have a relationship with them because you actually want to, not because you feel that you need to. Perhaps you should take a few days with absolutely no contact with your sisters in order to figure out how you actually feel about the situation. Don’t read any emails from them, don’t take any phone calls, no contact at all. It doesn’t matter what your sisters say, if you feel that your life would be better off without them being a part of it, that is your decision to make.
Also, if you do decide to give your sisters another chance, make sure that they know that there are some ground rules for how you expect to be treated if they want to continue to be a part of your life. If they can live with those rules and you can have a healthy relationship with them, then great. But, if you find that you are unhappy with your relationship with them you have the right to end it at any time. You need to do what’s best for you.
I hope that this was helpful and that things work out well for you. Good luck.
And now I will leave you with a song that always reminds me of my relationship with my sister and why she is not a part of my life. “It Ends Tonight” by The All-American Rejects. Here are some of the lyrics that really jump out at me and remind me of making the decision to cut my sister out of my life.
They strangle me
I can’t explain myself at all.”
“Maybe it’s best you leave me alone.
A weight is lifted
On this evening
I give the final blow.
When darkness turns to light,
It ends tonight”
“I can’t explain what you can’t explain.
You’re finding things that you didn’t know
I look at you with such disdain”
“Just a little insight won’t make this right
It’s too late to fight
It ends tonight,
It ends tonight.
Now I’m on my own side
It’s better than being on your side
It’s my fault when you’re blind
It’s better that I see it through your eyes
All these thoughts locked inside
Now you’re the first to know”
Links to more posts about my relationship with my sister can be found on my “My Toxic Sister” page on this blog.