You can’t pick your family

…. but you can pick your friends.

I don’t normally get super personal on here unless I’m talking about my dad. But today, I’ve decided to share a recent revelation of mine having to do with family vs. friends.

You have no choice in the people you have as relatives, even if you don’t get along with them you’re supposed to try to be nice to them/love them/put up with their crap. I have a family member, whom I love, but have decided that my life is better without her in it (for now).

When you know someone who is in an emotionally abusive or oppressive romantic relationship, you encourage them to get out. Right? Well, after years of verbal and emotional abuse from this relative, I’ve decided to “break up” with her for my own mental health (as well as to relieve family tension).

I have been on the receiving end of negative comments, snide remarks, jealous accusations and outright verbal warfare from this lady for many years now, but the situation escalated when she started reaming my friends and insulting them in general. She was attacking my friends, ladies who had chosen to be like family to me and that just wasn’t fair.

I have a few girlfriends who I value much like sisters and throughout the years, they have been sisterly toward me and I have stepped into a sister role with them as well (none of them actually have sisters). They chose me and I chose them.

My "sisters" {photo by Chatman Photography}

You can usually count on at least some of your family members to be there for you (and I can, don’t worry). But you can always count on the people who have adopted you into their lives the way that my surrogate sisters have.

My decision to “break up” with a family member broke my heart, but is ultimately better for my emotional health. And since she is family, when our relationship is in a healthier perspective, it will be easier to mend when both parties are willing.

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About Probably Rachel

PR professional and social media enthusiast, blogging about life, marriage, coffee and type 1 diabetes. You can follow me on Twitter also @ProbablyRachel

Posted on July 27, 2011, in My Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You are not alone in having to make this difficult decision. I too had to choose to distance myself from a family member after spending a lifetime trying to please and placate.
    My mother had Narcissistic Personality Disorder ( never diagnosed but after reading extensively about it, it was pretty clear that was the case) and was incapable of any empathy or unconditional love. She would switch from being your best friend to your worst enemy in a heartbeat and the drama of all this just got too much for me.
    I made the difficult decision to cut ties with her three years ago. It felt like a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
    She died six months after my making this decision very suddenly of cancer.
    I got to say goodbye but things were still very awkward between us.
    Am I sad that I made such a decision? No. I made it for my own mental health and for that of my own children.
    And as you say, I like to be very choosy whom I have as friends and make sure they are fun and supportive people.

    The little girl inside me still misses her mummy, but then that same little girl missed her mummy even when she was there. The adult me can honestly say that it is a relief that I don’t have to deal with all the emotional conflict and drama anymore.

    That’s me being real. We can’t choose our family. They aren’t always good for us.

    • Thank you for letting me know that other people have this problem. This person has been taxing my romantic relationship for years by causing me worry. She tried to contact my wedding vendors when I was planning my wedding. Now, my husband finds himself constantly biting his tongue around her for fear of shattering my family.

      I’m sorry to hear about the relationship issues with your mom. It’s hard to break up with a family member, but unless the other person also wants to have a positive relationship, it can’t happen. My heart goes out to you.

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