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Has anyone gone no-contact or very limited contact with their parent and/or family member? How was this experience, what brought you to the last straw?
I currently have a difficult decision to make as my parent is truly driving me insane, this forum offers great advice from folks who have gone through similar situations with family members and so decided to post to get different perspectives.
I’ll explain, I’m currently 25 years old and my parent is 56 (father). When younger he demonstrated emotional neglect towards me and my mother. He has always been very cold towards me during my upbringing and although he did provide a roof over my head, my childhood was very much tainted with his personality quirks. Things like making my mother his basic slave, by doing everything and more for him like making sure everything was paid on time, not caring whether she wanted or needed any help, not talking to us and giving us the cold shoulder when he wanted something and we didn’t budge. Sometimes screaming at the top of his lungs when dinner wasn’t made by the time he was home (mother and I got home more or less same time as him). Just so many “little” inconsiderate things I could go on and on apart from the fact that he was miserable and almost assured to make us miserable too.


After 20+ years my mother finally divorced him. This was considerably very hard on him as he was never used to doing anything on his own. I also suspect he might have some sort of personality disorder from what I read, however he was never diagnosed. Also, his father was diagnosed with schizophrenia (in fact most of that part of my family probably suffer from different mental health issues). After the divorce it was very hard his health declined (diabetes, blood pressure, no insurance), he lost his job, and he didn’t have much friends or family willing to help due to his own personality inconsistencies. Gladly his nephew was able to take him in in another state where they offered insurance. I decided not to take him in as my husband did not want him living with us and frankly neither do I, even though I still care very much. However, from far away I still helped him get by, calling for appointments, applying for jobs for him, insurance calls, helping him financially sometimes. Going back and forth with issues regarding his health, bills, and family drama. I'd like to add he doesn't speak English, which was the main reason i tried to help (obv enabling now that I look back).I wouldn't mind if he somehow got his things together and didn't have so many problems. However, this has now lasted 3 years going to 4. I now realize this was enabling him and just can’t handle the stress of basically “helping” someone live their life in a productive way.
I’m at a point now where whatever I do for him ends up being turned on me ten-fold. Everyday has become a nightmare and I feel depressed. Currently making appointments with my doc and a therapist too. Whether it’s financial help he needs (I’m barely making it by), or I call and everything is going horrible (he can’t find a job, he is going to loose his new insurance, he can’t pay the car, his nephew doesn’t want him living with him). Just so many things… At this point my estranged sister offered him to stay at her place and move back to my state. This would mean he would have no insurance (and he needs it), and now he would be living only a few blocks from me. My sister is also for lack of better words a wreck in her own way. I specifically let him know I cannot be the one to live with him and explained that my husband does not approve.


At this point I realize this stress has affected me emotionally and I need help. However my question for you guys is: have you ever cut someone toxic from your life like a parent or perhaps went limited contact? How did it feel? What was the process like? I feel like my guilt of knowing he is not okay affects me so hard, and it’s so hard to let go.

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I know, what you're asking here is how to stop caring so much.......how to stop feeling responsible for your father's misery; for the fact that he chose not to learn English while living in America all this time; for him not being able to keep a job or insurance, and on and on. You want to know how to make HIS life better in spite of the fact that he's done nothing to make his OWN life better. Right?

The answer is: You can't. Like Realyreal said, you can't care more about your father than HE does. That's HIS job. This is HIS life, you have yours. But, we've been conditioned over the years to feel an overwhelming responsibility for our parents, regardless of what they've done (or not done) to earn it. I fight the same demons you do on a daily basis, which is what 'qualifies' me to comment on your post. Sigh.

Sadly, however, I don't have "The Answer" for you any more than I have that answer for myself. What I CAN tell you is what I do with my very toxic mother who lives in Memory Care. I call her once a day (I am an only child and 'all she has') and I visit her once a week, or once every 12 days depending on the severity of her 'mood' at any given time. If she gets too nasty with me, I will either leave her presence or tell her I'm hanging up the phone. Those are the boundaries I have set down with my mother, having to be close by her, and being, literally, the only one to take care of her needs, both financial, medical and personal.

Figure out YOUR boundaries and then set them down in CEMENT. It doesn't matter what they are, just that they work for YOU and that you stick TO them. That lets your father know you Mean Business and you are not a Pushover.

Bottom line is, we can medically diagnose our parents with Dr. Google until the cows come home. Even if we're able to put a name to the personality disorder or whatever it is they suffer from, we can't change it. We can only change OUR reaction to it. Which means setting boundaries and not allowing them to be crossed.

Easier said than done, I know. I am working on taking my own advice a bit more these days, cuz it's easier to tell YOU what to do than it is for ME to do it MYSELF.

One day at a time, right? Good luck & Godspeed to you, my friend. And here's a big HUG for you as well.
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Gwendolyn22 Dec 5, 2019
Wow lealonnie1 it’s like you read my mind. Narrowing it down I just want to stop caring as much. Thank you for such kind words and a big hug to you too. I’m sorry that these situations are happening to us. A big question is why, I feel so defeated sometimes with my own conscious even though rationally I know I have done everything and then some.
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I told my mom that I had done everything that I could and she wouldn't help herself so I was not going to be carrying her load. She could do her very best and I would be there or she could continue to not take responsibility and I would not be there.

I didn't talk to her for 2 years. It was the best move I ever made. She learned that she couldn't hustle me and suck my life force.

Your dad has been immersed in the English language, he should be able to communicate enough to live here. He isn't even trying in my opinion and you can not care more about him than he does. He will suck you dry and not care, your nephew being done with his crap is proof of how it goes. Users use people and only you can say no. You should also back your husband up and tell your dad that you and your husband will not have him living with you. A united front stops a lot of manipulation from happening.

Let him live with the consequences of his choices, that is a good way for him to learn that he is responsible for his actions.
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Gwendolyn22 Dec 5, 2019
I agree, like you I feel that I have done everything in my power without getting to a solution. Even risking my mental health, and even my marriage, as my husband is also suffering because he sees me suffering. Thank you for your response.
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If his nephew is going to kick him out and your estranged sister has offered to take him in (only a few blocks away from you!), it's the time to set very firm boundaries. You can bet your sister is going to expect YOU to do a lot for your father. She may even kick him out, and then all eyes will be looking to you to take him in.
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Gwendolyn22 Dec 5, 2019
Thank you for your response. Actually that’s exactly what my husband mentioned, that they will expect me to go far and beyond in “helping” (enabling) them to get their things done. I have a few boundaries in place like blocking their numbers at certain times etc. But even then I need to set up more
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Life is too short to keep toxic people in your life. It doesn't matter if it's a blood relative or a co-worker, or a neighbor. The toxic person doesn't care for or about you. They only care about themselves.

You cannot change someone else's behaviour. The only thing you can change is how you react. Stop calling him, stop doing for him. He'll figure it out. Basic human instincts will kick in ansd he will survive.

Go stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself you are too valuable to be treated like a doormat. Then hug yourself. You deserve it.
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Gwendolyn22 Dec 7, 2019
Maple3044 your message has resonated with me, thank you! I want to tell myself that I am in control of only my own actions and reactions. It's just hard when these "caring" feelings step in the way. Thank you for your response!
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https://www.agingcare.com/articles/setting-boundaries-with-parents-who-are-abusive-142804.htm

Maybe this will help some?

I have had enough- that's why I am on this forum so much at the moment!

I saw it as two circles. My life circle & theirs. In the overlap, we spend time together, a call, visit etc. My circle was in danger of being absorbed into the other - with my purpose to provide support for her life to function the way she wanted. My life was disappearing. My free time, my hobbies, my relationships suffering, my mental health (my liver too!)

I was not prepared to lose my life so sought solutions. Lower contact. Reading Boundaries (by Cloud & Townsend). Locating support services, suggesting or making contact then stepping back have all helped me.

A social worker told me "Warn of dangers, offer suggestions, let them choose, step back".
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Read up on FOG, Fear, Obligation, Guilt. You do not owe him anything.

Next you need to start setting boundaries, it will not be easy as you have a lifetime of conditioning to overcome. Stop one thing at a time. If he winds up moving in with your sister, do nothing to facilitate the move.

it took me 28 years with my Dad and 49 years with my Mum to realize how toxic they were. Now contact with both of them is 100% on my terms. I do not jump for either of them. Neither is allowed to cross the threshold of my home.
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Gwendolyn22 Dec 5, 2019
Thank you tothill for your response. I have read up on some of these topics and I feel like I suffer from many of the symptoms described. I realize I have to do this for my own mental well being, it is just so hard to finally make that commitment for me. But I know it has to be done.
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Guilt is for those who knowingly and with malice aforethought do harm to others. Guilt is the wrong word for what you are contemplating, so time to see what it is that you really feel. You have been well trained for a lifetime to give and expect nothing but trouble in return. It is what you "know". You will have to have courage and perhaps help to move away from abuse which you must understand will not change. You will never hear what somewhere inside you are longing for--the words "you are a good daughter, such a help to me and I love you".
It is for you to decide. But if you want a quality good life you will have to move away from abusive people. Gently and without anger. Perhaps even slowly, letting them know gradually that abusive behavior results in your withdrawal, kindly, but steadily. You already know all of this somewhere inside. You have to make a choice and you have been raised to feel wanting, needy and uncertain, desperate to change things. It will take time to change your reactions to this training and this person. I trust and believe you can do it.
We have two chances for family. The one we are born to and the one we create of friends and partners. I wish you so much luck. I am so sorry you are going through, and have gone through all of this.
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Gwendolyn22 Dec 5, 2019
Thank you Alvadeer for such a compassionate response. Deep inside I know that I have to do this for my own mental health. I appreciate your response.
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I bet you come from a culture where children are expected to care for a parent. If so, that culture also believes that the husband has the last say. If so, then your Dad should understand when you tell him that your husband will not allow him to live with you. Should be no argument.

You may want to make sure that sister understands that if shecallows Dad to live with her, you will not be helping. You have done your part and he doesn't appreciate the help and asks for more.

Dad is only 56. This is not old. Harder to find work maybe but not impossible. If he has lived here over 5 yrs (I think it is), he maybe able to get Medicaid for health insurance. He needs to go to Social Services and see if he can get help. You are allowed to step back and say I am done.
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At the urging of my doctor and pastor I went very low contact. My situation was different from yours - my parents were not at all dependent financially but had some serious marriage problems that for whatever reason they would not seek counseling (very old-fashioned ideas that emotional problems meant you were stupid).
Stepping away was VERY good for me. They continued on, but had I stayed close it would not have made any difference to them. Since it was "doctors' orders" and okayed morally by my pastor, I found the strength and peace to follow through. I wish it would have been otherwise, but I finally realized that I could control myself, but not other people.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 6, 2019
Very smart! Good for you.
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Do whatever it takes for your own sanity, health and life. Amazing how incapacitating mental illness can be yet allows expert button-pushing and manipulation of others. Speaking from literally a lifetime of experience since a teen. The death of my mentally ill mother 3 years ago was an enormous relief that has radically changed my life. Alas I am now in my 60’s. Get a lot of qualified counseling. And let go as soon as possible. You will not regret it. Hugs and blessings❤️.
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