Advice on cutting ties with abusive family?

I'm going through PTSD treatment, and am slowly starting to get a better idea of what "my needs" and "my responsibilities" are, as well as what isn't my duty or responsibility. I'm realizing that so long as I'm in close contact with my family (and my current job), I won't make much progress with my own recovery. I feel empowered by the idea to cut myself off from family (and their financial support), but it also feels scary. It's a lot easier to leave a job than to leave your mother and father. They're getting older, and more frail. And as toxic and problematic as they continue to be, I'm afraid that they'll get sick and die soon and I'll realize I made a terrible mistake, and it'll be too late to apologize or get back in touch.

If there are others who had a similar dilemma but decided to go through with cutting ties anyway.... Do you have any tips on what I can do to make this process easier? And did you ever actually regret it? Or did you get to the other side wondering why you didn't cut ties sooner?


i still believe i chose the safer poison in cutting ties with my birth family 40 odd years ago, i still hold it was, far and away, the safer poison. but it was still poisonous and my own case is criminally extreme. i cut the ties while i was still a teenager, and i still kind of wish i could have done it sooner. however, i don't recommend it if there is any other option available. i call that family estrangement, "my sucking black hole" and the screams from my sucking black hole have been deafening entirely too many times over that 40 odd years.

increasing your financial independence and social distance is a far gentler alternative which doesn't require burning bridges.


I cut ties with my family of origin a year ago. Long story short, my old father is taking care of my mother who has Alzheimer’s. He’s really exhausted but doesn’t accept any help by anyone else but me. He kept insisting I leave my wife and move to other side of the country to live with them. He repeatedly threatened suicide etc. Plus, he’s been abusive my whole life.

For a long time, I tried to maintain some kind of relationship with them, but then one day, when he once again called me, drunk and abusive, I just had enough. I blocked him on my phone and never unblocked. He has sent me literally thousands of emails, but I’ve read none of them. My wife reads his mails every now and then and responds in a generic, polite manner. So, my father thinks he’s emailing with me when in actual fact he’s doing it with da wife. It feels a bit bad to be deceitful like this, but it’s the best thing I can come up with right now, tbh.

Looking back, I really wish I had cut ties sooner. I just kept trying and trying to somehow deal with the crazy abusive shit he threw at me. I spent gigantic amounts of energy just not getting undone. And now, when it’s over, I feel relief and elation, even.

One more thing: after I had cut contact with my father, it took like two weeks to fully grasp the extent of the emotional violence I had endured. I was like, holy shit, this has been so. f*cking. Crazy. I was really quite shocked to realize how bas it had been and how badly I’d been hurt. How much fear and anxiety I had lived with.

I can’t give you any advice, but I’d say it’s true what they say about being in contact with one’s abusers and hence not being able to really heal.

Just my 2 cents.


Maybe if you re-frame what your trying to do. Take the focus off escaping and cutting ties with your family and prioritise becoming more independent from them and channelling your energy into self development and self progression.

There's a difference when you re-frame it.


I cut ties with all but 1 family member, nearly 20 years ago. Moved, changed my name, deactivated email, etc.

The last straw was a massive one, and there was no coming back from that. No regrets about my decision.

If those people had really wanted to restore some kind of relationship, there were ways to find me, it's the 21st century... they never even tried, which confirms that I made the right decision. I've since discovered that some have passed away, and I still have no regrets.

It was the right decision for me.