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The Princess and The Prosthetic

3 Signs it’s Time to Cut Ties with a Toxic Family Member

June 29, 2023 in Uncategorized - 2 Comments

In a perfect world, your family life is like a Disney movie.  One big joyful happy family.  Everyone gets along, everyone is respectful, and vibes well together.

But this is real life, not a cartoon–and you don’t get to pick your family.  Unfortunately, that means that sometimes you might feel like you are forced to do life with people that are truly out of alignment with you and bad for your mental health.

And I won’t lie–I’ve had a TON of messages on social about this–how to set boundaries, how to identify red flags, and how to navigate through life with people that are just plain toxic. It’s a hot topic for so many people and I’m loving the conversations I’m having in my DMs!

So how do you know when enough is enough?  How do you know when it’s time to protect your peace and call it quits?

Sharing some signs (aka red flags) that you should cut ties with a toxic family member:

Spending Time With Them is Draining

A huge red flag for me was that I felt drained after every single interaction with them.  Text, email, and in person–it didn’t matter.  I would literally dread seeing any interaction with them on the calendar even though I was trying my best to give Callie the opportunity to spend time with them and play the role of the oldest sibling peacemaker for my parents. But it was so draining.  We’re not talking about feeling like you need to be by yourself for a little while—something that can happen even with people you love being around. Interacting with a toxic person can leave you feeling defeated, anxious, stressed out, and on edge, since their dramatic, immature and high-maintenance tendencies can suck the energy right out of you.

Everything becomes a competition with room for one winner.  And hint, hint….they don’t want it to be you

I’m a big believer that a little healthy competition doesn’t have to be a bad thing. My friend’s recent job success might motivate me to take an extra online certification or seeing my neighbor’s new fitness routine might inspire me to sign up for a half-marathon.  Finding like minded people who are focused on growth is so motivating for me.

But, competition can be toxic when every conversation turns into an opportunity for them to one-up you. If you’re happy, they look for ways to poke holes in your joy. In our family, we call that raining on your proverbial parade.

They couldn’t be excited about my promotion, my new car, or when Callie’s Disney episode premiere went well — because I think they were focused on  thinking that if good things happen to us, that means they won’t be able to happen for them? Or maybe it somehow negates the good things that do happen to them?  Maybe they thought there wasn’t enough “good things” out there for everyone?  Scarcity mindset?

Anytime we’d discuss anything related to our kids, careers, or life they would invariably steer the conversation to their illustrious parenting wins, their new house purchase or some other achievement.  Another crazy thing was that our wins were so different being the parents of a little girl with a disability–and it seemed as if everyone else in our lives was overjoyed when we would get good news (because it seemed like we got more than our fair share of bad news)…….except them.

In most cases, a rising tide lifts all boats, but when you’re dealing with a toxic family member hellbent on being the only winner at the game called life, you’ll never come out ahead. And we decided, the best way to deal with these people was to bow out of their competition.

Their behavior is affecting others, and they aren’t open to changing it

My husband is the king of boundaries.  When a rude comment was made about Callie being autistic years ago, he was simply done with them. Stopped interacting with them, stopped participating in events that they were invited to, and completely disengaged from the relationship. The man can hold a boundary.

I unfortunately, kept trying to give them (and their behavior) the benefit of the doubt.  Each rude interaction, I would forgive.  Each time they tried to tell me everything I shared on social or on the blog was directly about them (the self centeredness was astounding), I would try to reassure them that our lived experiences as a disabled family had nothing to do with them.  Each time they blew off any family gathering that didn’t involve them getting gifts, I would just shake my head. Every time they tried to play the victim or made everything all about them, I would try to talk it out like reasonable adults.  Each time they put down my husband’s career choice, I just gritted my teeth and chalked it up to lack of life experiences. When they took a post I’d share and twisted it to be about them online, I asked them to stop–only to have them do it again.  I won’t go into the gory details, but their actions weren’t solely affecting them — and I was dealing with the fallout on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis it felt like for a very long time.

I have done a ton of work in creating boundaries to show people how to successfully do life with our family so it wasn’t because of a lack of effort when I finally cut them off saying, “I won’t do life with anyone that doesn’t treat each member of my family with love, respect, and kindness.”

When someone falls into a pattern of mean, toxic, immature, disrespectful, and unhealthy behavior, it can seem cruel to abandon them–especially if you grew up like I did where you were taught you had to just “deal” with certain behaviors because those people were “family.”  However, when that toxic behavior has been addressed repeatedly and is taking an emotional toll, you have to remember that prioritizing your own well being comes first and foremost – and that may involve letting these family members go.

I Only Want To Do Life With Good People

I think the thing that resonated for me the most was the thought of continuing that dysfunctional generational pattern for my daughter.  It made me look at the situation from a completely different perspective.

What was I teaching her by continuing a relationship with people who spoke badly about her?  And her mom? And her dad? And her family?

What was I teaching her by continuing to allow people in our lives that brought nothing but pettiness, anxiety, jealousy, and toxicity?

What was I teaching her by continuing to show up at family gatherings with people who had just treated her Mama like crap?

What was I teaching her by continuing to not enforce our boundaries because we didn’t want to rock the boat? Gritting our teeth when another ignorant comment was made instead of calling it out? Tiptoeing around certain people because we didn’t want to set someone off on another tantrum about carrot cake?

She learns that behavior is expected of HER.  She learns that she has to tie her feelings to how OTHER people feel.  She learns that she is expected to put her feelings in the backseat.  She learns she has to accept rude, disrespectful, jealous, immature, ableist, toxic, and emotionally draining behavior.  She learns that her needs come secondary to keeping the peace. She learns to “put up” with things.  She also learns that those types of behaviors–name calling, cursing at people, dragging people online, not showing up for people, being disrespectful, being overtly competitive, and being self centered is ok as long as it’s “family.”

And I’m not ok with that.

Accepting that it was no longer feasible (or healthy!) to continue a relationship with these toxic family members has been so freeing.  Stay tuned because I have an entirely separate blog post dedicated to what we’ve GAINED from releasing these toxic family members from our lives.

And spoiler alert–it’s SO much.






Hi everyone! Thanks so much for stopping by! My name is Jaime! Wife to my better half, James, who is my moon and all of my stars. We are parents to our little warrior princess, Callie Grace. We started this blog to share our journey as we navigate through our crazy beautiful life. Callie is a lower limb amputee and I am a Type One Diabetic. We are hoping to change the face of beauty one step at a time! We hope by sharing our story, you leave with a little bit more inspiration and hope! Thank you so much for stopping by and joining our tribe!

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  • Betty July 4, 2023 at 3:18 pm

    Love this blog. Sorry you went through that but good for you for creating that safe space for yourself and your family. I had to do the same thing and it has been sad but most days it is amazing how much peace I feel. I still get the “but we’re family” speech from one person or another the only difference is that now I don’t let anyone pop my bubble of happiness and peace. I quickly shut it down politely and say that I am only keeping myself and my family surrounded by positive energy. If they have anything negative to say or wish upon us they are not welcomed in our life. Surprisingly it also helped other family members stand up and put a stop to certain behaviors. Will never forget that I allowed it to continue for too long and how I was sometimes uninvited from events due to my son being autistic and “possessed.” Mind you most of my family works in healthcare including my mother who was a nurse for so long and was the most ignorant and pushing that possession thing the most.
    Much love and positive energy being sent your way. Thank you for continuing to share and I am so glad you protect your peace much more now. ❤️

    • Jaime July 6, 2023 at 7:20 pm

      Right back at you friend! Good for you for taking the needed steps to protect your peace (and your family).

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    About Me

    About Me


    Hi Y'all! I’m Jaime, a proud working mama, author, girl boss and wifey to an ultra-adorable husband. I am a huge book nerd, I drink coffee like my life depends on it, and run on dry shampoo and Amazon Prime. Leopard print is my favorite color. I am a story teller at heart and this blog is a virtual scrapbook of our crazy beautiful life. I'm a Type One Diabetic and our little warrior princess Callie is a lower limb amputee. By sharing how we’ve chosen to flourish in the garden we’ve been planted in, we hope you can take some small nuggets of hope, inspiration, and laughter. We are so grateful that you’ve found us—welcome to the fam. We embrace our perfectly imperfect lives and don’t let the doctor’s appointments, spreadsheets, speaking engagements, 10th birthday parties to plan, housework or date nights overwhelm us. Those things are just the beautiful reminders of all the blessings in our lives. Read More



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