EP 304: Cutting Ties with a Family Member with Alison

This episode is about cutting ties with a toxic family member. Today’s caller, Alison, continues to relive the cycle of abuse she received from her mother. There is a part of her that believes her mother will one day change and give her the love she desires. If you have someone you are considering ending a relationship with, you will get great value from this session. If this particular circumstance doesn’t apply to you, you can probably relate to a situation where you want to do something but guilt and obligation are keeping you from making a self-honoring decision.

Just because someone is related to you, even a parent, doesn’t give them the right to be in your life.

When we are the parentified child it is confusing in the psyche and that is why there is a lot of guilt and obligation. Because as a parent, you can’t imagine abandoning your child. You would still love your child no matter what happened. That is the appropriate order of things. We are not supposed to be a parent to our parents.

So, when it comes to cutting ties with a family member it is tricky. It is difficult because we are in role reversal. Much of the guilt comes from being the parental figure to our parents which makes it hard to cut them off. This is not a healthy dynamic.

What I have learned about boundaries, family, and having a healthy life is that continuing to be in a relationship with someone, even our mother, who is abusive, volatile, or who cannot respect boundaries, just because they are a family member out of guilt and obligation is not love. Sometimes it is cutting ties with someone that may be the catalyst for them to wake up and do their own work.

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Consider/Ask Yourself

  • Is there someone in your life who does not deserve it and it is not healthy to have them in your life anymore?
  • Are you often the peacemaker in the family or other relationships?
  • Are you still living in a fantasy of what you wish your parents or someone in your life could be when you need to grieve what they are?
  • Do you love yourself and your family enough to put firm, healthy boundaries around you so you can break generational patterns and trauma?

Alison’s Question:

Alison wants guidance about how to have an adult relationship with her abusive mother.

Alison’s Key Insights and Ahas:

  • She had a traumatic childhood.
  • She has difficulty setting healthy boundaries.
  • She was the caregiver in the relationship with her mother.
  • She has a seven-year-old son.
  • Her grandmother was an important part of her life.
  • Her mother’s boyfriend was verbally abusive.
  • Her mother never stood up for her.
  • Her son has very little contact with her mother.
  • Her son triggers her childhood memories.
  • She worries that she will lose other family relationships if she cuts ties with her mother.
  • She is betraying her needs and her inner child.
  • Her mother doesn’t want her to change.
  • Her inner child thinks her mother will one day change.
  • She is the peacemaker in the family.

How to Get Over It and On With It:

  • Have a clarifying conversation with her brother and grandfather about her decision to break ties.
  • Stop justifying her mother’s behavior.
  • Find peace within herself.


  • Ask yourself where you may be in a relationship out of guilt and obligation?
  • Where are you the peacemaker when you don’t have peace?
  • What ties do you need to cut?
  • Why do you protect someone else’s feelings more than the energy of your inner child?
  • You deserve healthy boundaries.


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Parental wounds are hard but healing the mother wound is really hard. Click To Tweet Just because someone is related to you, even a parent, doesn’t give them the right to be in your life. Click To Tweet Love is fierce and love is truth. Click To Tweet

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