Q&A: Cutting of Toxic Family Members

I have this family member who I’ve looked up to since I was a kid.


In many ways, she helped raise me. Every vacation I took as a child was with her. As a teenager, she took me in when I had nowhere else to go. She'd been there for me my entire life and loved me like her own.


She was my favorite person in the world. I admired her, respected her, and wanted to be like her.


Until the day she had me fu**ed up.


She put me in a position that contributed to me losing thousands of dollars. Having to go to court, and topped it off by disrespecting me in my own home.


Losing her felt like experiencing the death of a loved one, but I had to cut her off for my own peace of mind. To this day there are members of my family who don’t speak to me because she tells a one-sided version of the story. But today, I intend to give yall the real tea on my side of the story.


Choosing not to have a relationship hurts terribly but it is a necessary pain. She forced me to choose between her and me. I had to choose myself. Sometimes older folks think it's okay to disrespect you simply because they're older. But I'm not one to allow disrespect from anyone. We're both adults, and we'll treat each other as such. Boundaries are crucial and if you can't respect them, you can go. That principle applies to any and everyone.


 

Welcome back to another Q & A Post loves! Today we’re going to be diving into the story of how I had to cut off one of my closest family members and how I cope with not having her in my life.


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Ok back to the story. This family member, we'll call her Gigi for our adventure today. Gigi was in the process of moving. I was also set to move soon, as my house was on the market to be sold. It was during the time my divorce was being finalized.


Gigi reached out to me and asked if she could stay with me for a week until she could move into her new place. Her being one of my favorite people, I agreed. One week was no big deal. She then moved in with her two small dogs and teenage daughter. All was well, at first.


One week turned into two. Then two weeks turned into a month. As I realized that quite some time has passed, I checked in to find out the status of her move. She said that she just hadn't found a place yet because she needed a specific type of house to fit her needs.


I’m like okay... Just keep me posted. In the meantime, my bills were dang near doubling. My water, gas, and electric bills are all far more than I’m used to paying, and she had not offered me one cent to help offset the costs.


Mind you, I was going through my divorce and this was the first time I’d ever paid all of the household bills by myself. I was used to being a double income family and now I was paying the same amount of bills alone. The situation was stressing me out.


Not only did she become a financial burden, but my ex used it against me as well. He was already upset about the divorce and not living in the home anymore. So having her move in had him deep in his feelings. He began acting out and being unnecessarily difficult. He even used it as a basis to file a case against me in court. Fighting that case cost me thousands of dollars, all because I tried to help out an ungrateful family member.


I was in a tough position. The next time I checked in with Gigi, two months had passed and she was still there. I’m like, okay what’s going on? She maintained that she just still hadn’t found a place yet. So I’m like ok cool. If you’re going to be here, I’m going to need some help with these bills. Can you afford $300 per month? She tells me she can't afford the $300 because she has other expenses such as her storage unit, car repair, etc. I try to work with her by asking how much she could afford. She says she can do $200. So we agree on $200 per month until she finds a place.


Now during this time, I gave her my son's bedroom, which forced me to share with him. I gave up my office so her teenage daughter would have her own room as well. But those rooms couldn't comfortably hold all of the belongings they'd brought. Remember how I said I was selling my house? Well, all of their stuff made it difficult to keep the place decluttered for house showings. Anyone who’s sold a house knows it’s laborious because you have to keep things spotless and be ready for a showing at a moment’s notice. I couldn’t do that with her and her dogs there. She was making things incredibly challenging for me, but she was my favorite person. I loved her so much that I allowed her to continue to stay there to my own detriment.


And y’all are not going to believe this, but do you know another month went by! Still, no leads on a house, and she didn't even give me the $200 we'd agreed on to help with the ever-climbing bills. I was using my credit cards to stay afloat and she was living off of me while I went through the most difficult time of my life.


I didn’t know how to establish boundaries with her early on because I’d always seen her as an authority figure. She’d always been there for me, and I’d never needed to stand up to her before. Until the day that I did.


One day the upstairs sink was clogged. Her daughter was really into making wigs and whatnot so there would be hair everywhere all the time. I was getting ready for work and I saw standing water in the sink. I asked her daughter what’s up with the sink, and she nonchalantly says "oh it won’t go down."


At that point, I was beyond frustrated. I’d been accommodating, gracious, and lenient, but now things were getting broken in the house I was TRYING TO SELL! I lost it. I was going off while getting ready for work. Once I left, Gigi texted me asking what’s wrong. I told her about the sink situation. She apologized and made arrangements for a plumber to come through and fix the sink.


I thought to myself, cool, she’s going to handle it. A couple of days go by and the sink is still clogged. I was frustrated as hell at that point, so I shot her a text. “Hey, what’s the status on the sink and plumber?” To which she responds, “he came and said there’s something hard blocking the sink, so it wasn’t my daughter who caused the problem.”


I know you can’t hear a tone in text, but she sounded like she was getting smart with me.


I was at my wit's end. I couldn't take it anymore. I told her that she needed to find another place to stay. She replied that she’d been on it. I asked her to give me a specific time frame. Do you know this woman had the nerve to say, "whenever I let you know."


Y’all I was LIVID! Who the hell did she think she was talking to? I’d let her live with me for FREE! For 3+ months and she had the nerve to get smart with me, in MY house?


It was time for her to go. She officially had me fu**ed up.


Once she got smart with me, I told her she had a week to get out. She had overstayed her welcome and it was time to go.


Throughout the week, we didn’t speak. We moved around each other uncomfortably. I didn’t have peace in my own damn home for months trying to accommodate her, and I had finally stood up for myself. Although I knew it was the right and necessary thing to do, it was still hard. Gigi was my childhood hero, and I had to establish a strong boundary with her, that I never thought I would have to establish. My whole perspective had to shift in our relationship. She was no longer the person who had my back, she was the person holding me back. I was devastated.


So the week goes by. It’s Saturday again and she’s not packing anything up. I mean, not a bag in sight. Y’all, she had NO intentions of leaving. She thought I was play-pimping.


I sent a reminder by kindly letting her know the kids and I would be out of the house for a while and to leave my keys on the counter. I had no idea she would react the way she did yall. Matter of fact I'll let yall see the texts for yourself. Look at this mess.







 

This was honestly the hardest conversation I’d ever had with Gigi. I had let her run all over me for three months straight, never once disrespecting her, and this is how she did me.


I wonder if it would’ve hurt less if it didn't come at the most difficult time of my life. I was already experiencing so much loss. I had lost my marriage. I was losing the house I loved, everything around me was changing and uncertain. And I had to add another person I loved to that list. It broke my heart.


Before she moved in we were so close. We talked every week, I loved Gigi like a second mom. This experience showed me that anyone can do you wrong and take advantage of you if you let them. And that was a tough pill to swallow.


Eventually, she got her stuff and moved out that day. I couldn't understand how things had gotten so out of hand. None of it made sense. Surely she should've been able to find a place within three months. Surely someone working full time and not paying rent should be able to honor a $50 per week commitment.


I didn't learn the truth about what was really going on until I spoke with another family member. It turns out she had quit her job shortly after moving in with me and was strapped for money. She'd NEVER mentioned quitting her job in the 3 months she stayed with me. Learning that information just made me feel more used and upset. I couldn't believe she would do me so wrong.


That was 2 years ago and I haven’t talked to Gigi since. At first, it tore me up inside, but now I’ve accepted that she was fighting her own demons. In her version of this story, I'm the villain for putting her out at a time she was at her lowest. I just wish she'd been upfront about her situation. But I suppose I needed to go through it to walk away with this lesson. Never let ANYONE, take advantage of you. Choose yourself. Love yourself enough to let them go.


 

Would I be open to having a conversation with Gigi today? Yes. She's my family and I love her. But will I reach out to initiate the conversation? Hell no! She used me and took advantage of the position she held in my life. I can’t be around someone who doesn’t see an issue with that.


Protect your peace at all costs!


I learned to love myself enough to speak up even when it’s difficult. Now I’m at the point where anyone can be corrected. Tobe said it best; Try Jesus, not me.


I hope you enjoyed sipping this tea with me today! Do you have a story about cutting off a toxic family member? Tell me about it on Instagram or Facebook!


Until next time, stay blessed!


Love,


Dina Shanae

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