I broke up with my parents and most of family when I came out as gay.
Growing up, I spent years and years unknowingly sacrificing my happiness and my mental and emotional health in the name of family.
I believed I had to do anything and everything for them. And that's because most of us have been trained to believe that turning our backs on family — no matter how bad or abusive they are — is reprehensible.
But, that belief is severely flawed.
Cutting out my family is one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make in my life, but I'm so happy I did.
When your mental and physical health is jeopardized because of your family, you need to reevaluate your relationship.
Here are five signs you should cut ties with your family:
When any contact with your family is tinged with negativity, it's time to ask yourself, "Do I really need this in my life?"
Sometimes, all you need to do is tell them you don't want to hear it, but if they continually bring up negative things, tell them you can't deal with it — or them — anymore.
There is no reason for you to feel bad about calling out their negativity when all you want to do is keep in touch.
When the relationship between you and your family becomes based on any type of abuse — whether it be mental, physical, sexual or emotional — that should be your red flag to pack up and go.
It's toxic for your well-being, and you need to focus on your own mental and physical health. Sacrificing your comfort and happiness isn't worth waiting around and hoping for change.
From that pending report at work to your anniversary gift for your spouse, life is filled with stress.
You don't need extra drama from your family.
The moment you find yourself constantly having to defend yourself to your family — whether it be the decisions you've made or the lifestyle you live — remember YOU made these choices for yourself.
Don't let your family stress you out to the point that your work and at home life becomes affected.
Growing up, I never felt I amounted to much.
As a matter of fact, I didn't think the achievements I made in school were ever good enough for my parents.
So, I worked harder, and eventually, that desire to impress turned into resentment.
When the relationship becomes one-sided and you find yourself giving and giving, it's unfortunately time to stop.
Your efforts — no matter how big or small — should always be good enough. You should never have to feel you need to earn their love and approval.
A parent's love for their child should be unwavering and constant, no matter the grades, the sexuality or the salary.
Like with the end of any relationship, you just know when it's time to let go. This also applies to family.
You know staying in this relationship isn't good for you or your well-being, so you end things with your family.
It's terrifying, and it feels as if you're standing at the edge of mountain about to jump into cold waters.
But guess what? The ones who matter and the ones who care will be right there ready to catch you. And they are ready to love you, flaws and all.
We always tell those who are in toxic relationships to leave. The same applies to the very people we thought would never harm us.
I can't guarantee it'll be easy right off the bat. But eventually, you'll find the light, and you'll begin to heal.
You'll begin to accept yourself for who you are, and you'll begin the process of self-loving rather than self-harming.
When I made the decision to be my own person, I not only became empowered, but I also discovered family members aren't always blood relatives.
I discovered I didn't have to work hard for other people's approval or earn their love and affection.
I learned the only approval I needed was my own.
When you discover this, you'll realize the world is at your fingertips, and everything will become possible.