The kids aren’t alright

Toxic people create toxic relationships

We are surrounded by people who can either inspire us to live out our dreams or ruin our lives. The power we give people to effect us is unique in each relationship and sometimes people abuse that power in every way that hurts. 

Cutting ties with family members is one of the hardest decisions we may face in life. It is an incredibly difficult thing that I have personally struggled with the past few years. 

For people trying to endure the holiday season, the slump after Christmas can be rough to reconcile when everyone talks about how amazing their family is. Toxicity poisons your life in a variety of ways, from passive aggressiveness to verbal altercations. 

Being in college means that many are experiencing what it’s like to live away from home for the first time. Sometimes that is all it takes to recognize the way people mistreat you. 

Family estrangement comes with its own baggage of guilt and heartbreak. We are raised to believe that ending relationships with “family” is inherently wrong and sacrilegious. 

The quotation “blood is thicker than water” is commonly used to justify sticking by destructive family. However, the real version of the quotation completely changes the meaning. The quote comes from: “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” 

Family isn’t just tied to our genetic code or societal expectations. The nuclear family is quickly changing shape, and the “Leave it To Beaver” archetype is turning into a fever dream the further we edge away from the 1950s. 

Family isn’t meant to cast someone aside like a broken toy or ask for help out of convenience. 

I try and surround myself with people that care unconditionally. Even now, I struggle with cutting out hurtful relationships, because a lot of the time people don’t acknowledge that they are toxic and I am the bad guy for calling them out. 

In fact, familial estrangement is a lot more common than you might think. In “Debunking Myths About Estrangement” the New York Times highlighted myths people believe about cutting ties. It was found that when adult relatives willingly sever contact with each other because of a longstanding negative relationship, it is neither unique or easily repairable. 

Unfortunately, Hallmark movies don’t always mesh with real life—grand declarations of forgiveness don’t just happen out of thin air. 

I just want to tell everyone who struggles with toxic people in their lives that wanting to cut them out of your life doesn’t make you a bad person. You are enough.

Click here for more work by Torch Opinions Editor Marley Tucker.