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How Do I Get Rid of These Toxic People?

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From the U.S.: My mother died when I was 15 from breast cancer. Growing up, her and I never spoke or had conversations. I knew little about her. My father had been making sexual comments me since I was 12 – would encourage me to dress up in my mom’s clothes, take photos of me, and then take them to work and call me a whore. He also had this paranoid obsession that I was going to turn him in for molesting me at 12.

He didn’t last at jobs very long – every 6 months we moved since I was the age of 5. I was pretty much ignored as a kid and left to my own devices until I was 15 and I became the scapegoat of my family after my mom’s death.

A lot of the scapegoat behavior was because I didn’t grieve my mom’s death and because my dad had been saying that “the father molests the daughter after the wife dies.”

Needless to say, I was used as a punching bag and my character invalidated. It interfered with my ability to be successful in school, as the constant moving had done.

I was thrown out of the house at 17 by my dad after he began calling the police on me to get me to leave. I had never committed a crime but he was arrested on the first occasion.

I left home at 17 and started working multiple jobs. I assumed everything would resolve itself and I would be left to my own devices – struggling working 3 jobs without a high school diploma.

Instead, I received a call at 18 from my mother’s sister’s husband – who left a message while I was a work.

I only met these people once in 1996 when I was 10. But for some reason, this man who I did not know, left a message calling me a “niece twice removed.”

I moved away after that and changed my phone number and address. However, with the advent of facebook, I’ve been contacted every 3-5 years with friend requests, strange demands asking me to call them. These strangers I don’t know.

I finally confronted my mom’s sister and she never apologized for the rude message, lies about having contact with my dad, and thinks I need therapy and to find Jesus Christ.

What I really need is for all these people to stop contacting me. How do I get rid of these toxic people?

How Do I Get Rid of These Toxic People?

Answered by on -

A.

It’s so very sad but true that not every kid gets the family that she deserves. You certainly didn’t. You were living under constant threat of sexual abuse. In a twisted way, it may be that your father did you a favor throwing you out of the house. He may have known at least on an unconscious level that he could no longer control his impulses to try to have sex with you.

Please give yourself lots of credit for having the resiliency and strength of character to survive and thrive in spite of such a rough beginning. I hope you have surrounded yourself with a “framily” — friends who have become a family that loves and supports you.

Unfortunately, there is no way to “make” your uncle stop contacting you unless he has done things that are serious enough to warrant a restraining order. What you can do is learn not to let it bother you.

As you rightly point out, you don’t know these people. You don’t owe them anything. They weren’t there for you when you were growing up and they have nothing to offer you now. You have every right to ignore their attempts at contact. You needn’t feel guilty about not responding. Being angry gives them more energy than they deserve.

Treat messages from them just like you treat “junk mail.” Toss it out and forget it. Focus on the people in your life who matter, not those who don’t.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Do I Get Rid of These Toxic People?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). How Do I Get Rid of These Toxic People?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 12, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/12/22/how-do-i-get-rid-of-these-toxic-people/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.