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The Sacred Art of Blocking Toxic Family Members
4 relatable reasons for unapologetically choosing you.
So your family’s a dumpster fire of dysfunction.
At least I’m not alone.
Thank the gods (of old) for creating a virtual fire extinguisher.
Dealing with Judgement Day
Here’s the thing friends, when you terminate your relationship, societal expectations in the form of ads (except on Father’s day-nobody cares) will be there to judge you no matter what you do.
You’re damned if you block and damned if you don’t.
If you block someone like say-your mother.
Whoa! They will come for you with torches spouting off unsolicited rants that start with, “but it’s your mom!”
You’ll be labeled “cold” and “heartless” by other cold and heartless people.
The phrase of the day is: (say it with me now) “And that’s okay”.
Some relationships are expired milk-no matter how much you try to salvage them
your stomach turns sour just thinking about them.
There’s nothing nourishing about it, friends.
Before you start collecting and sending, “this could be us, but you’re still alive,” memes, let’s have a power chat about estrangement, the next logical step after blocking.
What is Estrangement?
Estrangement is a necessity for self-preservation.
And how do you know when your intuition is pulling you from the wretched bowels of despair, sparing you from misery disguised as a human?
First, your intuition sounds like a soothing gentle whisper, it says, “family isn’t everything, your mental health is everything”.
Then it turns into agonized wails, “don’t be a hero, save yourself from the flames of emotional turmoil!” and when you finally listen and rise from the ashes, you see shimmering embers of joy flowing through breathable air-that’s how you know.
What do I need to know before I hit the block button?
You need to know that sending your toxic family member to the digital abyss has pro’s and cons.
Here’s how it’s sold to us by the attractive voices in our minds:
No more cringe-fest conversations about your disappointing life choices.
Keep your private life. private.
Can’t stomach any more daily doses of unsolicited advice.
Gone are the mind-numbingly tedious gatherings.
Meet liberation from the weight of comparison.
Prioritize your inner peace and well-being over other people’s word vomit.
All of that sounds glorious. And it can be friends.
It can be.
But estrangement is also soul-crushingly torturous.
I always say, two things can be true at the same time. You can love someone and despise them like a fiery migraine during a massage.
So here’s some quick tips from a seasoned blocking pro:
Upgrade to no ads on streaming subscriptions during Mother’s day and other family celebratory ritual seasons.
Repurpose the gag-inducing invalidating messages as evidence blocking was the healthiest choice for you.
Master the art of serene silence when you’re tempted to explain to the close-to-getting-blocked other relatives.
Why can’t we just gulp down our toxic relative’s soul poison for the rest of our lives?
We’ve tried and it’s like trying to fit an elephant into a phone booth.
And you know what they say, if it were easy-everyone would do it.
What about the extra layer of drama that comes with blocking?
The heart-shredding anguish comes for all of us at some point in our blocking journey.
The condescending and minimizing “forgiveness” lecture will be preached by well meaning people.
And even when you tell them forgiveness does not require us to maintain a relationship with the toxic family member, they’ll assume we’re tethered to a lifetime of pain. And their opinion is about as relevant as a rock’s commentary on a broadway musical.
Instead of allowing the sunshine assassins to kill your joy, trust your inner best friend who knows the shady secrets and practices self-compassion.
Your reasons for blocking are valid! And here are 5 additional reasons to block toxic family members:
Reason #1 You want to.
Wanting to block them is reason enough. No further explanation required.
Reason #2 They blocked you first.
It doesn’t matter who handed who the scissors friends. Blocking or getting blocked doesn’t make you a bad person or unworthy of love, just like estrangement doesn’t define your worth. Sometimes getting blocked is your ticket to freedom and the vacay from drama you needed.
Reason #3 It’s time to release the burden of shame
Remember, you’re not the only one in the world who deserves happiness, love and a life free from the suffocating grip of toxic relatives. No matter how spiritual, conscious and enlightened we think we are, we're all an asshole to somebody and that’s okay.
Reason #4 You want to adopt a minimalist lifestyle for your mental well being
You’re not throwing away your feelings. You’re allowed to grieve. Your feelings are allowed to be complex. it’s more like decluttering your emotional space to establish healthy boundaries and practice self-care.
Reason #5 You need a break
Sometimes short-term distance is necessary for long-term growth. There are occasions when estrangement is not permanent. It’s more like a sacred pause where you get to rewrite the chapters and find your way back to a place of reconnection. When you reconnect, you and your toxic family member are actively working together to bridge the gap of estrangement and mend broken boundaries one text at a time. Gotta start somewhere.
We’ll talk more about trusting our intuition, blocking and estrangements in future posts.
Thanks for reading!
Down The Slide: Art. Intuition. Dark Humor.