5 Reasons Someone Might Go “No Contact” with a Family Member

Common Causes for Cutting Ties with Close Relatives

  • Avoiding Dangerous Lifestyles
  • Escaping Emotional or Physical Abuse
  • Distance from Past Traumas
  • Unmitigated Mental Health Issues
  • Unresolved Conflicts

You don’t need to be a psychologist to know that cutting all contact with a family member is a serious step for anyone. Relationships between parents, children, and siblings are foundational elements in human development. Going no contact is usually recommended as a last resort for individuals who are suffering due to a family relationship. While there are many preferable alternatives for resolving most personal disputes, there are several good reasons why people cut off all ties with their close relatives.

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1. Avoiding Dangerous Lifestyles

Adopting a dangerous lifestyle may be the result of a single choice or the long-term result of poor decision making. Excessive or prolonged substance abuse can easily destroy close family connections. The drastic personality and behavior changes that accompany addiction creates toxic relationships and can put family members in physical danger. Other lifestyle changes, like neglecting childcare or other basic responsibilities, can be equally dangerous for the mental and physical health of children.

2. Escaping Emotional or Physical Abuse

For victims of domestic violence, going no contact is the only way to ensure their personal safety around the perpetrator. Escaping mental and emotional abuse is another common reason to cut off all contact with relatives. Chronic manipulative behavior, betrayals of trust and frequent use of aggressive or demeaning language can all contribute to a toxic family relationship. Escaping from domineering or disapproving parents is crucial for developing a healthy sense of identity, according to the American Association of Retired Persons.

3. Distance from Past Traumas

Contact with certain family members can trigger severe psychological reactions in people who have experienced prior trauma. This kind of reaction typically relates to the person’s participation or implication in the event. Clinical psychologists may recommend that their patients cut off a personal connection if it’s preventing them from achieving a healthier state of mind. Cutting contact can also be a temporary measure until the person recovers.

4. Unmitigated Mental Health Issues

Almost all mental health disorders can be mitigated with a combination of therapy, medicine, and lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, these disorders can still have a devastating impact on personal relationships within a family unit. Even people who want to be supportive may not be able to handle the stress or responsibility related to poor mental health in a loved one. Disorders that create dangerous or consistently-hostile scenarios can be a valid reason to cut off contact.

5. Unresolved Conflicts

Conflict resolution is essential for any healthy relationship, whether it’s family or friends. Unresolved conflicts gradually create a fissure between people, eroding their ability to tolerate each other. If neither party backs down or adjusts their behavior, the prolonged stress and frustration can poison an otherwise healthy relationship. For conflicts that have no acceptable or possible resolution, cutting ties can be the only option left.

Family relationships can be either an asset or liability, which is why it’s important to recognize toxicity in personal relationships. Completely cutting off a close relative is almost always a painful experience, but sometimes it’s a necessary decision to achieve long-term health and happiness.