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Is it ok to let go of some relationships, even if they are familial?

If having a person in your life means that you will always be the one reaching out, your feelings are not taken into account, you aren't allowed to be yourself or express your thoughts, you are mistreated and never given an apology and, the other person takes no responsibility for how they treat you and just gets mad at your reaction to how they are, is it ok to let a person like this go even if they are family?


  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 2021


    "This is the way leading to discernment: when visiting a contemplative or brahman, to ask: 'What is skillful, venerable sir? What is unskillful? What is blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? What, having been done by me, will be for my long-term harm & suffering? Or what, having been done by me, will be for my long-term welfare & happiness?'" (MN 135)

    I'd say that letting go of what's unskillful and causes pain/harm is certainly for your long-term welfare and happiness.

    I no longer speak to my stepfather for similar reasons. Compassion, empathy, loving-kindness, etc. have their limits. One need not be a doormat and accept abuse because of a shared relationship and sense of duty. That in and of itself is not a virtue; and wisdom is knowing when to let go.

  • Ty. I often feel guilty for letting go, but I just can't have people like that in my life anymore. It's more of a hindrance.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I heard a saying once that I liked:

    "We can love the tiger but from a distance"

    It resonated with me.

  • Is it ok to let go of some relationships, even if they are familial?

    Tigers are great. Does that mean we have to attend dinners when we may be on the menu? Distant but civil. There is room for tigers. Wide berth as @Bunk mentions. Sail away ...

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Totally agree with @Jason ... sometimes people cause you pain even for prolonged periods, and you keep up with them because you cherish them, but not everyone is like that. Some people you are better off letting go of and keeping only a casual contact.

  • Rob_VRob_V North Carolina Explorer

    Yes, yes, yes, and yes!
    Some cultures have tighter familial bonds than do others, but at the end of the day your family us what you make of it. Most of my family isn't related to me. I've cobbled them together by taking in strays, or them taking me in as stray. Ultimately family is an aggregate of people who love and support you - even when you're in the wrong. They're the ones you think of first when you hear a funny or read some uplifting quote you think they could use.

    No one has any privilege to be in your circle just by accident of being born into the same bloodline as you, and NO ONE has the right to belittle, abuse, or otherwise cause you pain by right of birth.

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