You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. Or, how about blood is thicker than water.
Yup, you’ve heard those expressions, but clearly, they don’t apply to you because you’ve found yourself out in the cold with the newly coined title of Blacksheep.
They’ve cut you off, they’ve stopped communicating with you, and never have you felt so alone in this world.
If you’re facing a situation where your family has turned against you, don’t freak out.
This article contains what you need to do and helpful advice to hopefully turn the situation around.
Factors that come into play when your family turns against you
Families usually stick together right, so the first step in figuring out what to do is examining the situation that caused them to turn against you.
Sometimes, the reasons are plausible. For example, if you’re a known substance abuser and have done some awful things to get your fix, perhaps their only option is to enforce tough love?
By enabling you, they’re not doing you any favor, so it’s out of love that they’ve cut you off; you need to fix the problem.
If you’re unable to stop cold turkey, consider getting medical assistance. Rehab for addiction is probably the best place for you, and you need to want to stop to get the help you need and deserve.
Through thick or thin, families stick together, but if you’re guilty of any of the transgressions below, it’s going to take more than a mere intervention or you getting help to turn things around.
In these cases, you will have to do some real soul searching and get the necessary assistance to turn things around.
Common and (valid) reasons why family turns against a member:
1) Habitual substance abuse that affects your family negatively
Perhaps you’re addicted to drugs. But, unfortunately, you’re no longer using these substances recreationally, and it’s taken over your life.
You’re neglecting your wellbeing, health, job and are doing whatever you need to do to get your fix. Often drug and alcohol problems can cause you to do things and act in a way that’s not like you.
It could be so bad that you’ve turned to steal from your loved ones to maintain your habit. This is often the most common reason family members cut loved ones out.
As mentioned above, the best way that know how to deal with this is to cut yourself off.
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Having a family member that’s an addict is one of the most heartbreaking and stressful situations to be in, so if you’re here (or are headed in this direction), you need to get professional help.
It’s not uncommon for families to distance themselves from members involved in criminal activities.
If you’re committing these acts, it brings a large amount of shame to your family. If you’re finding yourself on the wrong side of the law and continue, you’re leaving your family little choice in the matter. You need to cut it out.
3) Being Abusive (physically and emotionally)
Nobody wants to hang around with somebody who’s abusive; your family is no better.
So if you’re aggressive and sometimes things get physical, it’s a very valid reason to cut you off.
4) Financial Abuse
If you’re relying on your family to help you financially all the time, don’t be surprised if the well soon runs dry.
Asking for a helping hand here and there is not an issue, but when you depend on your family to pay your bills every month, and you have no intention of looking for or getting a job, sometimes the only way to help yourself is by cutting you off.
Invalid reasons why families turn against you
On the other hand, if your family has cut you off for petty reasons, perhaps you said or did something that caused shame, you’re with a partner they don’t see eye to eye with or others.
There are ways to salvage the relationship because you only get one family. Life is too short to hold onto grudges, and being the bigger person will always stand you in good stead.
Common reasons for family members turning against you:
1) Life choices
Your family doesn’t approve of your partner (without even getting to know them), or they’re unhappy about the fact that you don’t want to get married or don’t want kids, etc.
2) Not doing what they want you to do
Sometimes, our parents live their lives vicariously through us. Perhaps they wanted you to become a doctor or a lawyer, and you’ve chosen to become a police officer.
Regardless, if they turn their backs on you because you’re not doing what they want you to, it’s unfair of them to expect this from you. You are your person, and you should have the freedom to do what you want.
3) Sibling rivalry
This often happens when sides get taken among siblings. Often these siblings are toxic and have such a great hold or influence over other members that they turn members against each other.
4) Sexual orientation
You’ve revealed that you’re not attracted to the opposite sex and have “come out” that your sexual preferences are different. Unfortunately, this is a common reason families turn against you.
12 Things to do when your family turns against you
1) Speak to someone
If you feel like you won’t talk directly to a family member, turn to a mutual friend or someone who’s got an outsider’s perspective on the situation.
It could be a priest, a close friend, or another family who’s impartial and who isn’t going to take sides.
Ask them what they would do in the situation and validate whether or not you’re overreacting.
It’s great to get an outsider’s perspective, and it can often provide way more clarity and sanity to matters.
2) Cold shoulder
Don’t be tempted to send A4-page text messages when you get a message from a family member.
Instead, respond to the message but use limited words. This will portray that you’re pissed off but are willing to talk.
Often, your family member will be able to pick up on your icy demeanor, and through that, you can start opening up a little more each time.
There are three sides to every story: your, theirs, and the truth.
First, get to the bottom of the problem. Then, engage in one-on-one conversations with family members to figure out the problem’s route.
Perhaps it’s a conflict of morals or ethics, or it might just be a foolish misunderstanding.
You can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s broken so getting to the meat and bones is your first step in patching things up.
4) Work on yourself
If you find yourself leaving the island, you need to employ retrospect.
Indeed, your family must have a good reason why they have turned against you, so it’s up to you to do the necessary soul searching.
If you can find the error in your ways and own up to your mistakes and apologize, you’ll find they will have no trouble accepting you back as long as you continue to work on yourself and improve.
5) Don’t retaliate
Don’t embark on a family smear campaign.
Words hurled out of anger and hatred can come back to haunt you, so don’t put yourself in a position where you look worse off than you are already.
Yes, you have so many nasty things you want to say to your sister or your aunt, don’t do it.
It might make you feel better temporarily, but your words are like knives. They remain long after the altercation.
6) Don’t wallow in self-pity
Don’t sit around moping.
Instead, put your energy and focus into doing something positive.
Take up a new hobby, pick up a new side hustle and use the time to do something that will improve your situation.
This is especially important if your fam has cut you off because of financial troubles.
Go out there and apply for that job; when you fail, try again; as long as you continue to try, your family will have more respect for you.
7) Don’t turn to social media
Don’t be tempted to air dirty laundry on social media.
1) it’s embarrassing, and 2), once it’s on the internet, it’s there for eternity.
Avoid sending messages or posting things that will paint you in a bad light. All you’re doing is pouring gasoline on a fire that’s already raging.
Take a social media break and avoid creating any further unnecessary drama.
8) Don’t bad-mouth other family members.
When your family turns against you, now is not the best moment to go off on a tangent and bad-mouth your loved ones.
Regardless of what has transpired, talking ill about someone close to you usually has the opposite effect. You end up looking like the villain.
Whatever you’ve said will come back to you, so keep your lips zipped, and don’t be tempted to tell others what a giant douche you think your brother is.
You’re simply adding to the problem, and there will come a time where all of these negative emotions will culminate in an exploding volcano.
So keep your nose clean, and don’t be tempted to engage in mud-slinging.
9) Do good
Making small and positive changes is a significant first step.
If you’ve always been portrayed as being a such and such, prove your family wrong by making positive changes.
For example, if your family has called you out for treating another family poorly, do your damnedest to change the situation.
Do nice things for that person, take the time to talk to them, and show you care. You have the power to change perceptions, so there’s never been a better time to do it!
10) Be the change you want to see
We all have faults, nobody’s perfect, but if you’re making a concerted effort to rejoin your family, you’re going to have to make the necessary changes to be accepted back.
It’s unfair to let loved ones be subjected to our poor behavior all the time, and saying sorry isn’t a magic eraser that will get rid of the past.
Instead, you need to take action and make changes and prove that you have left your past behind you through these actions.
11) Don’t lower your standards or alter your morals
Suppose your family has turned on you because you’ve just recently announced that you’re homosexual, or if you’ve made a conscious decision not to have kids.
Live your truth. You cannot change the genetic fibers of your being.
If your family cannot accept you because you are gay or lesbian, that’s something they need to come to terms with, not you.
You didn’t ask for it, so there’s no need to stay in an environment that makes you feel bad about yourself for being who you indeed are.
Give them time.
They will miss you, and it might take a while, but time can heal most wounds. Just don’t back down on what you believe.
12) Extend the olive branch
Humans can be super petty. Again, it goes back to Kindergarten, so and so hurts your feelings, and they must apologize or else. Yup, we might all be fully grown adults, but our pride can often get the better of us.
Sometimes in life, you’ll have to be the bigger person if you’re wrong, apologize, and talk through the issues with your family.
Often, a sincere heartfelt apology is needed to make all the bad vibes despair.
Be open, honest and if you’ve made a mistake, take ownership and show your family that you’re taking the blame. Owning up to an error indicates that you are mature and will foster respect.
All families experience issues, and not everything will be smooth sailing all the time. Arguments, feuds, and grudges are part and parcel of the most routine and functional families.
So, if you’re currently going through a situation where it feels like your family has turned against you, don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world, and it will soon blow over.
If you’re at fault, use the tips listed in the article to help you to improve yourself and the relations you have with your loved ones; after all, you only have one family, and you need to do everything in your power to keep those people happy, safe and loved.