How do I deal with toxic family members?


I am at my wits end. My parents try and control everything in my life. My finances, who I see where I go. Im 39 and they treat me like Im 13 instead. They even forbid me from calling for help for my sick niece last week. I did anyway, and was told how immoral it was because they were my parents. They treat me like property. Now Im very sick. I may have another tumor, and they are acting like this is an inconvenience. Its breaking my heart. Should I leave, and how can I even do this when I can barely walk?


Are you on disability?

Does your sister understand the situation?


Lots and lots of disabled people live on their own, or in a group home of some type. Of course I don’t know your particular situation but I hope you start to make serious plans, if you can, to move away. You are 39; this is your life!


So you live with your parents? Did you live with them before you got sick?

Before you got sick, what did you contribute to the finances? Rent? Groceries? Water? Electric? Gas? Did you carry your own car insurance? Health insurance? Pay for your own phone?

You’re barely able to walk right now. Before that changed, what kind of a job did you have?

In my family’s culture, it was normal for adult kids to continue living with family. They contribute to finances, they save money aggressively, and they move out when they get married. Otherwise, if things are getting too National Geographic as the offspring battles the parents for dominance, and they want to live with their own autonomy, they move out and run their own household. :stuck_out_tongue:

When you’re an adult dependent, regardless of your situation, or whether it’s a health issue or an issue of I-live-in-a-city-where-I-can’t-get-a-1-bedroom-apartment-for-less-than-$4k/month, it’s hard to pick and choose where that line of dependency ends and where your natural adult autonomy begins.

I’m not saying it’s right. I don’t know anything about your niece, or why your niece’s parents didn’t handle the issue. (???) But I’m saying that when people are in a situation where one group of adults is having to carry more economic weight maintaining an adult dependent, I can see how they would come across as controlling.

Since you’re not able to leave, since you’re not able to walk and therefore probably unlikely to be able to maintain employment or your own household, it normally works best when the people in that situation look beyond the individual as the basic building block, and instead look to the family unit as the basic building block. In other words, the individual sacrifices their personal preferences in an effort to make the people around them better-off. It’s not something that you come across so much in American culture— most people actively fight it— but it’s something you come across in cultures that have multiple generations living under one roof, and throughout much of history. There’s a definite pecking order, and people have to come to grips with their social rank in the hierarchy, if that makes sense, even if their social rank doesn’t make them happy.

So, looking at things through that prism-- what are you able to do, not to improve things for your own self, but improving things for your parents? You know that to improve things for your own self in the most ideal way is unrealistic right now, due to the tumor and everything surrounding it. So you have to improve the people around you, not necessarily by forcing change upon them, but by doing your part to change the environment in which you live.


If you are in the US, are you receiving SSI? This will open up a world of opportunities for you to find independent living.

We disabled people do not have to live as children for our entire life.

People in the US who are receiving SSI or SSDI are eligible for independent living programs. The cost of rent will be significantly reduced or even be completely subsidized.


I am so sorry, again, for this situation, and your new health worry. I know you’ve made threads about this before. I can see a few options.

  1. Contact social services, make sure you are qualified for ssi or ssdi and whatever else you qualify for so you can be either saving money or contributing to the household. Find out all your options. Then, either:

  2. Move in with a family member, like your sister. I also seem to remember a godmother, perhaps? If that won’t work, then:

  3. Move out on your own or into a group home. I think a group home sounds better, esp with your poor health. It’s up to you. Or,

  4. Continue living with your parents. Contribute what you can to the household. Put up strong, firm boundaries and don’t let yourself be bossed around, but at the same time, seek their good and be as helpful as possible. Ignore their craziness…they obviously have some mental illness going on. Try not to take what they say personally.

  5. I don’t know if you have a job or not, but there are some jobs you can do at home or out in the world as a disabled person. If your health allows, seek one out.

God bless you.



Do you have siblings? Maybe one of them who cares about your situation could talk with them?


Thank you so much for your answer. I never in a million years would have thought of any of this like that. Its very helpful. Im also getting a hold of my pastor and my case worker to talk this out.


It’s good that you’re getting help. It’s time to go.


Hugs! You’re in a difficult situation. I hope you find where your path leads to; you have a lot of physical suffering from your health, and to have the extra psychological burdens on top of it…! You are a very strong person, and you have my prayers and my admiration for being able to balance the needs of others when your own needs and vulnerabilities are so overwhelming. :heart::heart::heart::heart::heart:


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