I think I've been a victim of an abusive relative


I have a cousin who has made it his mission in life to advise others how to live to the point where he once decided I needed to look into a certain career when I had a job I really liked and paid me enough to live on. He, on the other hand, has never been able to keep a job for any reasonable amount of time. Since he’s a bit ‘off’ and I’m the only one of our generation I know of he still has a pleasant relationship with, he writes me messages talking about other family members and subjects I’ve told him to stop talking about. For instance, he talks about my sisters as if they were wealthy snobs and both of my sisters are very generous women I’m very proud of – they’ve both helped HIM! He patted a mutual female cousin on the behind about five years ago and ruined their relationship when he told her, “I’ve been waiting to do that for a long time.”. Basically, I’ve stayed in touch with him because I love him and feel that as a cousin, I should be kind to him.

This month,suddenly I realized I’ve been emotionally and mentally abused by him for over forty years because I have sat on the phone all that time and allowed him to keep me for an hour, easily, especially when I was younger because I won’t talk to him on the phone, anymore. I have a phobia of the phone that was started by him and my aunt who used to keep me on the phone for over two hours, again, easily. Now we email, but he has gotten very toxic with me and is picking arguments. I have reminded him I have heart disease, and suffer from depression and anxiety, to please stop it, and he didn’t. So, on August 1st, I told him not to contact me until September 1st, that he was making me literally ill and I needed a break. About three days ago, he sent me an email with the subject "My brother is OK’, and I opened it up thinking something had happened to his brother, but he was just trying to re-establish communication telling me that through St. Joseph he had been granted a miracle.

I’m not someone people can run over easily. You might ask why it would be so difficult to cut ties with him, and the answer is he is really a very nice person and would do anything for anyone, but he monopolizes people’s time to a degree that people, including his brothers, steer clear of him. That’s why it’s down to one person: me. And I’ve had it. I can’t handle it. Specially now that I realize I’ve been emotionally abused since the early to mid 70s.

Would it be sinful to break ties with him? I don’t think so, but I do suffer from scrupulosity.

Thanks for any advice. And, I do pray for him every day.

Block his e-mails
Block or screen his calls.
If he has a true need the proper authorities will contact you.
You are allowing this situation.
He does not sound like such a sweet guy to me.
There are people who would lay down their lives for strangers
yet bleed the life out of friends and family.
It is up to you to decide if you want to be a victim or not.

You have my prayers.

I’m so sorry you’ve been through this. I’m not Catholic, but I know that it is NOT a sin to cut ties with a toxic, abusive family member. You have no obligation to him at all. I know it sounds useless, especially from a stranger over the internet, but I truly am sorry for all the pain he has caused you. I hope you can finally move forwards and leave him behind.


Do I understand it correctly that you believe that you have been the victim of emotional/mental abuse because a cousin calls you on the phone and talks longer than you want to? :eek:


I mean, REALLY??!!

If you find conversing with your cousin to be such a chore, then by all means, limit your conversation with him. Just say, “I can’t talk any longer. I hope you have a great week!” or “I don’t really want to talk about fill-in-the-blank.” There’s no sin in that. Or, since you say your cousin is a good person, you could suck it up and let him talk. Buy one of those Sudoku puzzles. That’s what I do when I’m letting my step-mother talk at me on the phone. Either way, I would not justify blowing your cousin off by imagining yourself as an abuse victim. Your cousin is annoying and needy. Not abusive.

Mary Estelle, Lou2U and Allegra,

I thank you so much for your input.Each one of you, just by choosing to recognize me and my problem has helped since I’m really hurting and have anxiety. Lou2U, yes a person on the Internet can make you feel much better, and I thank you. Allegra, thank you for basically asking me to reconsider. You have a good heart. Mary Estelle, thank you for watching out for me.

Something unbelievable happened after I posted the message. I don’t know if it was coincidental or providential, whether I’m being tried. I got an email from a friend in Italy telling me that there’s a mutual friend in the hospital in Houston, 150 miles away who has a collapsed lung and wants to correspond with both of us. We both reconnected with this friend and helped him out financially in 2010, but he was so hateful talking about everyone, including priests he claims to have known and defaming the Catholic Church, then slandering people, that I told him I could not possibly continue being in contact with him. My heart tells me to reach out to him, that I could perhaps help him save his soul if he’s still living in such darkness, but he is so toxic that he drains my energy much more than even my cousin. He is also a ‘white witch’ but believes in spells, Tarot card readings, and things that I think are diabolical. I have already asked him to turn his life to Jesus Christ.

When does one stop? I don’t know if my mental health can stand these people anymore. I tried and tried for so long, I believe I might have to go my own way and just pray for them, but I’m being pulled in two directions internally and want to do what is right. I need your prayers. I’m very depressed.

God bless all, whether you agree or disagree.

I’ve come to a conclusion three hours later: I cannot continue letting these people drain the life out of me because I believe in being kind and courteous at all times. The negative background on these individuals is very lengthy and my health will not allow me to continue to be toyed with. Gee, even if I were completely healthy, at this point in life I would have to draw the line in the sand, anyway. I will continue to pray for them, though,

Thanks again and God bless. I’m going to get some sleep.

Hi Allegra,

I think that it’s about setting boundaries with others, and others not listening to us when we try and do that. That’s what I am seeing here.

Been there, done that, with some of my own family members, and from my own experience, they don’t change, and one must limit their contact with people like these, for the benefit of your own sanity. :frowning:

Hi Sean,

I’m sorry for the stress that these relationships have caused for you. :frowning:

I have had to limit contact with certain family members and other people that I have known too, due to “boundary issues.” Some people can be narcissistic, where they want to be in control of others, too.

Otherwise, if I would have let them, they would try to take advantage of me or would just want to continue to be abusive. No one deserves any of that, in my opinion.

What you decide now doesn’t have to be forever. If you are in a place emotionally and spiritually at this present moment that requires you to stop communicating with this person or people, it’s fine.

You can reconnect if you choose at a later date when you have recovered from this negative onslaught. And if you decide not to, it’s fine too.

I would step away for the time being.

Dear Sean,

May God give you the strength to get away from this person. Just because someone is your blood kin doesn’t mean they are a good person.


That is a REALLY dense thing to say!

Didn’t you read the man’s post? It isn’t just that his cousin is annoying: the cousin trash talks the rest of the family, sexually harassed a mutual cousin, and refuses to steer clear of conversation topics that the man warned him to avoid.

It’s a toxic relationship, and the Original Poster should break ties.

Break ties with him. This cousin sounds like a toxic person, and you are not obliged to put up with him.

I did read it. Did you? According to his post, he didn’t have any problem with the butt swatting incident when it happened and continued a friendship with his cousin for years afterward. The poster specifically said that he felt abused because his cousin keeps him on the phone for over an hour. He also says he thinks he’s a nice and generous person.

You know one day “awesome” meant so impressive that one nearly literally lost their mind. Now in common speech patterns awesome can easily mean one found a penny.

Similarly I find the term “abuse” to have really lost meaning in situations like this.

Didn’t Jesus Himself say, “Get behind me, Satan?” Well, it is still relevant today in the 21 century. Say it to yourself and mean it. Peace.

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