Is it ok to detach myself completely from certain people?


I was reading a thread someone posted about their in laws, and it got me thinking…

I am the oldest in my family and my husband is the oldest also. We get along so great because in part we agree on mostly everything when it comes to relationships with people.


I am getting to the point where I cannot handle certain behaivior from adults.
For instance my little sister that just had her baby is living with her **VERY ** did I say VERY verbally abusive boyfriend. He is so caustic to everyone that he makes me want to :hypno: vomit!! I told her yesterday if I hear that he becomes physically abusive to her and or the baby I will call CPS on her. She has made the choice to live with this person so she will have to deal with the consequences of whatever happens. Try as he might he just can’t get it together. They live in a makeshift house/garage across from his parents. That they themselves also are the same way my sisters boyfriend is. I was hoping that they as older adults they would try to rectify their attitudes but it just does not seem to be something they are willing to do. Anyways they dont bother me just the whole situation. That my sister is so weak minded and has allowed this in her life.


Are my in laws I love them but I don’t like them. They treat our children differently and my kids can see it now. They have no regards to how they make my dh feel. I limit my contact with them because I don’t want to say something that is not nice. They don’t like me because I do so much that they dont agree with.

So how can I be ok with not getting emotionally attached to these people. Being the oldest I think I feel responsible for my sister which I know that I am not. I just dont want to feel guilty anymore for not wanting them around. I dont say much but my feelings are otherwise. :blush:

I guess I just wanted to know if this was being uncharitable and unchristian of me? Should I just turn the other cheeck at all times?


In this case, do what you gotta do to protect your sister and her child.

Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean keep taking what other people are dishing out, all of the time.

Sometimes it means stepping away and not dishing it back or escilating the situation.


And sometimes it means saying NO. No you will not treat my husband in that manner, no you will not treat me in that manner, no, you will not treat my children in that manner. And no, I will not accept your words or actions if they are counter to those things that are important to me and my family. Sometimes you do have to draw a line in the sand.

As to your sister, assuming she is an adult, you are limited to whatever assistance and support she wants. She has to live her own life and make her own mistakes. You can be there for her, you cannot live her life for her.


You know which books I recommend, and my theory of what we owe people.


Do tell… I would love to know.


Indeed she does live her life as she pleases, but when she is in need I am always the one she asks. I am just tired of her broken record life. I will not stoop myself to try and live her life for her, its all hers, and I just wonder how someone can allow that much abuse in their lives, and call it a relationship.


Your title question was, “Is it ok to detach myself completely from certain people?” I don’t really know what you mean by “detach”, much less “detach completely”. What I do know is that you are not obligated to *want *certain around.

**Everyone has the right to be uncomfortable. God does not require us to be comfortable.
In some cases (spouse, minor children, other dependents) you might be obligated to have them around in spite of your feelings. But minimizing contact with difficult people is often a good idea, even if they are relatives. And preventing minor children from being around truly destructive people should be an obligation.


You owe everybody civility. Your owe everybody prayer, esp. relatives. You owe anybody who is foodless some help getting food- But it does not have to be at your table, it does not have to out of your pocket, and it does not have to be steak for them while you eat rice and beans. If somebody is homeless, you should help them find shelter- Not necessarily your shelter, not necessarily out of your pocket, and not necessarily a four-star hotel while you sleep in a small mobile home. if somebody needs to be clothed, you need to help clothe them- Not necesarily out of your pocket, not designer wear for them while you wear Goodwill rejects. These are minimal Christian acts IMO. People who are related to you get first dibs. Children under the age of 18 who are your issue get first priority, along with any spouse who behaves.

Nobody is entitled to abuse you. “Abuse” does not necessarily mean pummel or beat you, but could also mean treat poorly, make fun, verbally barrage, or otherwise mistreat you or yours. To hang around abuse is just as wrong as abusing someone. Sometimes, the best way to avoid abuse is not participate in it by not being around for it.

But that doesn’t excuse the minimal Christian acts.


God Hlep Me! The People Are Driving Me Nuts!


As far as your inlaws, you could distance yourself from them as long as you don’t mistreat them. This is my instruction to my kids when they ask about having to deal with people who are mean to them.

Don’t enable your sister, but try to understand how an abuser operates. Her boyfriend is abusive, and an abuser’s goal is to isolate his target from family and friends in order to have complete control. Be available to her, even though you are very frustrated. She’ll really need you some time,a nd needs to know that she can count on you. Pray for her and the baby; they need it.


You all are right, I havr read Dr. Popcak I have that same exact book and it was really helpful.
I just get frustrated and it is hard for me to detach myself emotionally from them because they are my family.


I empathize. I have family that is much less than stellar as well, to the point where I am better off not engaging them.


OutinChgoburbs, that’s a wonderful summary of Christian charity. I love it. I think I want to print it out and put it on my fridge. :thumbsup: I love helping people, but sometimes I don’t put down limits or I have trouble figuring out what’s a reasonable amount to give or way to help. Your post really sums it up well. Thank you!


I know I loved it myself reread it a few times. I just didn’t know how to file it awayin brain. It is startingto really sink in and I really needed to get someones elses perspective that was in sync with my faith.
Like I said I love my family but I don’t have to be around them and I am fine with that. I guess I just don’t or couldn’t understand how someone can choose to be abused. That’s a whole other topic for me but yeah I just can’t wrap my mind around that one. I am to give of myself but not all of myself.


not only okay, but absolutely necessary, sometimes, for physical, emotional and spiritual health of both you and the relatives in question (why they are always relatives when this question arises I leave to conjecture.

IMO detachment, in the sense OP refers to, is the detachment advised by the great Christian masters of spiritual direction, and as I understand what I have read and been told over the years, means a unilateral emotional detachment, initiated by me. It does not necessarily mean a physical detachment–moving 1000 miles away-- although in some cases that might be necessary to preserve you or you family from a continuing abusive or toxic situation.

I think it means working on my own emotions to the point that I no longer allow my emotional health to depend on this person, I know longer identify myself or my relationships in terms of this person and their effect on my, and I refuse to allow negative emotions arising from their actions take hold in me. In practice, at least for me, it means interacting with these people when necessary (and only then) but on my terms, and standing back, observing their antics as I would those of an eccentric neighbor. It means extending civility and courtesy as I would to any stranger, client, customer, coworker, neighbor encountered in daily life. But it means controlling my own reactions (especially my tongue) to their words and actions.

easy for you to say, hard to do.

when it comes to their actions hurting spouse and family, the mother tiger instinct is aroused, but I have to be careful and separate my own emotion from the situation, and detach as well from my child/spouse in this situation. That is even harder.

In other words, I tell my sister to shut up about certain topics she brings up precisely to insult my husband, not because her remarks make me feel bad on his behalf, or because they insult me by association, but because she is behaving in an manner that would be unacceptable no matter who my husband is.


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