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Emotionally absent family and friends

Community Member

Hi all.

I’m new here, recently went off social media & with everything going on in the world I thought it would be helpful to join the discussion here so I’m not so isolated... also hopeful a reader may have some advice for what I’m going through.

Has anyone had experience with family/friends who are emotionally absent? Ive gotten to a point of wanting to cut ties with my mother and sister because I have tried to express my feelings/needs in a respectful way but end up being either attacked or ignored.

I have spent the last few years persisting with treatment with little support from them, and the more time that has passed the more I’ve realised how their behaviours are impacting my recovery. I’m unsure how to communicate with them and would appreciate any help

thanks for reading 🙂

13 Replies 13

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Welcome to the forum. This is a great replacement to social media, in my opinion!
That sounds really frustrating with your sister and mother.

I have some experience with what your going through but i'm still smack in the middle of it, so i don't know if I can actually advise...

I do know that it's very hard to get space from toxic family members. Have you ever had a break from them in any way? I lived in another country for a few years which gave me some respite, and also helped me notice that I did need that space. It was easier to breathe with that distance.

I could understand not wanting to talk about mental health with people who are attacking you and unable to offer sensitive advice. It can discourage you from getting help. Having forums of people or even just one person who believes you and cares can help. For me, that first person was probably a caller on the phone to Lifeline 🙂

Welcome to the forum, great to have you here.

Hey, yes I agree with you there, so much negativity and I waste too much time on it.

thank you for your advice. I would love to live in another country, where did you move to? I live in another state so the physical distance has definitely helped but they are still very much there since we speak weekly, so I think you’re right, a break could be helpful. I hope your situation eases for you soon, take care.

Community Member

I'm in a similar boat to you both in that I'm still experiencing this so I'm not sure I can give any clean cut advice about any sort of final solution. But what I have found really helps me is painting bonds and strong relationships with people that do support me and are emotionally available. I know it might seem like no one is and you've tried with so many people in your life but I noticed my mindset really changed when I started forcing myself to talk about things to my close loved ones. When I first started dating my boyfriend I had so much anxiety about talking to him about my experiences with anxiety and depression, I would start to say something and then literally sit there for hours trying to spit out what my mind was racing and thinking at the time. He would sometimes get frustrated and want me to just say something. Once I stopped trying to plan what I was going to say before I said it (something I still am learning to do less), I noticed it was easier to have a conversation. I am trying to learn that its okay to talk about myself a lot and i'm not selfish or needy for wanting to tell someone how I am feeling even if its every single day until things get a little bit better and eventually it has become needing and wanting to talk about it less and less because I know that at least he knows what I am experiencing at the moment. I am trying to remember that if he did this to me I wouldn't be mad at him or judge him and so I have to have faith in knowing that he is the same with me and this hasn't let me down yet. I hope you have someone in your life that you can confide in like I have but if you don't feel like you have that just yet I think it's important to remember that you have all of us here and we want to be here for you, whatever you want to chat about! 🙂


I am in a similar situation

As I have a toxic relationship with my mother and she constantly tries to control everything i also feel like she doesn't care about me anymore as she doesn't show affection or tell me she loves me i cant remember the last time she told me she loved me or she was proud of me.

this has lead to me having anxiety issues and i don't know how to deal with her and the toxic environment she creates because she is now blaming my farther for everything and believes she has done nothing wrong

what do i do ?

Hi there, I'm a little nervous for privacay to say where I lived, but i went on a trip after school to travel and then ended up staying on for a few years.
I remember feeling so safe with people who were not emotionally abusive towards me.

I recently remembered that feeling when I was in hospital - my family didn't know I was there - it was the ultimate privacy in some ways - a way to escape.
I think that's wonderful that you live in another state!! It would certainly help.

I used to speak to my family a lot also - they were so so toxic. Would it be an option to speak less? Is there a reason you could give which you feel would be good enough??

Hi Lauren57,

I'm really sorry to hear this about your relationship with your mum. Something that I always try to remind myself when I feel that someone doesn't care about me is that this is an assumption that I am telling myself is correct, even when it very well might not be. My advice to you is to talk to your mum about it in a calm and collected manner. Ask her to spend the night watching a movie or ask if there is something she would enjoy doing together. Once you have started on a positive note like this, she won't feel so attacked if you let her know your thoughts. It could even be something as simple as telling her that you're feeling alone and like no one really cares for you at the moment. I don't think it is likely that she wants you to feel this way, some people just express that they care in different ways. Another thing you could do is talk to your father and ask him if he has any experiences of when he knew that your mother cared about him. He might be able to tell you stories and you might realise that she shows her love differently.

If you don't feel confident doing this straight away then maybe just try to have a few nights together where you spend some quality time doing something you both like and tell her that you have enjoyed those nights together and ask if she does too, this is a great way to let someone know you care.

Hi Sleepy21,

It sounds like you are doing really well in the new state that you are living in and enjoying your freedom and independence. Your choice to speak to your family is no one but your own and if you feel like you have a strong support system in your new state then that is a great foundation to build a positive life. However, if you do want to have contact with your family that is not a bad thing. It is important to set boundaries and for you to be aware of these boundaries. So for example you might want to call a member of your family once a week and have a chat about what is going on in your life or you might want to have this call once a month. It is totally up for you but I think a great place to start is writing down what you're comfortable with for now and doing that. If what you're comfortable with changes then it is unto you to decide whether you want more or less contact.

Hi Lauren, that sounds absolutely terrible. I hope you have other people supporting you and showing you love, it's really importnt I think that you know how valuable you are and not let her approach affect your self-worth.
It's a very hard situation and i wanted to send support, like Jessica.

So I find myself back here again with nothing better to report the issues have become worse and it has been determined that my mother has become a toxic person and is creating a toxic environment by not wanting to own up to her own actions and responsibilities. As a result of this everything has become strained and the dynamics are falling apart and my relationship with my mother is now beyond repair however due to not having anywhere else to go due to COVID I'm stuck in this environment and watching everything continue to fall apart and cause constant fighting