On choosing to go no-contact with toxic family

I didn’t know what to blog about.

I grew up with valid reason to be paranoid, but penalized for not sharing anything in places because of that paranoia. Unlike other people I’ve met and spoken to, I was not allowed to express myself anywhere.

So I bottled it up, like any other masking autistic person. The moment it all poured out, I received passive aggressive responses — like the silent treatment — until the inevitable altercation of someone sitting down reading my virtual receipts.

This last time, I left all of my toxic family. I thought it was just my mom, but it’s all of them.

It started with a Twitter thread, because why would it not? First and foremost, stalking someone’s web activity is creepy AF abusive behavior. When they’re a child getting into actually dangerous ish, it’s a whole other story.

When I express myself online, I opt for vagueness instead of extreme specifics — especially in situations wherein I may have to answer for my thoughts or am not interested in detailing everything.

I know people are going to read it. I know there’s a chance it will get back to who it’s about. But I never expected them to be stalking my ish and prove all my points when they called me out for it.

I will take responsibility for what I say, but I will not apologize for the hurt feelings caused by any assumptions you make.

The context

I was hungry and have a history of atypical anorexia. I have costochondritis, but my chest will also hurt when I’m in a caloric deficit. When I brought this feeling up with a medical professional, they said, “That’s your body starving to death.”

During these episodes, I can’t think or function properly. I have zero energy and cannot self-regulate at all. Each breath feels like my last. I’m not being dramatic; this is what it feels like.

I was broke AF, and so was she.

The thing about having an eating disorder? I recognize other people’s disordered eating. I see my previous, self-starving behavior in them. It’s not as a projection, either — it’s right there in my face, even if I don’t recognize it right off the bat.

Anorexia doesn’t just affect skinny people. It affects everyone, no matter their size. The anorexia motto is basically starve, binge, repeat.

  1. Starve the body
  2. The body binges because it’s starved
  3. Repeat the cycle

So OF COURSE someone in this cycle would eat all the food. It has nothing to do with weight. If the size/shape of your body is your insecurity, that is your own problem to work through.

I was extremely vague in my Tweet thread, but this is that context.

The altercation

I declined the offer to sit. I’d been in that situation before, with my biological mother and her husband.

I’d known what was coming. Her text earlier made it clear that “talking” was not an option. But this wasn’t talking. I knew what was coming.

I’d just had a PTSD episode, freaked out because I didn’t know what to expect. I’d called my dad, but he didn’t understand. Only a few people — those who’d left toxic family members — understood what was about to go down.

My aunt sat on the couch, her phone in hand. She started asking questions, but didn’t show me until I said I didn’t remember.

My brain had been fuzzy. I sincerely didn’t remember. But it didn’t matter anymore anyway. None of it mattered anymore.

Our relationship was over, this behavior proved to me that it not just my mother — it was the whole fam — and they were never going to change.

Every question I answered was met with something completely unrelated.

I supposedly “won” in regard to expressing oneself and being “appreciative” being two different things. I scoffed, said, “It’s not a competition. Conflict resolution isn’t about winning.”

I don’t remember how she replied to that; I only remember being confused during and after the situation.

She asked me to explain what I meant by everything. I said I was only expressing myself in the moment.

She asked, “What did you mean by ‘I’m desperately fighting for my life so I won’t be a statistic — yet another autistic adult whose family didn’t understand autism’?”

It wasn’t even the full tweet. I said, “You don’t. You guys are not autistic, so you will never understand what it’s like to be autistic. I experience the world in its entirety, all at once.”

She replied, “So you think you’re the only one in this world who deserves to have rights?”

This was the trend of every question I answered.

And I eventually gave up. I was tired, fed up.

She asked why I didn’t express myself to her, to which I replied saying, “You told me I wasn’t allowed to get upset or be mad when I moved in. You said you had to be able to say whatever you wanted to say, and I couldn’t feel anything about it.”

She denied it and said to prove that she said it — to pull it up on my phone as proof she did say it.

That’s when I realized what this session was — not a conversation, but an altercation filled with receipts. I noticed she remained calm, like a mean girl in high school. How ironically poetic it is when bullied children grow into emotionally immature bully adults.

She fed off my reactions. Her eyes rolled at the mention of “trauma” and “therapy”, and I was done.


I’d warned them last year that I would be gone if something like this happened. I lost my apartment because their toxic behaviors poisoned my well-being.

She wanted me to apologize for the thread, for being unappreciative, etc. I started to, then stopped. “A forced apology isn’t a real one. I don’t even understand what I’m sorry for.”

Because I didn’t — and I was so, so done going in circles. I let her go off on me while I zoned out for a minute to contemplate.

“You know what?” I exclaimed. “It doesn’t matter anyway.” I said I’d be going to a friend’s house and then we’d never see each other again.

Pretty sure she thought I was bluffing. Probably called her mom and explained what happened, who told her that I’d still be there tomorrow and ready to apologize.

Her lips pressed together for a moment, then she said she’d have me legally evicted if I didn’t move out the next day.

Moving out

A friend I’d made in Kaufman picked me up and took me to the tax office to obtain a one-trip permit from Combine to where I was going, because my car registration was out.

On my way, I took one wrong and tried turning around on a muddy road to avoid a flood.

2005 PT Cruiser sideways on a dirt road, in front of some trees, stuck
I thought, “Great. Maybe this is where I die.”

That same friend, plus her husband, along with my cousin, came to pull me out. I wound up driving to my destination in the dark. Thankfully, there weren’t too many people on the road.

My car is officially broken now, but I’m in the process of saving up money to fix it and legalize it all over again.

I thought, “Great. Maybe this is where I die.”

I never had the audacity to hope for better behavior from my family or the ability to escape this family alive. Every time I’d tried, I was told that I needed mental help.

They still believe I need psychiatric help. The next day, they treated me like a freaking missing person. While taking shelter the next night during a storm, they were more concerned about their own issues than my well-being.

I knew I made the right decision.

Why I didn’t just ____.

People change, but only if they want to. Abusers have no issue with their behavior — only with everyone’s reaction to their behavior.

Ultimately, leaving boiled down the following realizations:

  • They didn’t have a relationship with ME. They had a relationship with the POWER they held over me.
  • Their love and respect was conditional. They refused to respect my boundaries if I didn’t meet their conditions. I was expected to earn my right to have boundaries.
  • Even a decent remote job ($17-20/hr) would never suffice because my aunt devalued people who did not have miserable traditional jobs like her. Very much “If I have to struggle with ____, then so do you.”
  • I was tired of explaining myself again and again, repeatedly. Anything I ever said, I would have to explain myself.
  • I did not consent to submitting myself to their psychoanalysis. I didn’t consent to a lot of things, but I wasn’t allowed to say no if it was not in their favor.

No-contact is the last resort tool a person like me has to escaping toxic environments. I utilize it when boundaries and consequences don’t work, but when I reach this point…well, the relationship is likely toast as well.

In this case, I didn’t care to recover the relationship. What good is developing myself if I’m perceived as mentally ill for it?

So I left, and I don’t plan to return. I don’t care what anyone of them think of me. It doesn’t affect me. I stopped caring ages ago.

I’ll get my things from my grandmother’s storage soon — and that will be it. The cycle ends with me.

I’m on a mission now to live my best life — and I finally feel free of the “should” constraints. 💪

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Comments on this post

Hi Jane,
I keep reading and re-reading this post. It’s stayed in my open tabs for days now. I’m about to do an eerily similar thing, for eerily similar reasons, and some time ago I googled “going no contact with relatives”, which led me to this post and, from there, your blog.
It came as a much-needed support in the times I’m about to need to navigate. As a way, maybe, to tell myself that I’m not alone with this, that someone else, far away, has also fought and won. Thank you for sharing this, so much.
I see you, and I respect the hell out of you.
To freedom.

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Thanks so much for your comment! One of the reasons I heal loudly is because feeling alone in situations like these is utterly desolate.

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You got this! Keep that amazing chin up. I just stumbled upon your blog. I love it already! Feel free to reach out for a new friend! I was diagnosed DID, which is where I found your blog 🙂

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