Ten Reasons to Dismiss Someone From Your Life


The idea that I could dismiss someone was new to me, a foreign concept.

I sat in my therapist’s office, drying my eyes, as she gave me permission to dismiss certain people from my life.

Mother and daughter walking together outside

I went home and ended a lifelong relationship with the main offender. It was difficult at first, but I soon noticed how bright my life was without that storm cloud over it, without the possibility of this person diving into my day at any moment and spreading negativity.

Suddenly, “You are dismissed,” became my silent war cry. While avoiding certain acquaintances was often convenient and temporarily preserved my sanity, after becoming a mom, it became absolutely necessary to completely remove certain people from my life.

I was raised to forgive, to mend friendships, to try to understand others’ points of view, to empathize. None of that has changed.

I’ve simply learned to control when and how I do that.

10 reasons to dismiss someone from your life

I may not dismiss someone forever, but I certainly won’t spend more time with them and reward their negative behavior in my life right now, because:

  1. I don’t have time.
    For drama, for hatred, for mean words. To debate who is right or wrong about trivial things.
  2. I won’t allow you to judge me or my parenting.
    Because I’m hard enough on myself. Because you’re not being constructive. And, for every way in which I lack, I make up for it with a love for my family that could move mountains.
  3. We lead very different lives.
    As in, you dedicate much of your time and energy to spreading hurt and anger, and I refuse to be a target.
  4. I can’t help you.
    Your problems and issues are too big for me to manage. I can listen, but I can’t fix.
  5. You are not kind.
    You have said hurtful things. Not out of anger, not out of love, not to inform or help, but only to be hurtful or criticize.
  6. You are not adding any value to my life.
    Being a parent and spouse is hard. If you can’t encourage me, laugh with me, chat with me, tell me, “Your home looks beautiful, and your wrinkles seem to be fading,” help me entertain a 3-year-old, OR just sit with me, even once every 2 years when our schedules line up (because I’m totally okay with that!), why are we friends?
  7. You don’t agree with how I live my life.
    We are a non-judgmental, liberal, Christian family. We love and accept people of ALL races, cultures, spiritual/non-spiritual views, sexual orientation/identity, etc. If you can’t get along with us, that’s most likely your problem. If you want to have a lengthy discussion about the origin of the universe, see Number 1. I’m sorry, but at this time in my life, this qualifies as a “trivial thing.”
  8. We have different political views.
    I’m fine with that, but you’re not. You want to debate every law put into practice for the last 10 years. See Numbers 1 and 5.
  9. The things that are important to you aren’t important to me.
    You seem really upset about things that, quite frankly, don’t bother me, like that I dyed my hair a new color or that I gave my child milk before bed. See Number 2.
  10. I’m a parent now.
    I have to make (quick) decisions about what is best for my family. If you are causing emotional stress to me or my loved ones, I can choose to apply the phrase, “You are dismissed” for however long I need that to be – even forever, OR until I have more time, until we can talk more, until I can express my feelings better, until you choose to be kind to me, etc.

And this is how I clearly dismiss someone in drastic and not-so-drastic situations:

  • “I don’t want to have contact with you anymore.”
  • “I need to limit my time with you because you’re not being… kind, or helpful, or understanding, etc.”
  • “We’re not ever going to agree on this issue, and that’s okay with me. Can we decide not to discuss it? No? Then, maybe we shouldn’t be friends.”
  • “I’m walking away now.”
  • “I’m choosing to focus on being happy.”

Some days, I may not answer the door or my phone. I may put distance between you and my family for however long I need that to be, and I’ll make the message clear:

You’re not allowed to cause our family pain. I won’t let you.

This is how I respectfully and clearly dismiss someone from my life.

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  1. Dr Brian Talarico, North Bay Has been convicted of child molestation, and possession of child pornography on his computer. Sexually molesting a young boy. He had prior convictions for child molestation in 1990 and 2001. After his parole in 2006. Dr. Talarico Brian Works for North Bay Regional Health Centre, and elsewhere, despite his background, and numerous complaints against him of abuse, fraud, negligence, and imprisonment.

  2. I live with my youngest son’s mother and him. He’s three this month… I’ve had to call the police on her 5 times for physical assault, threats (serious threats, like slitting my throat, having organized crime syndicates from her alleged past take me out, doing things that my son witnessed and at times striking me with him in my arms and hitting him during altercations “incidentally”). On the fifth call I WAS TAKEN TO JAIL for defending myself. As in as a former military member and L.E.O. I had to put her on the ground like she was under arrest to restrain her. She had come into my room because I could no longer sleep in ours or had the desire too. She was tearing my shirt off going nuts with our baby who was asleep in his baby bed was three feet away. I had hidden her alcohol (the reason for this assault) and when I gave it to her she began striking me over the head and neck with it until it broke showering booze all over our son and the entire room. Thank God he was asleep and didn’t wake up that night… They would never even ask to press charges on her in the past. This night they asked up both. I declined, I had been out of work due to covid shutdowns and she is a nurse. She “wanted to press full charges” (for what real reason only God knows.
    Because I’ve done nothing but serve her and our kid to the best of my ability thru constant denigration, verbal abuse, disrespect, being told “I’m a –everything but a white man”. When I’m disciplining our son and she’s drunk then she takes his side. I’m a “child abuser” because of it. He hits us both, tells me to “shut up”, “get out” and even calls me “a f–ker” and “a-hole”! Guess where he learned that stuff?
    I’ve got the scars on my body and mind now to prove it. Why haven’t I done something? Because I’ve left five times and always had to come back because she is a con artist and manipulator. Not really of me but my son and because of finances and her medical issues (severe I’ve had to take care of her for even recently) I’ve had to come back to this duplex hell to shelter my son from the devil the best I can. Remember I’ve called the police. They knew everything, they did nothing, that’s because they are sexist. I’ve left, with him before and the police let me and I had to come back, we are not wealthy enough to part ways and care for our son. I’ve been called a “sorry a-hole, MF’ER, POS, loser, lazy sorry a** dad TO MY OTHER KIDS (when her own 12 yearold moved out with his grandma because the doesn’t want to live with her and I had to talk him out of suicide at age 9 when he did) and every ugly thing imaginable”! This has all mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally worn me down and turned me from a happy person who could deal with anything and anyone to a man just trying to not die in his sleep from a heart attack, stroke or murder.
    I’ve got no one to turn to and no prayer in the world. I’m 41 now with 4 kids, three of whom I can rarely see, I still have no job, now no driver license when I did leave her and lost it trying to leave one roach hotel for another to start over and my cheap expired temp tag car got me pulled over one night. I was carrying all my stuff and alcohol open down in the floor and after a couple drinks hours before I left I was given a field sobriety test I refused ( any cop knows better) and took the breath test at the station and passed. This is Texas, they don’t let anyone slide that’s legal or not, you have to fight it in court. They said I refused because I passed my test. Take your license so you can’t work, can’t take care of your other kids, child support gets behind they lock you up then too, I found out that’s coming and I can’t even drive to see my kids or work to care for them. I’m being punished for being POOR… Three months later after I lost my license Covid took my job because they shut our firm down permanently. I haven’t worked steadily since… A vet, Millwright, tractor trailer tech and audio visual tech in the past I’ve got marketable skills with no way to get there. I didn’t qualify for any government assistance and never have for various tax reasons I couldn’t address. Again, punished for being poor. And legally with this abusive woman, punished for being a man. This is constantly being lorded over me by her. She does it infront of our child who is very smart and on the spectrum, he sees and hears almost everything now. She’s doing irreparable harm to him. As a matter of fact, she’s intoxicated right now. There’s already been an incident today. They occur five times a week on average. I’ve got video of her attacking me with knives. Hitting me while holding our son. It’s done no good. Oh, btw, that charge that I went to jail for was dropped because the court knew it was total garbage after interviewing us and watching the body can footage. Can you imagine not being able to change your life to cook, clean, serve, work here and there when You can and give everything you have to someone ruining your health and life and the life of your child???
    Guess what’s coming soon? My death or suicide. I’ve seen enough, heard enough, my family who are vets have killed themselves, my buddies, best friends, ODs and suicides. I’m holding on though because of not just three other children but one little three year old boy whose another copy of me that loves his daddy to pieces and I love him no matter what ugly things he’s seen and words he’s learned he says I will correct and and discpline him and love him until my heart gives out…
    I hope and pray the best
    Men, you’re not alone out there. I’m a 6′ 200lb USMC vet, father, and as hopeless as this all is I still hold out for another brighter day because 1 good one out of 6 keeps me going. Poor, hungry, down trodden, destroyed, hurt, beat on, cussed out. It can get better because I’ve seen true joy, peace and love. I will again…

  3. Can I just say what a relief to find someone that really knows what they are discussing over the
    internet. You actually realize how to bring an issue
    to light and make it important. More people must read this and understand this side
    of your story. I was surprised that you aren’t more popular since you definitely possess the gift.

  4. I am a very happy woman with the help of Lord Krish Spiritual who helped me restore my relationship with my ex husband. My name is Agnes Smith and I am from Alaska, USA. I met Lord Krish Spiritual through a testimony online and I never thought I would have my ex husband back after 4 years of separation. After my contact with his email, he told me not to worry and I would really be happy as I am now. Trusting in his words was a right decision for me. After 2 days, my ex husband called me that he wants to return back to me and live with me forever and I was very shocked. This made me believe in Lord Krish is really a very great spiritual man. Today, I am very happy to write this testimony about him and want others to testify to his power as I am currently happy in my restored marriage. Contact Lord Krish Spiritual through his email at lordkrishshrine@ gmail. com to help you solve that relationship problems in your marriage

  5. I have a “FRIEND” that tries to talk me out of any progressive idea i get. I am 54 years old i have only known him for 10 years. He is 69 years old. He is pretty much every negitive Gretchen has on the dismissive list. I will have to move out of town to get away from him. we are not in a physical relationship by any means and never will be. I feel so trapped. I have some of my things in his shed that i paid for and he said i can move it when i want but when it came down to me wanting it moved he said no no no and wanted to pay me for it. what a crock. i should have canned him right then and there and just leave my stuff and forget all about it. Leaving our friendship will be worth leaving thousands of dollars behind. But i am still here. I need solid guts to leave town and live my life as i want. Where I want to live is where i grew up and a friend is still there. She gets me totally. The SF bay area is way to expensive for me now. I feel trapped. I want out of here. I will 1 day burst out.

  6. I believe God comes first. Outside of that, I believe every individual has to try to find a balance with everyone and everything in their life. I don’t believe temporarily dismissing someone from your life is bad. How else are you suppose to deal with people, family or not, that are toxic. Maybe it’s just the word ” dismiss” itself that rubs some people the wrong way. How about this. I believe sometimes, some people have to be selfish, to re evaluate and re access things to maintain or get their life back in line. Maybe some people want support while doing this and some people dont. I’m sure there are a gazillion factors that are involved with different situations, you would be a fool to interfere with someone trying to better themselves with these gazillion factors. Again I believe, God first…then balance…

    • Wow, I wish I’d found this site many beatings, bruises, torments and stalking long ago. I’d be a better stronger person then to deal with the damage and toxicity.

      • No need to blame yourself Jaie.
        We all are at different places at different times and in different ways.
        Just do the best you can today and tomorrow. 😉

  7. I am so thankful for this post. It’s almost like you wrote the words like they wanted to come out of my mouth. I love the 10 rules you have created. I have adapted them to my situation and they wil now be my unbroken rules. Thank you again for the amazing advice x

  8. It’s one thing when people play games with holding grudges and doing the silent treatment (that’s not the point of this article), but no one has a “right” to be in your life when there is not mutual respect. Absolutely, there is nothing wrong with distancing yourself from people who don’t get that. Anyone who argues about it is demonstrating they probably have a personality disorder or some other mental affliction—loud and clear.

    • I never would have agreed with you even two years ago. But then I looked up this personality disorder concept and it’s ironic that I’ve diagnosed a few in my family who spent their whole time trying to follow me for crazy and all they could find was ADD. Finally dismissing the toxic people from my life. Unfortunately most of those were family or close friends but I wasn’t too close to the family anymore and THEY had to go!

  9. This is a wonderful article.

    Apart from the dissenters, I think most of us get the point of this exercise.

    This is not a list that you “judgmentally” hand to someone with no explanation as you close the door on them.
    Rather, take this list as an exercise that will help you make the decision as to whether limiting or removing contact of someone in your life would be beneficial to your current mental health.

    We can all go back and relate terrible things that have happened to us in an effort to justify our decisions, but really, it doesn’t change anything in the past, and we have already made a decision of sorts simply by coming here, reading the article, and commenting on it.

    So why not deal with the issue, put it to bed, and live a happy life? We did and we couldn’t be feeling more at peace with ourselves and our family because of that decision.

    We spent most of our lives trying to make nice with an estranged family member that hated the rest of us siblings. This member was eventually removed from the family household, when puberty rolled around, by our father and grandfather, to protect the rest of the family. Need I say more?

    What we got for our efforts at reconnecting with this person and trying to heal our relationships was 30 additional years of abuse that none of us needed or deserved. Starting this behaviour when we were still very young, we were always under the impression that it was something we did to cause it, but it simply came down to a matter of a manipulative, narcissistic personality that continued to grow worse over the years.

    We finally threw in the towel when my mother passed away, who was wrongly blamed for their removal from the family. As in any time of high emotions and crisis, the psychopathic and obtuse personality of this person made itself known in no uncertain terms when they looted our mother’s premises of all property that was to be divided equally between the family.

    We all decided to throw in the towel then, one by one. No use trying to heal a lost cause.

    Now by this time, this person thought they got clean away with it, so they did it again in the passing of a beloved aunt.

    All that served to accomplish was this member being forever banished from the entire family. Attempts were made by them to connect again with an attitude of feigned innocence (“We used to be so close.” “Why don’t we ever get together any more?”), but nooooo, we know how that story ends.

    We don’t expect any miraculous enlightenment of this individual regarding their actions, because they know full well what they did, and they don’t care. We are all sure we will never hear a deathbed apology, so we go on with our lives as a happy family without the drama of a sick individual that placed their delusional needs above everyone else.

    This is the exact type of situation this article is meant for.

    To a lesser degree, it can also be applied equally well with any annoying personalities that hover around us as we go through life.

    Why are people saying this is so “judgemental” to do?
    Do you like being abused and propagating that kind of behaviour by others in your circle?
    You do realize that by choosing to do nothing, you are making a tacit judgement to perpetrate and accept the abuse?

    If there is one time to be judgemental in your life, this is it, and nobody can call you down for taking it. Not unless they agree to take your place in enduring the abuse, and I see nobody here offering.

    • I am not a single mom but I am sick of a so-called best friend preaching to me and seem like he is also a victim narcissistic parents. But evidence is uncovered that he is smear me to them and to my leasing office at the apartment I live in it and I can’t afford a house so I don’t need any bad reputation thing because I can’t do enough of that on my own on a bad day.

      anyway, I love your comment about how if they’re not willing to take a mile in our shoes that they better basically shut up. I just discarded a hypercritical former best friend whom I took two months off from for the same abuse and he acted like a best friend for a week and then out of nowhere he started taking cheap shots in the form of so-called “helping.”

      your comment helps you recover for so much of that and I need to stay on the path of going back to new contact with this false friend who loves to talk and gossip about everyone because no one else is allegedly living “properly” or “correctly” according to him.

  10. I agree with 1.3.10 ..
    1 don’t have time I honestly do have the time but noone bothers. . (Both family and friends). Lately either get invited to stuff last minute (family who we very rarely see). Or not invited to stuff at all but see pictures online. Same with other family members they have their lives with “their” families but don’t include family who were close with when were little. It’s like who are you???

    3 the different lives. All my friends work/have kids /have a life basically while I am disabled and have few diseases where can’t work/cant have kids/can’t drive… it’s kinda hard to meet people when everyone else has great perfect lives /perfect families and who are healthy and can drive. And whenever try to make plans for a get together its excuses after excuses. I am the one basically who has to text people first 1/2 the time. It’s like really? It takes 2 seconds and they all know I can’t drive. You would think come
    visit??come stay the night we have the room Nope!

    10 I am a foster parent with my hubby whenever we do get matched again still people didn’t want to bother to have playdates. So it’s like ok ready to write off people because I don’t have anything in common. I mean am I just not that likeable??? Drop everything for someone for whatever but when we need something it’s like ignore/excuses.

  11. I feel that meanness and constant pain in family’s these days are epidemic!
    I swear I think Prozac is the answer to fix this hate . It is clear to me that there is mental illness with family that hurt.

  12. I’m in a situation where my mom and dad divorced when I was 2 1\2, before I could remember. I lived with my mom and when the chance came i moved out, but found the world too much for me, so I simplified and eventually moved back with her. She is similar to my dad in that she is stubborn, argumentative, hypicritical, etc., Which is why they butted heads. I actually work for her and it takes almost everything I have, but I believe she has good intentions and she is compassionate. Recently, she has even apologized for being so critical of me growing up and selfish. In this way, I am healing and we are working things out.
    Then it comes time to travel to visit my dad, who will disagree with you almost impulsively, just naturally almost every time anyone says anything. I find this really hard to deal with to the point where I would really not like to be subject to that. He is a hard core conservative Republican and my mom is a liberal democrat. Not only does my dad disagree with almost everything I say, even if he agrees he would never say anything and just have a better way and be very sarcastic about it to the point it hurts. He attests his childhood was worse than anyone’s and woe is me for having it tough, just stop crying about it and be a man.
    Do I have to continue to torched myself one week per year, usually around the holiday, to visit him when he invites me or should I just ignore out of my life altogether? He has never and would never apologize for anything ever. He is actually pretty wise, and lives a clean healthy life, which I admire, and I feel like I have some of the bad traits he has, but I try to acknowledge them and work on them. I don’t want to have hatred but don’t know any other way to feel…

    • Daniel, the fact that “you think about what you think about” is important. Read about the definition of hatred. Wikipedia says, “Hatred or hate is a deep and extreme emotional dislike, especially invoking feelings of anger or resentment.”

      I came across this secure site.
      Amazing information. I suggest you may learn a lot about yourself and your Dad. Perhaps he is truly filled with hate more so than you.

      I seems to me that you have every valid reason to decline his invitation.

  13. There are a lot of comments here and all seem to be from women/moms/sisters, etc. Can a guy comment here, too?

    I’m 62. My sister who lives in the same town as me is 67. She is a big-time hoarder. She buys multiples of everything when she goes out shopping. It’s also just plain filthy trash and cat mess that fills her house to the ceiling leaving small pathways to necessary areas. She’s been sleeping on the couch for years because her bedroom is a disaster.

    It’s true, her problem is way bigger than I can handle along with my own personal struggles in this life. We pretty much get along when we see each other but I eventually start saying things that, admittedly, sound mean. I’m just trying to get through to her to start taking responsibility for herself and her mess which is an eyesore in her neighborhood (I live 15 miles away, fortunately). I refused to help her “remodel” her home (i.e, help clean it). I have refused “gifts” from her which I suspect are bribes to not complain or to like her, or something! I like her ok but her beliefs and outlook on life are so frustrating for me to try to comprehend. She’s a sitting duck for any huckster who comes along selling something that’s usually way over-priced, she’s that gullible.

    At her age (and mine!) there aren’t many years left. If she passes on before me I don’t want to get stuck being responsible for cleaning up The Hoard. Should I never speak to her again? Should I legally disown her? Just what can a family member do to legally avoid having to deal with the titanic physical remains of a sibling’s emotional problems after they pass away?

  14. Hi I have been reading these stories and feel maybe someone could help me.
    I lost my eldest son to cancer two n a half years ago.I am in pieces and still grieving for him .it was such a shock as from being diagnosed ,i lost him 2 weeks later.
    My problem is my 2nd son i have only seen once in this time ,as his partner is controlling and gave him an choice.Either lose his family or lose her.He chose her. I stopped going out and also socializing as i could not enjoy myself and did not want to spoil peoples fun by me being sad.I have not even drank any drinking as well. So when my only daughter invited me to a party at hers, i refused.She was persuasive and i accepted. W hen i got there they had started early and were drinking.I stood near the cooker and my daughter gave me a drink in a half pint glass.I only took small sips ,it lasted me all night. I moved 3 times once to go to the toilet in the hallway and twice out the backway for a smoke.the evening was lovely , I left my glass half full and went home .Next day she rang me ,i told her i had enjoyed the party and she replied yes but there was a problem with her youngest son.not dreaming it was me.
    She told me her son accused me of calling him an idiot,which is a word i hardly ever use ,I said no i had not nor had i spoken to him at all.she rang again and said my grandson in-law was a witness and heard me say it although he was at the other side of the room, an its 2 against 1 so i must have said it .I know i never.
    Now lots of things are being discussed about me walking up to him while he was sat on the stairs, i am supposed to have said he was two faced-i hated him and he caused trouble at my house ,when i know he never.i also would not say awful things like that to any of my grandkids, as i love them all.now their are six witnesses against me all saying they heard me say those things and they keep adding more to it.So i am not allowed at their homes or to see my great grandchildren at all.my daughter moved house and won’t tell me where my grandson and partner had a son and have just recently had twin boys. i am banned from seeing or knowing them .My daughter told me to get on with my life and they will get on with theirs . Iam heartbroken and completely innocent off all these things but cannot prove it . she said even if i could she would still take their sides.Whatever can I do…..

    • Hi Ann, short and sweet… “Sometimes you have to give up on people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t! And… sounds like you were setup! Move and and be happy! If they loved you they would invite you over to have a conversation with those kids and see their expressions when you confront them..

      Move on my dear. Take care of #1. YOU!

  15. Dear Gretchen
    I am so proud of you
    The way you so graciously acknowledged
    Those who responded to you – especially the detractors
    Well done! For respecting your boundaries and teaching your little girl by example
    Only love can come from this
    Your use of the word “dismissed” is so appropriate. It means “sent away” in my dictionary
    Onwards and upwards even if that means sometimes having to go sideways (sidestep) to get there
    As boundaries get stronger by being responsible to the people and situations that are legitimate -as you are clearly doing – then it will become obvious who and what the obstacles are before even bumping into them xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  16. You are lucky you know who it is you have to avoid. The past 7 years in my life strange things happened. I get the feeling there is somebody spreading rumours behind my back. The other day a friend sat next to me telling me that they heard we need some help me and my family. Do not get me wrong we need people in our lives and we need to look out for oneanother but when everybody who gets close to you was told you need help it hurts it feels like somebody wants to project you as helpless. As a result I have distanced myself from many people and I am sure this was what the person intended. I just want to be me I want my children to be happy to have dreams and aspirations. AND for goodness sake I want my dreams and aspirations back. I do not want to be known as the pittyful person who cannot do anything on her own and need everybody’s help. I am now trying to get the courage to ask someone who said that to them. Just to tell you this are being said to every new friend and person who enters my life.

  17. So i had someone do that to me just recently .i was dating someone who was in the mist of filing for a divorce but she had to wait a yr before she could actually get a divorce .i thought i could handle it nut apperently i couldnt .i guess i wanted more affection and attention than she was willing to give me so we started arguing alot and it became more and more .and than pne day she just quit talking to me . we were together for 3yrs .i dont feell like she ever loved me because how could she hurt me again . i understand i hurt her and i have apologized for it and i have been there for her but i think for me what broke the monkeys back was she wanted me to give her space to grieve her marriage .and i guess cause i have never been married i dont understand but now im dying of stage 3 lung cancer and i just want to soend some time with her before i die and she knows but she still wont talk to me

  18. I’ve been physically attacked by loony brother and verbally attacked by him numerous times when I rushed to help my dying father. He’s had numerous chances (for my Father’s sake) and each time th poison came out of his mouth. If I said exactly what I was repeatedly called when I askedc for help to lift my dying father my comment wouldn’t be posted here lest you take offense. I would need a police escort to try the “talking thing” – the face goes white with rage, the sky us the limit as to what he screams. A witness isn’t good enough lest it boils over into physical assault. Been there done that & feared for my life. Oh I forgot, he is quite a mummy’s boy. Mummy has a selective memory, a selective understanding. Talking is pointless. Better to bang your head off a concrete wall. In between his periods of violence he would spit in a smarmy voice “how are you?”. And oh, he explained to his mummy the reasons for his barrage of abuse & verbal attacks (which at the same time he denies) was because I was unfair:). He ate my dying Father’s food for a year & took help away like a needy infant for himself. He is dangerous. I don’t deserve to be mentally harmed and I’m not going to let a violent pup harm me or pull me down. His mummy is aggrieved (for horrendous reasons)- that her boy isn’t accepted & allowed to harm me mentally. A year of that abuse is more than enough. The message is clear “words don’t work, words fail”!! Then it’s bye-bye.

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  20. It seems as though most of the naysayers here got as far as finding out that the author of this article is a Christian, and then jumped to conclusions. I have news for you people….being a Christian does not mean that you have to put up with being treated badly by others, nor does it mean that you have to keep coming back for more. Being judgmental in the way condemned by the Bible is not same thing as deciding that you are tired of putting up with put downs, and ending a relationship. Maybe you need to actually read the Bible before you start misinterpreting it. Judging someone you don’t know anything about is wrong. Just because she is a Christian does not mean she has to be a doormat and accept rude, cruel,or malicious behavior from others.

  21. I think people need to step back and think about this: not everyone in you life has to be there. We are not required to be friends with everyone we meet. We are all evolving on a constant basis and we become different people. We grow apart or together. We are not required to keep people in our lives.

  22. You know, I am so tired of hearing conflicting advice… like- “a good/true friend will let you be you and will understand if sometimes you have problems or lash out or need help, etc…” “a good friend won’t leave at the first sign of choppy waters”…. etc. etc. and then there’s this post. Obnoxious. If you wanna say that people who do the above things ALL the time or regularly, that’s one thing. But then say so. It reads like if you have a friend who steps on a crack, she’s in the trash. Rough.

  23. Thank you for finding the words to my thoughts, especially #7 now that I’ve taken a more loving and accepting stance on marriage equality, Caitlyn Jenner & TLC’s Jazz than my former church friends.

  24. I agree with the author. People who are negative or make you feel bad do not have a place in your life. I just think the author REALLY stretched things to make it an article by creating 10 points. They are the same few points (3-4 at the most) with different headings. For example:

    #1 is I don’t have time for drama, hatred and mean words
    #3 We lead different lives as in your spread hurt and anger
    #5 You are not kind. You say hurtful things.
    These are the same messages, different headings.

    #2 I won’t allow you to judge me or my parenting
    #7 You don’t agree with how I live my life.
    Again, these are redundant messages. Ironically, in #7 “if you can’t along with us, that’s most likely your problem” is both judgemental and mean.

  25. I was miserable…I went to my Dr., she thought maybe a therapist could help. I did not want to go, but I needed something. When I saw the therapist, my first visit I sort of explained my situation. The therapist asked me what I wanted and I said the name of a drug (zolof). The therapist asked me why I thought I needed to take zolof. My answer: because my mom won’t. And so it went, for 3 years zolof and my mom. In January this year I said goodbye to my mom for the last time, and by April I said goodbye to zolof. I am for the most part happy, and everyone around me knows that I am in a better place.

  26. “I won’t let you.” For too many years, I let people. It took several life-altering events that happened in quick succession for me to stop. At times, I think I’ve gone too far the other way, but my life is now solely mine.

  27. I think if your dismissive over minor things like these you will be alone a lot. Everyone should be questioning and expect some kind of support from FRIENDS. I think they only reason you would dismiss a friend would be their lack of interest in your friendship. A quick example would be if your always the one calling them and they never call you. If you stop calling you never hear from them again. Even then I would consider them a long lost friend.
    I think the quickest way to ruin a friendship is to loan or borrow money. If you want to remain friends with someone don’t ever do that.

  28. Gretchen, you’re awesome! I believe the people worth dismissing probably have Narcicistic Personality Disorders. Nothing we do will ever be good enough & criticism flows from their lips like lava from active volcanoes. (Too much?) And, no, you’re not alone. Sadly the ones closest to us hurt us the most. We continue to tolerate them because they are so close, but siblings, spouses & parents need boundaries too. I love your rules & I’m glad you’re sticking to them.

  29. I thought this was spot on, and I wish I had followed this advice way before I let my BPD ex nearly destroy my life, self esteem, family, and future. I finally wised up and chose my own happiness over his misery. Some people are simply toxic, or too mentally ill and damaging to keep in our lives if we want to keep our own sanity intact. One has to value one’s own life and welfare, and I am guessing those that take issue with this article are those who are frequently dismissed from other’s lives and take no responsibility for the reason’s why. Being loving and nonjudgmental does not mean we need to give others license to walk all over us, treat us abusively, and make our lives pure hell. Sometimes love means we realize we cannot help a person, he/she is hell bent on life destruction, and the only safe and healthy thing to do it to cut them out of your life. Anyone that cannot understand the wisdom in this is likely an offender who blames everyone else in the world for their misery and for not being able to keep friends and establish healthy relationships. We are not responsible for keeping abusive, mean, and negative people in our lives and trying to fix them….that simply enables their behavior and perpetuates the abuse. Great article!

  30. I loved this artical. Many illnesses have there roots in supressed feelings. Living a life free of stress is the most important thing we can do for good health. Iam 85 years old and I have had to dismiss people from my life in the past. Somtimes for ashort period of time and sometimes it is permanent. i donot feel guilty about it at all. there is a difference between friends and aquaintences.

  31. I unfortunately am the one that has been dismissed. by my boss and the pain of being disowned, and dismissed in someone’s life is devastating and very hurtful. We grew to be really good friends ( not sexual at all) and worked together as an awesome team but when he wanted space and got comfortable with his work he would lie, and distance himself from me. I was so comfortable around him that I would point out his lies which made me a horrible person. He then no longer treated me like a wonderful friend at work anymore and treated me as he was my boss which he is but now he treats me with disrespect and treats my co-workers better. He has totally dismissed me from his life and it is very painful because we have to see each other everyday and he is acting like he isn’t my boss anymore like I don’t exist at work. As the one being dismissed in someone’s life is very very hurtful. I miss my friend and our friendship and laughter we once had that tight bond. I hurt everyday at work when I see him talking to others and he doesn’t talk to me because I don’t exist anymore to him. He rarely speaks to me and when I enter the office he will leave. His actions and silence and I’m nonexisting to him hurts. So be careful who you exit from your life. Keep in mind that dismiss person you dismiss for your convenience could really be in distress and hurt over it.

  32. My sister disowned my mom over facebook about a year after my dad died. She used many of the statements in this list to justify her action. The thing is, I have seen their relationship from many angles. Although my sister really perceives that she is a victim of my mom’s hateful words, my mom was only trying to give her advice out of love. I have always perceived my mom’s (sometimes crudely spoken) advice as coming from love. My sister refuses to actually listen in conversations and twists words to add to he case that she was abused. She was not abused. Dismissing someone can be more hurtful than helpful (and now both parties seem to be suffering). Dismissing someone leaves no space for the person to change or even meaningfully respond to the feedback. Families are dynamic, relationships are dynamic, and everyone has people in their families that are difficult to deal with. Throwing them out leaves no opportunity for growth. I wish my sister would have discreetly taken her time and space instead of making such a final action for everyone to see. It hurts.

    • Wow…we are going through this same thing with my sister-in-law. She’s using this excuse to “dismiss” her mother over something that happened forty years ago that came to light about four years ago. She’s a complete narcissist and feels the need to play the victim while she’s the one hurting the rest of the family. Yet, she feels righteous in her “dismissals”. Friends who have attempted to talk with her about it and don’t openly support her get “dismissed”. They’ve resorted to just telling her what she wants to hear, rolling their eyes and talking about her behind her back. I would be really mad at her if I didn’t feel so sorry for her. She’ll never know true happiness and it really concerns me, the example that she’s setting for her children.

      Ironically, she was the one who shared this article on FB.

  33. Thank you for this! I have lived this life as the “ex” seeing my adult children and their spouses go through so much Both have stated “at least with the other dismissed” I do not have to worry about the next gathering. Yes its hard knowing someone who was a very important part of their lives be alone but you have to keep reminding yourself it’s their choice to have lost so much! God bless you Gretchen for being real!

  34. Not sure how I feel about this. My husband was recently “dismissed” by his 16 year old daughter. The weird thing is, while being “dismissed” by her hurts, he also feels a peace about it. He only got her every other weekend. Her mother would schedule hair appts on the Friday night of his weekend, etc., and then pick her up early Sunday morning to go to their church. Didn’t matter that their and our churces were both Catholic. When she was with us she would.tell him how much better of a student she.is than he was, how she is going to go to college and be a better person than he is, make fun of what he wore, tell him he should have paid more attention to who he stuck his di** in then he wouldn’t have had her, that she knows how to push his buttons, that she isn’t afraid if him but afraid of her mom and grandma on mom’s side. She “dismissed” him because she didn’t like some instructions he was giving her while teaching her how to drive. Ugly words were said. The problem now a days is that with so many.broken families, if a kid does not like rules at one house, they can create drama and run to the other parent’s house. When I grew up if you were disrespectful, you got punished and had to stay and deal with it. You learned to no longer be disrespectful. Now kids can he disrespectful, cry foul when being punished, and run from the punishment. I guess she will be trying to figure out how to undismiss her dad when she gets her license and wants the car we had for her. This is not the first time she.has dismissed him. Usually tries to patch things up in time for birthdays, etc. Got to get the gifts “owed” to her. She will be quite disappointed when she finds out the car is being sold. Of course, that will make him even a worse father than he already is. She will never know how much he has sacraficed for her, but it won’t be.his dignity. I guess my conclusion is the person you have dismissed may be just as happy that you have dismissed them. There are always two sides.

  35. Why would anyone who was a liberal be a Christian in the first place? Christianity is a conservative enclave of philosophy and thought. That’s like a Cowboys fan being a member of the Washington Redskins fan club or an environmentalist being a shareholder of Dupont. It isn’t logical a liberal to be a Christian.

    • Francesco, you might want to consider what Jesus did, by reading the New Testament. Love thy brother is the greatest teaching. The conservative and hardline belief system you are mistaking for Christianity is what you have learned of the Old Testament and the old laws. Jesus came to change that thinking. Liberal Christianity IS a way of practicing exactly what Jesus came to teach us. (please accept this as my opinion, and not meant to be argumentative in any way)

  36. “I” and “me” are all I read in this article. “I’m too busy” and “I don’t get any value from this relationship” and “I’m a parent and don’t have time for this”. I’m also a parent – of six children and I’m an educator and I’m in school at night working on a Master’s degree. Our family is extremely busy serving in our church, community and with our kid’s sports teams and music activities. I understand “busy”. But I don’t “dismiss” anyone in my life. Everyone I encounter teaches me something (even patience, greater kindness and empathy) and I look for ways to bring value to other people’s lives, not see what value they can bring to mine. In doing so, I am the one who feels blessed. I hope to lift others, not see what they can do for me. Are there destructive and negative people in the world? Of course. I seek to be kind and cheerful to everyone and I find that the negative people aren’t comfortable being around me anyway – they usually seek out people who are like themselves. Misery loves company, right? I actually can’t even think of any family or friends who affect me negatively because I recognize that I am the master of my own emotions. We would be wise to reflect upon what Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.

    • Anon, do you not see that Gretchin’s feelings here directly reflect Mrs. Roosevelt’s sentiments to the letter? She is saying that she is CHOOSING to not allow people to make her feel inferior ever again. If you had read her reasons for saying what she said, you would see that she has chosen to no longer allow very specific people who had severely abuse her, to ever, EVER abuse her again. Clearly Anon, your life is perfect, and you are a shining example of how everyone should be. I however, am not so perfect, nor is Gretchin, and she has taught many through this entry, that it’s okay to say “no more”. No more abuse, no more hatefulness, no more mean spirited people allowed in my life. I could only hope to have the perfect life you claim to have, with perfect people, who only want to teach me good things even if it means hurting me, over, and over, and over again. Yes, Anon, you are blessed…..but are you honest with yourself and others?

    • To Anon: I agree with everything you said. I especially like “I seek to be kind and cheerful to everyone and I find that the negative people aren’t comfortable being around me anyway – they usually seek out people who are like themselves. Misery loves company, right? I actually can’t even think of any family or friends who affect me negatively because I recognize that I am the master of my own emotions. We would be wise to reflect upon what Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.'” Perfect.

  37. Great read. For me it was a matter of learning to set my own boundaries with the unhealthy relationships that I was allowing to affect the healthy relationships in my life. By learning to place limitations on their involvement in my life that I am able to live with, my family and I are happier and even the unhealthy relationships have become less abrasive. I am able to have more grace for those others by putting more distance between us.

  38. I think this is wrong in so many ways. I had this happen to me last November and I didn’t get the opportunity to even have a say. It hurts. You wonder what happened. You feel like you didn’t get to have closure. I was told to not contact them and was unfriended on Facebook. I think it’s wrong because obviously this was thought out on their end so they were able to start the closure and it came out of left field on my end. I did finally email after 3 months telling how I felt and was then emailed back saying how I think it’s all about me since I couldn’t follow through with the no contact request. Maybe someday they will understand, but until then it has truly opened my eyes to life and how people are. Feelings of the other party need to be considered before just telling them they are no longer welcome in ones life. You should consider how you would feel if this was done to you. As the saying goes, “Do unto others as you’d have done to you”.

    • Starla, it’s clear you were hurt by what happened, but the way those people handled the situation is absolutely NOT what Gretchin is suggesting here. She said many times that this is to be done opening, with very clear explanations to the one being asked to step back. She is not suggesting “unfriending” on facebook with no explanation, or simply being told “no future contact”. That’s mean, hurtful, and unfair in all situations. I feel bad that you can’t see what she is saying is helpful rather than hurtful because of a very bad experience of your own. Hopefully you will one day find that by being cut off from those people has been a good thing for you, rather than a bad one. Move forward Starla, forget them. They were never worth it in the first place if they can simply shut you down with no explanation. Shame on them.

  39. This saddens me. I bought into the whole “dismissal” mindset for years and would cut my mother off for months at a time when she didn’t “get” what I was saying. I had been heavily influenced by someone who made me believe all my struggles as an adult were because of her inadequate parenting and poor example. I cut my mother off because of the deep shame I felt about myself.. I’d reconcile from time to time but it was always with an attitude that I was doing her a remarkable favor. Well next week she’ll have been gone four years and I’ve had time to grow and change and realize what a self righteous b***ch I was. Articles like this feed the entitlement that people feel to cut people out of their lives. Here’s my take: there are racists, molesters and a handful of other similar level offenders that one needs to dismiss even if they are related to you. But I’m sorry, if you are related to an everyday imperfect but aggravating person you do the work so you can have boundaries and still stay in relationships with them. By that I mean it’s fine to cut off a conversation that goes all passive aggressive and often things will change. Or you will have the skills to love them where they’re at and not get sucked into their crazy. Chosen
    Relationships ( friends in other words) I see so many people ranting about dismissing friends without appearing to ask themselves if they are the type of person others will dismiss. There’s talk about entitlement and deserving. Guess what? You deserve what you put out in friendship. Like attracts like. Be the kind of person you want as a friend and you won’t be one of these self righteous hypocritical whiners who dismiss friends over slights and then proceed to do worse to others.

  40. Finally, people that understand! I had to dismiss my daughter from my life after years of mental abuse, jail, cps involved with my grandchildren, this list goes on and on. She began using the grandchilren to abuse me, thus abusing them, and I snapped! I sent her a final text I have not seen or spoken to her or my grandsons in 5 years. I pray for them everyday. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my live. I went through a deep depression attempted suicide, but I am still here. I do not have her toxic waste to deal with nor the daily drama to contend with, I keep check on the grandsons through other family members although I am forbidden to see or speak to them, but at least I know they are safe. One day they will be old enough they can come to me. I am blessed to have found this site. Thank you!

  41. This is an abomination to me. It so rings of todays society -if it is not beneficial to me than dismiss it. I have never read anything so self centered and “it’s all about me”
    We were raised that a friend is someone you make time for . What is important to them may not be to me but I am your friend so I will take time and listen.

    Sorry your ego has not been fed and you need only people who will lie to you concerning your home and physical appearance . We were raised that sometimes it is better to say nothing .
    Example if your housekeeping ( cleanliness is next to Godliness) is less than acceptable I keep my mouth shut and be thankful I don’t live there. But don’t complain to me that you and your family is forever sick.

    If you have no time than do not expect others time when you need it.
    And I am not even going to get in to the be forgiving I think it would be wasted on all who think dismissing one is acceptable.
    old time grandmom

    • Grandmom, I’m going to really try and use the example set by Gretchin, and be kind in my reply to your limited and short sited view of what she wrote here. Please go back and read WHY she has chosen to dismiss certain people in her life, and WHO she has chosen to dismiss. Did you not see that the people she has no room for in her life are those who have severely abused her? If you have never experienced this kind of abuse then you would have no way of understanding what she is saying here. It’s evident that you read her post, not read any of the comments, skipped over her responses and further explanations, and jumped on the reason why you feel YOU don’t agree with her. She is setting a wonderful example for her children that they do not need to settle for ugly, mean spirited, hateful people in their lives who live to poison the goodness in others. Please, for yourself, go back and find all of Gretchin’s responses, and read what she means, rather than reading only her words, failing to see what is behind her words, and then responding in your own mean spirited way. Be proud of her ability to move forward and away from the older members in her family who chose to abuse her because it was hidden. It’s a new day Grandma, be happy because tomorrow is never, ever guaranteed. S~

  42. I read this article because it was posted by a friend. This is not meant to be a criticism of anyone’s posts or opinions above in any way. I have had a rough time these past couple of years. Most of my life, I have been the one that people have turned to when they need help. When things fell apart for me, it seemed that no one was around to help. I was surprised and hurt and frankly it made me a little bitter and angry. Anger was not an emotion that I was comfortable with. We were not allowed to express anger growing up as it was considered a sign of disrespect. So, of course, I also felt guilt as a result. My natural response to people in difficult circumstances is to jump in and help any way that I can. However, at some point, this becomes overwhelming and you start to forget how to take care of yourself. So, I tried to walk away from certain people thinking this would improve my life. In a way, at first, it did. But honestly, I loved these people in spite of their problems and issues. I missed them. I just needed to learn to say “no” and hope that they understood. People don’t change unless THEY want to. It’s very difficult to change for some, however, when the person they have learned to lean on walks away from their life.

    Deep down, I knew I wasn’t being true to myself by walking away. That’s not me. I am learning to LET IT GO while also expressing when I feel that what others say or do is UNACCEPTABLE to me. I have found that once you start to stand up for yourself (and it doesn’t have to be done in a hurtful manner to get your point across), those who try to hurt you or lash out or walk over you like you are a doormat just choose not to come around as much on their own or they change the way they interact with you.

    One of my favorite quotes that I strive to live by is one that on the surface seems easy but to truly exemplify is more difficult …

    “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Habit 5 from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Steven R. Covey

  43. my sister and I have both gone thru years of dismissing our mother because of these negative behaviors…….unfortunately my sister still depends on my parents too much to stand firm in her decision…..I am trying to keep my mom at arms length just to save my sanity…..she brings only hurt and stress to my life and my children….yet I still feel such a strong pull to forgive and forget….it’s hard to remind myself of all the times I’ve done that and she still never changes…some people just can’t change….those are the ones that have to be cut out for sanity’ssake

  44. I read the first and then a number of responses. This is a personal thing that one has to decide on their own and there is no place for second guessing by others. I as a therapist have worked with people who were almost destroyed by those saying you MUST forgive. Some things not even God forgives. I encouraged sexual assault survivors to dismiss the perpetrator from their lives and not to forgive, and use their anger to build strength to declare, Never Again, and to heal. There are predatory people in all our lives, and some are so destructive and toxic it takes legal action to dismiss them.

    Now, what if the dismissal is an aggressive, selfish life-denying act, and act of aggression meant to wound? Of course it is wrong. It happens that way also. . As to religion, that is one’s personal matter that is not applicable to any one else. It is just as abusive to beat someone over the head with a Bible as with a baseball bat. MYOB!

  45. Thank you Susan for your post and your work!!! I wish I knew you personally. Too often therapists are trying to make a parent out to be the bad person to justify a child’s problems. However, there are many other factors that can contribute to a bad relationship within a family structure. (Socio-economic, mental illness etc.) I certainly understand “dismissing” someone in the case of true sexual abuse. However, I don’t care for the word.

    Society has changed in the days that we were taught to love, honor and obey our parents or at least treat them with respect. In my case, due to a horrific divorce caused by a batterer’s narcissistic greed, my x has brainwashed my children against me. They are being taught that they don’t need a mother in their lives and other horrific lies which may be ingrained in their brains forever. It’s called parental alienation. While most therapists like to think that children are independent thinkers at a certain age and can choose which parent to live with, they simply are not. This is especially true when they are in custody of their abuser who is purposely targeting the other parent for their own self-satisfaction/hatred. I even know a mom whose x convinced the child that they had been sexually abused when they were not. She has not seen her son in 11 years. Dr. Josh Coleman is a well-known therapist who speaks to estrangement and parental alienation and the shifts that have now caused many children to disown their parents. It’s a very sad thing. I welcome people to see his website. He has free Q&A’s for those of us that have been “dismissed” by our children. Amy Baker is another great resource.

    While I don’t know the circumstances behind the blog, it urked me. As a stay-at-home mom for 16 years, I too painted rocks and did wonderful things with my children. Now, I have no contact due to a psychopath’s behavior. It is the most painful experience one could ever imagine.

  46. I found this posted on my facebook today and 2 people I know liked it. As I usually read what they post, I thought I would look at the blog. It made me sick when I realized what it was advocating.

    I agree there are truly violent and abusive people that one may need to ‘dimiss’ from one’s life for physical or emotional safety. However, because of the nature of blogs, we never know the real story behind much of anything. It really, really bothers me to think that you would advocate this lightly for families.

    I have spent my whole life working to assist healing in families and experienced over and over again the joys and blessing that come from doing that work. It is way too easy to walk away and create pain and separation in your path. I fear that others who may not have the skills to work through a deep problem or even a surface one, will find walking away the easier solution and therefore, I must advocate working to the very end to sort these important relationships out and work out solutions that can be supported by each side.

    As one other person said, life is too short. Also, one must remember what is put out into the universe comes back to you. I suggest offering loving thoughts to those who do badly to you and for you – it is a much healthier view. I really hope that all who read this will turn around your easy recommendation and do the real work that needs to be done to reclaim/restore and work through these difficulties.

    That may never happen with some people, I know, but then you are not the one spewing dismissal – which has horrendous consequences. The persons you hate may never do it your way, judging only makes it worse. Accepting where each person may be at (unless a pathological sociopath who won’t or can’t) is a good thing. Hate is hard on the health; you may think it is easier, but the paths it makes in your brain or your heart may strike you. There is a reason the world professes that love is the way. My best wishes of love to you to heal your pain and to stop you from inflicting more pain around you, as this blog topic supports.

  47. My sister and I were both verbally, physically and sexually abused by our father. My mother was a RN, who denied ever knowing that he sexually abused us, and turned her head from the verbal and physical abuse. My parents finally divorced after my mother had to pull my father off of me, she didn’t ask him to leave, he left on his own. She tried very hard to make us have a relationship with him, even though he showed up outside her workplace with a rifle in the car, and we were guilted into maintaining some type of contact. Even after I married and had children, I tried to have some contact, but his poisonous diatribes finally reached a point of no return. I dismissed him. Then, his sister called and said that he had to have emergency open heart surgery, once again, I tried. My final conversation with was one of my most fulfilling moments. I said “I forgive you, I forgive you for every rotten word, every bruise, physical or mental. I forgive you. This does not mean I forget, no. You are not welcome in my life, you are not welcome near my children. I forgive you. I hope you find some peace. Go and live your life without me or mine, I forgive you.”
    It was the most freeing moment of my life. I try very hard to not let what was done to me, define me. My children are not physically, verbally or sexually abused, my husband is a good man, I didn’t marry a copy of my father. What was done to me, is done. I am responsible for whatever comes next. I have, and will dismiss those whose toxicity negatively impacts all that is mine. I will do so with no guilt whatsoever.

  48. This is perfect!, I finally did this with Sister-in-law, in my 30 yr marriage, she has been mean, hurtful,insulted me and my children,mother-in-law did the same,she now has dementia,and I feel sorry for her,but SIL..I had to cut here out,the last straw was here slamming my 18 yr old daughter against the wall and cussing at here because she would not take a group picture with us..I have never said one thing back to them,my mom always told me to ignore them..she’s out of my life because I want it that way and so does my daughter.!

  49. Just sending another thank you for all the recent comments. I do see how this post can sometimes be perceived as “narcissistic” or “selfish.” In some ways, it is, but I like to think of it more as “self-preserving.”

    Am I judgmental? Not of the person, but of their behavior. If it’s different than mine, fine. If their opinion is different, no big deal. If they’re going to be hurtful or abusive about it, then we may need to limit our time together.

    I also want to stress that a permanent “dismissal” has only happened, in my family, in cases of sexual, physical, or severe verbal abuse.

    “Dismissed” to me means, giving the person permission to leave, and giving yourself permission to live your life happily without them in it.

    Temporary dismissals still suggest that we will continue to listen to each other, try to understand each others’ ideas or differing viewpoints, and build a relationship built on trust and forgiveness.

    If YOU feel like you’ve been dismissed, I suggest reaching out to the other person in kindness and asking questions like:

    “Did I say something that hurt your feelings?”
    “Are you trying to distance yourself from me? Why?”
    “Is there something you need from our friendship/relationship that I’m not giving you?”

    Some of us are just busy, so I wouldn’t be quick to assume you’ve been dismissed. 🙂

    So many of you who feel you’ve been dismissed are quick to blame the other person and point out their shortcomings. So, this makes me think that… you may be right. It’d be best to ask yourself what your intentions are if you’re trying to insert yourself back into their lives…

  50. This response is to Cloe. It hurts me to see there is someone else who feels like I do. I too, am wondering if my adult daughter has been taught this, by a counselor or even the church she attends. Your comment is like you were writing about my life, except that my daughter started shunning us at the time she was pregnant. The same behavior, too – where you are accused of doing the things that they do to you. I have struggled with the loss, and how to try to figure out how to deal with it. She is the one who has been abusive (verbally and emotionally) towards myself and others, but then when called out on it, we are the abusers? I’m a bit concerned that this kind of self-centered attitude is being promoted for simple things (not egregious behavior – which should NEVER be tolerated). “Will” above Cloe’s post has a great point in that in life things aren’t always going to be “happy” and that is a part of our growth and learning. You have to learn how to take criticism, not closet yourself away from it. RESPECT is the key. Treat others with respect as often as you can. you don’t know what they have been through, and the world does not revolve around you.

  51. I started reading this because I have issues with my daughter. I feel hurt and angry every day over the way she acts towards me. She treats me like I am invisible, like I don’t matter in her life. She is 40 with two kids and happily married and her father and I would like to be included in their lives more. Just to be invited over once in a while, to share a day at the park, have a picnic or cook-out once in a while. We do these things with my son and his family quite often and I miss having this relationship with my daughter and grandkids. So I’m wondering, should I dismiss her from my life so I can move on and try to be more content without her? The more I read though, I began to wonder if this is what she is doing to me? Dismissing me from her life because she feels that I am a negative person in her life? I try not to be but she is seems to pick at everything I say and say I am being negative when all I am trying to do is have a normal conversation. If I mention something I heard, it’s gossiping. But yet she does it too just about different people. If I mention my other grandkids I’m bragging about them or comparing to her kids or ignoring her kids. I try not to even mention them but the truth is I don’t even see or speak to her kids very often because she won’t make the effort to involve me in their lives. She won’t let me know when there is an activity they are in but the other kids are involved in sports once or twice a week. My son, according to her, is a user because I pick his kids up from school a couple times a week. I would gladly do the same for her, if only asked. This blog has served to only confuse me more! Am I the victim or perpetrator??

  52. Unfortunately, people aren’t robots. If you allow yourself to wear all these buttons, people are going to push them. Maybe stop wearing so many buttons? Or maybe be honest with the offenders instead of deciding their life has no worth to you.
    I have had to stop talking to many people after constant struggles like this. But my mom is the biggest offender and she means everything to me. Take off your buttons and give certain people some grace.

  53. Maybe you will delete this, but at least give it a skim first.
    Most of those reasons are horrible. Criticism is an important part of self examination and change, and most of her reasons are to avoid criticism. It may hurt, and may not always be offered in the best way but without it one can easily become stagnant. Also disagreements shed light on moral issues, the writer seems to be to politically correct allowing all moralities and being more interested in a wishy washy peace rather than a realistic peace, that kind of reality is both impossible and horrible. Further using children as an excuse (Or marriage which happened to me, even tho I am now married I could not retrieve nor fix those friendships) is downright cowardly, cruel and lazy. As for adding value? What a selfish thing! What if you are adding value to their life? What if the sun does not revolve around you?! What about karma and the idea that maybe your influence will change other lives?!

  54. I agree wholeheartedly. We don’t owe anyone friendship. And some people aren’t meant to have relationships with one another. I recently dismissed someone from my life and think it was just as good for her as it was for me. We were no longer on the same page in friendship. We had BOTH changed. I’m sure she thought some of the same things about me that I thought about her…and that’s ok. We don’t have to like everyone. We don’t have to keep someone around just because. Now, we also don’t have to go around telling everyone everything that caused this dismissal. I think the key is to forgive then dismiss. Get your heart right and realize that it’s not an act of revenge or hate, but one of genuine need for a better place in the heart and mind. Parting ways is fine and sometimes necessary and mostly because of the bullet points above. If someone dismisses you, move on. Find more compatible friends. But make sure you reflect for a moment and correct anything you notice you may have done wrong. If you don’t feel that you have done anything wrong, move on in a positive direction knowing you’re happy in who you are. Just don’t be bitter…be better =)

  55. I absolutely loved this! I am not a mother but I am a wife and someday will start a family with my husband. I had to weed out the bad apples myself to find some peace. Sometimes thats what is neccesary, even when its your own sisters/cousins (my case) or anyone related by blood. If someone is poisening your life with negativity, its time to cut them loose. I cant believe how much happiness I have found by not being drowned in someone elses issues.

  56. Someone shared this article with a group, and when I saw it, I thought “Amen”. There are times when you just have to say “enough”. I had to let three people I socially enjoy go within the last month because they violated # 2 and #5 on this list. It sucks, but I also feel somehow better now that I am done. It would have been easier to continue going with the flow, but I had to take a stand. Thank you for the article.

  57. I love this article. I absolutely need to dismiss people from my life. They’re negative and create drama for me and my husband. The thing is it’s my inlaws-namely his brother and he thinks his brother walks on water. How do you handle that?

    • My father told me he didn’t like who I am because of my political and religious beliefs…I am way more liberal than he is. I don’t care what he believes, but he made a point to tell me how awful I was. He didn’t raise me. He actually left us when we were little. I forgave ALL of that, but I did not need that in my life. I told him not to contact me anymore and I blocked him in social media. He apologized through letters in the mail and promised not to attack me anymore. He’s been true to his word. The harsh fact is that NO ONE is allowed to treat you like garbage. Age or relationship is no excuse for any type of abuse. Now , if it’s just a general annoyance or something, just limit your contact and don’t engage in anything confrontational. Family is a tricky thing. The important thing is to create and watch the line and if it’s crossed, it’s totally acceptable to dismiss someone- no matter their relationship to you.

  58. I totally agree about placing boundaries with people and for putting distance between people when you need to, as long as you do it by communicating what you want the other person to change, and giving them the chance to do so. I find that people often walk around with pain and resentment and don’t express themselves, until it it is time to “dismiss,” someone. As a clinician with 15 years practice under my belt, I always attempt to help people be more proactive and assertive with problem people in their lives…I live by that rule too

  59. What a great and wise list! I’ve had to “dismiss” 2 friends in my lifetime and it took me years of walking on eggshells around them or listening to them drudge on and on about every negative thing they could think of. Sometimes you just can’t help people. Life is too short for them to effect you negatively! Needless to say, I prefer to surround myself with positive, supportive people and life is good!

  60. As the daughter of a woman with NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) I can totally understand and relate to this. My mother has a condition that causes her to be negative, critical and toxic and it also makes it impossible for her to realize that she is the one with the problem. I discovered this too late in life after she did an incredible amount of damage to me. I finally severed the relationship a year ago and my life has been so much happier ever since. Even my husband and children have been very supportive of that decision. They saw firsthand what a destructive force she was in my life. My life finally has some peace in it! I still love my mom, I’ve forgiven her and I pray for her but I cannot allow her toxic negativity and her selfish manipulations to be a part of my life any longer. It wasn’t a decision that was made lightly but it was one that needed to be made.

  61. You made some very valid points here. I dismissed two people from my life. For different reasons. I felt amazing afterwards. But. There were moments of guilt that snuck in. As I prayed I took responsibility for the times I wronged them or was not a good friend. I prayed for their forgiveness. And I set them free. Gently. Peacefully. Because, we are not always what we think we are. And guilt is a reminder to ourselves to be awake to our role in the play. God brings people into our lives for a reason. And when we simply dismiss them because of what they do to us and forget to review our role in the matter, we lose the teachable moments. Not saying you have a reason for that, this is a general “you”.

    • You are absolutely right, and I’ve found that I can better see my role after the dismissal and try to be okay with “me” and my absolutely not-perfect role in the relationship. 🙂 Thanks for this!

  62. Since yesterday my feed has been filled with posts about letting go.
    It inspired me and today i started to make a change.
    The outlash i received for saying “im done” was ridiculous.

    I needed your post after a long cry of doubt 😉

  63. Thanks for the message. I only have one long time “friend” in my life that I need to cut loose. A therapist in early 2011 told me to cut her loose. I did not clearly see how her negativity, painful/hurtful honesty, and her pleasure in the meanness affects the target until that person was me. As long as things with me were perfect she could concentrate on belittling others and our relationship was ok. It’s difficult and I feel some guilt but as I older I do not have time for the insensitivity. I only have four legged children and she loves animals otherwise if I had children and she did or said anything hurtful to them I would have easily cut her off. She came to visit and my brother and his family needed help and were living with me. She completely verbally trashed them for “living off” me and trashed me for helping them. Why we continue to pretend to be friends I have no idea but this message encouraged me to do what I need to do for my own mental health and that is cut her loose. Thanks

  64. Thanks for sharing this. Over the last couple of months I have felt like I have had to say goodbye to some people for the sake of my family’s happiness. We are in a much better place now. And there are still people in my life right now that I feel I need to let go of. After reading this I now know how to make that decision easier.

    • love both of your posts as well..i am trying very slowly to learn how to dismiss some people temporarily/permanently..and they are family as well..it really is hard..when you are so kind and giving and you really just don’t understand why people cannot just love each other..i guess you think your kindness/love will rub off..or that they will see/feel how awesome it is to be loved..there are so many people out there that would give their right arm to receive it..why do we continue to give it to those who disrespect us and hurt us..

  65. One more thing 😀

    I also think it’s essential to examine our own behaviors, thoughts, and speech to see how/where we can improve in the way we interact with others, because chances are we’ve got some work to do ourselves!

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. Your point that there is a big difference between passing judgment and using judgment was brilliant, and one that I think needed to be reiterated many times as I read through some of the comments left for Gretchin. The second, more important point you made, that clearly each one of us has our own work to do, should have preceded this entire post, and shouted using the largest, most bold font she could find! Well said! Very, very well said. S~

  66. I believe there are very few deliberately malicious and cruel (evil) people in the world. Evil has no place in anyone’s life.

    But there ARE people who are negative, hurtful, critical, or destructive who either don’t know any better, don’t recognize it, don’t think about it, or aren’t interested in doing what it takes to change it.

    Whatever the reason, the truth is, that when a person behaves that way, it is just as damaging to them as it is to the person(s) at whom it is directed. This is true whether the individual is deliberately harmful or just thoughtlessly harmful.

    Being unwilling to engage with them is not just about protecting oneself, but it is about loving the other person enough to want them not to be causing harm to themselves, either.

    There’s also a big difference between being passing judgement and using judgement. If you hold out your hand and a person smashes it with a hammer, refusing to hold out your hand to them again isn’t passing judgement, it’s using it.

  67. I wish I could respond to all your messages. Please know that I’m reading each and every one here (and trying to keep up on Facebook), and I genuinely value your stories of survival and empowerment — even if you don’t agree with my post.

    If I felt you were being hurtful just for the sake of being hurtful — ie., calling me ugly or stupid (ha!), I may have chosen to “dismiss” your comment.

    See what I did there? 🙂

    Many thanks and love to you!

    • What if the person that needs dismissing is your husband? I’m finding it hard to put into words how his actions and words are so hurtful and negative.

    • Gretchin, what I found absolutely incredible is that you practiced what you preached in every single comment and reply that you left for your commenting readers. Had it been me, as bitter as I have found myself at times in my life, I probably would have gone off on some of these comments, leaving replies that were as nasty and reckless as the comment itself from the writer who left it. Those who have chosen to respond in negative, nasty ways only reflect how they behave in other aspects of life. You clearly mean what you wrote, because your ability to respond has, in every single case, been honest, clear, and left in a spirit of kindness rather than bitterness. Kudos to you my friend, for being able to not only write what you feel, in an educated, forward thinking manner, but then respond in such positive ways to those who clearly have no idea what you have said here. The example you are setting for your children will, no doubt, cause them many reasons to thank you as they grow and experience people who have many different opinions about many different things. Much happiness moving forward!

      • Sue, believe me, it has not been easy. 🙂 It’s hard reading harsh words from others and feeling like they just don’t “get it” or are trying to instigate an argument. I’ve approached all of my friendships with love and kindness and open communication, as I can. Full “dismissals” have happened so rarely in my life and, as you said, due to outright abuse.

        This one comment from you made it all OK. YOU get it, thank you SO much, and I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you acknowledged my handling of the comments, because I did so very deliberately, and it took a lot of strength to not respond in a negative way myself.

        And, that you went on to say that I’m an example for my children made me cry happy tears, because this beautiful life I’m struggling to build is and always will be 100% for my daughter and future children. 🙂

        A million times, thank you, my friend!!

  68. I have spent so many years “blaming” myself for not being able to get certain people in my life to not only love me but to like me as I am, warts and all. It’s been a struggle, and I will not say that I don’t still struggle, but I have been able to set boundaries. My own parents can be extremely negative and it took me not going over to their home(they live next door) for more than three months to get the point across. Now, when they start on me, I tell them I’m going home. Sometimes they ask why I am leaving so soon and I tell them because what you are saying is upsetting me and I’d rather leave than say something hurtful or disrespectful. It’s not easy but I’m doing it. Then there are certain friends, and I use that term loosely, who have been overly critical and continually say hurtful things. I haven’t turned my back on them but I no longer “hang out” with them. I remain their friend and will help them when I’m needed but I refuse to subject myself to their hatefulness(even when it’s not directed at me it is still upsetting). My husband used to be one of these people in my life. It took many years of counseling to realize I cannot “fix” him therefore it is not my “fault” or responsibility to try. He had to figure that out for himself and I’m happy to say that things are so much better now. When he does or says things that are hurtful I bring it to his attention immediately by letting him know how it made me feel. Unfortunately, there is one person in my life that no matter how hard I try I can not get along with. This would be my mother-in-law. She is manipulative, hateful and vindictive. Not just with me. In fact she is worse with my husband, her own son! My children aren’t even treated as good as the other grandchildren. Her “chosen” children can do no wrong in her eyes. The solution to this? Well there isn’t much of one. We limit our contact with her. We only visit them now once a year. In fact, the last time we visited them it had been three years! It is just so stressful and unfortunately my thoughts come down to her level. I’m not disrespectful to her and neither is my husband but I’ve learned to “walk away” when she starts her mess. She does stop by our home while passing through to see one of her “chosen” children but it’s only for a few hours so it’s tolerable. Thankfully she lives a few states away. All I can say is “good for you”. There comes a time in your life that you HAVE to cut people out of it in order to be healthy. I am a very forgiving person but when the other person refuses to change then it’s no longer my problem but theirs. It only continues being my problem when I allow them to have control over my life and my happiness.

    • Lisa, you’re a hero! It is so hard for me to say this: “because what you are saying is upsetting me and I’d rather leave than say something hurtful or disrespectful.” This is one of the hardest things to do. You are so brave! Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

  69. My mother-in-law sent this to me and it’s exactly what I needed to read. I’ve been having a very hard time cutting my soon to be ex-husband out of my life. Things will be good and then he will spew very hurtful things. He is stuck in the past and I can’t live there anymore. It’s going to be hard but I know that I can do this.

  70. Sometimes you do have to dismiss someone in order to protect yourself. I had to block a family member from facebook so they wouldn’t be able to hurt me with their mean, hurtful words. It doesn’t mean that I am cutting them out of my life forever, but only as a way to protect myself from being harmed.

  71. I got a link to this article from a Facebook friend, and I have had to make this choice myself because some people are toxic and aren’t worth getting your blood pressure up, but I am a little dismayed that you have reached this conclusion because you are a parent and spouse. I have yet to marry or have children, but it’s just as important to preserve your mental and emotional (and by extension physical) well-being for yourself, regardless of whether you have dependents. However, my mother has always said that it wasn’t until she had me that she truly saw my father’s abusive behavior for what it was, so I guess it takes that extra impetus for some people.

    • Absolutely! I think I dismissed people differently before I had a spouse/child. I practiced avoidance or busied myself with other things. I think that’s human nature sometimes, and it takes practice to break away from it and “use my words.” 🙂 I’ve also found that, since having children, people have tried to take advantage of me more or try to dictate how I raise my child. I always welcome constructive criticism, but I won’t dedicate time to a relationship that outwardly judges my parenting and accuses me of being a bad mom over something trivial.

      Those experiences were wake-up calls to me and definitely pushed me in the direction of limiting time with certain people. 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Samantha!

  72. I read this and could understand it. I don’t want or need to discuss major theological issues, I am secure in what I believe, what I need is to hear that I look nice, or that I did a good job cleaning. If someone refuses to acknowledge the emotional needs of a friend, it is time to walk away. Maybe not for good, maybe just for the afternoon. Or maybe it is for good.

    I wish you had discussed the different kinds of dismissal a little more though. The article tends to read as if the dismissal is final, when in some cases, all that is required is some time to calm down and breathe.

    That being said, thank you for this article. Hearing other people say that it is okay to walk away from a toxic influence makes me rest easier with some of my choices. I didn’t walk away for good in all those cases, but the relationships are different than what they were and have better boundaries now.

    • What about the needs of your friend? Maye they arent secure enough in what they believe and they need support? So basicslly, what you’re saying is, if you’re not as centred on me as I am, good bye!

  73. Much of what you say is true IF the problem is an ongoing thing. But we all have days where we say things we should not. I’d like to believe someone would give me the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I’ve just had terrible news and don’t realize you are so wrapped up in your own problems you don’t want to hear about mine. Fine. Anytime there is physical abuse, run and tell. Of course family won’t like it. When what’s done in the dark comes to light you can expect retaliation.
    But I believe there are people we can limit time with without having to hurt them as we are hurt. I used to arrange to have an appointment to go to after ten or fifteen minutes with family or hurtful friends. I didn’t feel I hurt them or my relationship, but it freed me from continued time with them. Sometimes just taking time to see the whole picture is very helpful.

    • Exactly! Thanks so much for “getting it”! Dismissals can be temporary, and as long as we’re in control of when we allow hurt into our lives, it’s up to us to decide when and how we continue relationships. Love your insight!

  74. Gretchin, you are right on the money with this post. It’s definitely not easy, but sometimes you have to break up with your friends. Thanks for posting this, and kudos to you for being assertive.

  75. Gretchin please go back and read what you wrote. Do you have any idea how narcissistic it sounds? You would really cast someone out of your life for these reasons?

    • Right. I am glad it sounds narcissistic. 🙂 My life is very inner-focused right now, and YES. Have and will continue to — using grace, faith, forgiveness, and guidance as my compass. Thanks for your comment, Susie!

      • Where’s the forgiveness here? This person is better off without someone so selfish in their life. You call yourself a “liberal, non-judgemental Christian, butthere is no evidence of that here.

          • In reference to the entire intervention you really make me fear christ because living a high risk life is far from an easy task with my parents never home and structure non existent providing the perfect concoction or ingredients that if I were a child in any other setting I could very well exceed any expectations yet not to outdo anyone or try to impress, just naturally gifted in enough areas to give the whole baseball team a trade and in complete form however a child is never ever ever to be cared for by whoever was claiming they could baby sit and left until picking them up it’s all new people that were not there getting dropped off and abandonment, lack of love or nurturing sets the bar for the life to come yet my heart beats to see peace no more hunger love in equal degrees because seriously All lives matter and when you put a sign up if it doesn’t say that then basically it’s saying we need to focus on you and only you and in turn pushes other lives that matter to the side and interracial couples don’t even do itt because simply put it’s not fair well fairness comes when you don’t care how you are seen you do your best and the book is written so I’m really in a realm that’s very distant interns of typical things most find interesting like the fact that God is really not given credit for all that is actually known and our stars sun moon and planets are 1 galaxies so you take 200 billion of the same it not similar systems and you get 200 billion throws so imagine Lebron plays his best and we know Lebron but we also know others in the sport now sitting at home on parole probation bad upbringing and you shoot 200 billion ads that we are looking for anyone who can play ball sign on paid contract and what’s the chances of recruiting another Lebron or Michael Jordan who we can see as maybe we are also out there yet something so small like my reaction gets me dismissed when in reality Lions destroy to eat and I am not that kind of person I am really not perfect but shoot 200 positive no threat rescue attempts and see how many bees you get with honey.

  76. Some of this is agreeable, but other bits are basically saying to be an arrogant jerk to people for no apparent reason other than the fact that you’re a parent. Being a parents doesn’t dismiss someone from having views, opinions, and the ability to debate with someone about a given topic. The end of number 7 and all of 8, those are just excuses for someone to NOT acknowledge the existence of other opinions. Overall this list is extremely arrogant in that it claims that the person who wrote it is open minded and accepting, except that it creates holes that allow that person to dismiss all views aside from their own.

    Removing toxic people from your life is simple:

    1. Do you as a person cause me more stress than you help to alleviate by being in my life over a period of time? Yes? BYE FELICIA!

    This is so insane. Stop numbing the brains of people and giving them excuses to be narrow-minded because they are parents. I’m a single father, and I still think, and debate very openly about about my opinions, and thoughts, because they still cross my mind, and I know that I am not right about everything, and I have a thirst for knowledge. Having a child doesn’t suddenly make me right about everything, it just makes me more responsible.

    • Anon, I agree!

      By all means, expel people from your life if you don’t enjoy their company, and surround yourself with those who understand you, those who make you laugh, or those who challenge you (respectfully) and help you grow as an individual.

      But this is good advice for everyone and has nothing to do with your parental status.

      And if you’re at a point where discussing the origin of the universe seems trivial”, but you’re dying for someone to comment on your beautiful home/lack of wrinkles…it may be time for a deep breath and some perspective! Or we would have just fallen under #9 all along 😉

  77. Thank you! This is what I’ve been trying to explain to others for the last 3 years as I “dismissed” my mother. Almost no one understands and says “but she’s your MOM.”

    Yup. She also regularly abused my healthy set boundaries. She is a Grade A alcholic narcissist and that not only continued to bleed onto me in my adulthood — but then into my marriage and my children. Enough was enough.

    People seem to assume that because I “dismissed” her I don’t forgive her or wish bad things upon her. This is not true. However, I spent over 30 years with the emotional, mental and physical abuse and it was time that I stood up for me and my family. Continued violation of my boundaries resulted in me choosing myself and my family over her burdens, drama and emotional instability. I wish her well. I pray she finds Jesus and comes to peace with her life and her choices.

    In the meantime, I’m healing me.

    • Melissa, you dear sweet young lady. I am 54 yrs old & am also in the process of pulling away from my mother…..how appaling that is to so many people but my mother doesn’t understand unconditional love & has no interest in learning how to display it to her only surviving child. I did so many things growing up that she wanted me to do to make “her” look good to others hoping for that hug, that tenderness & acceptance I receieved from her when I was”successful.” I am horrified that I have developed feelings of guilt by avoiding her, not returning calls & being “unavailable” at a moments notice to do something that i find to be “trivial”. What is so distressing too is that she realizes herself that she is mean, hateful & judgemental because she actually writes little sticky notes that say “have patience” or “quit being critical” & places them around her house like on the bathroom window or above the washing machine. As she has gotten older, I now realize she does have some mental illness/dementia components in her behavior but she has acted this way for as long as I can remember. To top things off, she professes to be a Christian, attends church regularly & actually completed a few years of college at a school of theology. She is very intelligent, well-spoken but will correct me in front of others if I use poor grammar, I.e. “Hens lay, people lie,ect”. I began to notice a few yrs ago when I had not had any contact w/her because of my work schedule ( I work nights) I felt better, less stressed & less depressed. So I applaud you my friend for taking a very brave step to prevent that person who carried you in her own body, who is supposed to be able to comfort you & accept you as you are even with the flaws you have, from taking anymore of your joy, your time or your life away. And honey don’t pay any mind to those who disagree w/you& make snide remarks like”you can’t even get along w/your mother, you should be ashamed.” No matter WHAT YOU DO, there will ALWAYS be someone that criticizes you…..that’s life. May God keep You you close & allow Him to show you the love you so richly deserve. Thanks Gretchen for such an interesting thread…..

  78. Sometimes it is hard to come to terms and actually cut the people out who take away, rather than add to your life…but sometimes it just has to be done before you can be you. You have to put yourself first because no one else will…

  79. Alright, This seems like a nice, well thought out little list but, honestly, this should be titled ” Top 10 reasons people have dismissed ME from THEIR lives”.

    So, this person will only accept someone into her life if they only want to sit down once every 2 years to gossip and talk shit about people?
    She refuses to have an intelligent conversation, she will not talk about life, she will not talk about parenting, she will not talk about hair dyes or make up or what her children like to drink, she SAYS she is open minded and accepting but contradicts herself multiple times stating the exact opposite, she will not welcome anyone into here life that is even slightly differing in her lifestyle, she does not care about her “friends” interests if they are not precisely like her own….

    This woman actually sounds like a pretty awful human being. The ONLY part she got correct was #5 and she went against #5 multiple times in this article.

    Thanks, but no thanks. If the person who wrote this is reading this… you have every right to live your life the way you want to ( although I do fear the bad example you must be placing on your children), but please, misery does not love company. Do not set out to make others miserable in attempts to pretend to be a life coach. That is all this list will do is succeed in making others just as miserable, bitter and inevitably alone as you are. It’s not right.

    • Ashli, I haven’t commented yet in this blog, but here seems an appropriate place for me. Gretchen isn’t talking about removing some person or people from her life that have one time made a negative comment, or I would even imagine a few or handful of times. These people she is referring to are multiple, repeat offenders of the positivity in life. It is someone who almost always had a negative statement about anything, including her hair dye. Of course she is willing to talk about those things, she would probably even accept some criticism if a person didn’t like that particular color. However, when you have someone who NEVER likes your color or always has some comment to drag you down then you don’t have to continue a relationship with that person. I am a Christian myself and do not necessarily agree with it being mentioned in regards to making this type of decision. Only because then people jump on the judgement band wagon. This isn’t about judging anyone. It is about making a decision regarding your own life and the direction you want to lead it. If you choose to be positive, for yourself and family, then clearly you walk in the opposite direction of negativity. Making a decision about your life doesn’t equal judging someone else. I have done this several times in my life and have only been rewarded for it. I understand that family is important, but when it is those people or someone in that category regularly contributing negativity to your life after many conversations, remarks, etc. then it is okay to let them go! Nobody should feel guilty about this. Would you feel guilty about working out and losing weight to better your life? No way… Same thing. This is a process you go through. First, to determine this person is a continual downer. Second, discuss this with them to find a different direction. Then you have to watch and see if the two of you together can make it happen. The person will undoubtedly need help making such a change and you may also may need to change a thing or two to make this effective. After all of this, if it doesn’t work out you have to make a decision for yourself, your life and family and then follow through with it. Even at this step you may not be done; some have to deal with guilt. So this is a process, like losing weight, that you have to work at completing. I know there will be those who disagree with me or don’t like what I’ve said here, but I certainly hope I’ve provided some sort of help to any person in a situation where they need an out to positivity! If you’ve read this far, thank you for taking your time to read such a lengthy post.

    • It is tough! Even when I knew, with 100% certainty, that I had to do it, it was SO difficult! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Maybe it can happen gradually! 🙂

  80. Thank you for this. I have learned to have boundries and end friendships where the season was over. I allowed to many heartaches however I am now able to take those situations I was taken advantage of and share my experience and advise with my kids. I choose to be happy and to love myself

  81. Wow! I’m so overwhelmed by your comments (in a good way)! I’ve seen a few themes/questions that I want to address.

    First of all, this isn’t about my mother. 🙂 This is loosely based on a few different people in my life who have been abusive. That said, I have applied these steps to different people in my life at different times – sometimes indefinitely, sometimes for a short period of time.

    There have been times my mom and I have said unkind words to each other. We’re human. We BOTH decided to dismiss each other and walk away until we could talk in a more civil way – there are all different kinds of “dismissals.”

    Some are more extreme. After my “Post-Pin Up” post, there were family members who didn’t agree with how I handled myself and the fact that I wrote about sexual abuse directly tied to our family. I wore myself out trying to have civil discussions with people who considered me a “slut” (for supposedly welcoming abuse, when I was 5-years-old), “inappropriate,” “a bad mom,” etc., all because I chose to speak my mind and publicly share my journey.

    These people are NOT allowed in my life any more. Some were acting downright horrible. Even then, I told myself, “They just don’t understand what I went through. They feel they need someone to blame. It’s not their fault, but I don’t have to expose myself to that hurt.”

    Even if someone is just excessively complaining, judging you, saying unkind words, you can choose to leave, walk away, or limit your time with them. It’s not about judging, as Paula wrote above, it’s about choosing happiness.

    Every fiber of our beings as humans, the very nature of who we are, leans toward light. Our bodies literally thrive and grow in the hormonal state that is “happy.” Call that the Holy spirit, call that the quest for survival. Whatever. Just dismiss the negative, and redirect your life toward the positive.

    So many people have been commenting saying, “I choose happy.” Every time I hear that, I cheer to myself. Me too!!

    Thank you all SO much for your kind words and support!

  82. I am a Christian. I am a Bible teacher. I experienced this for years with some family members applying the verse ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’ I dreaded any contact.I felt ‘obligated’ as a Christian to see this through because I know God can change any heart. It would take me a couple of days to recoup from every encounter thinking of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘how cans’. In recent years God showed me that they knew exactly what they were doing, the eyes, the upturned lips, the sneers, sideway glances, all gave it away. He taught me that many people enjoy their misery and do not want to be content and free. They are negative, back biting, stubborn, stiff-necked and hurtful and happy to be that way. There is a reason they are that way and only He knows what it is. He did not create them that way. So I turned those relationships over to Him and He pretty much removed them from my life (except for times of family necessity). I know it was a teaching lesson for me. He taught me through them what He has to deal with millions of times every day. And often I am that negative, stubborn person toward Him. Got my attention. Big turning point for me. I feel no remorse or guilt over cutting the relationships down to a bare minimum. They were / are a lesson for me directly from Him. I was the last one playing their game because of my false sense of Christian responsibility. Now there is no one who puts up with their venom. Maybe that is what will cause them to seek change. Let them be a lesson to you, not a millstone around your neck. God doesn’t require us to be in bondage to them. I discovered I was the only one left between them and the ‘pit’. Sometimes it takes a ‘pit’ experience to get them to look up. Remove them, let God deal with them. It’s a spiritual problem. Spin out of the crazy cycle. I made a conscious choice NOT to raise my family in that negative atmosphere. And now, my kids are very responsible, positive people raising my grands to be fun-loving, active, contributing people who love God. Venomous people bite. That’s what they do. When bit, choose life over bitterness. Some day they just might thank you. It’s not giving up on them, it’s admitting you want something better than that. See them only at funerals, etc. Smile and speak words of kindness, then walk away. Thank you for your Blog.

    • “Venomous people bite. That’s what they do. When bit, choose life over bitterness. Some day they just might thank you. It’s not giving up on them, it’s admitting you want something better than that. See them only at funerals, etc. Smile and speak words of kindness, then walk away.”

      So good. So so good. When we start being back to them, we are choosing bitterness. Good reminder!!

      • As someone who finally had enough and bit back… who dismissed with equal (or greater) venom than received, and then was dismissed in return… I can say that not a day goes by that I don’t wish I would have handled my situation with more gentleness.

        A dismissal is harsh, but sometimes necessary. There are people who will not respond to a gentle dismissal. But there are people who WILL–if we allow grace a moment to breath within our offense. I handled my situation badly.

  83. Thank you Sooooooo Much for writing this piece! I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I am that not only someone understand what I’m going through & agrees with it, but, that there are 100’s of other comments on this blog that truly understand it, too! I’m 31 years old & have ALWAYS believed that family will always be there. That friends & boyfriends come & go but your family is your rock! I let a lot of things slide, turned the other cheek, apologized when I wasn’t in the wrong, and kept making the same mistake over and over again hoping these relationships would one day get better. What I learned is, I can’t alone make them become better. There are issues and problems that some people need to deal with, that I can’t fix, that I can’t begin to attempt to make better. I know without these people in my life, I am more positive, I am more alive, I am more Free. I don’t hold ill-will towards them, I truly have learned to love them from a distance. I struggled with, Why would God put these people in my life if only for me to Dismiss them?.. I still get caught up in that and wonder if I could have tried harder, if I could of been more “Fake” and let things slide over and over again. But, then I also believe that these people have taught me very valuable lessons in life. Lessons that nobody else could of, because you had to be truly close to my heart to inflict the pain, the disappointment, the frustration and the hurt that so many has. I hope to one day be okay with my decision and understand that we can’t make people “fit” into our lives, as flexible as we may be.. They have to WANT to fit into it. Thank you again for this Blog and to all the readers, your comments are truly inspirational to someone like me, who is on somewhat shaky ground with the meaning of “dismissing”.

    • You are amazing! Just realizing when, where, and how people fit into your lives is the hardest part. It definitely changes for me when it’s close family members. I’m much more willing to work at it and dedicate time and energy to finding solutions and working out problems. That makes you an incredible person.

      Sometimes “dismissing” for me meant simply, “I’ll go to your house, but I won’t invite you to mine.” Haha! Or, I’ll only plan to only meet at public locations with certain people. You know what I mean? Those kinds of boundaries seem simple, but they can be HUGE. It’s much more difficult to ask someone to leave your home if they’re acting hostile than it is to be in a neutral location and say, “I need to discuss this after thinking about it some more,” and being able to walk away.

      My home has become a sacred territory where I only allow my dearest friends/family to visit.

      It was an easier way for me to take control and create a safe space without offending others. 🙂

    • Ashley I am right there with you! People have to WANT to fit in. my mother in law told me after 16 years of being with my husband, that she hated me. Said she always had, and that her whole family, including my husbands sister and half sister hated me as well. Talk about a blow. Then she tried to use things from the past to wedge herself between my husband and I. He knew better (THANK GOD) But we have not spoken in almost 3 years. She calls my husband occasionally but has made no attempt to see our now teenage children or even talk to them in 3 years. I had to make a choice to dismiss her and her negativity from our lives. We have been happy, truely happy since we have. We have watched our kids grow up without the constant comparisons between my mother and her, and are able to let our kids be the people that God has designed them to be because we do not have that hatred in our lives.
      Gretchen Thanks so the reassurance that it is OK to dismiss people from our lives! Wonderful read and like so many others it hit home!

    • Ashley, I hear what you are saying. A friend once gave me this saying “God knows who belongs in your life and who doesn’t. Trust and let go. Whoever is meant to be there, will still be there.” I too often think if I’m being selfish. Am I the one that is wrong and everything he does is right and the way it should be. But many, many friends & family tell me otherwise. I have dismissed them for over two years now… Am I happy? No.

  84. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, number 4 certainly did not make me feel any better about the world.

    Sometimes when people tell you things, it isn’t for you to fix them, it’s because empathy is a very powerful thing. Feeling like someone cares is often the difference between life and death.

    Even on my worse days, I choose to listen to my best friend’s problems, which often seem extremely trival to me, because I realize that my feelings aren’t the only ones that matter. Those things are a big deal to him. No, I can’t fix him but I can love him. Getting uncomfortable for someone you love is the action form of the word love. Perhaps I read far too much into this since I’m at a crossroads in seemly every aspect of my life and find my friends disappearing, but a lot of this seems very selfish to me. God knows if all we ever concentrate on how people make us feel, or how they affect our lives and not the other way around, the scale simply goes out of balance in the opposite direction. Boundaries are good, but too many is a prison.

    Like I said, totally possible that I’m reading WAY too much into it, but reading this I couldn’t help but feel like this would require a lot of thinking of only myself–which is good in small doses, but horrible if we expect others in the world to conform to that standard and base every relationship in our lives around it.

    • I agree with you…
      The blog entry came off as very harsh and unforgiving to some and empowering to others.
      I can see it both ways too..
      We all know people going through hard times and I am certain most of us have gone through hard times too..
      I would be more comfortable if the method of closing the door to someone temporarily or longer was done in a way that was more graceful than the way it was depicted..
      It should be about mutual time away, not castigating the other person…

      There is a lot of self-importance in the author’s tone. Too much of a self-contained world becomes a petri dish.

      • Thanks, Lilo! There is definitely some bitterness behind my most-recent dismissal. 🙂 I’ll continue to pray/ask the universe for grace and kindness as I take control of my life and journey. Thanks for your comment!

  85. Doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or an Atheist, it is your choice who you want in your laife and the lives of your children. Judging has nothing to do with taking a beating. Whether it’s physical,emotional or mental. I don’t have to take abuse from anyone. I refuse to let that happen. For my own sanity, I chose to walk away. I can ask the Good Lord for forgiveness. He is who I answer to. Not an abuser. Someone who thinks they can do everything better than I can. Someone who thinks they have the answers to all of my problems. Someone who can’t even fix her own. Someone who spews lies and hurtful things every time they open their mouth. A hoarder. An abuser of pain meds. She’s a grown up. Yes, it hurts when it’s your own mother doing this to you. I am choosing my family, my children, my happiness over her. I’ll get over it. I cannot become her, nor do I ever want to be just like her to my own children. Letting the abuse recycle all over again is wrong on so many levels.

    • I understand what you are saying. Even though you do your best to make things work, sometimes you’ve done all you can and still can’t seem to make them happy. My “father” was an abuser and so was I wrong to put him out of my life in order to assure that I don’t treat my kids with so much aggressiveness. I an 51 years old and he has never shown any support for anything because we were all useless to him. I saw him at my 17 year old daughter graduation 8 years ago with my natural mother who I didn’t know about till I was 15 and she felt she had to buy or love. The time previous to seeing them at graduation, he has made no effort to show love to us. Yet he takes my half sister’s son and adopts him as a son. Can’t raise your own but can raise someone else’s. This it’s not jealousy, this is failure to take care of your first children so you aren’t too try it again. So even those who think I ask wrong for this. Am I suppose to keep trying our should I try to maintain my sanity and happiness or make things work. I have tried everything I can, getting rid of excess in my life or weighed everything. My children know the goods and bands and have met my “parents”and as they say, out of the mouth of babes, they made their own opinion and they know it is their choice. They’ve seen him first hand and have nothing to do with him or my natural mother. As I rid these persons out of my life my happiness is maintained and my family is happy and proud of me for not being the father I was raised up with. But the choice to work hard to make things work with my family and say he has his own demons.

    • Oh, Raimy! I know, I’ve dealt with that guilt too. Sometimes it helps me to think about the other person’s journey. Let them grow and mature. Maybe what you did is exactly what they needed, and it will trigger a bigger change in their lives. You did what YOU had to do for YOU.

      That is NOT selfish, it’s protecting, preserving yourself.

      • That’s my problem…feeling guilty! I’ve given so many chances & he (boyfriend/ex boyfriend- depends on the day) doesn’t change. Almost Everything I do is not right especially if he is not involved. It’s ok for him to do things but I can’t do the exact same… And some I would never… It’s just not me. I know it will never change for the better but I keep taking him back. I feel guilty…that I’m hurting him. Sad that I might lose a friendship (his relatives). Scared that I will always be alone. This is soooo hard!

      • Gretchin,
        I am in my late 60’s and have just come to the point of having to dismiss almost my whole family my son thinks he knows everything yet he has allowed his young teenage daughters go and live with not only mixed rase relationships and I am not against mixed racial it is just that the men they are living with are old enough to be their fathers. (I think that comes under statutory rape?)
        His oldest son hates him for his lack of support while he was growing up with a mother who has worked her self to the bone because the only help she has had has come from me and he really doesn’t understand my attitude of his just throwing away money that I worked my butt off for. he is 21 and has blown 3,300 on taking his friends out to eat and on online games when he has not even gotten his HS diploma ( quit 2 mos into his sr yr) doesn’t have any legal ID, doesn’t know how to drive much less have a dl lic, no way to get around except by conning his friends to haul him around lives on his mother cause she lets him do what ever he wants sleeps all day and parties all night. why he and his father don’t get along baffles me cause every other word out of both of their mouths starts with an F or MF which they both know just doesn’t cut it with me. All 4 of them are in the gimie, gimie status all the time and at this point I am just barely making my bills myself, but they have done nothing to help me not that I have asked because they are all just to self centered to care. I have always been the most giving person and have received nothing but abuse in return. My supposed BFF was bipolar and when it got to the point that every time I walked in the door she was yelling and screaming at me, I broke off out partnership in a business and the last day I found she had changed the lock on our storage shed, when I insisted she unlock it so I could get some of my things out of it. she came out with the key unlocked it and thru the lock on the ground saying just to bring it to her the 1st thing I saw when I opened it was a missing boat motor that She had promised the guy who had given her a bunch of antiques for her promise to keep his items safe (Boat, Motor, paddels & stands) and even though I had known she had been stealing from me for over 5 years that just floored me. I went and asked her where it was all I got as an answer was her fist right between my eyes and her stomping on my left ft, that she had carried me to the surgeon 3 times to have surgery on it. then she imeadiately proceeded to go to everyone she knew that knew me lying saying that I had attacked her. of’course the fact that she had just borrowed over $4,500 from me to pay herself out of debt
        couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with her lyes. because she has not paid one cent of it back. with all the other stealing she had been doing to me it doesn’t really surprise me at all.

        It has all taught me a valuable lesson “A borrower nor a lender be anymore”

  86. Sharing your blog on my Facebook page, fb.com/LiftWithYourSoul. Excellent advice for people to bring happiness to their lives, and therefore bring happiness to those around them. Keep positive energy going.

  87. My favourite reason was “You’re not adding value to my life”
    I’ve done some serious cuts myself – after all is said and done the feeling of relief makes you question why you waited so long (it did for me at least!)

    I saw a really great quote online the other day
    Once you figure out how to be happy, you won’t tolerate people who give you anything less

    (or something like that!

    Anyway it really resonated with me. Thanks for sharing!

  88. You all are wonderful!! Thank you for all the kind words and positive feedback. I thought I was somewhat alone on this personal journey, and now I feel even more united, blessed, and empowered!

    • YOU have blessed your readers! My hope and prayer is everyone with toddlers like you learns to do this NOW. Safe yourselves and your families drama from negative people <3

  89. “Liberal non-judgmental Christian family” What? This whole article is about you judging people in order to decide who you want in your life. Btw, when judging is condemned in the Bible, it’s referring to hypocrisy. And there’s nothing else as important as spiritual matters. I fail to see how a Christian can say that Christianity or anything dealing with it is trivial. It should be everything to you and affect every aspect of your life. Finally, please realize that if you accuse me of being judgemental, you are judging me.

    • Eddie………you are JUDGING this article. God gives you a brain and expects you to use it. Protecting your family should be a priority. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GRETCHIN !!

    • It’s not about judging people, it’s about letting go of those whom cause you stress and frustration.

      There are billions of people in the world, and we can choose the dozen or so we interact with regularly. Let go of the ones who cause you stress and live a happier life.

    • That judging from the Bible that you refer to, implies final judgment, which means condemning someone to Hell or Heaven. You should your religion more. You will notice that Jesus surrounded himself with people who supported him (the 12 apostles). When he let poisonous people into his life, they crucified him.

      • Lindsay – just a note, but one of those 12 was Judas who betrayed Jesus and He never dismissed him.

        It is one thing to judge behavior and another to judge people. The Bible states certain behaviors are sin and we are to be mindful of that. Just because someone engages in a sinful behavior though doesn’t give us a right to call that person terrible or to assume anything about their relationship with God or their motives. There are times God brings difficult people into our lives for a reason; either to help them or to grow ourselves. Not every relationship falls into that category though. It can only be determined through a lot of prayer and patience. If after doing that and attempting to communicate with the person fails then you can make the decision with a clear conscience. Sometimes things change and doors are reopened (like in cases of addiction where someone seeks help) but it doesn’t always happen. The Bible warns many times about the power of people in our lives. Proverbs says “don’t cast your pearls among the swine”. I am assuming the best of motives for Gretchen, but regardless if any who practice this do so with the help of prayer, patience, and communication I believe they will remain in the relationships God intended.

  90. I train women and teen girls on domestic violence prevention and healthy relationships. This will get printed and passed out to these groups so they can see that they CAN dismiss people that do not treat them as the GEMS they are. thank you for a fabulous article. Bravo!

    • Aida, how amazing that you spread love and strength among young woman! You are a hero! I’m truly honored that, what felt like my little “silent war cry,” resonated with you, and I hope it will be empowering for other young women to read!

      • I loved this article..After My Mom passed in November,I chose to take charged of my life&others ugliness,judgment,ignorance and negativity/them making me EXPLAIN my self for everything or my actions…Bitterness HELL YES!!These people made me unhappy for too many years!!My new found freedom I call it feels EXHILARATING!!

    • Aida,
      I’m a survivor of Domestic Violence and I appreciate all that you do! Reading Gretchin’s post really hit home with me. Everything I have learned about living with my abuser and learning about my sense of self taught me I DO NOT deserve to be treated with malice or hurtful ways. It’s very difficult to reason with an abuser because they are completely oblivious of themselves in all that they do.
      This post definitely helps guide you to still show love but not allowing someone to bully you. We all have the right to stick up for ourselves and especially our children!
      I’m more vigilant when it comes to how I’m treated and how it reflects onto my children…but my job as their mother is to always keep them safe.
      Thank you ladies! God Bless!


  91. This really hit home…. regarding my relationship, my families relationship, my siblings relationship with my father. It’s been under turmoil for many many years. Thank you for the words I have been searching for in letting him go. Feels like a death you have been waiting for, for a long time and it has finally come. Now there can be peace. Blessings. <3

  92. After 7+ years of thinking I could help one of my very miserable friends I realized that she is predisposed to complaining and looks for the negative in every situation. I really, really thought that if I could explain the positive side to her situation that she had created in her mind she would eventually start seeing the world thru my eyes. Bright, beautiful and loving. It never happened. One day a few months ago I had planned on going to the park with her and her kids, while all the kids and I were inside waiting for her she sat in her car for 45 min on her phone. When she FINALLY came in my house she started loudly complaining about her mom, son, insurance, then snapped at me about going to the park. I lost my composure. I finally broke. I have been healing and am starting to feel better. I miss parts of our friendship, but just will not allow that negative energy to suck my happiness out of me ever again just to help someone else. I have a wonderful loving family that needs their mommy and happy wifey~ Thanks for writing this piece..it really explains how I feel~♡♡♡

  93. Well written words, your description of yourself and your family makes me wish I lived closer to Vermont – my children love putting on silly theatricals and I think I need to take up rock painting. 🙂

  94. This is great! I have had to do this often. It hurts, sucks, and is no fun. But you truly free yourself to allow people who are warm and kind into your life. Thanks for the post!

  95. Thank you all for your kind words!

    Oh, Deanna, I’m so sorry! My “dismissal” was a close family member. I decided that there will probably be certain functions where I can’t avoid this person, and I will approach the situation with kindness.

    That said, if that person acts in a way that is hurtful or harmful, I can simply ignore them, walk away, leave.

    I think for me it was more about controlling how and when I would let that person affect my life. If certain situations were toxic, I’d try to change or avoid them. I’ve had to say, “I don’t want to talk about that now” or “Let’s just focus on family today” or “I don’t want to argue, let’s talk about something else.” If that doesn’t work, run! Haha!


    • I loved this post, but find that the person for me is also my mother-in-law. My husband and I have had many conversations together to put firm boundaries in place to limit our exposure to her and FIL. We also know that there are some boundaries that can not be crossed and if they are, we will be “dismissing” them from our home. Rough stuff, but know that you are not alone! I think the best first step is reading and re-reading this article, or other boundary forming texts, to know (and give yourself permission) that you must protect yourself and your family FIRST!

    • That is a more delicate relationship. I hippie that you will bring your concerns to your spouse, talk about it together, and agree on a plan of action.

      One thing that really helps me with caustic family members is making lists of their good points (sometimes all I can say is they dress nice, or have cute hair). If I can’t think of any good points, I ask for fun stories about them, so I can fortify myself to see them in a semi-positive light until I can escape. I also pray to see them in a kinder light, if you’re not religious, you can meditate for peaceful thoughts when interacting with them. It also really helps to have very defined activities when you interact. Don’t just sit around and chat, but take the kids to the zoo together, or do a craft together. Remember that idle hands are the devil’s playground, so keep them busy!

  96. Just want to say .. I think your house sounds wonderful .. painting rocks … how exciting .. I work in a day care and work with Junior Toddlers (between 1 and 2) .. it is one of the best ages … 🙂

  97. Best thing I ever did was to divorce my in-laws. I was weak and regret that I did not do it sooner. I felt free to live when in harmony with the rest of the world when I dropped the people that were trying to destroy my marriage and me.

  98. Dear Gretchin,

    I want to really thank you for your post. I am someone who has cut off or as you put it “dismissed” people from my life before, and have struggled with the guilt. Honestly, I have yet to ever read a post like yours in regard to this uncomfortable and at times painful situation. Usually I tend to see the toxic friend viewpoint, or at least that seems to be the option in abundance to me. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty or be called a “fake” friend because I cannot handle your heavy burden’s anymore. I have to worry about my life, my family, and be around people who don’t tear me down. It is okay to dismiss this person from your life. It is okay, that person will be okay without you, and you will thrive without them. You are not a bad friend/fake/selfish if you have to let go of something that is too much for you.

  99. Amen to this and thank you for sharing! I would also like to add #11: our friendship has simply run its course.
    I have experienced 2 rounds of friend dismissals. First, when I got married. Second, having children! Round one was obvious and easy. It was time to grow up, and these people were not pushing me to be more in life. The second round has been necessary, but harder to make final. I keep hoping some critical mamas will magically become encouraging.

  100. Thanks! Needed this today. I have been slowing dismissing people people for a while, the ones you rarely see, but it is harder with family…mostly because they keep coming back. When I had my kids I said I would decide who in my family had contact with them. I decided my father would not. He has seen them once and it was by accident. My brother I have given chances. Well, decided this weekend no more chances. Thanks for reinforcing that I am making the correct decision. Our kids should come first.

  101. Thank you so much for the feedback. I agree 100%. Especially when we add our children to the situation, changes just have to be made.

    The good thing is that, the older our kids get, the less time we have to feel guilt and worry about it! Haha!

    Much love to you awesome, powerful mamas (and dadas) out there!

  102. Gretchin,

    This is beautiful. This hits a lot of personal things for me. I have been struggling since a teenager to be okay with putting boundaries like this up around certain people if it’s in my best interest. After Caroline was born I decided it was time because I cannot allow negative people in my life or hers. It can be hard and at times I feel guilt but it’s necessary for a happy life. I would add:

    11. I can’t put more energy and time into this relationship than you.

    Thank you 🙂

  103. Thanks for posting this, Gretchin! I’ve had to do this recently, too. In the past I’ve given people 2nd, 3rd, 4th (etc etc) chances, or I’ve convinced myself that maybe I’m being too sensitive/maybe they’re not all that bad, etc. What you say about how freeing it is to not have a storm cloud over head is spot on! I might feel a little guilty at first but the emotional space that is freed up is so worth it.

    • The underlying message here is arrogant,Judgmental ,insensitive,hurtful and no doubt” painful” to the receiver.Are you any better than the so called offender with your self righteous attitude about “dismissing ” or “completely removing” another human being from your life who has feelings,sorrows,disappointments of their own just like you have?Has someone done this to you? When I read your words I felt that you are angry,not coping and feeling unsupported in life and I see that “the offender is angry,not coping and unsupported in life.Both the same,both equal and both affirming and reflecting each others pain and needs.Both are in reactionary, charged states.What a great opportunity to stop for a moment,To talk about each others thoughts and feelings,to create a new more genuine story and form a deeper more authentic supportive friendship with each other. Talk, look and listen from your heart space the ‘offender’ may become your best friend teacher and healer. Sil.

      • Hey Sil, when I read this I mostly got the impression that this post was formed in response to one person, or maybe two at the most, who seemed to be bringing poison into Gretchen’s life at a time that she was least able to deal with it. The bullet outline in the post is justification for a friendly person to go ahead and cut off the source of that poison, at least for a little while. After reading, I didn’t get the impression that she was going to cut off someone who just slightly annoyed her, or someone that was going through emotional issues herself. Sometimes we all need to draw our own lines, make our own rules as a starting point, and then make our own exceptions as life goes and the current pain has some time to heal.


        • Matt, thank you — spot on! I’ll admit to some bitterness directed toward the “main offender,” but I genuinely try to approach temporary dismissals with love, kindness, grace, forgiveness, and open mindedness.

          Most importantly, I’m clear with the person about why I need to limit my time with them. Each person I’ve done this with has gracefully walked away, so I feel that I handled those situations well.

          I’m happy to report that I now feel surrounded by people who bring love and light to my life. Any arguments tend to be constructive and not about delivering hurtful messages, but growing and learning together.

          Thanks so much for the comments and insight!

          • I’m confused by the term temporary dismissal… I’m sort of cut and dry I guess, I’m curious, have any of your temporary dismissals been reinstated.
            I know if a friend ever pulled away from me, our friendship would be over and if they tried to rebuild it later, it would never be what it was.
            If I pull away from people, there is nothing temporary about it or I wouldn’t need to do that in the first place.
            Thankfully I’ve been lucky with friendships as we grew to become friends, we’ve been good matches. Now family is another story… I’ve written two family members out of my life. The first one was my dad in 2001 and haven’t a clue about anything concerning him, so that one has been easy. The second one is my niece just this year, that ones been a little harder to move on from, as my mom wants to bring her up to me and I’d also like to maintain my relationship with my brother, her father, but not sure if that will be possible or not yet. I’ll have to deal with that bridge, if my brother chooses to to pull away from me. I’d understand his position if he does.

          • I agree with you and I had to do that recently. The person I dismissed was draining my energy and my positivity. With 2 small children, a house and a job, I could not deal with it anymore. It was time to let her go. I can’t fix someone who does not want to be fixed.

          • I’m going through the same situation. The problem is I’ve never experienced this type of emotional hurt and periodic physical altercations. Its complicated. Although we have all helped each other like friends do they are both very negative, moody, unhappy, argumentive, critical, depressed, angry, hardheaded, and on and on. Everything is always mine or someone else’s fault and although neither work they are always cutting me down about everything. They both have also went behind my back and have called my landlord and my sister whom they don’t even know and told them things that have caused serious problems. I have forgave them over and over because I know their struggling. I’ve tried cheering them up and reasoning with them and even suggested counseling to no avail. Over time I have suffered lower self esteem, anxiety, resentment, anger, am not as happy and relaxed as I once was and they have damaged relationships with family, friends, and at work. Sometimes I feel like they are working against me. I need to make a decision soon. What would Christ do? Bless them and continue to try and help them and suffer for it or move on ? By the way I’m male but as I said am going through the same types of issues. Thanks Grechen☺

          • I think you should be a little more clear then on your intentions, reasonings and maybe give certain scenarios. I read this the same as Sil and maybe it’s because I’m not a mother and I’m going through something similar with my sister that is a mother. It sounds like you are telling Mothers that if they have friends without kids who don’t understand what it’s like- and may not realize that the friendship has changed in that they cannot go to them for emotional support because they have a child- you have the right to cut them out because your life and family is now more important than theirs and your friendship. I feel like it’s an escape route as I would bring up things I’ve noticed with my nieces behavior in an observational way- not negative and she gets defensive immediately without taking anything into consideration.

            I’m going through some issues in my life that I’ve only asked for a shoulder to talk to about and never for anything else. She’s also caused some of these issues just recently and she doesn’t want to recognize it or deal with it- because “she has more important things to do and doesn’t have the time anymore”. So she’s taking the easy way out while I’m sitting here hurting and alone.

            I get mother’s lives change- but that doesn’t mean you have to forget about the feelings of others or think about what dismissing them does to them.

            I know you clarified above in your message- but it’s not clear to someone on the receiving end and it still sounds very hurtful and righteous.

        • “We are a non-judgmental, liberal Christian family.” but when it comes to you, I am making a judgement to banish you from my life…. not to be judgmental or anything. Yes, I know that makes me a hypocrit and a liar all wrapped up into one… but… refer to number 1, 3 or 4.

          What a total crock of crap this article is.

          • YourMirror, You’re certainly not my mirror. Aren’t you wonderful to be “liberal” and “Christian”. You are extremely judgmental; everyone in the world is. Your foul language reveals who you really are–no judgment!

      • You clearly are a person who is dismissed from peoples lives.Look at this article as the glass half full not half empty!Life is short,enjoy it!

      • I so agree with you! I have a daughter who has accused me of many of the things she posted and I have not done any of them! She is spreading hurtful lies about me and she has disowned me! She has hurt me and when I have tried talking to her, she twists everything. People need to realize that there are 2 involved in a relationship and it takes 2 to work on a relationship! People need to open up and talk to each other!

        • Tammy, I have to say that I feel for you. I have had the same situation for quite awhile with my own adult dauhter. It is so hurtful to me and I feel that my hands are tied because there is never a time to clear the air. It is almost like it is what she wants to believe. I have truly decided the best thing to do is just back off. We are not getting anywhere with my relentless attempts except more pain. It is all so heartbreaking and I can only pray and hope that before too long she will understand, as a mother herself, what she is missing in her life.

          • Lori, I am in the same situation. Our daughter is a narcissist. If she doesn’t get her way, she uses the grandchildren as leverage. I have let her go. If she calls, that is great, but I have learned that I can have a good life without begging for a relationship with her anymore. It takes two, but she is unwilling and she will have to live with that decision one day. I have a lot of love to give and will focus on those who want my attention.