Cutting ties🤷‍♀️

Good evening....I have a very difficult and personal question....our son is 17, almost 18. Because of terrible abusive behaviour he has been staying on his own for almost 9 months. My question is, what do we do as parents if our child chooses a life that contradicts our believes and values...we live according to Christian values, but he chooses a life of stealing, lying, swearing, violence, and he told me about cannabis dealing and using yesterday.....he doesn't respect our values...he stopped all his medications. He don't see this behaviour as a problem and don't feel he is doing anything illegal or harmfull...What kind of relationship, if at all, can we as parents have in this situation....? I know about uncondisional love , but we are at a point where we only feel that we want to have a platonic relationship....did any of you experienced that there came a time where you wanted or needed to cut emotional ties with your child?


Well-Known Member
Yes I did. But not at 17, which is so young. How can you make such a final decision when he is so young?

Think about it. There was never a guarantee that your child would grow up to share your beliefs. I too am a christian but I gave my daughter a chance...she s in her 30s. She is an atheist but that is not my concern. I don't like it but I just wish she'd get it together in other ways. We did not give up easily. And she abused us, got violent and took drugs. We made her leave but held hope she would change. She didn't. But we didn't completely lose hope for ten years. Of course it is your choice. Just my thoughts.

Maybe you can think about it, put distance between you now, but not think so far ahead. Have you seen a therapist to get help? We did.

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Thanx for the feedback...maybe I expressed myself wrong, we wont cut all ties, we will still support him financially and medically and we still pay his tutoring . We will be there if he asks for help or support. We are just not sure how to navigate the relationship on an emosional deeper level...I agree, there is always hope, and as you said, he is still young, although he tries to behave all grown up, but I can see he is making immiture choises. I just wondered if there is any one who went through this and decided to distance themselves emotionally, almost like disconnecting, to protect the rest of the family and ourselves....we will always be there if he asks for help or decides to turn back and start taking some responsibility for behaviour and investing in the question still stands: on what level do you keep on with this relationship, how do you navigate it when the young adult disrespects your values, not just religious, but if you can't trust them, not feel safe around them.....for how long do you keep on giving, also plenty of money....if they use it for unsafe you keep on to open yourself and your younger child up for being sweared at, manipulated and lied to...he can believe whatever he wants, but we surely do 't have to tolerate being in a car and being forced to listen to demonic music or having to listen and watch all the stories he tells us, full of swearing and grusome bloody details......its difficult to imagine how to have a deep relationship with such iineraction....and environment.
Yes we have been trying plenty of therapy for the last 14 years....lately he doesnt want to attend and he sabotages the sessions by lying and manipulating the session. To such an extend that the therapists dont see the use of any further sessions. Yes, we are willing to give it time, but what do we do in the meantime....until he one day decides to turn his life around...or not....?


Well-Known Member
Yes. We had to do this in order to survive. It was eating us up inside.

We go to Nar Anon, a spiritual program for people with loved ones who use drugs and are encouraged to take care of ourselves first because we can't control our loved ones addiction.

Our first step is "We admitted to ourselves that that our lives have become unmanageable" or something like that (it's 4 a.m. now and I am up with my dog who is afraid of thunderstorms...heh... so my mind is tired). I have learned to give my life over to God and to give our daughter to God as well. He is better able to watch over her and He loves us as much as He loves her. He doesn't want us to suffer. I helpful to go to church a lot and pray for our family and to lean on our church family. Also we see a private therapist.

Drug use in a loved a family disease, but we have to learn to cope and even be happy. Our loved one is not within our control but we can control our reaction to him/her. We can let go of the chaos they cause and find peace eventually.

I am sorry you have to go through what we have. Some kids turn around. Our daughter has not yet. Maybe she won't. But I can't predict the future husband and other family needs me and I need to love myself. I can't let her illness suck the life out of me and I won't let it happen anymore.

Hugs and prayers.


Well-Known Member
Sunshine, first of all, hugs. This is so painful.
Your question is a complicated one, and one I've grappled with many times. I wish I had an answer that I could live with, but I don't. I'll explain my situation and you can take from it what you will. If nothing else, maybe it will make you feel less alone

My son is much older than yours. He's 26 now. As a child he was somewhat difficult (didn't sleep as a baby, threw tantrums often etc) but he was never in trouble at school or with the law. Apart from struggling with a mild learning disorder, we thought he was doing okay - a wilful child, who was much harder work than our other kids, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Just before he turned 18, things got worse. His moods were worse than ever. His personal hygiene deteriorated significantly and I suspected he was smoking pot. His then girlfriend (who was lovely) told me she was worried about him. We tried to get him to go to a psychologist but he refused and no amount of pleading worked. His state of mind was not bad enough that we could force anything on him (as in he was not in immediate danger of harming himself or others) so there was simply nothing we could do.

Eventually the girlfriend left (who could blame her?) and he did then seek help. He was medicated for depression and he saw a psychologist for about a year. He seemed better, so he stopped going and stopped the medication. Since then it's been a merry-go-round of him behaving badly, seeking treatment, seeming better and then the cycle begins again. I know he is not well but he has proven time and time again that he can exercise self control and make good decisions when he chooses to. For example, he knows that smoking weed is not good for him and yet time and time again he goes back to it.

I'm not going to go through all the ups and downs we've had, suffice to say he does not live his life according to our values. I believe in forgiveness and redemption and unconditional love. Part of me will always love him. However, I also believe that we each must take responsibility for our own actions. My son (and no doubt yours too) has been given every opportunity to live a good life. He's had a safe and loving home, a good education and many rich life experiences - all of which he has wasted.

I live my life exhausted with worry. I want to be free of this but it's not that simple.

I have not cut ties with my son, although a large part of me wants to. As I said, I love him, but love only goes so far. If I'm absolutely honest, I do not feel the same way about him as I do about my other two children. He's worn me down and eroded some of my feeling for him. Now the predominant emotion I feel when I see his name flash up on my phone, is fear. I think,"What now?"

So how do I handle this? I try to keep him at arm's length. I do not contact him, I wait for him to get in touch with me. Sometimes he's in touch frequently, other times not so much. I don't get involved in his life - no financial handouts and he knows he can't live in the family home ever again. I still do some things for him. Like last week I took him to the oral surgeon to have his wisdom teeth removed. I drove him, waited for him and made sure he had the pain killers he needed etc.

He has been better these past two years (that's not to say they have been two incident free). He got an apprenticeship and is training in a trade he enjoys. His work seems to be going okay. He lives independently from us (in a house we own but he pays us rent). He has a nice girlfriend. He seems to argue with one of his housemates a lot and this concerns me, but I don't get involved.

On the surface he now looks like he is doing well. But underneath the facade of normality he still has issues. He's selfish and seems unable to regulate his emotions properly. To my knowledge, he is no longer seeing the psychologist, so I figure it's only a matter of time before he goes off the rails again. I live in fear of what might happen.

My solution to this long term will be to put physical distance between us. He lives in the next town to us and it's a small community so there's really no escaping him. Everyone here knows everyone else's business. My husband and I are planning to move to the other side of the state as soon as we can. Realistically, we probably can't move for a few years yet. My husband is planning to retire in about 5 years time and at this stage it looks like we won't be able to move before then. It's a long way off but even so, the thought that one day there will be a lot of miles between my son and us is a relief.

So I understand. Nevertheless, your son is still very young and there's still hope that he will turn his life around. I hope this is the case. I guess what I'm saying is you can lovingly detach from him and not enable his behaviour - and it sounds like you're already doing that - without closing your heart to him entirely.

I hope this makes sense.


Active Member
My son is 18 teen , I been slowly cutting ties from him & it is the most difficult thing in my life to do , he chooses to do drugs , likes to run the streets & associates with bad people . He is now homeless :( I recently offered to send him away to a good year long treatment center to get help but he refuses. I don’t understand how he rather choose to eat out of garbage cans & sleep on the streets then to get help , his reason is he likes his freedom. I think this is the point I had to cut ties . How can I help someone who dosent want to help themselves?? .I pray for him everyday.He does contact me here & there but sometimes that just makes it harder for me . I’m not fully there yet , but cutting ties slowly is what works best for me . I couldn’t go all in & just let go , that’s to painful for me . I’m slowly learning to let go , but it hasn’t gotten easier for me yet . I will be praying for you & our sons. Sending hugs


Active Member
Let me add , I been going through this with my son since he was 15 teen , he has been in & out of rehab centers, treatment facilities, therapy, nothing helped , in & out of the juvenile justice system. As you can see from my signature, (helpless ) that’s how I feel now . I understand your pain .


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Great thread. My son also started at age 15 going down the tubes but now at almost 26 (will be 26 the end of August) he is doing so much better. I think it is BECAUSE I pulled away from him when he was not being the son or person I knew he could be for a few years. We were actually afraid of him for some time. He is 6' and 200 pounds and not the person we knew nor had raised. We continued to support him financially but he was out of our home for close to three years. I didn't have much to do with him at that time, he had hurt me too much. His dad/my husband handled him. It was the only way that worked for our family.

He now lives with us again and is in college full time and getting A's. We NEVER talk about the bad years but I must admit, I WANT to and I NEED to. Just not now I guess. He and I are again close and I thank God every day that he did not overdose like my good friend's son. She has her son's ashes next to her couch.

I am not sure if you are a believer but I really believe in God's will. We want what we want but in the end, God's will will prevail every time and we may not always like the outcome. I don't know why such bad things happen to good people but they can and they do. My son was spared and trust me when I say that every breathing moment while I lived my life I was in constant prayer for my son. Even at night I didn't waste a minute when I'd wake up and worry. I'd just pray. I often wonder if that is the one thing that really changed it all. I know it helped. If you give it to God it will free you. We are really not in control anyway, we just think we are.

Do what you feel is best for you. There really is no right or wrong answer here. Every family and every situation is different.



Sending good vibes...

Sorry for all your heartache. There is no easy fix to this. Many of us have been through this. There does come a point sometimes where you do have to detach with love and set boundaries. I'm definitely a work in progress and don't have all the answers but setting boundaries for yourself even in small increments and sticking to them will be beneficial. There is definitely some guilt on us parents when we do that but it's necessary. I've had to do it with both of my adult sons and then allowed them back into my home on my terms once I saw some improved changes on their part (which by the way took years). I am still working on this and it's very difficult but it's important to remember that boundaries are not walls. They can be looked at as "bridges" so that it doesn't seem so permanent and harsh from your perspective.

Also, remember when you set boundaries they are really for yourself and those whom you're setting them up for will probably not like them and tell you that you're selfish which of course is because they are used getting what they want and when they want it at your emotional, psychological and sometimes financial cost.

The best advice is to do what your heart tells you. If you open the gates too wide and abuse starts up again, then close them. It's really a little bit trial and error.

Wishing you courage in your journey.