Destructive, dysfunctional relationships can hold us back in life and keep us from following our dreams or fulfilling our destiny. That great Bible hero, Abraham, showed us that sometimes we must put distance between ourselves and certain relatives.
- Skill level:
Know that to disown a relative is not always easy, certainly not as simple as divorcing a spouse. Although divorce is never easy and brings with it its own set of issues, it is harder to disown another member of your family who is causing you trouble or heartache. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for a battle. To disown a relative, no matter if it is figuratively or in a court of law, is going to be traumatic.
Make a decision to separate yourself from the source of the strife. Whether it is a parent (if you are an adult), a sibling, a cousin, aunt or uncle, put as much distance between you as possible. If you can't move physically away from him, at least limit the amount of time you must spend with him. Just because you are in the same family doesn't mean you have to be with him at every birthday, family picnic or other events. If you are not ready to completely sever all ties, then settle for seeing him once a year during the holiday season.
Call an attorney and file a restraining order to make your position clear when you disown a relative. If the relationship is especially toxic and you feel threatened, a restraining order will serve notice legally to the relative that you want no contact with her.
Go before a judge in a court of law and request an "emancipation" be filed if you have a rebellious teenager causing your life to be miserable. It is hard to disown a relative who is your own child, but when you have tried everything and nothing has worked, maybe that teenager needs to be on his own. Check with an attorney for the specifics on laws in your state. The age at which emancipation is possible for a youth may vary from state to state, but is usually when he turns 17 years old.