Going Low Contact With Family

In life’s journey, our family often surrounds us and stands as our support system. However, there are instances when this relationship may create more tension than comfort, leading individuals to consider an alternative path: low contact. Going low contact with family is an approach where communication and interaction with your family are kept at a minimum, for various reasons ranging from persistent stress, emotional exhaustion, abuse, and toxic familial dynamics.

Understanding Your Feelings and Setting Boundaries

Before considering a move to low contact with family members, it is essential to take a step back and thoroughly evaluate your emotions. Acknowledge what you are feeling—anger, sadness, frustration—and understand that these feelings are valid. Taking time to introspect on the nature of these emotions and the reasons behind them can provide clarity. Reflect on the family dynamics: is there a pattern of behavior that’s causing harm? Whether it’s manipulation, blame, neglect, or abuse, identifying these toxic elements is a crucial first step.

Once you have a clear understanding of the dynamics at play, assess how they affect your mental well-being. Do these relationships leave you feeling drained or demoralized? If so, how deeply does this impact your day-to-day emotional state? This self-reflection is vital in deciding whether reducing contact is the right path for you.

After understanding your feelings, it’s time to consider setting boundaries. Establishing what you are comfortable with is an act of self-care. It’s about defining your limits and making it known to others what is acceptable and what isn’t. Boundaries aren’t just about saying no; they’re about creating a healthy space for yourself. Communicating these boundaries clearly is critical. When you express your needs honestly and assertively, you take control of your emotional space. Remember, setting boundaries is not a one-off event—it’s a continuous process that requires firmness and consistency.

It is also vital to prepare for various reactions when you start enforcing these boundaries. Not everyone will understand or respect your decisions at first, and that’s okay. Your priority is your well-being, and while you can manage your own actions, others’ responses are beyond your control. Stay firm and remember why you’re taking these steps in the first place.

Steps to Go Low Contact

Embarking on a low-contact relationship with family members often begins with difficult conversations. It’s essential to approach these talks with a mix of honesty and respect. Explain your feelings and the thought process that led you to this decision. This can help ensure that your decision is understood, even if not accepted.

When you move towards low contact, be prepared for varied reactions. Family members may respond with disbelief, emotional manipulation, or even denial. It’s important to remain steadfast in your resolve, keeping your mental health at the forefront of your mind.

Adjusting to a low-contact arrangement typically involves scaling back interactions. This might mean setting specific times for phone calls or reducing the frequency of your visits. During holidays or family events, managing your involvement and presence may also be necessary. It’s not uncommon to experience guilt during this phase, but remember the ultimate goal: protecting your emotional well-being.

Going Low Contact With Family

The Psychological Impact of Going Low Contact with Family

Reducing contact with family can result in an array of psychological effects. It is not unusual to feel a sense of loneliness or isolation as you redefine the boundaries of these relationships. The absence of regular contact, even if previously conflictual, can create a void that must be acknowledged and managed.

On the other hand, creating distance from unhealthy family interactions can be liberating. It often leads to a reduction in stress and an increase in overall mental health. Establishing firm boundaries can foster a newfound sense of independence and control over your life, contributing to personal growth and well-being.

How to Maintain Low Contact

Maintaining a low-contact relationship requires dedication and strategy. When unexpected situations arise, it’s important to stick to the boundaries you’ve set. If you find yourself in an unplanned interaction with a family member, recall the reasons for your decision and reaffirm your limits.

Throughout this process, managing your emotional health is paramount. Techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, or journaling can help navigate and process your feelings. Building a support system outside of the family, such as trusted friends, mentors, or supportive online communities, can provide comfort and perspective.

Seeking Professional Help

Sometimes, managing a low-contact situation and the emotions that come with it can be overwhelming. That’s when professional assistance can be invaluable. Therapists, counselors, and support groups offer specialized expertise and can guide you through the challenges of transitioning to low contact.

Professionals in the mental health field can offer coping strategies, provide a neutral perspective, and help you to understand and articulate your emotions. For those who face intense familial conflict, professionals can mediate conversations or offer a structured environment for dialogue. Seeking this kind of help can reinforce your personal efforts and lead to a more sustainable low-contact relationship with your family.


Going low contact with family is undoubtedly a challenging journey; however, recognizing that your emotional health should always be prioritized is the foundational step. From understanding your feelings to maintaining low contact, this journey requires assertiveness and courage. It’s a lesson in establishing and preserving your boundaries, taking control of your mental health, and nurturing your well-being.

While it may feel daunting, remember, you’re not alone. Many people have undertaken this journey and flourished in the newfound peace and autonomy. Reaching out to professionals or those who’ve had similar experiences can provide you with valuable insight and guidance, reinforcing that it’s okay to prioritize yourself.