18 Things You Should Never Feel Obliged to Do for Family

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By Jonathan Trent

The pressure of family demands means you can often feel obliged to help or even emotionally blackmailed during difficult situations. However, like with any other relationship, boundaries are necessary for your well-being, so here are 18 things you should never feel responsible for doing for your family.

Compromise Your Values

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You should also never compromise your personal beliefs and values to suit your family, as this can lead to conflict and make you feel uncomfortable in certain situations. Communicate your moral and ethical values to your family so they know where you stand, and leave it at that!

Sacrifice Your Happiness

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Your family should want what’s best for you, so you should never sacrifice what makes you happy simply because they’re asking you to. Family traditions and expectations shouldn’t come at the price of your happiness, so remember: there’s a “fine line between doing things for others and behaving like their doormat,” says Psych Central.

Spend Money You Don’t Have

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Financial stability is important, and your finances are yours to manage, so you should never feel obliged to overspend due to family pressure. If you can’t afford something, let them know. Don’t forget to never accept any family loans if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.

Put Up with Disrespectful Behavior

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Another thing you’re not obliged to do is put up with disrespectful behavior just because they’re your family. Be sure to set boundaries and speak up about anything disrespectful, and if certain family members continue to lack respect, you can then choose whether you want to see that person anymore.

Sacrifice Your Career Goals

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Often, it can be that career goals might not align with family expectations, but that doesn’t mean that you should feel obliged to change your aspirations. If your family doesn’t give you career support, you can find mentors or guidance from others outside of the family for your fulfillment. Never compromise, though!

Share Personal Information

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You’re always entitled to choose what you want to share with your family members, so you should never feel obliged to tell them personal information or secrets you’re uncomfortable sharing. You’re in charge of what you choose to keep private about your life, after all.

Attend Social Events You Don’t Want to Go To

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Often, we feel obliged to show our face at every family event, but you don’t have to do that, either. You’re entitled to turn down any meetup, so don’t feel bad. After all, Time Magazine claims that studies show that hosts care less about declined invites than you might think!

Stay in Unhealthy Relationships

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Being in an unhealthy relationship with a toxic family member doesn’t mean that you can’t break it off just like you could any other relationship, simply because they’re family. You still have the choice to distance yourself from problematic family members if they’re not supportive, so you should do exactly that.

Change Your Appearance

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You should never feel obligated to change any aspect of your physical appearance based on family whim, such as if they disapprove of the way you dress or your hair color. You have a right to your own personal style, and they should love you for who you are, not how you look.

Sacrifice Your Personal Space

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Maintaining your personal space is important within a family, and you’re always entitled to seek alone time to relax when you need it. You shouldn’t feel obliged to constantly be social or entertain family members who are encroaching on your personal space, just like in any other relationship.

Conform to a Certain Religion

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Even if you were raised in a religious household, you’re not obliged to follow that same religion if you choose not to. You’re free to follow your own spiritual and religious beliefs, and you’re also entitled to decline any invitations to religious practices or ceremonies that don’t align with your own truth.

Forgive and Move On

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Forgiveness is a journey, and you can take as long as you need to forgive and heal from something that has happened. Psychology Today advises that it’s also okay to forgive a family member while also choosing not to have them in your life anymore, so don’t mistake forgiveness for being black and white.

Move Back Home

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There are many reasons why someone might choose to move back home with their parents, but that remains your choice; you should never feel obliged to move back home simply because your family is asking you to. If it doesn’t support your own wants or independence, you shouldn’t have to.

Hide Your Authentic Self

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Have you ever felt the need to hide certain aspects of yourself at family gatherings? You shouldn’t feel obliged to do that, either. Family expectations might make you feel as though you can’t express certain traits or interests, but you shouldn’t feel pressure to be less authentic to suit them. Be yourself!

Prioritize Family Over Friends

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Your friends can be just as much your family as your blood relatives, so you should never be made to choose one over the other. A healthy routine means balancing time spent with both, so don’t feel obliged to cancel on friends because your family asks you to do something.

Take Sides in Family Conflict

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If you’re not directly involved in a family dispute, you’re not obliged to take sides or even get involved. You can help other family members by talking it out or trying to find a resolution, but ultimately, you don’t have to decide who you think is right or wrong. You’re not their lawyer!

Relocate for Your Family

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If you’re happy where you currently are in terms of home, career, and personal goals, then you should never feel obliged to relocate upon your family’s request. It can be difficult when emotions are involved, but clearly communicate why you don’t want to leave your current home and stick to your guns.

Be a Constant Source of Emotional Support

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One final thing you shouldn’t feel obliged to do for family can be one of the most difficult to avoid: being a source of emotional support. Emotional exhaustion is likely with taxing family events, warns Healthline, so while we always want to be supportive, ensure you take some time out.

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