47 Toxic Family Quotes To Remind You That Blood Isn’t Always Thicker Than Water

Welcome to our collection of 47 quotes about toxic family, each written by a soul with a unique insider’s perspective.

If you’re here, you can probably add to this list with insights of your own. 

If you’re looking specifically for leaving toxic family quotes because you’re ready to go after a life of your choosing — or you’ve done precisely that — we’re confident you’ll find some new favorites here.   

What Are Toxic Families? 

If you grew up in a toxic family environment, one or more of the following is likely to sound familiar: 

  • You often suffered the consequences of not meeting unrealistic standards
  • You couldn’t trust your parents (or older siblings) to protect you; 
  • You were harshly criticized and learned to stay under the radar; 
  • You don’t remember why you don’t feel safe around them; 
  • You were shamed for changing—or for not changing fast enough; 
  • You were expected to put other people’s needs ahead of your own;
  • Being invisible costs you less than asking for something you need. 

47 Toxic Family Quotes 

Read carefully through the following list of toxic family members quotes, which we’ve separated into a few more specific categories.

Make a note of the ones that stand out. 

Toxic Bad Families Quotes

Some families leave deeper scars than others. If you’ve had to separate yourself from most of the people you grew up with to heal, the following quotes are for you. 

1. “Some of the most poisonous people come disguised as friends and family.” — Unknown

2. “The more dysfunctional, the more some family members seek to control the behavior of others.” — David W. Earle

3. “A toxic family is even worse than a toxic relationship.” — Rohan Chouhan

4. “It’s sad how I can trust teachers more than my parents.” — Dawn Andrews

5. “Love them from a distance. Pray for them, wish them well, but don’t allow them to abuse you.”– Kimber Waul

6. “I do not hate my toxic family members. I also do not need them.” — Sherrie Campbell

7. “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy

8. “Just because they are your family doesn’t mean that they are your friends.”– Beverly Miller

9. “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” — George Bernard Shaw

10. “Family is supposed to be our safe haven. Very often, it’s the place where we find the deepest heartache.” – Iyanla Vanzant

11. “A narcissist can be your husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, boyfriend, girlfriend, neighbor, boss, church member, or anyone you come in contact with. There are endless possibilities of ‘who’ they can be. The important thing to remember is that the actions, behaviors are all very similar.” – Tracy Malone

12. “Being brushed aside is the easiest way to discard a child.” ― Sherrie Campbell

13. “The quality of time our parents devote to us indicates the degree to which we believe we are valued.” ― Sherrie Campbell

14. “Blood doesn’t make you family. Some of the most demonic and demeaning people in your life share your DNA.”– Temi Ade

Letting Go of Toxic Family Quotes

If you’re thinking of cutting toxic family members out of your life—or you’re taking steps to do just that—we hope the following quotes help you in letting go and doing what’s best for yourself. You deserve to do that as much as anyone.  

15. “You are not part of a toxic family if you walk away.” — Unknown

16. “It’s not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.” — Jonathan Schiller

17. “Just because they are your family doesn’t mean that they know what’s best for you or your life.”– Samuel Zulu

18. “Family too can be cut off if it proves to be too toxic to be around.” — Samuel Zulu

19. “Refuse to inherit dysfunction. Learn new ways of living instead of repeating what you lived through.” – Thema Davis

20. “At some point, you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life.” — Unknown

21. “If the family you chose before your birth no longer supports your path towards fulfilling your true destiny, it is never too late to find a new tribe.” ― Anthon St. Maarten

22. “You are born into your family, but as an adult, your life belongs to you. If your family doesn’t support the life you choose, then choose to distance yourself from them for your own mental health.” — Barrie Davenport

23. “You create more space in your life when you turn your excess baggage to garbage.” ― Chinonye J. Chidolue

24. “Weeding out the harmful influences should become the norm not the exception.” ― Carlos Wallace

25. “If it’s hurting you more than it’s healing you, love yourself enough to let it go.” ― Sherrie Campbell

26. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.” — Mark Twain


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Toxic Sibling Quotes

Toxic siblings—like toxic parents—will hold onto you for as long as it serves them, no matter what it costs you. Let the following quotes inspire you to break free. 

27. “Brother or sister has no meaning if they treat each other like worst enemies.” — Samuel Zulu

28. “I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom.”- Bob Hope

29. “Love is close to hate when it comes to sisters. You’re as close as two humans can be. You came from the same womb. The same background. Even if you’re poles apart, mentally. That’s why it hurts so much when your sister is unkind. It’s as though part of you is turning against yourself.” – Jane Corry

30. “With toxic siblings, your brother or sister is never wrong. They often have the mentality that nothing is their fault, and everyone else is wrong.” – Christene Lozano

31. “Nobody fights you like your own sister; nobody else knows the most vulnerable parts of you and will aim for them without mercy.” – Jojo Moyes

32. “I suppose there are sisters that don’t compete. I have never met one.” – Lisa Grunwald

33. “At this point, none of us are sure why we fight. We’re sisters. We need no good reason to fight, even though we have plenty of them.” – Ken Wheaton

34. “The term brother or sister means nothing more than what you define it as.” – Anonymous

35. “The things that make a sibling toxic are the same things that make a friend toxic — only with a sibling, it’s even harder to separate yourself from the drama.” – Jill Whitney

36. “A toxic mother talks but never listens, and she gives advice but never takes any.” — Sherrie Campbell

37. “Her father is a burden she shouldn’t have to carry, but she does. He had made her feel unsafe in the world when his one job was to make her feel protected.” ― Krystalle Bianca

38. “Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.” – Les Dawson

39. “You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” — Joel Osteen

40. “Remember…Whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you.” —Ziad K. Abdelnour

41. “Families and their problems go on and on, and they aren’t solved; they’re dealt with.” – Roger Ebert

42. “I may be the black sheep of the family, but at least I am me and not a fictitious white sheep I am not.” –Samuel Zulu

43. “When you notice someone​​ does something toxic the first time, don’t wait for the second time before you address it.” –Shahida Arabi

44. “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamot

45. “Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.” – Cary Grant

46. “If you attach to the negative behavior of others, it brings you down to their level.” – Guru Singh

47. “Don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out.” — Robert Tew

How You Can Use These Toxic Family Quotes 

It’s comforting to know that you’re not alone and that other people are also dealing with difficult domestic dynamics. Quotes about toxic families remind us of this fact, so we’ve devised a handful of ways to leverage them for better mental health.

Take what works for you and leave the rest.

  • Journaling Prompts: Nobody is 100% sure why, but studies conclusively prove that keeping a journal works wonders for mental health. Consider using one or more of the quotes about toxic families as prompts that will encourage and allow you to offload emotions and concerns you may be harboring. 
  • Meditation: Meditating on ideas and concepts is a great way to internalize them. Try focusing on quotes you like during moments of quiet mindfulness. But only pick one per session.
  • Tattoo: Turn a quote that speaks to you deeply into a tattoo. Get a portion of the saying inked somewhere you can see as a reminder, or design a graphic that represents your favorite saying.
  • Share on Social Media: Sharing quotes not only helps you express your feelings, but it may also assist someone who’s going through a rough patch under similar circumstances.

Now that you’ve looked through all 47 toxic family quotes, which ones remind you most forcefully of your own situation? Or what would you add to any of them? 

Take that as our invitation to use one or more of these quotes as a journaling prompt. 

Then, rather than keeping those words to yourself, find someone—a therapist or close friend—willing to listen as you read them out loud. 

You’re done hiding.