How to deal with toxic family after a loved one passes

I am new here, so hello and please excuse the long message.

My mum passed 2 am days before Christmas, she had cancer but her treatment was supposedly working? She died suddenly and it completely broke me. Mum was only ill for 3 months so it all felt like it happened so fast.
A lil back story
I work full time have 3 children a huge family and commitments to kids clubs, etc.
My mum has two sisters
They live abroad - they are like a little gang and they are bossy can be quite toxic and push their opinions into others constantly.
When mum got her diagnosis I took her to an appointment to get the news the treatment had worked. She had several follow ups my dad took her too. I couldn’t go near her when she had the radio therapy as we was advised as I have children under 5 years old. So I’d have to wait for the weeks of treatment to end and I’d see her then.
I was in the hospital with her
Bought her all new clothes
Took her home made meals in
It may seem not very much? I don’t know? I guess I thought we had more time to share together.
But I work all week and it’s busy family life.
Mum was always included and invited round - often tho she wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t come.
And that was always understood.
The issue
My aunties came to mums send off, they spoke really badly of me saying how I didn’t do enough wasn’t there enough and how they did more than me or my family here, from far away?
I don’t fully believe what they said is true but I guess part of me does feel guilty. We had planned a spa day and to go places in 2024. I’d cleared a bit of my schedule to have more time to make things happen with my mum.
Unfortunately we didn’t get the time. So I think some of their words really hurt me.
They said how mum was lonely?
They said we didn’t make enough effort
One of them said I should have quit my job, I shouldn’t have worried about the radio therapy and still gone to see mum etc.
I explained I need to work to pay bills and I was protecting my kids by staying away during those times. But they have no children and both come from privileged marriages. They don’t fully understand my life and situation
But they pushed their nasty toxic opinions onto me and dad at mums funeral. The funeral myself and dad organised and paid for by the way - not that that should matter but, we was offered nothing from them.
They had a go at me for not playing a song
I hired mums favourite local singer and he did hall her faves
They wanted something I couldn’t get. They refused to go and ask staff to play it form a phone over the system and expected us to run around after them.
One of them actually said
Why are you crying, I miss her more than you she was my sister and I knew her longer!
That took me by surprise - even tho I expect their behaviour to be poor it still caught me off guard
I just said oh well down that’s good for you.
But all their words bother me.
I think perhaps there is a bit of could I have done more? Should I have quit my job? I think had I known d the time was so short I may have? But I thought we would get to do all the plans we made.
I’m so hurt by mums passing
She was 57 and didn’t deserve it.
She was really just always so positive even when she struggled. It hurts and that hurt will never go away. I miss her my kids miss her. But the sisters make it all about themselves and tell their opinions to family and I feel it’s unfair. I live my mum and was I the perfect daughter, of course not
But I was always there for her as she was for me. We spoke every day
She was close to us and I feel their toxicity is making me feel si much worse
I don’t think they should share everything and especially not in that day.
How do I deal with this? I love them, I know mum loved them
But I can’t deal with them at this time they are too much
Too bossy too opinionated and very much victims of their own doing
They gang uo and they did that to mum too. She was the one left out always. It’s just all very sad as everyone else in family was so supportive and kind and helped out. They did nothing but expected everything


Hello @Margatitta,

I’m part of the Online Community team and I can see that you are new to the community - I’d like to thank you for bravely starting this thread and sharing how you are feeling. I’m so sorry to hear about your mum. Most community members have sadly experienced the death of a loved one and so will understand some of what you are going through.

I’m sure someone will be along to offer their support, but I wanted to share a few Sue Ryder resources with you that might be helpful.

I really hope you find the community helpful and a good source of support and I also hope you feel you can access more support should you need it.

Thank you again for sharing – please keep reaching out and know that you are not alone.

Take care,


personnally i would take your dad and kids and walk away, you dont need them. hugs xxx


i have a simlier sort of problem, my husband died on december 28th, he always said that he didnt want his sisters or extended family knowing that he has died or coming to the funeral, i will certainly grant his wishes as all they did when he was alive use and abuse him mind you the last 6 years they havent spoken to each other, i am dreading the day when they do find out [not by me]so in a way i can see where you are coming from take care Diane


This is a constantly recurring theme- death just seems to bring the worst out in people, or, I think, their true colours.

I experienced this with my partner’s family during her illness and in the aftermath of her death - I could go on and on about how disgusting their behaviour was, but that is the exact opposite of the solution and your ultimate well being.
If you allow it to take over your life, you’re playing into their narrative and giving them exactly what they want and what they’re trying achieve.

I eventually realised that, if I was going to cope, I had to excise all toxicity from my life and anyone associated with it

My advice is to completely cut ties in all ways - both social media blocking and physical avoidance.
No good will come from dealings with them and they will continue to break you down as long as you allow it


thank you very much for that advise which i will take


@Margatitta sorry for the loss of your mam, :pensive: I too am dealing with my partners toxic family, he passed away 4th of December and he hadn’t told his mother about me, I understood why, she was very bossy and opinionated and he didn’t want me involved with her, which was fair enough, the day he died, she got a shock of losing her son but also she found out about me, she said I wasn’t welcome at her home or to speak to anyone as I was a stranger and a nobody!!! I tried to explain I was with him a long time and often longed to meet them but she wasn’t having it, then came the “your not welcome at my sons funeral” I did go, I sat at the back, was in a trance! Disgraceful behaviour! But I’ve never once reacted to her toxic behaviour and her lies she’s told after, narcissists feed on drama so they can play the victim, cut them off, don’t respond, go silent, it hurts them more! They can’t get a reaction and they’ll be wondering why!! They’ll be guilty for not being there for your mam, you were! You did what you thought was best and that was good enough! Not being funny but why should you give up your job? And then struggle to bring up your kids? Have money worries? I’m sure your mam wouldn’t of wanted you to do that! Why didn’t they come back home? Give up their lives abroad since they thought they knew better? Vile behaviour but don’t feel bad about it, you were there, they weren’t, people seem to come out the woodwork after and give their opinion s! A few did after my partners funeral! I was angry at some thinking where were yous when he was alive?? Don’t come crying now!! Grief affects everyone different, brings out the worst in some, but they’ve always been that kind of person and nothing will change them, :pensive:


Thanks everyone for you time replying :white_heart: it means a lot.
My husband and dad’s family have all said just walk away. And I think I know I should.
My only thing is, my mums mum - my amazing nan, she passed almost a year to the day before mum. She and my mum were my favourites. I don’t want to loose ties with the last remaining of mums family.
I mean, I know I would have to distance myself, as I can’t take the toxicity
But I feel like mum would really want me to not leave it all on bad terms.
I don’t know
I just feel so hurt. By all of it
Thanks so much for your advice
I will take it in board as that’s basically the advice everyone’s given me here. Xx


I am so sorry you had to deal with that.
I just don’t understand how people can be so cruel? Especially at a time you’re already hurting.
I’m sorry for your loss
It’s hard enough without the added drama of others.
My aunties have been gaslighting my mum for years and now, they are doing the same to me. My feelings are not taken into account at all, it’s all about them. They come as a pair and they hang up
They’re raise their voices and shout
It’s just ugly.
I’m a very emotionally lead person
I’m empathetic to everyone
I feel very deeply
And even after how they acted, I have still offered an olive branch which they have ignored.
When I reaponded and said I think it was unfair what you said and untrue
Also not a great time
They said I obviously don’t feel well and they’ll speak to me when I’m better?
My husband said it’s pure gaslighting, I’m grieving my mum at a young age and il never ‘feel better’
It’s like the funerals happened and they’re expecting me to be over it already?
I’m just in pain and I love them, they’re my aunties. But their words hurt me and I’m now dealing with them ignoring me and it hurts. Especially at a time I’d love to have them be close - they were mums sisters after all.
I hope you managed to griev for your partner
The mother sounds very cruel to speak to you in such a way.
Thank you for sharing with me


I am sorry for your loss. It is hard enough dealing with the grief
Family members who make things harder are just strange to me?
I hope you have some support :white_heart:
Thank you for your time in replying
It means a lot xx


Oh Diane I’m so sorry for your loss
You did the right thing by your by your husband. He had reasons for them not to know
If they do find out maybe just ignore them?
You ow them nothing!!
I hope you have some support around you.

My aunties have really hurt my feelings at a time when I am struggling
It seems cruel?
I just would never do that to someone.
One in particular has treated my mum real bad over the years, and was quite mean to her this year before she got sick. My dad thinks she’s feeling guilty so offloading onto me? I think there is some truth in that tbh
I never told her I knew about all what she did, how my mum was upset over it
How she had spoken about it 2 days before she passed away as it was still hurting her! I never said that because I didn’t want to hurt her
I respected my mum too much to cause anyone anymore pain.
Yet they couldn’t show me the same courtesy
And I did everything I could for my mum
She was my best friend
I miss her with every heartbeat
It’s all still so raw
3 weeks ago she was here. Alive. We were planning Christmas and had all our lists checked off.
I’m deverstated
And they have now gone back home leaving me to sort my mums place out. Knowing how upset I am, no offer of any help.
I tried to offer an olive branch and they choose to ignore that.
It’s gaslighting

I think the more I write replies the more I’m realising I probably do need ti cut ties as actually they do not bring me any peace when I need them the most

Your husbands sisters must have been the same way
God boess and thanks for sharing with me xx

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margatitta your welcome no i dont have anybody to help me or relay on it just me doing it all,but i will get through it, i talk to Gary every day morning noon and night, i sleep now the same side as he did, and i get comfort out of that,yah the sisters are the same i know if they get to know i will be in for it from them but that is what Gary wanted i feel if i dont do what he wants then i am going against him and i never would do that , they are not gonna know anything (well not from me anyway) god bless and take care im always herexxx


Hi everyone,
I have toxic people I’m related to too, so I know the type well,
@Margatitta, I would say, I agree with Ang5, you have your own family to consider, you shouldn’t have to give up your job or anything else, it sounds to me that their lives are empty, so they’re trying to make themselves feel better by putting you down, grrrrr! I hate bullies, & to treat you like that at such an emotional time was just cruel.
I understand that you see them as the last ties to you mom & nan, but as you say yourself, they are toxic, your mom sounds like a nice lady who would want the best for you, & would want you to have a happy life, it is of course your choice. All I can say from personal experience is, bullies are never worth the trouble, & they’ll never change.
To @MemoriesOfUs , I like that quote, :+1:t2:. I agree, the only real way is forget the toxic people & focus on what’s really important.
To @dianedee , I like the idea of not telling them, I call that karma on them for how they treated him, also, it makes sense, especially funerals can be an emotional time, & doesn’t need to be made any more stressful by “problem” relatives. I find your loyalty to your partner’s decision very heartwarming.


i had a lot of toxic family and friends so when my hubby died 2022, i put up a mesage on FB that basically said, sorry to tell you dave died yesterday, there will be no funeral, there is no insurance so anyone hoping to get some money, there aint any so you can all %$£$ *&


You go girl :+1:t2:



So very true,you have a brillant way with wordsYou inspire me. Take care.


Hello so sorry to hear that you have lost your lovely mum and that your auntie’s are giving you such a hard time when your at your most vulnerable, this actually says more about them than it does about you, it sounds as if they are trying to put their own guilt onto you instead of dealing with it themselves. You loved your mum and she loved you and nothing absolutely nothing can ever change that, no mater how nasty they become they cannot take that away from you. Please look after yourself and try to think that their behaviour is their problem and not yours, if that means distancing yourself from them then that’s what you may have to do, you don’t deserve or need this you have done nothing wrong nor do you need to feel guilty, sadly sometimes people react like this my own brother turned on me when our mum passed away and it can really drag you down, you have a lovely family so please concentrate on them and turn to them and friends for comfort. Sending you a big hug.X


@MemoriesOfUs am I correct in my assumption that you have been on the receiving end of family fall - out since your loss ? Forgive me if I am wrong btw .
I have a son who I once would have described as a wonderful son . Sadly my nasty DIL has ensured that since my partner died , me and my son have majorly fallen out . Well he’s fallen out with me . I’ve been blocked on their phones for not giving them space , I’ve had texts ( important messages) ignored , he visits me once a week ( without her ) , she’s banned him from hugging me and the list goes on ……and on ……
She’s pregnant and this all coincided with the start of this . I’m banned from seeing my grandson, something which has caused me so much heartache. Re the child , I’ve decided for my own wellbeing, I have to just wait and see . They might change their mind they might not . Obviously this will cause a family division which he doesn’t care about . He sees me as a burden even though he only visits once a week . I am terribly angry at his callous treatment of me at a time when I am struggling so much . I’m not coping at all following the sudden unexpected death of my partner in January 2023. Even if things improve, I will never forget this time . I would forgive him because life is too short

This is really sad. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this on top of your grief.
While the DIL sounds horrific your son should stand up for himself and for you!
I feel same way about my aunts
I would forgive them but won’t forget how abandoned they’ve made me feel at the lowest part of life.
Have you tried talking to your son? I wouldn’t want you to loose him any further but do any other family ever mention anything to him? It’s hard cos you shouldn’t need to ask them to be there or point out where they have gone wrong. But it can be so hurtful and frustrating especially when you knwi you havnt done anything wrong. The no hugging you thing? What’s that about? If she isn’t even there ?? Sounds jealous and perhaps insecure. Such a shame she is causing a rift like this and bigger shame he’s allowing it. I hope you have other family or friends who can support you thru xx

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