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How to Make Someone "Dead to You"

Alternative health care and mental health enthusiast who is always looking for new ways to become better.

Sometimes, you can't see any way to repair a relationship, and you decide to cut all contact with that person.

Sometimes, you can't see any way to repair a relationship, and you decide to cut all contact with that person.


No actual people were harmed in the making of this article. This article is not a how-to guide on how to off someone or make someone disappear. "Dead to you" means the person is metaphorically dead but still very much alive and well.

When Should You Make Someone "Dead to You"?

This decision is a very difficult one to make and should not be taken lightly. The "dead to me" strategy means that the person is really dead to you. So, you should think long and hard about if you are really ready to take this step. In order for the "dead to me" strategy to work as a concept, it does not allow for temporary death or resurrections. It has to be final. If you are wishy-washy about it, people will not take you seriously, and you will end up in a cycle of game-playing that will never end.

What to Consider Before You End the Relationship

You should only undertake this step if you:

  • have reached your limit and maxed out your tolerance for a particular person or his/her behaviors.
  • no longer need this person for any reason and will no longer need this person at any point in your life.
  • have been so deeply hurt or offended that no apologies or separation will allow you to move on together in this world.
  • truly and 100% believe that your life would be better and more enjoyable without having to deal with a particular person.
  • have already given out all your second chances and have no more to give.
  • see no possible alternatives or compromises.

Think Carefully Before You Cease All Contact With a Person

Obviously, you can't make this decision in the heat of the moment. It is a decision that much be carefully thought out. There are people that you can't really make dead to you, like your boss (until you quit or get fired), because you have to communicate and interact with that person on a regular basis.

You also can't end relationships with family members whom you live with or take care of and have to see and talk to on a daily basis. You probably shouldn't make your children or parents dead to you unless you plan on never, ever repairing those relationships.

Here are some relationships that are easier to end permanently:

  • exes of all kinds, such as boyfriends and girlfriends (only when no children resulted from the relationship)
  • friends or so-called friends
  • neighbors
  • former co-workers, classmates, or associates
You may see no way to forgive or compromise with the offending person.

You may see no way to forgive or compromise with the offending person.

How to Permanently End a Relationship

Here are the steps:

  • Declare them dead in your mind.
  • Say goodbye and mourn the loss. It is okay to have a grieving period; that should occur with any loss.
  • Eliminate contact—no calls, words, Facebook stalking, or anything else that involves monitoring the offending person's life. Once someone is dead to you, he/she does not physically exist. All you have are the memories. You can't answer their phone calls, texts, emails or any attempts to reach out.
  • Let go of the expectation of seeing, talking with, or repairing the relationship with this particular person. Don't look for them in the streets or expect to bump into them at usual hangout spots. If by chance you do see this person, you must pretend like you don't and ignore them.
  • Move on with your life with your hobbies, work, friends, and loved ones.

In Time, They Will No Longer Affect You

The strict separation need not last forever. After a period of time, you will notice that you no longer care about the offending person. You can run into them on the streets and dismiss them as nothing. Even if they try to talk to you, you may find that you can superficially dismiss them and go about your business. You can say "hi" and "bye" as if you are talking with ghosts. They are still dead to you. Their former selves are gone.

Advantages of the "Dead to Me" Strategy

There are several advantages to declaring someone "dead to me." Here are the most important:

  • Achievement of the end of whatever conflict has caused hurt feelings and general upsetted-ness, as it is now automatically over
  • Automatic renewal of existing friendship as you are now free from boring others with repeated and endless discussions of the offending persons about what they did, how they did it, and how you are going to get them back
  • Freedom from negative thoughts of revenge
  • Elimination of all chances of the offending persons ever hurting you again
  • Permission never to talk to the offending persons again in life

Read More From Pairedlife

In time, the offending person will be like a ghost to you.

In time, the offending person will be like a ghost to you.

Use This Strategy Cautiously

A word of caution: You can employ this strategy too liberally and declare everyone dead and end up alone and lonely. So, save it for when you really need it.

On the other hand, you might feel that this strategy is too harsh. Keep in mind that it is really reserved for extreme situations in which you must preserve your own health and well-being and look out for you. In other words, you have no choice.

It is most important to remember that you are the only one who can really take care of you.

Not Every Relationship Can Be Repaired

Not everyone in this world can be redeemed or saved. Some people do not care for others. And, no matter how hard you try, they may never learn how to be a good companion, friend, co-worker, boss, or family member. When you have people in your life who are constantly treating you like trash, harming you and offering no positive benefit to your life, then you might have to employ this strategy to save yourself and stop the harm.

Use this strategy which you want to be free from the constant pain. You will find this mental strategy will provide you with a sense of freedom and help you regain your own individual power.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Kyle on March 11, 2019:

Thanks for the much as I don't like declaring someone dead to me, I had no choice but to do this in regards to a former acquaintance. Writing off someone I liked and/or wanted to be friends with is hard, but in this case, she hurt my feelings in a way that I just cannot forgive her for.

Briley Brat on February 25, 2019:

This frickin Brat told me that Honey Bunches Of Oats is the exact same thing as Cheerios. This offended me to the highest level. I knew that only one measure could be taken. So. I declared her dead to me. There is no greater offense. And frankly, I wish there was more I could declare about her. right now I don't know what to think. I need some time. For my heart to recover. This was the right decision. It might be for you too. Sincerely- HBO

G Gayle on September 19, 2017:

I actually have used this (only when necessary) and I always had positive results. I googled it today this way "Is it healthy to pretend someone is dead?" and I got your post. I have lived my life around many behavioral disordered people (ones with severe afflictions) they were all naturally selfish and demanding and were awful to be around. I was always their "last friend" so to speak and I was treated with no kindness. Ever. The years of being over-empathetic with another's well being has been horrible and lonely. I'm taking care of myself now. I'm just afraid that I have started too late and the years of stress are going to send me to an early grave. Thanks for your post.

Crocket on January 18, 2017:

I have heard of this concept and I was looking for more details. I think in almost any relationship we get into, it starts simply and openly. And sometimes this person becomes a lover and companion plus very compatible. But then things change unfortunately, at times this other person's genuine qualities go away. We do what we can to overcome that but the sour taste can get worse and worse. It is at that point of being lied to, used, cheated on, demeaned that we want to proclaim that person's existence is over. The opposite side is the person you originally got to know and admire has died by their actions also, not ours, all very sad.

colleen on November 03, 2016:

Thank you for this. I have to do this with a co-worker as she is the ultimate "mean girl" and I cannot deal with this silent treatment crap she keeps pulling. Very well thought out and written!

Marie Hurt (author) from New Orleans, LA on February 16, 2016:

Yes. Otherwise, they keep drawing you back into their drama.

emma on February 14, 2016:

do i block them from Facebook and instagram and twitter too?

Shaun S. on July 19, 2014:

I believe Jesus said "love thine enemy's, bless those that curse you, do good to those that hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you". But he also states" if a part of your member causes you to sin, it's better to cut it off and cast it into the fire, better to lose a member than the whole body". It's all in the application or interpretation for each person. No don't keep kissing butt to keep a fake friend. Maybe back off, pray and ask God to give that person the wisdom to change. If you've done that, tell them " you have hurt me and I must separate our union. If you show me a difference I would love to continue". Please never leave a person with, feelings, heart and a soul, without an explanation ,or a possible recourse. That would just be the same as they have done to you. No it works the other way, "do to others as you would want them to do to you". Thanks...

Lady13 on April 04, 2014:

So what exactly should I do , just write a R.I.P letter ? Any advice will definitely help A.S.A.P I am extremely heartbroken and using this strategy will definitely help my situation .

Marie Hurt (author) from New Orleans, LA on May 14, 2013:

That is a tough one DrivingPeace. I have problems with someone I work in the same office with. I want her dead to me, but I have to see her every day. So, I just try to be emotionally distant and fake. But, to cut off a parent is really a tough decision. Hope things work out for you for the best.

Greg Weber from Montana on May 14, 2013:

I'm currently deciding whether to employ this strategy with a parent. They have been "dead to me" in all but name for 20 years already, but deciding that you don't ever want to see one of your parents again, or even attend their funeral, is a big decision. This was an interesting Hub. Shared and voted up.

Marie Hurt (author) from New Orleans, LA on April 28, 2013:

Thanks for the support.

moonlake from America on April 28, 2013:

I just declared someone dead to me last week. I hit my limit and maxed out my tolerance for this person. Enjoyed your hub and voted up.

sunflowerforests from The light in the forest of doubt. on April 09, 2013:


Marie Hurt (author) from New Orleans, LA on April 02, 2013:

Thanks for your comment DDE.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 02, 2013:

Interesting and most informative, and you have made your point as clear as possible.

H C Palting from East Coast on March 28, 2013:

As a reformed people pleaser, I have used this in several instances and immediately weights were lifted off my shoulder. I have had to kill off neighbors and exe's and even a couple of friends and have more time for the people in my life that are truly valuable human beings and conduct themselves as such. This is a very useful hub that can help a lot of people who are constantly being needlessly stressed out by others.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on March 23, 2013:

I think toxic people would be the first on the list of those I would want 'dead' to me. Not literally, of course, but I would keep a firm distance away. Thanks for sharing!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 20, 2013:

As harsh as this sounds I agree with you. I have written off two people in my life. I gave them every chance to change but when it became apparent that they would not, my welfare was too important to ignore. Great message!

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on March 19, 2013:

There really are some relationships that become just mentally painful. Perhaps the"dead to me" is the best route in those situations. Good hub!

Marie Hurt (author) from New Orleans, LA on March 12, 2013:

That must have been really hard to do janetwrites.

Janet Giessl from Georgia country on March 12, 2013:

I applied this strategy with my best friend from childhood. We have been best friends since kindergarten but when we grew older we realized our relationship wasn't good anymore. It was me who made an end to this friendship. I haven't seen her for 5 or 6 years. Though this decision was hard I think it was the best way for both of us.

Marie Hurt (author) from New Orleans, LA on March 12, 2013:

Thanks for the votes up, they are much appreciated.

Marie Hurt (author) from New Orleans, LA on March 12, 2013:

It is hard to let go but after awhile it gets to be as if they didn't really exist.

healthylife2 on March 12, 2013:

there are definitely times when there is absolutely no benefit to continuing the relationship and the negatives outweigh the positives. Preserving your own health and sanity is important. You will always be your own best advocate and have to be the one to make this decision. When you do it can be a relief in some cases but takes time to feel that. Voted up!

torrilynn on March 11, 2013:

I feel that you have to mentally and emotionally give up on the person almost pretend as if they don't exist. nice hub and great tips.

Voted up and shared.

Marie Hurt (author) from New Orleans, LA on March 11, 2013:

So true SandCastles, thanks for stopping by.

SandCastles on March 11, 2013:

To symbolically flush the relationship down the toilet is something you have to do sometimes. Good hub.

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