Cutting Ties: A Simple Technique For Getting Rid Of Emotional Baggage

Frayed Rope

Life consists of so much more than the physical world; even though we can’t see it, we are connected to one another on an energetic and emotional level. Each time we interact with another we make an exchange on the more subtle levels of our being and even after we physically separate from the other, energetic and emotional ties remain. Energetic cords are not restricted by space or time, so you can be connected to someone far away, a person from your past, or someone who is no longer living.

What is an Emotional Tie?

An emotional or energetic tie is a structure of energy between two people which causes patterns from the past to constantly be re-lived. These ties are often referred to as cords of attachment because they are an open channel between you and another person which energy and emotions flow without your conscious knowledge. You are literally “attached” to each other on a subtle level.

While it is necessary to have some ties in every relationship, it is important to differentiate between the beneficial ties and the destructive ties. Every day we exchange energy with friends, partners, parents, children, siblings, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. In these interactions there are bound to be instances where we may feel hurt, misunderstood, betrayed, judged, or insulted. We are often not aware of how much energy we spend on these experiences which may ignite emotions such as fear, anger, or resentment. If we do not resolve and forgive these moments, we continually leak energy to these incidents and keep negative patterns alive.

We are not conscious of these ties and for this reason negative patterns in relationships tend to repeat themselves constantly. A good way to tell if you are still energetically and emotionally tied to a person or situation is to think of the person involved, and if an emotion arises, it shows that some of your energy is still invested there. Another indication that you are losing energy through a cord of attachment is to be aware of your energy levels after interacting with another. If you feel drained for a few hours after spending time with someone, it shows that your energy has “leaked” outward. Also, it is important to pay attention to any changes in your moods. Do you always feel angry around a particular person and you do not know why? All these are indicative of any unhealthy connection.

Cords are formed on a subconscious level, usually through one’s need for control, strength or manipulation. Cutting ties is a helpful thing to do to clear past experiences, beliefs, resentments, and judgments. Cutting ties allows us to remove old patterns and stop reliving dramas with other people.

Cutting ties does not sever the relationship (unless that is the intent), rather, it puts the relationship back on a healthy path. By cutting ties of old, negative energies, we allow space for new, more harmonious energies to enter those relationships. When you cut energetic ties, you will feel a sense of being free or of having a heavy burden removed. Effects may be felt physically, energetically, or emotionally.

You may want to consider cutting ties in the following situations:

  • There is someone in your life that you no longer want in your life. (Depending on your relationship with this person you may need to also verbally express your wish to cease interactions with them).
  • After the ending of a relationship when you feel the ties may stop you from moving forward in your life, or you just have difficulty letting go.
  • When you have had a major change in a relationship, and you want to change old patterns or ways of interacting with someone.
  • In current relationships where you wish to maintain the relationship but feel there are unhealthy aspects which need to be cut.
  • Anytime you are transitioning to a new stage or phase of your life and you feel there are things you need to let go of.

A Visualization for Cutting Energetic and Emotional Ties

The visualization process below is a tool that you can use to set the intention that you are no longer willing to lose your energy in this way. It opens the door to letting go, and allows you to get rid of all the thoughts, beliefs, and judgments, that are holding back or tainting a relationship which could develop into something much more productive.

Cords can also exists between you and material objects or possessions. The following exercise can be adapted for instances where you feel your attachment to an object is unhealthy or holding you back in some way.

Preliminary Steps

If possible, take a break from being around that person before you perform the exercise. This will allow for greater detachment and discernment on your part.

Become aware of what the connection with the person is about. Is the relationship based on love, acceptance, and support or is it based on fear, security, and need? Is the relationship contributing to your greater good as well as the greater good of the other person? Have the lessons from this relationship been learned and it is now time to move on?

It is also important to have awareness of how these cords got formed in the first place. What was your part in allowing the negative emotion and energy to develop between yourself and the other?

Before cutting ties take a moment to acknowledge the relationship. If it is with a person you wish to remove from your life completely, think of how that relationship positively influenced your life, any lessons you may have learned, and what you are allowing into your life by cutting ties that connect you to that person.

Steps for Cutting Ties

1. Relax. Get into a comfortable position, either sitting or laying down. Close your eyes and relax by taking a few deep breaths.

2. Visualize the other person and the cords. Visualize as clearly as possible, the person with whom you wish to cut an energetic tie. See and feel the cords that exist between the two of you. Take as much time as you need to be able to sense the cords. It is up to you how these cords look. Some people visualize cords as ropes, chains, or electrical cords. To some these cords may look like an umbilical cord, others may use the visualization of a more subtle cord made of light. There is no wrong way to visualize.

Keep in mind also that these cords may look different as you perform this exercise with different people later on. This is normal; the cords symbolize the degree of your attachments, and you will intuitively see the level of attachment in your visualizations. Some attachments may be more like thin threads, where others could be very thick and sturdy.

3. Visualize cutting or severing these cords. There are many different visualizations one can use for cutting ties. Some envision golden scissors snipping the ties or a white sword severing the ties, others may “unplug” the cords. Let yourself be creative and use what works for you. Some cords may be more solid than others and will take more energy and stronger tools to cut. Make sure you have visualized and felt that the ties were cut completely.

When cutting ties it is important to send love while you are performing the separation. This will help heal any possible “wounds” from the separation.

4. Completion. You may feel that you need to take additional steps to feel this exercise is complete. Use whatever visualization or techniques that give you a sense that the cutting is complete. You may find it helpful to complete by visualizing a wall between the two of you. Alternatively, you can visualize the two of you in an infinity sign or a figure eight, where each of you is in a separate circle. By cutting the figure eight in the middle the circles are separated, and you can visualize the other person in their circle floating off in the distance.

5. Awareness and Healing. Take a few moments to relax after the exercise. Give yourself time to become aware of any effects you may be feeling. You may want to envision healing energy around the areas where you cut the cords, especially if it was a very difficult person or situation you were cutting ties with.

6. Ongoing Awareness. Keep awareness in your future interactions with that person. It is important to establish healthy patterns of interacting with that person from now on otherwise you may fall into the same negative patterns which you just cut.

Considerations for Cutting Ties

Often one session is enough, but sometimes you may need to repeat the exercise a few times before you feel the energy has been released. Do this exercise daily until you feel the energy has been released.

When we cut ties and energetically remove ourselves from energy draining situations, a period of adjustment is to be expected. Even though it is beneficial, like any change it can be uncomfortable. Remember that you will know that you have cut the cords between yourself and the other person, but they will not. The other person will probably feel that the energy has changed, but will not be able to explain it. Have awareness and allow time for the energy to rebalance in the relationship.

Be aware that the person who has been cut may feel a sense of loss and try to reach out to you. If your wish is not to reconnect with this person, then allow adequate time for them to adjust.

Be aware that by doing this work, the relationships involved may change in ways that you may not have anticipated. Some relationships may become closer and others can become more distant. The outcome may not be what you were hoping for, but have trust. Most often what our ego wants is not actually what is best for us.

Reclaiming Your Energy as a Daily Practice

Every time we interact with another there are emotional and energetic responses. It is important to become more aware of how your energy changes throughout each day. Did you go from open and loving, to closed and withdrawn, or angry and bitter after interacting with another? Also, check your thoughts. Do you find yourself drifting to the past or the future or constantly dwelling particular person? These are all indications that your energy is not centered within yourself, and you are “leaking” it.

Taking a few moments now and then to bring your awareness inward can help reduce the amount of energy lost to outside circumstances.
To minimize the amount of energy lost throughout your day you can make a habit out of cutting ties after seeing, speaking, or writing to another, by performing a simplified version of cutting ties after your various daily interactions. Each of us has a different level of sensitivity, so it is up to you how often you cut ties or after which type of interactions you need to cut ties. Some of us are easily affected by simple interactions while others are only affected by interactions with those who are closest to them.

A quick cord cutting needs to be nothing more than simply visualizing a sword sweeping quickly down the front and the back of your body after each interaction. This will cut any energetic cords that may have been left behind from that interaction. With regular practice it will become an instinctual habit to leave each interaction energetically free.

You can also cut all your ties from the day in one session before you go to bed at night. Spend a few moments recalling the people you interacted with that day and cut the ties with each of them. This will clear any energetic baggage that may have accumulated throughout the day.

These “quickie” methods are meant for very simple situations or newly formed ties. A quick cut may not be enough to release deep, long felt emotional and energetic ties to a person or a situation. For such circumstances, perform the full method. Think of this shortened version as nothing more but a tool to increase your daily awareness of your emotional and energetic connections to others.

Remember to Focus on the Positive

Even more important than looking for negative connections in your life is to concentrate on the positive connections. First, you will see that learning to recognize the healthy and nurturing connections in your life will make it easier for you to identify when a connection with someone is unhealthy or depleting. But more importantly, by the law of resonance the more you focus on the positive connections in your life, the more of these connections you will attract. You may even find that by focusing on the positive aspects, some of the negative ties in your relationships will disintegrate by themselves.

Read Also: 10 Mindfulness Practices to Manage Negative Thoughts and Emotions


Photo: Gino Santa Maria

Michelle is passionate about holistic health and self-discovery. She received her training in Nutrition, Herbalism, and Bodywork from the International Academy of Natural Health Sciences in Ottawa, ON. She studied Ayurveda and Yoga in India and later continued her Yoga studies on Koh Phangan in Thailand. Michelle truly believes that good health involves body, mind, and spirit. She loves to spend her time in walking in nature, meditating, painting, writing, and learning more about health and wellness.


  1. So very helpful and easy to follow. I appreciate your quickie steps to alleviating some of this negative energy that may occur. It is a process but by focusing on the positive you will speed up the process without a doubt. Our thoughts determine our life! Please keep writing these wonderful articles that inspire and bring light to everyone because we all need it !!

    • I need to cut cords with my daughter. I worry that if I do this she will feel loss as it says in the article. It is so painful not being able to say anything at all to her or help in any way as she struggles in her life and just lost the support group she had.

  2. Thank you so much. From day one as a child I have always felt like it was my mission to protect and heal people. Growing up I have attracted a lot strange/unique kids. Some of the nicest hearts I have ever met but dear god they would cling so tight and suck the life out of me physically emotionally and spiritually. Now transitioning into my adult years all these kids have come and go and followed their own path…but one. He is a master in the arts of manipulation and guilt and no shame in saying this he is whipping me and my heart is telling me to let go. This is a tough lesson I am learning in this life time but is very rewarding. Thanks for taking time to write these articles its safe to say the world appreciates it :).

    • Thank you for sharing Zach. I am glad you appreciate the article and I sincerely hope that these tools help with your situation.

  3. This visualization really worked. I am now trying to figure out how to cope with the loss/gain in a positive way. The universe worked so quickly that my ego/mind is trying to play tricks on me and make me feel like it was a bad thing to cut ties. I think I need to go meditate on this 🙂

    • Hey, I would be interested to know if the meditation worked or whether Father Time worked his magic and two years on there is a workable distance and emotions are stable?

  4. Have just put the above into action and hope it has the desired effect, thank you for sharing this!

  5. This article was exactly what I needed!

    Being an only child who found it difficult to express my true emotions, I had been carrying a lot of emotional baggage all through my life. One day, due to a broken relationship, it all came crashing down, and all those skeletons that I thought I had buried for good came crashing down. I felt confused and utterly lost, but am slowly getting back to being more conscious and understanding of myself.

    Videos and articles like this one have helped me a lot to get through this difficult phase. I thank you so much for putting time and effort into this.

    Here’s to a more fulfilling life 🙂

  6. Though I did not finish the whole statement about the cutting force of emotional ties, this seems so deep. Well-written article that is straight forward. Goes through your mind down to the heart as well. Relying on these easy instructions will help me get out of being EMO Yoww

  7. Great article! I need to cut ties with my sister but fear my mothers reaction. It’s not that my sister did anything wrong it’s that she doesn’t do Anything. She betrayed my confidence Several times to my parents and now she has three kids I Never hear from her except a terse text on a holiday or birthday. They drive hours to vacation somewhere and yet can’t drive an hour to see me which they promised would happen when my partner passed. I didn’t hear from her when she was on vacation and really thought she Might text. That was the point I knew I had to cut ties. It just hurts more to be forgotten and ignored than to just have a divorce, if there is such a thing. What hurts the most is how generous financially I have been to her and put her as primary on my will. It all just stinks but it is what it is. Thanks for your article and I know it will help me!

  8. Hi, I found this to be very effective and one of the better ones in the long list of ‘spiritual’ methods on google. Just wondering though if there is any truth to what some people say that severing cords causes damage or wounds to both parties and it is better to “dissolve them gently” with helps of calling on angels and guides. I find that all very complicated and a bit disempowering to rely on third parties to do the work, but still not sure if there is any truth to what they are saying with regard to the difference between severing and dissolving in visualizations? Since I’ve been trying this method though the past few days, I feel so much lighter and brighter as well and I’ve had a lot happen in my life, so thankyou for that. Will be sticking to this method I think regardless. I prefer straight forward, simple techniques that don’t involve too much woo woo.

    • Hi Philippa, Thanks for your comment, I’m glad you are finding the technique useful.
      I personally do not think there is any harm in severing energetic ties, I think it is more harmful to keep these ties intact. And I think that personal boundaries are our own responsibility, not something we hand over to a third party. Cutting ties is really just a way to keep our boundaries in check; it is saying that we are no longer going to give our energy to someone who is detrimental to our well-being. Cutting ties sends a clear message of what we are not willing to accept in our lives and is less confusing than slowly or gently dissolving ties.

  9. Lovely !! thank you so much !!

  10. Thank you very much for taking the time to share this information with the world. This is so important, I think more so than many realise.

    • Glad you have found the article useful Simone! Yes, it is important – it’s so easy to forget about the subtle connections that we have with people.

  11. Forgiveness is the best form of love. It takes a strong person to say sorry and an even stronger person to forgive.

  12. When someone does something wrong,
    don’t forget the things they did right.

  13. Sometimes you need those bad days, because it helps you truly appreciate the good ones.

    Don’t try to understand everything. Sometimes it is not meant to be understood, just accepted.

  14. godstillspeakstoday14

    Thank you so much for these simple easy to use steps. I am coming to find that boundaries are SO important, and I need to be firm in implementing them.


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