I'm currently in a bit of a dilemma that has been making me really anxious. First of all, I'm in the prospectus stage of my dissertation/phd program and in a real rut right now; the stress, the anxiety, the toxicity is mind numbing and I'm at a stage where I just want to complete my degree. However, as I get my committee together, I already have three confirmed members (we only need a minimum of three). the fourth person is who I have a question about. They were the main reason I came to this program but since starting, they have been completely unhelpful: not responding when I email; not providing recommendation letters, not leveraging their connections when I went to the field (so much I had to seek out another mentor) and being very discouraging. No matter what my idea is, this person would thwart it. So a bad advisor. I made peace with the fact that they would not be my advisor but kept them on as a "committee member" or "mentor". But I am reconsidering now. I do not want this person on my committee anymore, but I dont know how to handle this. It's such a small department that not having this person on my committee would be very conspicuous (which is why I kept holding on anyway). Both within the department and even to outsiders, since their work bares the most semblance to mine ( they are the only one doing anything closely related to mine in the program). Also, I had already started sending them drafts and even told them they were a committee member. This person is just so incredibly toxic, everyone in the program knows this and students run away from them.. In the past, they have badmouthed a former phd student to a potential employer. But mostly, they only care about their own work and not any student. Their comments on your work can be disparaging and the peace that comes with them off my committee would be exhilarating. Yet, I just don't know how to tell them I don't want them on my committee anymore. Honestly, I'm not even too worried about them badmouthing me, since at this point, I don't want any part of academia anymore so that's fine with me. But how do I deal with a.) telling them? b.) With staying on in the program after what would definitely be a broken relationship? It also doesn't help that I am the least confrontational person.