Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dealing with Estrangement

I consistently receive questions from readers asking when will they be free of the confusion, anger, sadness, control, and all of those other negative feelings surrounding the abusive parent. No easy answer is available for that question.

You may have wanted to have that loving relationship with your parent your whole life. You may have been seeking that acceptance your whole life. You may have been trying to achieve closeness with that parent, and now, through introspection, research, or some other method, you realize that your parent is unable to give you what you have been seeking. That's a tough pill to swallow.

Another tough pill to swallow is that you really want to be surrounded by loving parents, and the disappointment and emptiness that surrounds you when you either get treated poorly by them or are estranged from them only compounds as time goes on. Our parents were our role models as kids. Our mother is supposed to be our first 'true love'. Our parents are deemed almost perfect in our innocent child eyes. So when we finally come to terms with the fact that our parents are not who we thought they are or that we can't take the treatment anymore and estrange ourselves from them, a hole is left that they used to fill. That hole is very noticeable during holidays, our birthdays, and times when having that family relationship is very welcoming.

As time goes on, the pain eases but I don't think one ever 'gets over' not having a parent in their life who is walking around on this Earth. Let's face it-- those who have loving relationships with their parents don't simply forget their parent when their parent dies. So why would we, who are estranged from our parent, simply forget? We won't-- and we will have to struggle with those times where the wish... the memory ... the what ifs pop into our heads. And at that time, we have to love ourselves enough to know that we have done what is right for ourselves and our loved ones and have faith that we are leading a happier, more peaceful, and more fulfilled life due to our choice.

Having a solid and loving support group around you is so vitally important. During the times of questioning, having these folks around helps to keep your feet on the ground, thoughts in the correct direction, and emotions in check. These folks have your best interest in mind-- unlike the one who from which you are estranged and the estranged's cronies.

So, my answer to those who are just venturing into estrangement or who have been grappling with the pain of estrangement and ask me when will I get over this-- when will I forget -- when will this be easier... I will answer that time eases all wounds, but you will never forget. You will understand and accept-- but you won't forget. This person is one of your parents. You will have to deal with these thoughts, emotions, and circumstances throughout your life, whether the parent is here on Earth or passed on. Seek acceptance-- and keep love in your heart for those who support and honor you.


  1. thank you..couldn't have said it better myself

  2. you are so welcome... my pleasure :)

  3. Wow, that's a great bit of insight. I recently became estranged from my mother, right before the holidays. As a result I became depressed and began to abuse alcohol and benzodiazepines, trying to emulate my favorite dead rock stars I guess. I'm really thankful for your insight and it helps to know that if I am crazy at least I'm not the only one. I hope that this will help me along the way to a life where I don't need a drink in my hand to feel good about myself. Thank you so, so much, your words have truly touched me.

  4. I can totally understand having depression accompany estrangement. No matter what the cause of the estrangement, we don't **want** to be separated from our parent(s)... we wish for a healthy and happy relationship with him / her /them. However, sometimes that is not possible and the total opposite is presented where we have to go it alone.

    I have been estranged from my mother off and on my whole life... and after this last conflict in 2004, that was the last straw. I am still saddened by 'what could be' but also know that it 'can't be' ... so I remain strong and know that estrangement is best for not only me but also my husband and child.

    You are not crazy... and you certainly aren't the only one. And you will find peace... keep searching and you will. Also sooner or later, you will find that you don't need that drink to feel good about yourself and that you feel good just being.

    Thank you so much for your comment... taking time to stop by. And I am completely honored to have made an impact. If you ever want to chat, send me an email. Until then, keep your chin up and keep a smile in your heart.

  5. This post really resonates with me. I've been fully estranged (she would come and go when I was younger) from my mom since 2003 and the holidays and birthdays are still very hard. Luckily, I usually only have one crying fit per year (Thanksgiving) now =)
    It's hard, but the misinformation campaign my queen mother waged against has caused so much lies and stories I no longer get invites from any family member. They don't want to exclude my mom so I get cut from all the family functions. Maybe they'll send me a card, but it doesn't feel authentic. I know it's best for me and my husband, but occasionally I slip back into that "it's my fault" and he kindly reminds me that is the victim in me talking and I move on. I'm sorry this has happened to you too but am grateful you are talking about this.

  6. Why Thanksgiving, if I may ask? A special connotation to that holiday? A memory from the past?

    I completely and utterly understand the campaign of denigration you speak of (misinformation campaign). Heaven only knows what outlandish lies my mother has spoken to those that will listen. I also completely and utterly understand the ability to "slip back into it's my fault" ... so very fortunate we both are to have support people around us, like our husbands, to keep us focused on what is true: WE are the victims.

    Likewise, I am sorry this has happened to you... and I appreciate VERY MUCH you stopping by to share a bit of your story with me. I am pleased that my blog post reached out to you-- hugs!

  7. I have not had contact with my BP mother in 10 years. The first couple of years were difficult. I felt very much alone in the world even though I had a husband and child. Then I began to see I could have the kind of happy family holidays I always wanted... the happy family life I always wanted because I was now in control of it. I could create my own traditions for myself and my family. The sky was the limit. I changed my perspective. Not just about holidays but about our life. Yes I went through a grieving process and no one can tell you how long that will take. However I will tell you from where I stand now- 10 years later - I think of my mother seldom. I think of her with very removed emotions. Do I wish I had a normal mother still? Yes. Do I feel any guilt about about no contact? No- because I did not ask for this. I did not choose to have a mother with bpd. The final puzzle piece I believe is acceptance. Acceptance allows you to move on.
    Eventually... you move on. I hope you all find peace. I know your pain only too well.

  8. I have not had contact in 7 years... and honestly, I haven't had difficulty with the estrangement. I believe the previous estrangements and the lead up to this one caused the separation to be "final" so to speak. After all of the cycles we had been through, and now she was involving my fiancée as well as colleagues / friends, the icing was on the cake. The freedom I felt as well as the weight lifted off of my shoulders was immense... and then all of her dysfunctional and damaging behavior that followed only solidified what I already believed.

    When my child was born, I felt a very VERY profound feeling-- that the end of the relationship was in fact THE END. So much had transpired-- my wedding, pregnancy, and now birth of my child-- and with the birth of my child, I had this over powering feeling to protect her and to never have what happened to me happen to her.

    Like you I wish I had a 'normal' mother. Like you I don't feel any guilt. Like you I have accepted what cards I have been dealt. I have moved on... and I have found peace.

    Thank you for taking time to stop by and comment. I wish you all the happiness in the world. Hugs to you.