The word “estrangement” came into my orbit about five years ago on a much to intimate level. For the first two years of my estrangement from family I was constantly sad, triggered and felt hopeless. I began to read everything I could get my hands on about the subject. Learning about it, talking to others who are experiencing it, has taken me out of crisis mode and into an acceptance mode.
Coming from a tight knit, yes dysfunctional Southern family, yes down there, family is everything, it was devastating when I learned of a trip my sisters were taking with my daughter, niece, and grandchildren and I was not invited. My sisters and I were still speaking at that time. Now it has been several years since we have talked. When I say devastating, I wanted to kill myself and I did attempt to.
What I have sadly learned is, suicidal thoughts are a common reaction with those who have been cut off from loved ones. Estrangements occur for a variety of reason, but also have many commonalites. Each situation is unique and has its own set of complexities.
Yesterday was the beginning of a three day summit, Moving Beyond Family Struggles put on by Family Support Resources. Yasmin Kerkez has done an amazing job, bringing many expert voices to the summit. I’ve enjoyed and learned a lot just from one day. Hearing the perspective of those who chose to estrange is enlightening.
I still hope and think repair in many situations would be the most peace giving for all involved.
If you are interested, as someone going through estrangement or you are counselor who could benefit from learning more on the subject or you are just interested, click on the link to register for free, Family Summit registration
Meantime, I will share a talk from yesterday with David Lewis, a therapist who has experienced estrangement from his adult children. He describes the shock and aftermath most accurately. 2022 MBFS Summit Conversation with David Lewis He also discusses the power of our mind and what we can change for the good, using that power. It’s worth a listen.
Thanks for reading.
Love to all,
Link from a conversation today with <a href="http://<iframe title="vimeo-player" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/670855449?h=0fd6e4d8f1" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Tina Gilbertson
4 thoughts on “Summit for family estrangement”
Hi Frances, I’m glad you’ve found so many others that have experienced / are experiencing estrangement- glad only in the sense it brings some relief to know you’re not alone in this…. Otherwise it’s just plain sad that people get so stuck they just cut others off!
I’ve certainly had my share of family shit! There’s times I don’t want to be around family members, but there’s times it’s really great to be. We (my family – me and my siblings as well as me and my daughters) by no means have the ideal family connections – but I do believe we’re getting better at being open and honest in our communication. It’s so easy to get stuck in a one sided point of view or to take something that’s been said (or perhaps not said) personally – then when digging deeper we find out where the breakdown occurred. Often it’s based on old trauma from an experience in the past that was not processed or discussed – or at times one of us even wasn’t aware of what happened.
I’m wondering (for myself) if perhaps the difference between strained conversations and communication at times, and estrangement is the simple act of unconditional love? I know my siblings and daughters and myself all truly care for and about each other… we’re all going through different things at different times in our lives and sometimes we’re more in alignment and sometimes not.
I’m also wondering if families that don’t deal with more than an occasional disagreement are that way because they did not experience much trauma growing up – I know my family continues to learn more input some generational trauma our relatives and ancestors have experienced. Right now with the turmoil in the Ukraine many of us siblings are feeling lots of grief – both my grandmother and grandfather on my dad’s side came to this country as children (grandmother was under 8 years old and grandfather came over at 18) escaping the turmoil that was happening back then.
I wonder what generational trauma, as well as current lack of communication and empathy your family is experiencing in cutting you off. I wonder if they know just how cruel their actions are and the stress these actions have caused you?!
I do believe in the fundamental good in people, but sometimes it sure takes a lot to find that – or for some to reconnect with their innate goodness. I’m remaining hopeful your family will get there!
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I believe the willingness to have conversations, to talk about the unpleasant can bring us to a greater understanding of each other in a family or outside of family. My family of origin was very much modeled the “don’t talk about the bad stuff, sweep it under the rug and it will disappear” way of communication. But guess what, it’s didn’t disappear, it’s under the rug. Some day that rug lifted up or removed and there it will be.
When we talk and listen, there is greater chance of empathy and finding common ground.
I certainly made mistakes as a mother. The talk I just watched and will share the link, Tina Gilbertson, says that the ways we are trying to protect our children, not wanting things happen to them that happened to us, can make a parent overzealous, overbearing. The child then believes the parent does not have confidence in them. I know that happened between me and my daughter. She interpreted my fear of her getting her driver’s license as not having confidence in her. That’s just one example where I projected my past trauma onto her. And If I had done a better job of healing my own traumas, I wouldn’t have passed that trauma onto her.
Intergenerational trauma is real, you and your family are experiencing it first hand through the war in Ukraine. So how can we minimize the impact of intergenerational trauma? Talk, go easy on yourself and others, bodywork, therapy, any and all of the above?
https://player.vimeo.com/video/670855449?h=0fd6e4d8f1” target=”_blank”>Tina Gilbertson
Sharing your struggles and your process’ of healing is courageous and often helpful to others of similar experience. Thank you and bless you, Frances.
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Ps “input” in my previous message should say “about.” Oops!
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