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
9/11 comes along and stories of remembrance are on the news, NPR, social media. As I’m sure with the day Kennedy was assassinated, many remember where they were when they heard the news. I remember exactly where I was, turned on the TV and remain glued to it for the remainder of the day.
Everyday is filled with loss, extraordinary loss but we don’t always witness it. 9/11 was in our face, televised. Our nation grieved together and still does. Many now suffer from PTSD, loss of limb, toxic poisoning, the list goes on.
Just this morning as I’m pulling out of the grocery store parking lot. I hear the voice of a young boy on NPR, it must have originally broadcast a few years ago. He, with all the confidence in the world, declares he can feel the warmth of his grandmother who was killed on 9/11 even though he only knew her the first 11 months of his life.
I pulled my car over to wail. To wail for all the loss. And praying that my grandchildren can still feel my warmth even though I only knew them the first two and half years of their life. I pray to anyone who will listen that my daughter feels my love for her in spite of how she feels about me. I pray that this world gets some healing in so many areas.
A few weeks ago, I was helping out at a fund raising garage sale for a BIPOC organization. Kenya and I struck up a conversation. Somehow it came up that I grew up in Mississippi. She exclaimed that her grandmother was from there.
“We are probably cousins.” she giggled. I giggled right along with her. Kenya is black. I’d love to be her cousin.
I shared with her some of the unpleasant, that’s putting it lightly, actions of my family. Actions I grew up with and ones I learned about from researching my ancestry.
“Hey, these are conversations we need to have in order to heal, learn do things differently.” she said. I couldn’t agree more. She came over the next week to do some digging on ancestry, showing me where her family lived in Mississippi. We found some slave stories, one being from a great, great grandmother of hers. We could have used a few more hours. Her dad is creating a podcast, about when you woke. Kenya will be interviewing me. Don’t know when it will go live. You’ll be the first to know.
On this 4th of July, let us not forget the words of Fredrick Douglass in his famous speech:
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.”
Descendants of Fredrick Douglass read his speech
And Maurice Carlos Ruffin on Being a Patriotic Black Southerner
I love Maurice Carlos Ruffin. On twitter, he is such a light, giving positive words to fellow writers.
Stay safe. Thanks for reading.
Mothers are either glorified or blamed, the job description is almost impossible to live up to, daughters are often angry at their mother and don’t know their mother’s history before they came into the world. It’s hard for daughters to come to a place of compassion, without realizing their mother had a whole complicated life before they came into the world.
What happens without healthy dialog? Stories and diagnosis are often created.
My daughter and family certainly have a story and have diagnosed me. And there is no dialog. I’ve tried, but it seems their story and diagnosis of me is serving them somehow.
We weren’t taught how to have hard conversations, how to listen in order to understand.
This is some of what I gleaned from listening to this conversation with Harriet Lerner and Sheleana Aiyana
Navigating mother/daughter relationships with Harriet Lerner
I remain open to miracles, healthy dialog with a willingness to own up to my part and with compassionate listening from all parties involved.
Thanks Wendy for sharing this youtube.
And thanks as always to all who read this.
What would redemption look like?
Trump would not be reelected. Better yet, he somehow would be removed from office before the election. He would be charged with tax fraud, etc and sent to jail.
Police who have committed murder would be charged and sent to jail.
New programs would be put in place, people trained to actually help in difficult situations ie: dealing with a mental health issues, domestic violence and police would become less militarized.
Every state would offer vote by mail.
Racism would be understood and no longer be an issue.
Closed minds and hearts would open.
My daughter would come to understand that alcohol and past hurts caused me to act in ways I would never act now after years of recovery. I could hold her and tell her how very sorry I am for the times she did not feel safe.
She would realize that he father continued to make sexual advances towards me, after we were divorced and both re-married. He threatened me if I ever told anyone. He told me he would pay for her college education as agreed in our divorce. He didn’t pay. The divorce decree also, stated he would pay me back part of the money I used from my own finances to support us while he finished college. He never actually graduated from college, even though his father cracked a bottle of champagne because he thought his son had a degree. He never paid me back the money.
She would see that even though her step dad was a nice guy and good dad to her, he cheated on his first wife and cheated on me 3 times. He belittled me behind closed doors. Somehow he made it look as though I was the one breaking up our marriage. Closed minds and hearts would open.
The man who raped me would somehow be found out and found guilty.
What’s your redemption list?