Family estrangement is a sad reality many people face, and its wounds can often be reopened and exasperated during the festive season.
Whether you’re the one who’s been cut off from your family or the instigator—separation can be painful and confusing.
While the process of healing may be difficult, it is entirely possible. So if you want to reconnect with your family but are unsure if the feelings are mutual, this blog is for you!
Is It Normal To Be Estranged From Family?
Although family estrangement can feel incredibly isolating, you certainly aren’t the only one struggling with this challenge.
It’s important to remember that estrangement is not unusual. According to a study by Harvard University, 1 in 5 adults in the US are estranged from a family member.
So whether you are dealing with the aftermath of unresolved issues or have decided that going your separate ways is the best option for everyone involved—recognizing that what you’re experiencing isn’t abnormal is reassuring.
Why Do Family Members Become Estranged?
Feeling alienated or withdrawn from your family can happen for a variety of reasons.
The most common causes of family estrangement are unresolved conflict, abuse (physical, emotional, or verbal), mental illness, and addiction.
During the pandemic, unique situations arose that made estrangement even more difficult.
Whether you had an argument that was never resolved or someone made hurtful comments over a Zoom call. Or maybe, like many families, you just drifted apart over time, and the pandemic was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Whatever the reason, estrangement is painful, and many families are going through similar situations this festive season.
What Are The Effects of Estrangement
Estrangement can profoundly impact both the individual and the family as a whole.
For the individual, estrangement can lead to feelings of isolation, sadness and anxiety. Sometimes, this can even escalate to depression and substance abuse.
Families can also find the effects of estrangement very difficult to deal with.
Feelings of guilt and regret—on both sides—can lead to further divisions between family members. Communication becomes strained, and conversations may get tense.
Often, members of estranged families don’t want to talk about the issue and may even actively avoid it. In some cases, family members can go years without speaking or having any contact at all.
This can cause unrecognized stresses that may manifest in other areas of life, such as work and relationships.
However, it’s also important to recognize that estrangement from family can also be an opportunity for growth and healing.
It opens up space for us to reflect on our choices, relationships, and patterns without being influenced by others’ opinions or beliefs.
How Do You Fix Family Estrangement?
Although it may be difficult to take the first step to reconnect with estranged family members, it’s certainly possible. Sometimes it simply requires the confidence to make the first move!
You can reach out via text, email, social media, or even good old-fashioned mail. Sending a card or letter in the mail may no longer be the preferred form of communication, but it shows that you’re willing to put in the extra effort to build bridges.
The most important part of reaching out is expressing your desire to reconcile and asking if they’re open to doing the same.
Go into this conversation with no expectations, they may not be ready or willing to reconcile—and that’s okay.
The main thing is that you’ve taken the first step by reaching out and having an open and honest conversation about what has happened and how you’re both feeling.
What Happens If Estranged Family Doesn’t Want to Reconnect?
If reconciliation isn’t possible or isn’t something your family is interested in pursuing, that’s okay too. The most important thing is that you’ve tried.
At the end of the day, all you can do is control your own actions and feelings. You can’t force anyone else to do anything they don’t want to do or feel any certain way.
Instead, focus on resolving your own wounds and spending time with people who make you feel good about yourself.
What Is the Feeling of One-Sided Love?
It’s important to recognize that a relationship with your family should not be one-sided. It should involve both giving and taking in order to be healthy and sustainable.
To illustrate this point, take a moment to lay your hands on your chest and breathe out completely until you feel uncomfortable. You are currently giving but not getting anything back.
Now, keep breathing in until you realize how difficult it is to just take and take without giving anything back.
What we can learn from this is that when we give love, it’s equally as important to receive love too. When an imbalance occurs, it can cause us immense pain and suffering.
How Do You Heal From Estranged Family?
It is in our very nature to crave connection and belonging.
When we don’t feel accepted by our families, it can have a devastating effect on our self-worth and thoughts.
We start to believe that we are not enough, that we don’t matter or fit in. This can create an incredibly limiting belief—that “I’m not good enough.”
As a therapist, I found this was at the root of many issues—from alcoholism and binge eating to depression. That’s why I created the “I Am Enough” movement—to empower individuals such as yourself to recognize their worth, value, and potential.
How Do I Get Over Family Estrangement?
To start your journey to a happier, healthier and more loving relationship with yourself and family members, check out my I Am Enough: Secrets to a Successful Life audio course.
Over seven days, it will equip you with the tools and techniques to identify your limiting beliefs, break through mental blocks, and gain newfound confidence in yourself and your own worth.
This renewed belief in yourself will give you the strength to move past any challenging family dynamics and create a healthier relationship with your loved ones.
It will help you be more positive and productive, attract greater abundance into your life, and have healthier relationships with the people around you—and more importantly, with yourself.
I’m Here For You
No one deserves to feel alone or isolated during the festive season—especially not because of family estrangement.
If you’re struggling with this, remember you have immense power to create a life full of joy and fulfillment—no matter what happened in the past.
Before you can attempt to reconcile with anyone, it is vital that you first repair your relationship with yourself by developing the unshakable confidence and self-esteem you deserve.
So remember to check out my transformational I Am Enough: Secrets to a Successful Life audio course. You deserve to live a happy, fulfilling life free from pain and sorrow—I sincerely hope this helps get you there.