Never Give Up Hope On Your Estranged Family Relationships

Never give up home on your estranged family relationships Today I’m addressing a very, very painful subject…that of family estrangement. We’ve all heard the sayings: “Blood is thicker than water.” “Family comes first.” “No matter what you do, I’ll always love you.” Family is precious. It makes us feel accepted and loved for who you are, without reservation. It’s the mainstay of civilization. When the family unit breaks down, civilizations actually crumble. History proves that, i.e. the Roman Empire.However, the state of the American family today is not good. Life isn’t like the Norman Rockwell pictures of generations ago. Of course, it wasn’t perfect then, but family cohesiveness is eroding. People aren’t just drifting apart. They are purposely estranging themselves from other family members. A recent NYTimes article addresses this topic. It generated a huge storm of comments; mine included.

There is nothing more emotionally devastating than being estranged from a family member, especially your own child. It can be worse than experiencing their death, because there’s a personal rejecting attached to it. It’s always nagging you in the back of your mind. The hurt never goes away.

The NYTimes article seemed to me to be very one-sided. It focused on children who felt they needed to cut off their “bad” parents. In my personal and professional life, I’ve seen the other side of the coin all too often. I’ve personally felt the heartache of children with emotional and mental disorders who foolishly cut off the very parents who support them. I’ve written in great depth about this phenomenon in my book, WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you.

For example, my autistic daughter cut me off 12 years ago because she was the victim of parental alienation by my ex. Another daughter, alcoholic and suffering from TBI also cut me off right after assaulting me and knocking me into a plate glass door. It’s naive and narrow-minded to write of estrangement from only the estranged child’s point of view. There are lots of factors. But as for me, I have never cut off my children and never will. With each passing year, I hope to hear from them, even though they shred my letters and block my calls.

Some of those commenting on this article say that holding onto hope makes it more painful. I believe that hope keeps us going. Of course, it would be naïve to put your life on hold as you hope. That’s not true hope, that’s fantasizing about an outcome you’re attached to. As I often counsel couples, hope for the best but plan for the worst. That keeps your eyes wide open and in the proactive place of fixing problems before they escalate.

When estrangement occurs, hope, based on agape love, allows you to wish them the best in their lives as you continue to grow and find peace in your own. It’s not about changing them. It’s about your own approach to life, choosing to be positive and happy despite the circumstances. As you move on and continue to give to others, their love and appreciation soothes your hurt emotions. Perhaps somewhere down the road the two lines of estrangement will once again intersect, and you’ll be able to build a new relationship. That is my hope for all those estranged in the world today.

If you’d like to read the first chapter of my book, WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you, please take advantage of this free download. After you read it, I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page and tell me what you think.

4 Replies to “Never Give Up Hope On Your Estranged Family Relationships”

  1. Any approaches to try with my son who does not want to connect with me? I understand what you said about hope for the best and plan for the worst. My issue is that I am getting older and time is running out

    1. I wish I had a simple answer. What I do know is that being true to yourself is the perfect model for a parent of an estranged and rejecting child. I am getting older too Gary. I may die before my children wake up to the terrible mistake they are making. It’s a terrible mistake to reject their loving parent, but it is even more devastating to live with the destructiveness of hatred.

  2. My daughter went to university in October 2022 and has now cut off all family. I am devastated and I don’t know why she has done this. I have reached out, send gifts and continue to send a small amount of money each month. I think she may have Asperger’s looking back on her behaviour . I thought her anxiety and personality was because she was introverted and highly intelligent. I have been informed she is doing very well and is happy. I need some help as I just don’t k it what to do and because I don’t know why she is not communicating I am worried and upset. Any suggestions please?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Millie. I wish I had easy answers for you. Your daughter is at a tough age whether NeuroDiverse or NeuroTypical. In an attempt to be her own person, she is opting for a black and white answer. In other words she is not sure how to be true to herself if she is anything like her mother. Of course, the answer for her is to love her mother as much as she is loved — and still embark on a journey of self discover. But this does require maturity. Hopefully she will mature as she goes forward. In the meantime know that you are not alone in our group in dealing with the hurtful things that those with ASD can do. While you wait for her to come to her senses, do all that you can to be the wonderful woman you are.

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