If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact [email protected]

Family Estragement

  • 22-03-2021 12:59pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    In Jan of last year I made the decision to cut out my immediate family and have not spoken to them since. This is after a huge row with my Mother who said some truly horrible things and made threats of violence. I am also guilty of saying awful things so I am no saint in that regard. These came in retaliation or in defense of my character. Of my immediate family I only speak to my middle sibling who I get on well with. The rest of the family are now hugely distant on both sides (Mother and Father) and any contact from myself was met with very short responses so I gave up trying to save my sanity.

    Despite it being my own decision and being in my own best interest as I was suffering pretty badly from depression at the time and it was being exacerbated by these arguments, I still find it very difficult to let go. I don't want any contact with them but I still cannot get my head around it. There has been no offering of an apology on both sides so there has been no "closure" so to speak and I think this is the main issue for me.

    Has anyone any stories or tales of estrangement or any words of advice or encouragement? I went through a great period where I was content with my life but recently I can feel myself slipping down a dark road again and the situation is looming over me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,836 ✭✭✭Rubberchikken

    I've no experience of estrangement, I'm too lazy to fight with anyone but if you want this to end Op or get closure as you mentioned then maybe you'll have to make the first move or accept that this estrangement could last forever.

    Yes people say horrible things often in the heat of the moment. Some can apologize and move on others just aren't able to.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28 MelanieD

    I am estranged from my own family for nearly nine years. It's a decision I have never regretted after enduring years of abuse and conflict. Overall I am a happier person without my disfunctional family.

    I still have bad days though. I can find myself reliving in my head the arguments, the insults and the hostilities. Unwanted birthday cards, family events can trigger it. The lockdown hasn't helped as it has given me too much to ruminate.

    Keep busy helps distract me. Exercise is a great way to release stress and built up anger.

    Most important thing is acceptance of the situation as it is. There is not going to be any closure or reconciliation especially after nine years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Going unreg for this one. We’ve been estranged from my partner’s family for years now. Got fed up with the lies, deliberate undermining of everything we said and did etc etc. Some people you just can’t deal with. Anyway best thing we ever did. My advice is to not think about it at all. Don’t let them rent space in your head. As someone once said to me “ you don’t need to see a film twice to know it’s bad” so try not to replay it in your head again and again.
    Best of luck

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,543 ✭✭✭Ave Sodalis

    I'm estranged from some immediate family members too.
    Even if it's the right decision OP, it's not an easy one and what you're feeling is perfectly normal. I'll be honest and say that even though it was my decision, it caused a lot of pain and aggravated a lot of mental health issues. It's akin to grief without the social acceptance. I wouldn't change it though, and it does get easier to live with. As the saying goes, you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. For the majority of people, this isn't an issue but it gets more complex when the family, or family members, are dysfunctional.

    I would highly recommend getting some counselling and therapy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    OP here again...

    Thank you all for the responses so far.

    @MelanieD - I too come from an abusive household where my Mother was mostly the passive abuser so her absolute vitriol is extremely painful. I always looked at her as helpless in the situ but now she refuses to even acknowledge it and turns out she is just as bad as my father. My mind is consumed by the things said and the past. My sleep is gone to the pot with vivid nightmares. Acceptance is my biggest issue as the picture painted of this wonderful together family was all a lie.

    @Ave Sodalis - I have been in long term counseling and therapy and have reached that point where its acceptance that is the missing key and that is now my work to do.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 5,533 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    Been there, done that, and I can safely say that it’s the best decision I ever made.
    Yes, the first couple of years were full of rage but it gradually subsided.

    Nothing more rewarding than having yourself and them know that you made it without them while they remain as miserable as ever.

    I hope you get to be happy and more successful than I was.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Family estrangement is a loss (no matter the cause) so the grieving process is in stages (anger, acceptance, hope etc) and will take some time- months maybe years - depending on many factors, including what caused the breakdown, ongoing resentment issues, remaining levels of contact and of course aspects relating to your own personality.

    Counselling might be a good idea if your finding your ability to process it all is getting to much.

    FWIW I think such a loss is never fully resolved as such, it just becomes a smaller issue in your life and you move on as best you can - although feelings of upset will crop up from time to time and bring you down, sometimes making you feel like you've made no progress when you actually have.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    I know it must be painful for you to have this situation in your life. Acceptance is just that. You can't control the past. You can't control others. All you can do is focus on good relationships in your life and move past the bad ones. Keep busy and be happy. The utilimate form of peace is to be able to move forward happily while not wishing ill will on those who wronged you in the past. Wishing I'll on others has potential to overwhelm and consume you.

    Maybe try something new. Move away to a new country. See some new surroundings. Experience new experiences. Meet new people. Taste new food.

    Be happy and keep busy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    OP here once again....

    Thank you all for your kind words and advice. It has helped me to know that others have experienced the same and are living their lives.

    Moving away is not an option as I have a small child and I couldn't bear to be away from them. I exercise and have various hobbies but even while doing those my mind wanders and I start the arguments again in my head. Saying that, I am 100% better than I was this time last year when I was at the bottom mentally.

    As you all have said, acceptance is the key to it all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Don't be afraid to think about it and let your mind wander, you shouldn't force yourself to stop thinking about it. It's 100% okay and normal to think about these issues, let yourself process it.

    And people often fall into the trap of "blood is thicker than water", people don't get to chose their family but being family should never be an excuse or get out of jail free card to get away with behaving in the way we would expect our friends/partners to behave and treat us. We may not get to choose them but we do get to choose whether or not we have anything to do with them.

    Mind yourself! :)

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 1,207 ✭✭✭Sunrise_Sunset

    I am estranged from my Dad for a couple of years now. There has been the occasional interaction since then, mostly unwanted or forced upon me. But after the last interaction, he almost seemed to realise that this is how things will be. He hasn't tried to bother me in recent months. It makes the whole situation much more manageable. There are still often some awkward moments as I am still in contact with my mother. So if I see her I'd usually still be a bit shaken or upset or even just my mind wandering for a couple of days afterwards. But things settle down then. I don't regret the decision. It's good that you attend counselling to get perspective on your situation. One thing I found with mine, was that a lot of people just don't understand how you could stop talking to a parent. I didn't tell many people at all, but even that small circle just didn't get it.
    I'd say to do what feels right, continue counselling (or take it back up if you have stopped, as you navigate through deciding on an estrangement) and keep the circle of people you confide in as small as possible until you get through the worst of it.