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GrannyG81

Estrangement

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looking for advice from anyone who has been or is estranged from family..

I wont go into a big back log .In a nutshell i haven't spoke to my family in many years..Its not that i hate them or bitter against them (I'm long past all that) I just feel i have nothing to offer..Anyhow what would you do if you heard one of your immediate family members wasn't well..Due to drinking a lot of it...Would you get back in touch?? This is a very sensitive subject for me so please no reply's like "Well you only Get one Mother/Father "Etc..Just solid reply's...I honestly dont know what to do..I dont have anyone to speak to about this..I spoke to my Mental health worker today about it on my phone appointment but i brought it up towards the end of the call...Part of me didn't want to write this as my brain tells me nobody really gives a fuck..I know thats my own depression talking...This place is literally like my only outlet other than my mental health worker..Thanks for listening

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I cut ties with my dad for many years and it improved my mental health hugely. Then when he got cancer I moved back to be close to him while he was dying and help my uncle take care of him (I’m close with my uncle). That was probably one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. I suppose I was waiting for some ounce of remorse for all the things he did but he never said a word about it and died comfortably and without any words of apology. Nothing. He should have gone to jail, not died in a cozy rest home having lived his life free of any consequences. 

Sometimes cutting ties just needs to be done if you want to heal. . 

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I was estranged from my father for years, and only began speaking to him again when I was damn good and ready, when I felt that maybe hating him from a distance was doing me less good than having him around to learn about might. For the rest of his life, I was wary of him, and long periods of time went by when we would have no contact.

If you want to get in touch, do-but have an exit plan, both practical and emotional.

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I'm older so my parents are long gone, but I'm completely estranged from two of my brothers due to events surrounding my mother's illness and death. I think the most validating statement I've ever heard about it was from a pdoc who said, "Sometimes you find out things about people and you just move on." That sums it up for me - I'm not mad, and never was. I just couldn't believe how uncaring they showed themselves to be, and I cut off contact. I rarely even think of them at this point. (This all occurred in 1996 - 1997.)

Early on, I thought about what would happen when we all eventually die. I'm 61 and my brothers are around 70, so it's realistically not that far off. I decided then that I didn't want to be part of any deathbed reconciliation Hallmark movie scene, so I'm at peace with my decision and have been for many years. 

I hope you can find peace with whatever you eventually decide.

 

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We are estranged from one of my aunts who was a toxic presence for years, and then, after my grandfather died, she really treated my mother in such a way that made it easy to make the final decision.

Personally, I don't plan to tell her when my mom dies, because as far as I'm concerned, she won't be welcome at the funeral and I don't want to hear from her.  My mom is more ambivalent but she'll be dead so won't get a say (she's acknowledged as much).  My brother I'm not sure about.

I think getting back in touch you have to consider yourself mentally and emotionally.  Me - I tend do hold onto grudges.  I'm not sure that's healthy, but I do.

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I am estranged from my extended family (my immediate family is deceased) due to how nasty they have been to me in the past. Well, I do talk to my grandma occasionally on the phone. But in deciding to keep in touch with my grandma, I asked myself would I regret staying estranged when she dies (she's 91) and decided I would regret it...so I still talk to her. 

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I appreciate everyones comments...Its a difficult subject..

My mother is the person in question..I'm estranged from all my family..

I've never met my biological father...I dont really have any intentions..Its crossed my mind on the odd occasion but i'm 38 years old and have no real intrest..The Man my mother was married too brought me up from been a baby..I dont speak to him...

My mother and the man she was married too broke up when i was around 14-15 and my mother had a breakdown of sorts and she went on to be with another man...I was pretty much forced into living on my own as she went on too live with him..So i've lived on my own for 22 years ..I'm not mad at her,i dont hate her...I've been through the whole range of emotions over the years..Holding grudges,Been bitter,hatefull etc...I'm past that now .I had contact with her over the years but nothing close.I was a drinker back then and would show up trying to get money for drink or turn up drunk....I've not been in touch with her for about 12 years..We met briefly in a chance encounter some years ago..I briefly had contact but then shut her off..I feel bad for that as she actually did nothing wrong...I've always been of the belief i have nothing to offer her..I cant offer her a son relationship as i dont know how too !! I cant talk to her openly as i just dont know what to say to her...I just dont know what its like to have a relationship with my mother...I've been jealous of people in the past who had good relations with there parents..I remember telling a therapist that i just simply would not know what to say to her if i were to get back in touch...If anything i'd probably just be quiet...I've also thought that if i were to get back in touch because she knows that i'm not afraid to cut ties i believe she would act extra nice/clingy and try not to upset me just so i wouldnt cut ties again...And if so then the whole relationship would just feel fake..I hope that all makes sense?? This is all theoretical..Anyhow fast forward and i've heard shes not coping well and has hit the bottle bad...I feel such guilt its untrue..I hate the thought of her going through whats shes going through...My mind has tortured me with all kinds of images/thoughts of her suffering...Its horrible...I've barely slept...I just dont know what to do...Part of me feels i need to try and help and part of me just does not know what to do.. Its a tough subject and i appreciate everyone for telling me there own experiences..Thanks

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I cut ties with my mom.  It was hard at first. I felt like the guilty party but I just refused contact because she wouldn't say sorry and acted like a lot of horrific things she did were "a hissy fit" on my part.

She moved on to destroy her relationships with literally all of the remainder of my biological family.

Just screwed people over, lied and behaved awfully.

It goes to show that it wasn't just me in the end.  But this did it's damage and it makes me feel like I have to hose down my own dna.  I feel guilty and screwed over at the same time.

Her personality type makes me really second guess people and probably had got me to trust the wrong people in the past because they were essentially her.

She imprinted on me and I'm trying to unimprint her and yet learn to trust people.

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This is a tough one.  One thing my mother and significant other went through with their mothers is that it took them many years to understand that their mothers are sick and are not capable of being the mother they should be, and will likely act in ways that they do not like.  They  make very clear boundaries for themselves and back away when the interactions become too stressful.  Find a reason to keep interactions short (I stopped to say hello but have an appointment and can't stay too long).  

My fear from your post is that the guilt will eat you up and that's not good either.

Also, from my experiences with being an alcoholic, don't feel sorry for her or obligated to help her out of her mess.  We eat that up and up and exploit it.  You are acknowledging her as your mother and that you care but you cannot save her and have to put your own health first.  Recovery is something she needs to put effort into herself, no one can fix it for her.  

If you don't know what to say to her, keep it short (again, calling to say hello but have to get somewhere sorry gotta go).  If she gets needy/extra nice remember she is a grown person and needs to find ways to meet her own needs, you aren't responsible for them.

This may be crap because I see I am recommending things contrary to others here, they possibly know better.  I also know about the pain of unresolved guilt.  From much AA and Al-Anon something that stuck with me is that you reach out to resolve things you can, as long as it doesn't harm you or others.  If it will harm you, don't do it.  If it offers some resolution of unresolved unwanted guilt, do it with your own health in mind.  You cannot fix the other person you can only express that you care and need to take care of yourself first.

P.s. Go over it with your therapist before doing anything I am obviously not a professional and come from a long pedigree of messed up people, myself included.

 

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You've got a pretty difficult choice @GrannyG81 . I think if you open that door you have to be willing to accept that you may get hurt but whats on the other side. But leaving it shut I think is worse. If I were you I would try and reach out. You clearly still care and you will feel worse if you do nothing. Just don't expect it to be super easy.

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