Did you know that 1 in 5 people in the UK are living with some form of family estrangement?
There can be a lot of stigma around Estrangement. The media sells us a picture of perfect family life, we see stories on social media of what appears to be joyful, loving and close relationships. For those of us who are living with estrangement, we may feel isolated, abandoned and that there is “something wrong with us” as this is not how “It is supposed to be” whether we are currently estranged from a parent, sibling or child, or multiple family members.
For some people, we may feel unable to share our situation for fear of judgement, some people describe it as like living with bereavement. There are a whole spectrum of emotions involved for those who cut off contact and for those of us who did not choose to lose contact. Cutting someone out from our life doesn’t mean we stop caring. We just stop communicating.
According to research by Dr Lucy Blake the 3 main reasons for estrangement are
*Divorce and remarriage, difficulties in establishing new relationships with stepparents and blended families.
*Abuse of all kinds, especially when minimized or not recognized or accepted by other family members.
*A difference in values, morals or beliefs. Each generation will parent differently than the last. Parental expectations can feel rigid. Maybe political convictions, religious beliefs or sexual orientation differences can cause a lasting divide.
Estranged relationships usually start as emotionally cut off before communication stops.
I t can be painful to not be invited to family events such as barbeques, weddings and christenings and not able to be in the lives of children and grandchildren. That feeling of exclusion can impact your sense of self. Christmas and Father and Mother’s day can be difficult reminders of the relationships we don’t have for both sides.
If we are able to share our experience with a trusted person, we may not always receive the support we expect. Some well-meaning friends may tell you that “You only get one Mum/Dad etc” and encourage you to “make amends”
I will not be pushing you to reconcile. Not everyone wants reconciliation, it may not be safe or appropriate for you or your situation. Not all relationships can be healed. Not all behaviours can be forgiven. When we do want to reconcile it is also important to manage expectations and not use “blaming or shaming” language in communication with family members on the slow road to repairing relationships.
I will provide a non-judgmental space to explore your familial situation. We all experience estrangement differently, however one thing we may all share is a feeling of hurt, shame and isolation.
The main focus of our work together will be.on building your self love. Helping you to facilitate your healing process will be my priority.
I have personal experience of family estrangement and I have also received training from the UK charity Stand Alone https://www.standalone.org.uk founded by Dr Becca Bland. I will also be taking more in-depth training in October.
You don’t have to carry this all by yourself.
Your investment is £60 per session