Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Should you or shouldn't you reconnect with an estranged family member?

With the Holidays right around the corner, I came across some articles shared via social media on the subject of estrangement. Usually these articles are about people who are unsure whether or not they should reconnect with an estranged family member.

I know many people personally who have estranged themselves from their own parents, even their own mothers and during this time of the year, many of them are wondering whether or not they should reconnect. Some people are glad and even grateful for having severed ties while others are missing the other person and may be regretting their decision. I had to end a lot of toxic relationships myself too, therefore, I can understand the inner turmoil. Perhaps some of my own personal insight could help shed some light into this topic:

***Disclaimer: I am not a professional therapist, these are only my personal opinions/experiences on the subject. Each person is unique. What applies to me, may not apply to someone else. ***

(1) Forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciliation - Having grown up in a Catholic household, I was often encouraged to turn the other cheek. What I have learned in my adult life was that you can turn the other cheek, you can forgive, in fact, I encourage it...BUT... know this. Forgiveness doesn't necessarily mean reconciliation. You can accept what the other person did to you. You can forgive them for it and move on in your life. If you feel that this person does nothing but make you feel bad about yourself, you have the right to cut them out of YOUR life for good. As a child, we are often told to kiss and makeup. We often carry this mentality well into our adult life. It is OK to say to yourself "yeah what so and so did to me sucked balls. It hurt. I forgive them but for my own well being, I choose to no longer associate myself with them." Finding it in your heart to forgive and not hold any grudges not only makes you the better person but it is healthy. Why hold onto anger? Move forward and enjoy life!

(2) Although something may appear to be broken, it is really fixed - An old boss of mine from a previous job I used to work at gave me sound great advice after I broke up with my now ex boyfriend.  He said to me "what do you do with cancer? You cut it out. Once you do cut it out, would you want to put it back there?" Depending on the reason why you severed ties, perhaps these people should remain part of your past. A snake may shed it's skin but it is still a snake.

(3) Remember why you cut ties - I am hoping this wouldn't reopen old wounds but sometimes taking a step back to re-evaluate why or what caused the relationship to end is a good way to reaffirm your original decision. We often get emotional or sentimental around the Holidays and sometimes reaffirming why we chose to cut ties is a good way to avoid any unnecessary drama in the New Year. Sometimes, an emotional decision isn't always the right one.

(4) Cherish new relationships- having personally severed ties with many members of my immediate family, I have developed better, more positive relationships with other people. Remember, sometimes family is only blood and the real family members are often the friends you make. Luckily for me, I still have a relationship with one of my siblings - the only half- sibling I still talk to out of 6 others (yes , you read that right six half siblings) and as a result, I have a wonderful relationship with my niece. By no longer being someone else's snot rag, I now have many friends that I can depend on. I know that my energy is well spent towards being there for them when they need it. It is uplifting knowing that you are appreciated and you matter to someone else. That your efforts and kindness is being returned.  My son doesn't even notice any family estrangements and has positive role models. In the end, him seeing how others treat me and respect me is a good example for him: he sees how mutual respects works!

Haha! Some humor to lighten the mood, sorry, I had to!

(5) It is OK to be sad - It is also ok to tune out of social media where people often hide their own personal drama and have picture perfect lives. Remember, what you see on Facebook isn't always 100% real and we are often reading edited versions of people's lives.

Lastly, please remember, YOU walked away from a toxic situation, something that is not easy to do and sometimes, it is something that takes a toll on you. Please remember, YOU DESERVE to love yourself. Your feelings matter. Your personal boundaries matter. YOU are important and you owe it to yourself to do what is necessary to preserve your own sanity and well being. In the end, you and only you have power over yourself, do not give the other person that power! It is your life and it is ok to make it about you, especially when your happiness is concerned.

I do have some advice for those who had someone cut ties on them. I also had this happen to me personally.There are several reasons why people cut contact with me. One reason was because I was depressed and I brought many people down with me. Another reason why people stopped talking to me was when I came back to the Goth scene. Here is how I handled both situations:

Find out why they cut ties and use it to grow -  Some of the reasons why people cut ties with me spoke volumes about them, especially regarding over the clothing choices I make. In the end, I grieved for the end of the relationship but moved on. I accepted my Gothic self and decided that if they didn't like it, well too bad for them. I didn't change much. I was just happier and wore different clothes. It was their loss.

Sometimes, the other person had valid reasons for cutting the cord.  I was super depressed and I expected others to feel sorry for me. I am not a special snowflake and to be honest, there is only so much someone could do for me. I had to want to save myself. It was one of those "help me, help you" scenarios. Once I started fighting for my life and happiness, many people threw in the proverbial life-preserver and helped me. It made me a better person. It saddened me that I lost friends, especially during the hardest times of my life but I didn't solely look at it from a victim's perspective. I dug down real deep and realized that yes, I am entitled to feel the way I feel but no one can save me from myself. Only I can do that. Being a constant downer, never having anything positive or productive to say, made people not want to be around me. I don't blame them.. Some may say that these people should have been more supportive of me, especially when I hit rock bottom in my life. I like to see it other ways. It is OK to be depressed but being around someone who is constantly bitter is not very uplifting. I can see why they didn't want to be around me. It made me a better person. I still feel the way I do but I learned to keep a balance. It can't always be about me and I need to realize other's around me. 

Would that person accept your friendship after they cut ties with you? Maybe. It all depends on the situation and person. I would really need to be certain that the other party would not do it again. As the age old saying goes: Do it once, shame on you. Do it twice, shame on me. If you read this article here, you would read about my experience with bullies as a teenager. I not only used that incident to grow as a person but I reconnected with  "Samantha" a couple of years ago. The friendship ended very badly and there were many hard feelings in the end. Sometimes, some people are better left in your past.

That is all folks, happy Holidays and I wish you all well. Please remember to be safe. If you drink, please don't drive.


  1. Interesting and very insightful post. I said to my fiancé the other day that this holiday season is so overrated. It real pushes togetherness, but not necessarily being with people, as much as being with family or loved ones. That's what gets me. You could visit friends, a retirement home, go to a church service; there are plenty of ways to be with people when you're without family on Christmas. I really feel that some people will be pressured to reconnect with abusive family members out of loneliness,or maybe guilt or the feeling of abnormality.

    I have known bad, self centered or rude people. I've cut ties with some people completely, others I limit my exposure to. I've never regretted any of it. My feelings of well being have improved because of it. Others have criticized me for choosing such extreme actions, but they truly don't understand the benefit of it, likely because they don't see those people in the same way that I do.

    In the end you have to do what's right for you.

    1. That is right! You need to do what is right for you. I also agree you could visit a retirement home, church, etc to be with people

  2. Great advices!I have troubles with my sister. It feels like she's trying to cut out me but when i ask her she plays surprised. Not ever coming to visit. Stop giving birthday gifts. Not greeting when we see each other at mum and dad. All those signals that says she don't want a sister. I've been really sad because of this because it not only affect us but a bunch of kids. I don't know what I've done wrong. But I'm considering citing her off as well and stop trying for my own sake.

  3. Great post! I can relate to much of what you write here having estranged myself from all of my family many, many years ago. I stayed in touch in with my brother though and we were very close, until one day he walked away from me. It's been six years now. I still don't know what I did but I have accepted it. So now I have no 'family', but I have a wonderful boyfriend and I like to say his parents have adopted me. Family is the people who love you, support and respect you. Family has nothing to do with blood ties. We can't help who we were born into, but we can make choices regarding who stays and who goes in our life for our highest and best.
    Have a wonderful Christmas!!

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. Im sorry you had to do that

  4. The only family members I stay in contact with are my mom and my uncle (widower of my aunt) from the uk, the other family members really are dead or are dead for me. (sorry, harsh words but I have my reasons). My friends are my family though and we prefer Halloween anyways :-P
    Love what your boss said though ^_^° and hopefully people read your post and make the right decisions / dont feel too bad about the people that they left or that left them :-)
    Hope you had a great holiday & start into 2016 though!



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