5 Tips for Coping with Being Estranged from Your Family

By Katie LouiseOctober 23, 2021

It's never easy to be on the outside looking in or cut off from your family for any reason. Learn the steps of coping with being estranged from your family and start healing.

There are many reasons families grow apart, but it doesn't have to stay that way. There are many ways you can cope with being estranged from your family while still trying to maintain a relationship with them, even if they refuse contact. You need not suffer in silence while feeling depressed or sick about this situation. There is hope!

Why do families grow apart?

The family relationships we love and cherish can often seem like immovable, monumental structures in our lives. One day we go to visit, and it's solid and strong in its foundations. But when tragedy or difficulties arise in a relationship, the cracks in the walls begin to show, and they become full-blown fractures before long. 

At this point, families usually either live on with the hurtful rift unchanged, or they will break completely apart over time. Cutting all ties is rarely easy (or pleasant) for anyone involved; there's nearly always regrets that people feel afterwards. And with estrangements of family members, of course, the struggles of breaking away from a family member are emotionally more difficult because of loss associated with each person who is no longer present in the family member's life.

If you've found yourself suddenly estranged from your family, whether it was by choice or not, coping with this difficult situation can be quite a challenge, so much so that in rare cases, people become clinically depressed and even suicidal over these types of familial problems.

Nonetheless, it is possible to cope with being estranged!

  • Do not blame yourself: Blaming yourself won't do anything but make you feel bad about yourself and make the situation even less desirable.
  • Do not take out your anger on other people: Taking out your anger on other people will add more stress to your life and lead to the same undesirable results as blaming yourself.
  • Educate yourself: Education is key when it comes to understanding what is going on in difficult family situations such as estrangement. Take some time to think about what might be happening and find a way for this knowledge to help you cope with the situation and move on from it.
  • Spend time outside of your comfort zone: Spend time with people who can help you cope with the problematic situation. You will find that spending time outside of your comfort zone can help you deal with estrangements from family members.
  • Most importantly: surround yourself with love and make sure to talk about your feelings with people you trust. Doing this will allow you to keep stress away and help you cope with difficult situations.

What are the signs of family estrangement?

Some signs of family estrangement are usually easily recognizable, especially if the person you are estranged from is not your spouse or child. For example, it could be a sign of estrangement if your parents, grandparents and siblings don't usually call you and they never want to meet up for a coffee or lunch.

If you feel like you're not getting anything back from them or that they're not showing any interest in your life, then you could be experiencing family estrangement. 

If you feel like you've been shut out of your family's life, especially after you tried to reach out to them several times can indicate estrangement. You may have been hoping to get a particular response from them, but it never materialized, so you start thinking that this means they don't love you anymore.

Even reaching your hand out to your family only to have it slapped away can lead to severe feelings of being cut off and abandoned, which can be very difficult for anyone, especially children.

Estrangement happens for many different reasons, and there are ways that you can learn to cope with it.

Coping with Being Estranged from Your Family

Blood isn't always thicker than water...

"Blood isn't thicker than water" is a phrase that means that family relationships are more important than any other relationship. The idea of this statement comes from an old proverb about the bonds of kindred being closer than those of strangers. It is based on the fact that people are genetically related, which leads to a sense of belonging or connection."

This is a somewhat bitter-sweet statement because this is not always the case. Sometimes it's easier to be cut off from your family, along with everything else in your life, than have to deal with all the heartache and stress that can come from being estranged from them.

Tips for coping with being estranged from your family

It might feel like you're all alone and living in a state of struggle, but there are many things you can do to cope with the pain. Here are five tips for coping with being estranged from your family:

1. Accept what happened and honour the hurt even if it means hurting yourself first.

2. Understand that you're not alone and that this is a normal part of life.

3. Create Art: find an outlet for your feelings and thoughts by doing something creative such as drawing or writing about how you feel.

4. Reach out: talk to other people who know what it's like to be estranged from their families so they can empathize with you and offer support as needed.

5. Don't give up hope: just because things are rougher today doesn't mean they'll be that way forever. Things have a funny way of working out in the end if you just keep holding on and fighting to get through it all.

How to maintain a relationship with them, even if they refuse to contact

Even if your family members refuse to contact you, the key to maintaining a relationship is to keep trying. You can find other ways to stay in touch, whether it's through social media or text, and keep the lines of communication open.

Continue to love your family members even though they are refusing to talk with you. Family estrangement is not the same thing as hatred. If need be, make peace with them by writing a letter that you will never send in the event that they still refuse to talk.

Keep your own life in order. You can't rely on other people to make you happy or feel fulfilled with your life, so make lists of things you enjoy doing and prioritize the most important aspects of your life.

Take care of yourself by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and taking care of your responsibilities.

When you have family problems, it's easy to forget about yourself and just focus on the other person, but in order to maintain good physical and mental health, it's important that you take time for yourself.

If you are feeling sick or depressed, consider consulting a professional counsellor who can help you work through your feelings.

The importance of understanding why you feel this way and seeking professional help when needed

Seeking professional help when needed is key to coping with estrangement from your family. Do not be afraid to seek out a therapist if you feel that your family issues interfere with your daily life. They can help you to cope with your feelings and get through them.

For some people, the best coping mechanism is taking a vacation from reality for a while. Get out of town and do something fun that doesn't remind you of your family issues. Whether that means going on a trip or just staying home and taking time for yourself, getting away from the pressure of your family issues can be a great coping strategy.

You may also find solace in joining a support group for those facing similar problems as yourself. Establishing a close network of people who have been through the same situation as you have will help ease feelings of loneliness and give you a sense of mutual understanding.

In the end, you may not ever have a relationship with your family again. If that's okay with you, then great! You can move past this and start a happier life without them in it. 

However, if you really want things to work out after reading these tips for coping with being estranged from your family, then reach out to your family members and let them know how you feel. 

Even if they do not respond positively, at least you took the first step in mending that relationship.

As part of my self-love journey, I am learning how to move on with all different areas of my life. I know all too well what you're going through, and my email is always open [email protected] our mental health matters. 

Other useful resources

Until next time take care!

 

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