WHEN YOU ARE SUFFERING WITH AN INDIVIDUAL,
COUPLE, OR FAMILY ISSUE ...

WHERE DO YOU TURN?

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Coping With Family Estrangement

Is Your Family Experiencing Estrangement from one or more family members?

Symptoms Experienced by Members of Estranged Families 

Navigating the 'Who', 'What', 'Where', 'When', 'Why',
'How' & 'How Much' of
Family Estrangement

 WHO 
Can Be Affected

WHAT
(is):
Family Estrangement 
 

    WHERE
    (does it happen)

 

Members of the Nuclear Family, Extended Family, Partners, Friends, Workplaces, Schools, Social Agencies, Communities,
and other Organizations involved in the life of the affected family. Estrangement can be likened to throwing a stone in a stream.

Estrangement happens when one or more members of a family make a choice to withdraw from one or more other members of the family. Usually, an adult child decides to withdraw from a parent/parents, however sometimes parents initiate estrangement from a their child.

Family Estrangement can happen anywhere there are families, but it is becoming more and more common in wealthier countries, and in cultures/communities that values individualism.

   WHEN
(does it happen)

 

At any point along the lifespan of the family. It can happen at critical junctures such as a new committed relationship, separation/divorce, birth of a child, requirement of additional home support or long-term care, substance/process addictions, coming out as LGBTQ+, perceived disrespect of cultural norms, allegations of past/current abuse, disputed inheritance, accidents resulting in serious injury/death, death by suicide, and other unresolves family conflict. It is widely reported that estrangements often involve a third party who 'take sides'  and 'gives advice' with one of the affected family members. Sadly, this often happens when the 'advisor' has never met the other party/parties.

WHY
 (does it happen)

 

When family stress becomes greater than the family's capacity for coping, a family estrangement can occur (the family reaches a crisis point and the estrangement is a crisis). It can be associated with economic factors (poverty, bankruptcy, employment,  'coming into'  large sums of money); lack of skills (communication skills, conflict-resolution skills, parenting skills, negotiating skills, financial skills), inadequate knowledge of growth and development, biased information of LGBTQ+, unresolved family-of-origin issues, lack of family support and resources  before issues become critical, inadequately prepared 'helpers' who may not have worked through their own family issues,  grief, substance abuse, high emotional dysregulation, associated mental illness such as personality disorders, particularly the cluster B personality disorders (antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders), and allegations of child abuse including child sexual abuse,

HOW
(does it happen)

 

One or more family member makes a decision (impulsively or after considerable thought) to 'cut off' one or more other family members by physically distancing, emotionally distancing or both. This often happens to the extent that there is negligible or no communication between the estranged individuals involved for a short period, prolonged period, or indefinite periods of time. 

  HOW MUCH

(happens)

No one really knows! Many families do not freely talk about estrangement because it is too painful and/or shameful. Numbers such as 20, 27 and even 40 percent have been used, but there is no definitive answer to the amount of family estrangement currently happening. Most sources agree, however, that the numbers are on the rise, and  societal supports are inadequate to deal with this critical situation. Estranged family members can suffer such adverse effects as profound and persistent grief, loneliness, low self-esteem, stigma related to being rejected,  aggression,  depression, anxiety, and more.

                          How Can We Help?

If your family is suffering the pain of Estrangement, don't hesitate to get in touch to discuss how we may be helpful to you.