The Choice To Be Estranged
There may come a time in your life when you no longer want to be part of someone else's.
When it comes to estrangement, the separation of your relationship (short or longer term) will allow space for each of you to reflect on the past and find new ways to move beyond conflict and disagreement. It’s possible to make the split without hostility, when you are able to communicate effectively why you have chosen to make this decision. You cannot be responsible for the other person's reaction, only your communication.
In my work as an emotional health and relationship consultant many clients have shared with me that they feel unworthy, second-best, unloved, unheard and disrespected in their relationships for different reasons. They have stated there is nothing there for them, mentally, physically or emotionally which validates them or makes them want to stay. This can also be true of family relationships with parent and child where there is felt to be no bond, connection or love on either side.
Some clients who I have supported with relationship issues declare the stress of having a relationship when there is argument, physical violence, verbal abuse, narcissism, antagonism, conditional love and aggressive communications in the mix and they would rather not have a relationship at all.
Relationship difficulties occur between those who are unable to communicate effectively or who do not understand themselves and their experiences fully, these kinds of relationships are exhausting and often tension exists in nearly every interaction. Although rifts can develop over long periods of time, for some it might be an unexpected change which leads to the decision to leave the relationship once and for all.
Estrangement may take place for different reasons. Poor communication, ongoing feuds, differing values and beliefs, disappointments, major life events, lifestyle choices, lack of empathy, negative behavioural patterns, alienation, and arguments over money, sexuality, religion and parenting to name but a few reasons why relationships fail. Disagreements and other significant events can also trigger a decision to step right away from the conflict zone.
Divorce and separation at any age can be a minefield and it may feel like you are forced to take sides with your parents and if parents re-marry this could change how you feel about your parents and family of origin. Or indeed if you are divorcing it may be that you influence your children with your personal choices making them confused and torn. Although it may be painful to find yourself in the position of considering estrangement, sometimes you have to make a choice to break away, make time for self-healing and fill the void with our own self-love.
Choosing to stay in a relationship that isn't working can be toxic and unhealthy for both parties. The choice to be estranged can in fact be one of the best options for both parties.
Some of the clients I have supported over the years may decide to write a letter to the person they wish to be estranged from or meet with before deciding to end the relationship and to talk through why you are considering or have made a decision to a step away. Be prepared, you may not get a response at all if you do write a letter, or you may get a response which is hurtful. Nobody likes to feel dismissed, left out, unwelcome or rejected and setting boundaries in our relationships is likely to bring up old wounds which your mother is yet to heal. Her response or lack of response will be more about her and less about you. There is a sample letter in Chapter Four of my second book, Mothers and Daughters, which can be applied to any relationship if you need further help and guidance.
Being clear as to why you want to make a change in your relationship and being able to communicate effectively by setting boundaries, is sometimes the best way for a relationship to run its course. Nothing is set in stone or cast in steel and sometimes the choice to be estranged for however long this pans out, makes for the healthiest of relationships.
If you choose to be estranged, be sure to look after your own needs as different emotions may surface for you once the estrangement is in place. If you need some support as you through adjusting to estrangement and the roller coaster of emotions you may find yourself going through contact me here to discuss the best means of support.