People in our community also tell us they chose to become estranged after occasions such as a wedding, a death in the family or a bad Christmas. These people often felt their family could not work through the intense feelings of hurt and painful memories associated with something that happened on these occasions.
Some people become estranged from their family because their family has been emotionally, physically or sexually abusive during childhood or beyond. It’s immensely difficult to keep a relationship together if a member of your family has been abusive towards you, and it can be extremely risky to continue a genuine relationship with this family member without the right professional intervention and support. This can unfortunately also apply to other family members who may not have believed you, or were aware of the abuse but did not have the capacity to help you with the problem. For many in our community, estrangement may begin when someone speaks about the abuse or tries to heal the hurt caused.
Family members who are experiencing the symptoms of mental health difficulties, which are often not acknowledged or treated, are referenced in our community. It can be difficult to deal with inconsistency from a close family member, particularly if that family member can’t understand and acknowledge the impact of their behaviour on your own wellbeing.