We live in a society which understands it is acceptable to go no contact with a partner when the relationship breaks down. A society which understands that friendships can also fall apart and no contact is too an option; but we are yet to live in a society which understands that relationships with family members can also break down and that we have every right to give ourselves permission to choose to go no contact with them, in order to steer ourselves into a more fulfilled life.
I chose to estrange myself from my parents and with that choice I was forced to view my siblings as collateral damage; something which still causes me heartache today. That decision was the hardest decision I have EVER had to make! Please believe me when I say that I exhausted every other option at the detriment to my own well-being.
It is heartbreaking enough having to accept a life with the absence of my family. Having to accept my side of the story will never be heard from their innocent ears. However for the sake of my own sanity I HAVE no other option but to accept this. What I cannot accept and will not accept is the stigma associated with family estrangement. The judgments people make, and the “pearls of wisdom” they tend to share around family holidays such as father’s day, in the hope that they can help me fix something which is irreparable.
Estrangement is not an easy topic for people to understand. Largely down to the lack of research and training conducted in this area. Which is why I believe that these “pearls of wisdom” do come from a kind and caring place. My only request is that you please think before you speak to someone whom you know is estranged from their father this upcoming father’s day:
“THEY ARE STILL YOUR FAMILY”
Thanks for stating the obvious! I am fully aware they are still MY family. THEIR BLOOD RUNS THROUGH MY VEINS! Plus my reflection in the mirror reminds me every damn day! Just because they are my family DOES NOT MEAN I have to endure the toxicity of the relationship.
“I’M HERE IF YOU NEED ME”
Granted this is well meaning in it’s intention but through my own experience the people who have said this to me are the people who could not really commit to helping me through any stage of my grieving process. Actions speak louder than words and the people that were truly there for me were the people that gave me their time on my low days. The people who sat with me and let me cry on their shoulders. The people that forced a hug around me when I was trying to be strong and said I did not need one but saw that I did and therefore gave me one anyway. The people that heard the words behind my words.
“DON’T YOU FEEL BAD THAT HE WON’T SEE YOU ON FATHER’S DAY?”
Thanks for bringing that up! NO I do not feel bad. In fact I feel terrible. I feel like the worst person in the world.
“I AM SURE HE STILL LOVES YOU”
I am not just sure of this. I am certain of it. I know my father Loves me that is what makes this whole situation so much more painful. It’s just the love he and my mother have for me is a possessive and yet suffocating love. A conditional Love that forces me to become a conditioned version of myself. A type of love I will no longer accept because I am worthy of an unconditional love.
“I AM SURE YOU WILL WORK IT OUT”
Making my decision to estrange myself from my family and force myself into a grieving process was not a decision I made as a short term solution. Please do not be so disrespectful to assume it was an easy option! Moreover if by “work it out” you mean continue running on the same hamster wheel I have been on the past 25 years then YES I too am sure we will work it out!
“I BET HE MISSES YOU”
I miss him too. Every single day! I too am sure he misses me however he misses who I WAS. Not who I AM. He misses the version of me who lived in the shadow of what he and my mother wanted me to be. The version of me who CONFORMED.
“COULDN’T YOU JUST GIVE HIM THIS ONE DAY?”
NO, NO ,NO and NO I couldn’t! Believing that you are worthy and deserving of an unconditional love takes a MASSIVE investment of your time and energy. Hours of therapy and self-love is needed! Working up the courage to go no-contact is not EASY. It is not a default option. One conversation can DESTROY any progress somebody makes.
“I AM SURE HE ONLY WANTED WHAT WAS BEST FOR YOU”
Well that makes everything so much better! Thanks for that! I should have stayed wrapped in the cotton wool they forced round me then and never escaped from the shackles they strapped onto their apron strings?
“SURELY YOU MUST HAVE SOME GOOD MEMORIES?”
I have plenty of them. Hand on heart I do. My wish is that all of the good memories I have could supersede the horrific treatment I endured. Could supersede the level of deterioration my mental health suffered due to their actions………. BUT THEY DON’T!
“MAYBE FATHER’S DAY IS THE RIGHT TIME TO WORK ALL THIS OUT?”
Why is father’s day any different to any other day? Can I also ask why the onus is on me to reach out? I tried and I tried with my father and I made myself a promise for the sake of my own health that I would stop trying. Please do not compare my life to an unrealistic reunion scene from a cheesy blockbuster movie!
“WHAT DID YOU DO?”
Why you think you have a right to know I do not know! Why villainise me in the situation? Whilst we are here though …. I grew up, wanted more for myself and MY life. Didn’t want to live the life they had planned out for me. The veil had been lifted on their way of living and I did not want that for myself….WAIT WHERE ARE YOU GOING? COME BACK THERE’S MORE!
IT’S JUST ONE DAY TO RESPECT THE LIFE HE HAS GIVEN YOU”
If by life you mean EXISTENCE then cheers, thanks Dad! I have given MYSELF a life. A fulfilling one with passion and purpose!
” LIFE IS SHORT”
YES, YES IT IS! which is exactly my point so thanks for stating the obvious! Plus here is a fun fact we only get one! Therefore I am not going to spend my life going round and round in circles with my parents. I wish my dad could be a part of my life I really do but until he understands the reason why I had no other choice but to choose estrangement for myself and takes a long hard look at himself I will continue living MY LIFE!