“When we are in the grasp of illusion – or, for that matter, whenever we have a new idea – instead of searching for ways to prove our ideas wrong, we usually attempt to prove them correct. Psychologists call this the confirmation bias, and it presents a major impediment of our ability to break free from the misinterpretation of randomness.”
― Leonard Mlodinow
Today I want to challenge us all to think outside what we’d like to believe is true. As much as we’d like to believe that our views of estrangement have been formed through direct experience and logical, objective research into the issue, most of our opinions are the result of paying attention to information which confirms what we believe, while ignoring information which challenges our preconceived notions. There’s a name for this, “confirmation bias”.
In short, courtesy of Wikipedia, confirmation bias is “is the tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. “
In a great post by David McRaney, he notes that, “Confirmation bias is a filter through which you see a reality that matches your expectations. It causes you to think selectively, but the real trouble begins when confirmation bias distorts your active pursuit of facts.”
So it is that we see people making sweeping generalizations about estrangement, why it happens, and what ought to be done about it . For instance, the theory that estrangement happens because of Narcissistic personality disorder is one of my personal / professional confirmation bias frustrations. Or you might see people systematically searching out books, support groups, research that validates their opinions and experiences, but doesn’t challenge them to scope out wider to consider other possibilities.
Often people are seeking out information that validates their thoughts / feelings /experiences and that information is then generalized outward to all other people and estrangement circumstances. For instance we’ll see statements being made that the only “proper” resolution to estrangement is reunification or we’ll hear people say things like “all grandparents should have contact with their grandchildren and anything or anyone who gets in the way of that must be a bad thing / bad person indeed. We might hear people say “estrangement is always bad for children” with the assumption that any parent who has made the decision to estrange is a negligent, ill-informed, unevolved parent. We might hear people who have been estranged from rationalizing why it has happened by systematically demeaning and diminishing their estranger or we might hear estrangers doing the same to the people they have ended relationships with.
People clump into like-minded groups of other people who will tell them the things they want to hear and agree with the things that they say, which will be called “support”. We’ll see people distancing themselves from people who challenge their opinions. Again, wise words from McRaney,”If their filter is like your filter, you love them. If it isn’t, you hate them”.
So what you say?
Well confirmation bias gets in the way of understanding ourselves, our experiences and the people around us. It’s another way of reducing and simplifying information in ways that allow us to feel good about ourselves and our behaviour, but doesn’t really help us to grow, move forward or to heal. Confirmation bias attempts to make order and meaning out of circumstances which are often chaotic, unpredictable and unknowable. People don’t like to be challenged, they don’t like to feel uncomfortable. Confirmation bias can make us feel safer, more secure and better informed but it carries a heavy price tag.
We all engage in confirmation bias. It happens all the time and we will never fully eradicate it. What we can do is become more conscious and aware of it. We can check whether we tend to seek out information, people, ideas etc that support our positions, thoughts, feelings and experiences. We can check our tendency to generalize or put circumstances and people into boxes. We can push ourselves to seek information that challenges our views and opens up possibilities and relationships rather than closing them down. We can critically evaluate our beliefs and leave room to be wrong or learn more.
We can think.
“Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future. Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground.”
― Sara Ahmed
E-Stranged, as a blog, is an anomaly of sorts. Unlike many communities that mark clear lines in the sand between “us and them” “those who left and those who were left” “dumpers and dumpees” “estrangers and estrangees” – I have worked hard to create a space where anyone and everyone could come together to think about and talk about estrangement, regardless of how the estrangement happened.
In part I made this commitment to not further divide those who are already divided, as a means of resolving the personal tension of being both an estranger and an estrangee; in other part because I recognized that regardless of how we get to estrangement, we all suffer and we all need to move forward and / or heal. This then is the glue that has held this blog and community successfully together for several years now.
Across the years many people have suggested to me that it was not possible to bring two “factions” together to coexist harmoniously (mostly) but I am here to say it has indeed been possible, and I am proud of the accomplishments and solidarity of this community. We haven’t always done it perfectly, or even well. There have been missteps and mistakes, hurt feelings and leave-takings and all of them have been opportunities to reflect, learn and grow. I wanted to share some of the things that I have learned along the way about how estrangers and estrangees can co-exist and create and participate as part of a healing community.
1. It’s so important to remember the number one reason we end up on this blog – we are experiencing estrangement. All of us are in different places with our journey and the way we approach and navigate those journeys are personal – unique to us, certainly with common themes, struggles and triumphs – but uniquely our own. Whenever we find ourselves polarized by the differences in our community – it’s worthwhile to pause, reflect and regroup – what’s going on for me? Where am I at with my journey? What do I need to do to look after myself and my business? As much as we are here to find community, we are firstly here to advance our own journey.
2. Take time to notice that you are participating within a community of people who are all learning, reflecting, healing, growing and moving forward with their estrangement. These people were already working on themselves and their estrangement – that’s what brought them here, just like you.
3. The “we” that has been created here, people who are estranged, have been or are caught in the grip of a powerful force that often pulls us away from our centre and leaves us feeling alienated and alone in our experience, regardless of how we arrive at estrangement.
4. Often it is hard to listen to and accept the stories of those who sit on the “opposite side of the fence”. We may need to embrace our own healing, need to move forward in our own journey before we can truly sit in solidarity. This is not a personal deficit, it is part of healing. It’s okay to take a step back from community to focus on our own journey. It’s okay if other people need to do that too.
5. Dig into your own roots. If you are an estranger, you may benefit (for a time) from aligning yourself more closely with other people who have found it necessary to estrange. If you are an estrangee, you may benefit (for a time) from more closely aligning yourself with other people who have had people estrange from them. This alignment is part of the process of claiming our own journey. It doesn’t mean we will never be able to sit in solidarity with people who have come to estrangement in ways very different from our own, it just means we can’t do it today.
6. Own your own story, your thoughts, feelings, experiences and don’t transpose them over top of the thoughts, feelings and experiences of others. Speak in the first person “I think” ”I feel” “I have experienced…” Be yourself, be honest, be where you are.
7. If you are ready to hear about estrangement from different perspectives, some very different from your own, be prepared to be challenged, triggered even. When someone who is an estrangee talks about the experience of being estranged from and the behaviour of their estranger and how it has impacted on them – it can be very difficult not to take this personally. The same follows if you are an estrangee – it can be difficult to listen to the many reasons people have made the decision to walk away from relationships without taking it personally. It can be painful to hear how estrangement has played out for others – it can act as a challenge for us to consider our own actions and sometimes it can make us feel that we are “bad” people. Own up when you discover another piece of the estrangement puzzle that leaves you questioning. It’s part of the journey.
8. Try not to look for validation or emotional support from people who sit on the “opposite side of the fence” – they may feel ambivalent about you, happy on the one hand that you are a part of the community, annoyed on the other hand to hear about your struggles with estrangement, particularly if you are in a place of blaming others for it. You may find that you will receive support and encouragement from people who have come to estrangement in different ways – but it’s important to remember that often our energy is needed for our own journey forward and healing.
9. You might have to go out of your way to build and maintain community and connections with people who sit on the “opposite side of the fence”. Our society likes to polarize and separate people, put them into boxes and define them in ways that makes it difficult to find shared experiences. Refuse to be a part of that.
10. Try to avoid the trap of “knowing what is good for them.” Other people are the only ones who can figure out what is good for them. We can share our thoughts, feelings, experiences and resources but we cannot assume that they are the “right” or “only” thoughts, feelings, experiences and resources. Other people may not be interested – what we have to say may not fit for them.
11. It is not okay to present your own agenda, or to suggest in any way that those who sit on the “opposite side of the fence” do not understand or see the big picture.
12. Remember that when we sit on the opposite side of the estrangement fence we may not see the impact of estrangement as clearly as the other group can. When people point out that our attitudes or language feels demeaning or diminishing to them, our first response should be to believe it. When we are criticized or “called out”, it’s a good time to listen, reflect – seek to connect rather than justify, rationalize or excuse. Learn to be accountable, apologize when warranted and change our behaviour when we need to.
If we choose to participate in a community where there are differences, we are going to make mistakes – a lot even! Be prepared for that.
13. Last, but certainly not least … listen, listen, listen, listen, listen!
We here at e-stranged, should be proud of our community and the efforts we have made to come together in spite of the different ways we have come to estrangement, to support one another in our efforts to move forward, heal – to claim the happiness we deserve and to build and enjoy positive, caring relationships.
“Resilience is not a commodity you are born with, waiting silently on tap. It is self-manufactured painstakingly over time by working through your problems and never giving up, even in the face of difficulty or failure.”
― Lori Myers
A number of people have sent me emails or left comments recently following my posts Just Curious and Estranged? What Is Your ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Score which talk about the Adversive Childhood Experiences ACE scale and the potential connection between adversive childhood experiences and family estrangement. After completing the scale and finding their ACE score, some people have found the information quite overwhelming and have asked for some discussion about what sorts of things might provide us with resilience to overcome a higher (4+) ACE score.
I will start this by saying that the ACE website is full of information about the research, the origins of the study, the implications of the study for participants health and well-being and also about resilience, which may be seen to mediate some of the negative outcomes associated with high ACE scores. I’d really encourage everyone to have a good snoop around.
At the bottom of the page where you find the ACE scale you will also find a 14 item resilience questionnaire, which may help you to identify some of the factors which are known to contribute to people’s ability to move successfully though difficult times. Most of the items on the scale relate to our beliefs about ourselves and also about the presence of significant relationships that may have allowed us to form a view of ourselves as loveable and worthwhile people, despite any adversive experiences we may have had.
Like the actual ACE scale, the resilience scale needs to be carefully considered because:
1. People may not easily identify people or circumstances as building their resilience and may need to be supported to identify and connect with those experiences / relationships.
2. People may not identify with many of the items which are on the resilience questionnaire and still be quite resilient.
3. We need to be aware of mediating factors upon resilience such as the 10 factors I discussed in my post Our Journey Is Our Journey. In particular I would stress that a child’s developmental age / stage has significant bearing.
4. We need to understand the role that temperament, the biologically determined aspect of our personality that helps shape responses our to events in the environment and our relationships, plays with developing and maintaining resilience.
5. There are many other factors which promote resilience which are not included on the Resilience Questionnaire including things like:
- The ability to cope with stress effectively and in a healthy manner
- Having good problem-solving skills
- Willingness and confidence to seek help
- Holding the belief that there is something one can do to manage feelings and cope
- The development of emotional self-regulation skills
- Having social support
- Being connected with others, such as extended family or friends
- Self-disclosure to people who are able to hear and validate our suffering
- Having an identity as a survivor as opposed to a victim
- Helping others
- Finding positive meaning in our adversive experiences
There is a mistaken notion that resilience is something we are born, or not born with; we either have it or we don’t. In reality each of us as human beings have both resilience and vulnerability packaged in our own unique fashion. There are things that we can do to foster our resilience “after the fact”; really anything that we do that increases our resources to cope with or otherwise address the negative aspects of risk or adversity promotes, or builds resilience. Some things that we can work on right now, today, include things like:
- Maintaining supportive, fulfilling relationships with people who affirm our value and our worth
- Learning to look for opportunities for self-discovery after struggle or loss
- Developing our self-confidence in a variety of ways; work, education, sport, creativity etc.
- Learning to see that we have had the capacity to overcome previous challenges and using the information to see our capacity to overcome new challenges or problems
- Recognizing our limitations, what we can and cannot control. Learning to accept things that cannot be changed
- Developing a long-term perspective and learning to see stressful events/relationships in a broader context
- Learning to develop realistic goals and move towards them one step at a time
- Developing the confidence to take decisive actions in adverse situations or difficult relationships
- Making a commitment to practice good self-care, mind and body, needs and feelings
- Developing a belief that things can and will get better, allowing ourselves to expect good things and being able to enjoy them when they do happen
Estrangement has the capacity to condition a person to be resilient, tolerant, dependable, strong, and capable of so much more than one who knows nothing of it. It can bring out the very best in us, but also the very worst. There are many things that we can do that build our resilience and capacity to develop and maintain extrodinary relationships. The effort to do so starts with ourselves and our healing. It’s just that simple, and that complex.
Nothing’s worse than the loss of love and connection with our family. The silent heartache that robs us of one of life’s joys.
- Jinny Ditzler
I opened my email this morning to a message from a reader who sent me Jinny Ditzler’s post, 7 Steps to a Loving Family. In the words of my reader, “Why does everyone assume that being in contact with my family will solve problems, rather than make new ones?” It’s a valid question. It seems that many well-intentioned people assume that family breakdowns occur, as Ditzler suggests, as a result of “squabbles or holding tight to grudges”. The logical solution to this then is that people should just let those things go, love one another and get along.
Sometimes estrangement is about squabbling and grudges in which case, a willingness to make amends and move on might well work. However, for many estranged people, this sort of advice not only misses the mark, but also comes across as patronizing and leaves people who can’t or don’t want to reconcile feeling further alienated and misunderstood.
The reality is some people have some very good reasons for electing not to maintain relationships with their families and may have tried for a very long time to make things right or heal the problems that eventually lead to estrangement. Other people desperately want reconciliation but cannot make it happen without the involvement and agreement of the person they are estranged from. It takes two people to have a relationship or heal one.
Estrangement not only occurs because people bicker and don’t communicate well together, it also occurs for reasons such as physical / psychological / sexual abuse; addiction issues; mental or physical health issues; domestic violence; divorce; significant intolerance for family member’s choices; lack of ability or desire to communicate; unresolved (and often inter-generational) trauma and attachment issues and any combination of these. In other words, family estrangement is complex, the reasons it happens are varied and sometimes reconciliation is neither possible or desirable.
It’s not just lay people who struggle to grasp this complexity. Frank Dattilio (dept of psychiatry, Harvard medical school) Michael Nichols (dept psychology, College of William and Mary) in their journal article, “Reuniting Estranged Family Members” note:
“Very little appears in the professional literature about the problem of estrangement due to voluntary separation amongst family members. As a result of the limited resources to guide them, clinicians may fall into the same wishful thinking common to family members hoping for reconciliation – the assumption that healing a family feud just means getting estranged family members in the same room together and having them open up to each other.”
Trust me, if resolving estrangement was as easy as sitting in a therapist’s office and opening up to each other, many of us would not be estranged.
It’s important to know that our inability or lack of desire to heal estrangement does not reflect badly on us as people. The inability to create reconciliation with our families does not necessarily happen because we are mean-spirited, or unwilling to confront a problem. It doesn’t necessarily happen because we are unwilling to communicate, or unwilling to forgive. It doesn’t necessarily happen because we wouldn’t like the estrangement to end. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we haven’t attempted mediation or counseling, or a dozen other things. Sometimes we have thrown everything we have at the problem of estrangement and reconciliation just isn’t going to happen.
Other people have not had to walk your path. They may not know what you have experienced, or understand it, even if they do know. They may not know the things you have already tried. They may not know why you decided to stop trying. People may not understand that while you desperately want reconciliation, the person you are estranged from doesn’t share your feelings. Our task as human beings is to know ourselves and know our limitations as well as our strengths. We have a responsibility to ourselves, to love, care for, nurture and protect ourselves, as much as we ever do someone else. Not only are we tasked to do no harm to others, we are also tasked with the responsibility to do no harm to ourselves.
We need to make room for people who choose not to reconcile, we need to make space for reconciliation not to happen. Some things are worse than the loss of love and connection with our family. There is no one easy answer or solution and no simple 7 step formula to make a loving family out of a deeply dysfunctional and sometimes dangerous for us, one.
We need to make room for complexity and we need to quit pushing ourselves and every other estranged person into the one fit solution we call reconciliation.
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“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom as great. You have no power over me!”
― Sarah, Labyrinth (Jim Henson)
I am a great fan of fairy tales and find them full of all kinds of wisdom disguised as story and metaphor. Sometimes we can access wisdom and sustenance from a story, that we would be unprepared to entertain or accept if it were offered to us as a truth. When my children were younger (and today too) and struggling through difficult times, I would often give them this story/metaphor.
Everyone wants to have an adventure. We read stories like, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe … and we wish we could be a part of those stories.
Oddly, you will notice when you are reading these stories of great adventure that our hero/heroine is often reluctant. Alice didn’t fall down the rabbit hole on purpose. Dorothy didn’t book a trip with the tornado that uprooted her house and dumped her unceremoniously in Oz. Bilbo had no desire to leave his beloved Shire and go traipsing about the land with a wizard and bunch of dwarves. Lucy found Narnia quite by accident in a wardrobe and Peter, Susan and Edmund didn’t believe her or really want to follow her.
You will also notice as you read these stories that there is at least one, but sometimes many moments where our hero-heroine doesn’t want to be having the adventure anymore. It’s not fun, it’s scary, things are uncomfortable, companions are disappearing, or even dying – our hero/heroine wonder if they will ever get back home, and if they do, will it ever be the same. There is a moment, a sometimes terrible awakening moment, where our hero/heroine realizes, “Oh my goodness, I am stuck here, I can’t get out and the only thing to do is to walk forward.”
There are always tasks associated with an adventure, challenges that must be mastered to allow our hero/heroine to move forward and progress their adventure. Alice had to catch the White Rabbit, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy had to vanquish the White Witch and her endless winter, Dorothy had to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West and make the crooked Wizard pay up, Bilbo had treasure to find and a dragon to slay…
Companions may join our hero/heroine or helpers may arrive – often disguised and sometimes the importance of their assistance goes unrecognized. Wonderful things sometimes appear or happen. Sometimes our hero/heroine even appreciates their adventure! When the tasks of the adventure are completed the hero/heroine knows more about themselves and the world around them, they have developed insight and value for things that truly matter. They have learned to find their way around their strengths and abilities. They emerge stronger and wiser for their adventure. The return home, to themselves.
Estrangement (and most other problems too) can be seen as great adventures. Often we don’t pick the adventure – and even when we do, we may have no real idea what we have signed on for. The landscape is strange and we don’t know our way. We don’t want the adventure. We want to go home. We want things to go back the way they were or we want something new and impossible (it seems) to get. For a time, we may walk our path alone, without friends or helpers. We may find the way is dark and frightening. We may think we will never make it through. We may spend some time, a long time even, resisting our adventure and refusing to move. But adventures are relentless, they push at us and prod us.
We may be led to find new companions, or to place a higher value on the companions we have. We may find helpers that light our way and support and encourage us. Like the brave adventurers in other stories, we too have tasks and challenges that must be faced so that we can develop insight and wisdom. Like our brave heroes and heroines, we too must place one foot in front of the other and walk forward, even when, especially when we don’t think that we can.
Like Sarah, in the movie Labyrinth, we too may pass through “dangers untold” and “hardships unnumbered” during our struggle with estrangement. We too may need to fight huge monsters and travel many miles to take back the self-esteem, the health, and the happiness that we lost or was stolen from us. Our will is strong, our story goes on.
Estrangement. Welcome to your adventure.
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You matter. No matter whether you chose to estrange, or someone (maybe many someone’s) chose to estrange from you. You matter whether your mother, father, grandma, grandpa, sister, brother, auntie, uncle, daughter, son … agrees, or not.
You matter whether you have been estranged for 10 minutes or 10 years. You will matter even if you are estranged for 110 years.
You matter whether you are strong, or not so strong, healed or not so healthy. You matter, even if you have a mental health label, even if you have 6 or 10 mental health labels. You matter even if you don’t.
You matter whether you want reconcilliation with your family and you matter even if you never do.
You matter whether you are alone, loving and caring for yourself or surrounded by a tribe of people who love you. There is no estranged person who matters more than you.
You matter. We all do.
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“The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things, equal.”
One of the most striking features of estrangement is the amount of variation that occurs in the process of healing. Yet for all of that, I notice a few recurring themes in the estrangement community.
1. We compare our healing journey to other people’s healing journey. We often measure this journey by length of time and depth of suffering.
“I’ve been estranged for 27 years and I haven’t healed. That’s how horrible estrangement is.”
“I’m 55 years old and I have never had a lasting relationship, not friends and not family. I don’t stay in touch with people from my past, especially not my family, who I haven’t spoken to in years. When I see happy relationships they are foreign to me. Hearing that other estranged people have good relationships causes me indescribable despair, jealousy, and rage. Why can’t that be me?” – Analee
2. We assume other people’s story is pretty much like ours. We project that story outward.
“There is nothing more traumatic than a child abandoning a parent. Any child who would do such a thing is a selfish and cruel child.” – Morgaine
“All grandparents should have relationships with their grandchildren.” – Terry
“I am a mother and I will always be a mother. Maybe other people heal from estrangement but I don’t think mothers ever do.” – Joy
3. We assume other people’s healing journey will look like ours.
“You should join a support group. I didn’t heal until I had a supportive community.”
“Three years is how long it takes to move forward. You’ll get there.”
“Your sister sounds just like my mother who is a narcissist. Forget about ever having a relationship with that!”
There are many different factors that impact on our capacity to heal and create an affirming, healthy life for ourselves. A few of the many things which appear to significantly impact healing (how long it takes, what the process looks like etc) from estrangement include:
1. Whether our parents or significant attachment figures carried their own scars of trauma and attachment issues
2. The age we were when difficulties originated in our families and whether we enjoyed a period of relative stability and care prior to those difficulties
3. Whether or not we had at least one significant person in our family system, or broader support system who was able to be present for us unconditionally through our estrangement
4. The number of cumulative risk factors that are present in our family system e.g.; addiction, mental or physical health problems, domestic violence, the presence of emotional / psychological / sexual abuse, poverty, divorce, social isolation etc.
5. Whether our estrangement difficulties are historical, or we are being impacted by fresh injury
6. Whether there is an intergenerational pattern in our family, of using estrangement to manage emotional intensity
7. Our capacity to form realistic and affirming boundaries and enforce them
8. Whether we have a positive relationship with ourselves and have confidence in our strengths and abilities
9. Whether we have developed the capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses – emotional regulation
10. Whether we have current access to relationships which affirm our value and offer us support and caring
Estrangement is a personal injury and healing is a personal journey. Some people heal more quickly than others. Some people say they are in perpetual healing. Some people don’t want to heal. Some people use particular approaches that others aren’t interested in. People define “healing” in personal ways – what my healing looks like therefore, may not resemble your healing at all. Anyone who says “here’s how you heal from estrangement” misses the point entirely.
Our journey is our journey.
You see, our life and our story moves on … we are not a static, one dimensional, bit character in someone else’s book. We are citizens in our own evolving, dynamic world of possibilities. We heal and we recover. We write our story. We think the best of ourselves. We move on.
- Fiona McColl
I’ve been having a read through my email this morning and noting the sense of “holiday hangover” that seems to arise after major holidays for many people who are estranged. The holidays “stir the pot” and leave people feeling vulnerable and often emotional. Their estrangement story burbles up and triggers all sorts of reaction. As the holiday wears off, people are left alone with themselves, trying to make sense of it all.
On the surface, this makes complete sense for those who are new to their estrangement. They are still tangled in relationships, or severing relationships, still dealing with the intersections and triangulations of maintaining other relationships in their family system. Estrangement is very much a current event.
What’s a little harder to wrap our heads around is that people can be estranged for many years; 5, 10, 15 or more and still be held hostage. When they speak of their estrangement, it sounds like a fresh story, populated by current events. Yet for many of these people, they are retelling very old stories about people who they may not have had any interactions with for a very long time.
In addition, many estranged people are still caught in a tangled web of what they perceive other people (who they are no longer in relationship with) may think and feel about them. They feel deeply wounded and personally impacted by things people said about them years ago. Many people are still worried, years later about what people (who they do not have a relationship with) might be saying or thinking about them, now. In essence, they are prisoners of their past relationships.
At a certain point (which is different for us all) we take a few steps back and listen to ourselves talk, whether the talk is internal or external. We get a sense of how much weight we are dragging around with us. If we are still replaying relationships with people who have not been a part of our lives for years, we have a serious problem and that problem is not the other person. The problem is we are not healing. We are victims of our history. Victims of relationships we are not even having. Victims of stories that are no longer happening.
You are not the same person you were when you first estranged from your family, whether it was 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years or 55 years ago. It is pretty safe to assume that the people you are estranged from have also carried on with their stories, even though you are not a part of them. We have the opportunity to move on, write new stories, give ourselves new parts – but we can’t do it when we keep reading the same pages of the same story.
How long have you been estranged? How fresh is your story? How long is long enough?
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