Dealing with the loss of estrangement

May 16, 2017

estrangementDon’t let anyone kid you. Estrangement is loss.

The person may not be dead, but they might as well be, because they are not present in your life.

And just like with death, we grieve the loss.

I know a lot about this because I’m estranged from my siblings. It wasn’t my choice. And it’s irrevocable.

There are always reasons

There wasn’t an “incident” and there’s nothing for me to apologize for. The reasons are complex and unique to our family. I usually don’t talk about it publicly but I’m sharing today because I know others like me are hurting..

No doubt about it: when you’re estranged from loved ones, the loss feels similar and the process of grief is exactly the same as it would be if they were dead.

They are, after all, dead to you.

I know that I had things to say to them that I will never have the opportunity to say in person. And really, I know they wouldn’t be able to hear or process my words. So it would be futile.

estrangementAnd there are always things we want to say

But my words were still in my head and they wanted to get out.  So here’s what I did:

I used my Coping with Grief audio, HERE.  Using the audio download, I went on a journey to meet with each sibling and there, in my mind’s eye, in a quiet corner of my house, I pressed “stop” on playback and said what I had to.  When i was done, I resumed playback and the journey ended a few minutes later.  It was emotional and amazingly cathartic —and I began to get a sense of that closure that is so elusive in situations like mine.

I then turned to my Guided Journal through Grief, HERE and I used it for both siblings. I didn’t rush. It took me some weeks to finish. But in the end, I’d gained perspective, lost any anger or hard feelings, owned what I felt I needed to and moved on. These days I rarely think about the estrangement. It no longer has the emotional charge that it did. I’ve moved forward.

When I developed these two products for A Healing Spirit I knew they’d be helpful for grieving the death of a loved one or a pet. Then, I discovered the estrangements in my life weren’t unique to me. That others also had similar situations. And that these products were also helpful in dealing with those situations.

If any of this resonates with you, I hope you’ll take a look at the products. They could be helpful to you or someone you know. Thank you.

70 comments on “Dealing with the loss of estrangement
  1. Robin rue says:

    I have never been estranged from a loved one, but I bet it is so hard. To know they are out there, but you just don’t talk or get along 🙁

  2. Being estranged from a loved one and grieving about of is real. You follow a great purpose here!

  3. Estrangements from family members are difficult and can suck the emotional energy out of you. What a fabulous idea to use these tapes to help cope with such a powerful loss.

  4. Alli Smith says:

    I’ve never been estranged from a loved one. The older I get, the more I realize that life is too short to hold grudges. It has to be extremely hard to go through something like this.

    • Lisa Brock says:

      Estrangement isn’t about holding grudges though – or not always anyway.. It is often about claiming your own sense of self and/or self care. Holding grudges is very damaging – but holding grudges and estrangement are not necessarily intertwined. It can take tremendous health to just let go of someone who is not good for you. Truly sometimes, a necessary loss. I’d never close the door but I have certainly felt healthier to close it at times.

      • Angie says:

        I am suffering too at the moment and feeling very alone as my mum and sister have died. My dad died three years ago and I thought myself and my stepmum were close particularly as she is the last link to my dad. But we have fallen out. However she has a narcissistic personality and will not talk about what happened and try and reconcile in any way. She is remarrying and moving to another country now so will probably never see her again. My dad would be heart broken if he knew this had happened. I believe if you love and cherish someone you would do everything to save the relationship so this leaves me with the fact that she couldn’t have really loved me. Also she has now turned other people in the family against me by telling lies about our original disagreement so it all looks like she has done nothingand I am the guilty one. Her toxic nature has drained me

  5. Thank you for this. I’m seeing a friend tomorrow who needs this desperately. I hope she is open to it.

  6. candy says:

    I know a family member who feels he doesn’t need the rest of us around. He won’t even give a reason why, just refuses to talk to any of us. Says he was born in the wrong family. Glad our parents aren’t alive to see his actions.

  7. It can be really difficult when someone has had a huge impact on your life, and then just isn’t there anymore. It definitely is a type of mourning for what you had and no longer have,

  8. Jessica Dalgliesh says:

    Somehow it is comforting to know there are other people who are estranged from family and have accepted the situation and moved on. There is without a doubt a grieving for the loss but for me along with that loss I found myself.

  9. renee says:

    I know a few people who could benefit from this and will share it with them. I am not estranged from my family in this way, but they have all passed. My Mom, my Dad and my only sibling. And now my son…

  10. Hi Carol,

    Great message here. After a rough breakup from my first relationship decades ago, I learned how being estranged is similar to grieving someone’s death to you. They may be alive and even well but to you, until you embrace and grieve the loss they feel dead to you.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


  11. Wow, I definitely need to look into those products. I am currently dealing with this because of my brother. It is so difficult to feel so alone in this process.

  12. Jeanette says:

    I can’t Magent how hard it is to who estranged from a loved one. I guess we all cope with it differently in some of these tips might be able to help those having a hard time. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Danik says:

    Good post but a subject I sometimes feel hard to talk about. Estrangement is not one I like to talk to a friend in a bar about. Very very touchy. One day I open up more.

  14. GiGi Eats says:

    You could not be more right and I have gone through the arduous task of ridding my life of some of the crap! And you know what?! I am a better person because of it!

  15. I haven’t experienced estrangement, but I can understand why someone would. We don’t choose our families after all. It’s good there are products that can help people cope, since it can be difficult for those of us who haven’t gone through it to know what to do for you.

  16. Claire says:

    Unfortunately I understand the pain. Once upon a time my big brother was my role model. Now he doesn’t speak to me unless he has to at family events. I recently found out from my mum that his wife is expecting their first child. There once was a time I’d have been to the first to know. Now I’m not sure what role I will have on the kids life. It’s a shame

  17. lisa says:

    I can’t say that I’ve been estranged from any family member. It has to be very difficult I would imagine, knowing you just don’t connect anymore.

  18. MONICA says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss and I can only imagine how difficult this is for you. It’s healthy that you talk about it and are dealing with this “death” and I hope someday soon your pain will be more bearable.

  19. Sarah Bailey says:

    I can’t imagine how it is to come to terms with an estrangement. However, I can totally see how it would be so close to any other type of loss and grief is just natural.

  20. Tara Pittman says:

    I have experienced death way too many times. So knowing that this feels like that is awful.

  21. Scott says:

    We’ve had friends do this to us just out of the blue. No explanation, nothing. We certainly did grieve over the loss of a friendship for quite some time.

  22. Tiara Wilson says:

    I have personally never dealt with estrangement. I personally have never had to deal with death.. So I haven’t or wouldn’t be able to feel the feelings you feel, but I am sending a virtual hug. <3

  23. Barbara says:

    Oh, Carol. Estrangement is my family’s middle name. My mother is bipolar and a narcissist. Family members were in and out of my life like a revolving door my mother controlled. I had so many step-fathers I call them daddy du jour. I think that’s going to be the title of my memoir, actually. Having experienced all of that sort of hardens you, in some ways. But, keeping toxic people in your life will shorten your time here on earth, for sure. Letting go is so hard but, it is often necessary for your own well-being. I applaud you for your entire line of products. They are sorely needed in this world.

    • Susan says:

      Yes here I am 7years later with a 45 yr old daughter that has been estranged from me(&hubby) for that long. We were very close and I don’t know what I did. This is normal in these situations I hear.Some say it’s worse than death because there’s no closure there’s no knowing she loved you before she died. The difference though is HOPE…Yes this is the worst pain I have ever endured knowing my daughter doesn’t want me in her life. But I had to say goodbye to protect my sanity and yet still leaving the door open just in case. Well thank God I did. She has contacted my husband and slowly making plans to come back to us. I haven’t heard or seen her all this time..of course my husband had to get cancer first before she allowed some love to re-enter her heart. He’s doing fine now.And we have new hope. It’s going to happen this Summer.So try hard not to become so bitter you lose your sparkle. And always leave the door open just a crack.

  24. Rebecca M. says:

    I am blessed to say that I am extremely close to my family and have never been estranged from them. I can only imagine how hard it must be and your two product could be very helpful for someone who it going through such a terrible time.

  25. Megan says:

    I understand the pain that comes with estrangement. Mine was my father, and it hurt the first few times he would cut ties with me. He would come around, I’d forgive him, and then he’d be off again. This time I still forgive him, but he no longer has a welcome pass into my life to do this to me or now my children.

  26. BeTh Havey says:

    My family is intact. We have our occasional ups and downs, but we work through them, we talk them out. There is nothing worse than the wall of silence. But what you are offering is great.

  27. Akamatra says:

    I am sorry for not having your siblings close. I cannot fathom life without my sister. It’s great you can pull through it though!

  28. Amber Myers says:

    I am grateful that so far I haven’t ever had to go through this. I hope I never do!

  29. Pam Wattenbarger says:

    Estrangement can be so hard emotionally. There are always things you wish you had said and there are things you wish you hadn’t said.

  30. Sometimes there are good reasons for distance between loved ones. Thanks for bringing to light some of the complexities of this difficult issue.

  31. Haralee says:

    You are amazing! Of course it is grief it dealing with estrangement and overcoming it dead or estranged takes time and work!

  32. Claudia Krusch says:

    Being estranged from a loved one is one of the hardest things. I try to mend fences if I can. Life is to short to be mad.

  33. My Teen Guide says:

    This is a great post. I have gone through the same experience and yes, it feels like I was dead to them and them to me. It has been years, and it still sits heavy on my heart. I will have to look into these audiobooks. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Maurene Cab says:

    This is lonely and difficult situation. Estrangement is truly sad. Thankfully, there’s a way to effectively deal with it.

  35. Misty Nelson says:

    You are so right! Estrangement is like experiencing a death, you grieve the loss of the relationship in much the same way. I’ve unfortunately experienced the same with more than one family member and it’s so hard. It’s even more difficult when you have a child and realize your child won’t get the chance to know that person as well.

  36. kelly reci says:

    I’ve never been estranged by any of my family member, I’m glad I was born in a very good group of family!

  37. Destany says:

    I haven’t spoken with a close member of my family for almost 10 years. It was very difficult at first, but as the years rolled on, and I realized I was better off, it got much easier.

  38. Such a inspirational post. Estrangement is one of the hardest things we can encounter in life, but I’m thankful I’ve never had to go through something like this.

  39. Love You Wedding says:

    Unfortunately, estrangement is a reality nowadays. I’ve seen couples break up with still a lot of hurt and ill feelings. Thank you for providing ways and means to ease the pain. It would really be a great help to know that there are people who care.

  40. Czjai says:

    Being estranged with a loved one is tough. Depressing at times. I know, because I have been there.

  41. My husband has been estranged from his sister since his father died. She cashed his father’s last disability checked and lied about it after his death, and his mom had to pay it back so they wouldn’t haul his sister to jail. She’s just a strange person all around. She has some mental illness, so she appears and seems like an adult, but really she thinks more like a 12 year old kid. I worry about what will happen to her if he’s still not speaking to her when their mom is unable to care for her anymore.

  42. Anosa says:

    Having this feeling is really depressing. I am glad you find your support system and learn to dealt with it.

  43. Elizabeth says:

    I completely agree with what you say. My mother, for some bizarre reason, has decided not to be part of my life. Mother’s Day really hurts as it’s not like she’s dead, she’s just chosen to be estranged.

  44. Anosa says:

    I recently became enstranged to someone, I had to remove them from my life for my own good and it was a loss that I grieved and the grieving was necessary

  45. Elizabeth O. says:

    I agree with you. When we lose people in our lives, it’s never easy especially if it wasn’t your choice. There will be things that you wish you had said but never got the chance to and never will. I know that feeling and how I wish there’s a way to move on from it. I hope this audio and journal helps a lot of people going through the same thing.

  46. Katja says:

    I spent 8 years not speaking to my granny, by choice. I was the entrange-rer. We’ve made up now and it’s hard to think it took so long. Wasted years, eh?
    Katja xxx

  47. blair villanueva says:

    I dont know what to say here.. However i am definitely estranged to my exes. When am done… Am really done. 🙂

  48. As you most likely know I am estranged from my mum, my dad and my biological siblings but not through choice. It hurt for a long time but now I feel better and at peace because I let go of the anger a long time ago x

  49. Amanda Love says:

    I have a brother who I don’t talk to. It’s not easy to lose someone in your life that you grew up with but things happen and we just have to deal with it. Dealing with it is different for everyone though. I like that you’re offering help.

  50. I have a very similar situation, and it can be so hard. The person you once knew and cared for isn’t that person anymore. It is very much like a loss. These sound like such great resources to help people through the difficulty of estrangement.

  51. Marcie W. says:

    I have lost a few close friends over the years. It is usually through my own decision, but that does not mean I do not grieve for the relationship we once had Thanks so much for sharing these helpful resources.

  52. Mardene Carr says:

    As hard as some things are, sometimes they need to be done. Thanks for sharing these resources

  53. Rebecca Swenor says:

    Estrangement is something I really have not had to deal with which I am thankful for of course. I do have a friend I can share this post with who I believe it may help her. Thanks for sharing the information and your story.

  54. Ronnie says:

    I can’t believe there’s a word for this! I had to do this to someone in my life who was poisoning me with misery. I haven’t regretted it for an instance.

  55. Tami says:

    I have recently experienced this. I have to agree that it does feel like the death of someone.

  56. I feel so sorry for some people. Death is one thing, but someone choosing to leave is in a way much harder. Thank you for this article.

  57. Rosey says:

    Estrangement is hard on the whole family. It’s never just a one person issue. It’s hard/

  58. I have been estranged from the majority of my family for close to a decade now. At times it hurts but I know that they will never sincerely apologize for what they did, so I don’t dwell on it anymore.

  59. Michele Waller says:

    A few years ago, well two years ago, my husband had to let go a lot of his family, including his mother. I have to say, neither him nor I feel like we have lost anything, because in our opinion there wasn’t anything to lose. I bet it is hard when you do care about that person though.

  60. Yup! I totally understand this. I’ve been pretty much Estranged from my family my whole life! It’s sad when holidays come around and you see all the cute family photos, but besides that, I have friends to make up for the lack of family in my life

  61. My father was estranged for 2 years after my stepmom lost her battle to cancer. I reached out to him last year and we worked on rekindling our relationship. Even though we don’t talk much anymore, at least I know that we’re OK even if we don’t talk as much as we used to when I was younger.

  62. Oh boy, I know all about estrangement, and usually you hear the term used in regards to romantic relationships, but for me, it’s siblings. I’m personally not ready to dive into the feelings surrounding my personal situation, but find comfort that you found something that helped you with yours.

  63. Carol- what a wonderful process and product to help us deal with our feelings of loss. Sometimes we just don’t know where to put all the anger, grief and pain. Thank you for sharing.

  64. Cesar Diaz says:

    Thank you for sharing with us this hard and touching subject. Thank you for sharing this resources to helps us cope with this very hard and painful situation. A way to let go of some of your anger and grief is so helpful and good for your sanity.

  65. Krystal says:

    You are so strong for sharing this subject with us! I will be saving the resources you provided.

  66. Hi Cathy,
    Thank you for bringing your post to last week’s Pit Stop.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  67. Bellezakisses says:

    Thank you for the resources you shared.

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