Tips on how to stay well when EXPERIENCING family estrangement

How to cope with family estrangement & manage emotions

 Families who fall out forever is more common than you think. For many people, family is the centrepiece of their life. It’s where we gain a massive aspect of our identity, find comfort and support, unconditional acceptance, and a sense of belonging. However, the family unit may become threatening and not feel as safe or nurturing for those estranged from their families.

In this article, I will discuss how to protect your mental and body health when

experiencing family estrangement. 

Social worker and academic Dr Kylie Agllias have researched family estrangements and how they impact one’s life. Dr Agllias research shows that 1 in 25 Australian adults has been estranged from their family at some time in their lives. Agllias points out that family estrangements occur when there is a breakdown of trust, emotional intimacy, and strong, contrasting values. 

Statics show in the United Kingdom that family estrangements are defined as the loss of affection within a family. Stand Alone, a UK charity (https://www.standalone.org.uk), supports people who are estranged from relatives. Stand Alone aims to break down the stigma around estrangement and support estranged people in their daily lives. They do this in many ways, and one of them is exploring the dynamics of estrangement. Stand Alone UK suggests that estrangement affects at least 1 in 5 British families. Most who were estranged from a parent strongly agreed with the idea that they could never have a functional relationship again. Stand Alone states that it isn’t clear if such estrangement is rising since it is a relatively young field of research. 

One United States of America study of more than 2,000 mother-child pairs found that 10% of mothers were estranged from at least one adult child. Further, another US study found that more than 40% of participants had experienced family estrangement at some point in their lives. This finding suggests that estrangement may be almost as common as divorce in certain groups, such as US college students. Sound like an epidemic, doesn’t it? 

All the research in Australia, the UK and the USA show that estrangement is a prolific social problem. I am sure the statics are similar across the world. It is a sad situation and one that is based on fact. If you have been estranged from your family, be assured that you are not alone. No matter where you reside in the world, you can find online help and resources.

Invest in people who genuinely love you

Those who genuinely love and care for you may not be your family. Friends are great because there is less of an expectation upon the relationship. We interact differently with friends than we do with our family. Further, there is no long-term history unless you have grown up with your friends, so you have a clean slate to build the relationship you want. Appreciate them and keep in contact with those people regularly. I have lots of lovely friends and have a unique relationship with each of them. With each one, we talk about different things and enjoy a variety of activities. Most friendships develop around common ground, and like all relationships, friendships must be nurtured to grow and be sustained.

Care for your Emotional Mind

Being misunderstood causes your inner gut to twist and turn to make you feel physically sick. This natural reaction is your body reacting to your emotional intelligence. Mike Oppland, BA, MBA, who submitted an article to Positive Psychology.com, states-

 ‘One cannot be emotionally intelligent without mindfulness of one’s emotions. Without consistent emotional intelligence, happiness is a mirage in the desert, seen but never reached.’ Mike Oppland, BA, MBA

Oppland points out that emotional intelligence is a creative skill to develop in your life that can help to ease relationships and provide a grounding element to emotional impulses. This is helpful when you are learning to manage your bruised emotions due to the trauma of estrangement. 

According to Oppland, there are three aspects of emotional intelligence

1. emotional awareness 

2. emotional application 

3. emotional management

As you learn to live with the consequences of estrangement from your loved one, each one of these aspects can uplift you to a new degree of ability when dealing with your own and others’ emotional reactions.

Mindfulness is a powerful tool that creates space between an action and your reaction.

These practices develop EI by bringing awareness to your emotions and those of people around you. It can also help you learn to apply and manage your emotions effectively through conscious thought and action.

Have you ever made use of mindfulness to regulate your emotions? I would love to hear from you in our comments section below.

Tips

1. When you become aware of your emotions triggering turmoil in your daily activities or upsetting your connection with others, give mindfulness a try.

2. As you learn how to live mindfully, you will experience increased self-awareness, providing you with a new sense of control.

Care for your Body

You must care for your body. Don’t bash it with alcohol or overload it with sugar or late nights out. Instead, nurture and care for your body with good food and passive or energetic exercise. 

Your body is the house that you live in. Over time through turmoil, we forget about our bodily needs. When upset, I tend to stop eating and work from sunup to sundown. However, I am learning to do things differently. I look at my body like I look upon my two dogs. They are helpless without me. Whether I feel like it or not, I must feed them, walk them, and stroke and groom them. I must provide a safe and enjoyable environment for them. Do the same for your body. 

Whether you feel like it or not, provide a safe and enjoyable environment for yourself. Feed your body well with natural foods, exercise it, groom it, care for it whether you feel like it or not – this is the only one you have! Your emotions can make you sick if you do not righty care for your body. I use many tools to help me with this, and in posts to come, I will share them with you. 

If you want some ideas and tools to relieve stress caused by estrangement, check out the course in the top menu.

If this post was helpful, then please like, subscribe, share & click on my social media.

I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in the top menu.

CITATIONS

·      Agllias, K. (2016). Family Estrangement (1st ed.). Taylor and Francis. Retrieved from https://www.perlego.com/book/1568171/family-estrangement-pdf (Original work published 2016).

Paula Rose Parish M.A.

Published by Paula Rose Parish - The Hope. Faith. Love & Your Wellness Matters Community

We are a community that is dedicated to the Faith Lifestyle, Health, and Wellbeing. Come join me, as I explore Lifestyle Wellness of Mind, Body & Soul for women particularly. I share Great Tips for Wellbeing to stay healthy and for everyday living. Today, WELLNESS is used not only in terms of health and fitness but also wellness of Mind, Body, and Spirit. I believe that the only true wellness must include the whole person. Check out the menu bar on both sites, and Click the Follow button on the bottom right, and also subscribe to my monthly newsletter💗

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