The Ripple Effect of Estrangement

This topic contains 5 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Rainbow 5 days, 13 hours ago.

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  • #71729


    Hello, friends,
    I just got off the phone with my sweet mother and I feel terrible. My dad’s 80th birthday is coming up and it just happens to be the same day as my ED. She walked out on everyone, both sides of the family 19 months ago without a word, fight, a clue. My mother called to tell me she was going to send ED a birthday card and invite her to celebrate my dad’s 80th. I read the stories on this website and sometimes feel jealous some of you know what went wrong. Other times, I consider myself lucky that I can only imagine what caused her to cut everyone out of her life. Every family event is stressful. Everyone notices her absence and asks me if we have heard anything. I can’t bear the holidays at all and most family events are slightly tainted with sadness. I don’t want her to show up at my dad’s party. I would never stop anyone in the family from seeing her or talking to her if she allowed it. I don’t know what happened to my daughter, but I don’t know this person or like her one bit. I am not the same person and I feel like my family looks at me with pity. How log does it take for people to just see you and not the pain? How long does it take until everyone stops bringing up the fact she doesn’t care about one member of her big extended families? How long until I can just stop feeling the hole left from someone who destroyed family time? I am sorry this is so dramatic. Everyone she dumped feels pain. There is no excuse for this behavior. She has wonderful Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. A brother who has always been there and is very hurt. My poor dear mother who longs to see a person who doesn’t exist anymore. It breaks what is left of my already shattered heart. I have wonderful memories of being a mother and raising a wonderful daughter. That person doesn’t exist anymore and I am learning to live with that. I despise watching everyone suffer too. How long does it take for everyone to stop wanting things to change or want to fix it?

  • #71756

    I don’t know the answers to those very important and valid questions, Rainbowmom.

    But I want to tell you, it does not seem dramatic to me. You are telling it like it is. You are facing the facts and the realities. And thank you for your honesty and your sharing.
    It is, honestly, a terrible experience that seems to add layers to itself.

    I hope you do find the answer, and that it is a positive one, that you and your family will stop, somehow, I do not know how, and find yourself and them, on a better path.

    Meanwhile, I am glad you expressed it very well and clearly. And I can only send hugs for you.

  • #71789

    Good question, Rainbowmom. “How long does it take for everyone to stop wanting things to change?”

    Although I am trying really, really super hard to accept and stop wanting things to change, I still deep down want things to change. I wish I knew how long it takes. I want things to change and my family wants things to change but the only one who can make anything change does NOT want things to change. I wish I could just accept this and quit wanting things to change. I recite the serinity prayer often to remind myself to accept what I cannot change.

  • #71814


    Let Go and Let God, we cannot change the situation but maybe in HIS time He might, but then again maybe He won’t, maybe He is protecting us, this is what I choose to believe.
    It’s hard, especially when engaged in family things, but please don’t allow the actions of our EC define and control our precious family time with the ones who are still happy to be a part of our lives.
    If and when the EC choose to return to the fold then if WE choose we can welcome them back with open arms.
    Remember the parable of the Prodigal Son.
    (PS for our non Christian friends please don’t feel offended by this analogy )

  • #71864

    Hi Rainbowmom. Sending you a big hug. It’s funny you call it the ripple effect, I call estrangement “the gift that keeps on giving,” Of course, it’s not really a gift, but it sure affects me in different ways as as time goes on. It is painful for me to see the pain this causes others, especially ED’s grandparents. They have tried to reach out and fix, but that has come back to bite them. Another family member set boundaries for one gathering which only pushed ED farther away. I’ve had to let go for what others feel, say, or do. That is easier said than done.

    In one of Sheri’s chapters she talks about the shape of your family and changing how you view it. It’s really helped to stop thinking of my life as a broken square. I think when you show up for YOU is part of the healing process. My happiness in spending time with those I love will no be dependent on whether my ED chooses to be in the picture or not. Focus on those who DO show up. Think of some fun ideas for the big 80th celebration. It’s quite a milestone.

    P.S. Since this is a shared b-day…This idea may or may not be appropriate for you, but have a small birthday card for family to sign for ED. Tell them with a smile, “no news to report, but please sign this card.”

  • #71905


    Rainbowmom, I am an old time veteran of estrangement and to be truthful I still have my moments of struggling. It’s been many years since my on and off estrangement began. My family rarely brings up the subject of my ES. They realize that this is just a painful topic for my husband and myself and they are aware that we tried our best to keep the peace and they see the hurt we carry in our hears.I lost my parents at very young ages. My mom passed away before my ES was born but my dad was around and loved him so very much. I often think if my dad lived long enough what a disappointment his grandson would be. Know that I will be thinking of you and hoping that you enjoy this special moment with your dad and your loved ones who care about you. I know it’s easier said than done. Estrangement is like a dark cloud that seems to follow us. Serenity, I agree estrangement is the gift that keeps on giving. Hugs to all. Love, Rainbow

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