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Estrangement and deep sense of loneliness

(21 Posts)
ineedamum Sun 16-Feb-20 08:01:11

I have been estranged from my family for many, many years and reconciliation will never happen. I don't blame them, my parents have issues and it isn't healthy for me to keep in touch and they blame me as its easier for them to deal with.

What I do struggle with though is that I wish I was from a healthy, strong supportive family. People who are there for you if needed, in emergencies. It would make life easier.

I also feel there is a stigma to estrangement and wouldn't tell people in work, although a few people know.

For example, a work colleague needed childcare, her husband was away, so she asked her Mum and sister who both helped. When I was in the situation, I only had paid help.

A friend is going through tough times, and her family provide financial gifts and emotional support.

I'm not jealous, but it's the sense of loneliness it brings up. The recognition that support other people have in tough times is something I've never had and never will as blood is thicker than water.

Yes, you can say I'm strong and independent- but only because I have to be! Ironically, people confide in me and I'm there for others but nobody is there for me.

sodapop Sun 16-Feb-20 08:39:56

I know how you feel indeedamum I have not had any family at all since the 70s not due to estrangement but the death of parents. No siblings or extended family at all.
It is hard to see other close families and the way they support each other. On the positive side there are no arguments and no worries about upsetting people. I have come to terms with it in the main and made a conscious effort not to be too dependent on my children and grandchildren.
I am like you strong and independent, people rely on me as they do you. I think we just have to accept the status quo and make the most of good friends who I have found to be very supportive. Good luck.

ineedamum Sun 16-Feb-20 08:58:32

Thanks sodapop. Just knowing there is someone else in the same position helps, who understand what it is like. Most of the time I get on with it, but something happened this weekend which reminded me.

True, nothing is ever perfect and you never know what happens behind closed doors. My friend confide in me some of their frustrations with their family!

Thanks again

Oopsadaisy3 Sun 16-Feb-20 09:08:35

ineedamum keep posting on GN and you will have a ready made and very supportive group of people who will welcome you at any time. Sorry you’ve hit a bit of a slump.
Don’t think though that having a family around you is always lovely, along with the support they offer you, you sometimes get all of their aggravation and problems, and there are always arguments and disagreements that you have to deal with or risk never seeing them again.

Smileless2012 Sun 16-Feb-20 09:12:49

You'll find there are GN's who are here for you ineedamum.

I understand your feeling there's a stigma attached to estrangement. As an EAC you'll fear you'll be judged in the same way that I fear and have been judged as an EP.

Sometimes that judgement comes from other peoples fear as well as a total lack of understanding and personal experience.

It must be very hard having to manage on your own without the practical, emotional and sometimes financial support that others receive. That makes you strong and independent, the type of person others feel they can confide in.

As sodapop posted as well as families providing support there's also the stress of arguments and worries about upsetting one another.

It sounds as if you're doing a wonderful job without the support network many take for grantedflowers.

Sark Sun 16-Feb-20 09:33:47

Some people suffer loneliness if they don't have family support and sometimes people are lonely within a family network as they don't really have close friends.
You sound a lovely lady and I hope you have supportive work colleagues and

annep1 Sun 16-Feb-20 09:40:43

I was in that situation with my son for years. and I know people thought it was my fault which is hard to cope with. Not much you can do unfortunately.
As for having family support. I have siblings, children and grandchildren, but we still never have support apart from on the telephone.
I do love them all of course and enjoy seeing them. But don't assume it's all wonderful.
I just get on with my own life.

oldgimmer1 Sun 16-Feb-20 09:53:14

I'm in your position and sympathise. Most of my family have passed on now, and I've been estranged by my closest remaining relative.

Like you, I did not have help when DD was little. I've always been there for others, and given them support.

I've come to realise that I'm on my own, I've accepted it and also appreciate that families aren't always supportive.

I think we just have to get on with it and build our lives around those who DO deserve ussmile.

Curlywhirly Sun 16-Feb-20 09:58:15

I know what you mean Ineedamum my Mum died when my children were very young; I'm not really close to either of my siblings, see them a few times a year. Husband's family are not close either. If I needed help with child care, I had to pay for it. I used to really envy those who could just ring their parents or in laws for help and had close families. However, all that made me determined to have a close family of my own; my sons or daughter in law can ring any time day or night for help and know both me and my husband will drop everything to help them. I take great pleasure in giving them the help I never got. They do know how lucky they are, their friends keep telling them!! It does work both ways too - I recently had a terrible bout of anxiety out of the blue, no idea what caused it - both sons were incredibly supportive, ringing me every day and inviting me round for dinner when their dad was working away. I also have some really supportive friends, 3 in particular (long-standing ex-work colleagues) are very close to me, more like sisters than friends; we meet regularly and can tell each other anything. I view them as my extended family - so all in all, even if you don't have parents or siblings, you can still find support and love elsewhere.

Chewbacca Sun 16-Feb-20 09:59:31

ineedamum, which is worse; having to rely on a dysfunctional family for the occassional meagre and much resented support and help you sometimes need to ask for or having less upset, misery and unhappiness overall but having to look for that help and support outside of your family? For me, it was a no brainer. The trade off of not having a family that I could turn to was offset by not having the endless anxiety, stress and upset for years on end. The relief was, and still is, priceless.

Work on building up strong relationships with those who love and like you for who you are ineedamum; my friends became my surrogate family and were 10000% more loving and supportive than my birth family and it's them that I can rely on and it's with them that I have the good times. Don't look back; you've already done the hard bit, just look to the future now.

ineedamum Sun 16-Feb-20 10:09:07

Thank you for all your kind and supportive messages. I'm touched that you have taken the time to respond and write a message.

I'm not sure where to begin, but part of the reason I'm seen as strong and independent is that my early experiences taught me to it is useless asking for help/I'm worthless etc

I'm taking baby steps and starting to disclose a few things in real life.

Posting on here has been incredible and reminds me there are lots of good people in life x

Yennifer Sun 16-Feb-20 12:48:43

I really understand too, even when I was in contact with family, reaching out got me no help or support and even though that's how it's always been I still kept reaching out and needing that comfort until I estranged. I now have lovely friends who are like family to me but I still feel unable to reach out to them, worried that they might have their own problems or that my problems don't deserve support. I've become a person used to coping on my own and I don't reach out for help unless there is no choice. When I do though, the love and care and help I get is overwhelming! Then I always wonder why I didn't do it before! My friends always tell me that I am a good friend and how much I've done for them. I get sent flowers and taken out for meals as thank you. There is always this underlying thought that they wouldn't think that if they knew the real me, that my mother must be right because mothers know us best? It's getting easier over time and I'm starting to like myself as a person which I couldn't ever have done while still in my family. I hope you can start to see how much you are worthy of love and care because I'm sure you are, I'm sure you all are x

Starlady Sun 16-Feb-20 13:14:43

Welcome, Ineedamum! And you definitely are NOT worthless! No one here is.

I'm sorry you can't reach out to family for support when you need it. But I hope you rethink the idea of not reaching out to friends, especially the ones that turn to you for support. I would like to think they would be happy to give the same in return. Yes, "they have their own problems," so it might just be a matter of listening for a while. But I'm sure some of them could find time to do that.

Meanwhile, as others have said, you will find a great deal of support here. Please feel free to keep reaching out to us.

Also, I think, sometimes, we have to provide emotional support for ourselves, by keeping a journal or seeking counseling, whatever might work.... Food for thought...

Like some of the others here, I'm not estranged from anyone at the moment, but my parents and all my siblings are gone. Thankfully, I have my DH, but there are some things he doesn't understand. Also, TG, I have 2 adult DDs, but I'm cautious about confiding in them if I have an issue that doesn't involve them - don't want to lean on them in that way, they have their own lives, etc. So while I have no issues to speak of now, fortunately, when I do, it can sometimes feel a little lonely.

I totally feel for all of you here who have that sense of loneliness b/c you have lost or are estranged from close family members.

Yennifer Sun 16-Feb-20 13:49:01

I think this is relevant to everyone because sometimes people do us a favour and walk away and sometimes estranging a parent isn't "I'm walking away because I've had enough of you" sometimes it's acknowledging that people have emotionally abandoned you a long time ago and letting the relationship go x

Sara65 Sun 16-Feb-20 16:31:33

I’m estranged from my mother, it was my choice, but I feel no guilt, although at times I imagine, people think I can’t be a very nice person to abandon my mother, they don’t know everything do they?

I’m not estranged from my brother, but I haven’t seen him or his wife for about twelve years, I think he knows where I’m coming from, but also know which side his bread is buttered on if you get my drift. I don’t blame him, better he gets all her money than a cats home.

My husband is an only child, so I suppose we are pretty much on our own, we have our lovely children and grandchildren, but no one from our generation.

Ineedamum, being estranged from your family may seem like you’ve lost a lot, but sometimes it’s all for the best.

mumofmadboys Sun 16-Feb-20 16:50:44

In the last 8 years I have lost my parents and my older brother. I only have a sister left. She estranged me about 15 months ago. I have tried to do what I can to mend things but to no avail. I think I will just have to wait and see if she ever changes her mind. It means she has no contact with her nephews either or me her children. It is very sad indeed and I find it very hard not to brood about it. I have a great DH and sons and I am blessed with wonderful friends. However I always thought siblings were for ever.

rosecarmel Sun 16-Feb-20 17:42:59

I'm there for others because I see it as my responsibility - But I've boundaries - Boundaries that anyone free to judge could and do- It doesn't matter much that their judgement upsets me from time to time, what matters is that the boundaries remain in place-

From the outside, it could look like I bend over backwards for others, when I'm not- It could also appear like not I'm not doing enough to an outsider that has no knowledge as to why I wouldn't do something because a boundary is in place-

I'm strong enough to tell others what I think rather than what they want to hear when being there for them- I listen, but don't make an ongoing habit out of solely listening- That's a paid profession- Not a balanced friendship-

Glass half full, grass is greener and loneliness can go hand in hand- So drink what's in the rest of the glass, walk 100 paces away from where you're standing them turn and look back to see if the grass where you stood looks greener from a distance- smile

keisi Fri 21-Feb-20 17:19:56

@ineedamum I totally get where you are coming from!

And I am in no better situation than yourself - every support and help I have needed with DC or houseload in general has had to be paid for!

The only person who might understand my is my mum - but she lives in another country and again that is of no help.

If you want more background of how bad a situation can be have a look at my post

keisi Fri 21-Feb-20 17:24:32

@ineedamum also the ways I have found might help, are reading a lot on mindfulness and gratitude and living day by day and enjoying the time with DC.

True, that family could help with childcare but there are other implications as well. Arguments, missunderstandings or them claiming they are doing too much and all these favors, or even simply intervening on the way you want to bring children up.

There is an expression that says that "having a close friend is better than having a sibling abroad". So a strong network of close friends would be very beneficial for yourself and family.

Skyblue2 Sun 23-Feb-20 18:59:50

I wish you comfort Ineedamum. It can seem like everyone else has loving family support and connections but the truth I am learning is that there are many people who are lonely and in need of support and love. It takes someone in the same situation to understand and give mutual support. Standing with you and sending an understanding hug

Smileless2012 Sun 23-Feb-20 19:25:43

What a lovely post Skybluesmile.