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Estrangement

The "abuse cycle" and other things/themes that EAC identify with.

(372 Posts)
HolyHannah Thu 05-Mar-20 05:39:48

I understand that some EP's are profoundly hurt by their adult child(ren) choice to estrange/go No Contact. How someone reacts to being hurt is very telling in my opinion.

It is one thing for EP's to call estrangement a "living bereavement" but to go so far as to have memorial services and I even read about an EP that held a mock funeral and invited all the rest of the family that was loyal to her to the 'grave-side' ceremony. She wanted to show her young grand-daughter, her daughters child, what happens when you turn your back on 'family' by lowering a box of her Uncles possessions into the ground.

Sadly, abusive parents like that take those actions as a way to make them "feel better"/'take back their control' etc. Do they think of the implications of those actions? What must that poor child have thought? Clearly son/uncle was right to walk away from his FOO and the fact that his sister 'stood' with their mom and exposed her own child to that shows how the cycle of abuse works.

The message that child received was, "If you aren't 'good enough' or behave the 'right way' (their way) then you will be disposed of/'let go' as well." What could be more terrifying to a child? A minor child who has no exit options. Hint -- nothing... The fear of being abandoned/'cast out' was constant in my world because I was taught, "You don't matter and no one cares what happens to you..."

Now if the son finds out about this 'funeral', he'll probably go, "Yeah. Goes to show what she really thinks of Me. She'd rather see me 'dead' then stop abusing Me or even examine the possibility that she might be part of the issue."

I always felt like my 'mom' wanted me to kill myself and when I read EP's talking like that I thought, "Well, the fact that they are willing to do that in effigy says to me, maybe that's really where some abusive parents DO want their goat/lesser child(ren) to be... Dead." When/IF We finally 'wake-up'/come out of the FOG, also known as our breaking point/rock bottom, we refuse to enable the abuse by tolerating/accepting the abuse any further.

I believe this is what abusive EP's mean when they say, "My child needs to own 'their part' in the estrangement." I believe abusers think their victims "part" is that they (the victim) 'allowed'/accepted the abuse for as long as they did. What a beautiful/perfect denial of reality... "My child always 'accepted' how I treated them and even 'praised' Me as a 'mom' with cards and notes and AND AND..."

Of course abused children do 'those things' that abusive parents state. It is a child's attempt to get the love they desperately crave and abusers see that as 'proof' that they were a 'good' parent. Unfortunately, many of us eventually realize they is no love to be had regardless of what we do/have done.

The attitude of "that's just how I am, take it or leave it" is a sign of immaturity. As an adult, it's your responsibility to figure out which of your traits are toxic and are negatively impactful towards other people and the ones you love, and to eventually learn how to fix them. At some point we all have to start making ourselves better individuals. If you truly believe you don't have to change anything about yourself, even at the very least the worst in you and that people will just have to deal with it, then sorry, you are still a child. -- Anonymous

lavenderzen Thu 05-Mar-20 06:43:30

I am sorry for your pain.

Starlady Thu 05-Mar-20 11:22:25

'The fear of being abandoned/'cast out' was constant in my world because I was taught, "You don't matter and no one cares what happens to you." '

My heart aches for the little abused child you were, HH, and the part of that child who is still w/in you.

Namsnanny Thu 05-Mar-20 12:40:25

I'm not sure any of this post applies to the vast majority who post and read estrangement threads.
Never heard of mock funerals etc.

So as such I have taken the view that I always do with things outside my realm of reference. Eg. Acknowledge it must happen somewhere, and Thank God it doesn't include me!

In that vein thanks for the info but it is next to useless in my world.
thanks

Yennifer Thu 05-Mar-20 13:31:05

I think the more awareness we bring to the existence of whole dysfunctional families and abusive parents, the more we can educate then less children will have awful childhoods x

Smileless2012 Thu 05-Mar-20 13:55:16

There's a lot of publicity at the moment about mental health issues but the impact that can and does have on vulnerable family members still doesn't seem to be being addressed; the focus being on the individual with the problem and how it impacts on them.

There are so many things to consider. I would say the EP in the OP has a problem and that is being enabled by those "loyal to her".

It's difficult sometimes for family members to face the reality of what's happening within their own family and to recognise that by ignoring it, they're merely perpetuating the problem.

Enabling it is IMO particularly disturbing.

"At some point we all have to start making ourselves better individuals". Unfortunately there will always be some who wont.

Yennifer Thu 05-Mar-20 14:35:53

I really don't get the loyalty thing, I wouldn't want my children or anyone to take sides, they have to decide for themselves x

Smileless2012 Thu 05-Mar-20 15:11:46

Sometimes a decision is taken out of loyalty, fear of becoming the next victim or because what someone's been told is a lie but they don't know or wont accept that.

rosecarmel Thu 05-Mar-20 15:37:49

How much science is behind how people respond to hurt?

How much of a person's response is dependent upon fixation and miscommunication?

Frenzy can drive both sides of a situation, creating dual vortices-

When a downy feather gently separates from the wing of a migratory bird, without any fanfare or much of a sound, how much disturbance does it create?

Some people pick up a spade and dig a grave- Once- Some pick up a spade and keep on digging until the grave becomes a tunnel-

Some hire a moving truck-

Who decides what it means to go "through" rightly or "get around" incorrectly?

Yennifer Thu 05-Mar-20 21:58:41

Honestly I think holding a mock funeral and burying belongings an odd one. I understand needing some sort of letting go but to do it as a family seems a bit like brainwashing the whole family that that person is dead to them. What happens if they want to reconnect? It's a bit cult like really. It's not like a death either, death is about mourning, the funeral is at the beginning not the end of mourning. Seems more like good riddance than sadness. It's been on my mind all day. My mother was awful but I don't think or wish her dead. Maybe some ECs do?

rosecarmel Thu 05-Mar-20 23:26:05

Maybe it isn't the person families pretend to bury but their pain- Which is different than pretending someone is dead-

Women cut their hair after the dissolution of a relationship - People do all sorts of things when things come to a close that are cathartic for them- Look at how many threads are the result of an "end" to one thing or another- Or at least the idea of an end-

Smileless2012 Thu 05-Mar-20 23:27:07

I agree it's certainly odd. Estrangement is referred to as a living bereavement so maybe it was a way of accepting the relationship is dead and 'burying' it so the relationship could be mourned rather than a "good riddance".

I've never heard of such a thing before; maybe some EAC bury the relationship they had with their estranged parent(s).

rosecarmel Thu 05-Mar-20 23:32:52

Google mock funerals, they're not that uncommon-

HolyHannah Fri 06-Mar-20 04:57:03

Yennifer -- I've seen EAC of abuse on all sides of the issue of how they feel around whether their 'parent' is alive or dead physically. While some absolute do say, "I can't wait for them to be dead so I know I am free." others fall into, "I don't care." or in my case, "I made my peace with the relationship I never had/could have with my 'mom' and her death as a 'parent' to Me happened a long time ago. Her physical passing will just be -- Nothing.

Also, because of extensive therapy, I understand that she was 'giving' the best she could. Unfortunately her emotional 'tank' was always on empty and instead of being the adult and finding the 'leak' she just kept "pulling fuel" from her victims'. Also called Narcissistic Supply.

This is why I believe abusive parents are so keen to act like, "I will be a wonderful grand-parent." to their AC. They know (due to the cycle of abuse -- consciously or not) that THAT is when they started to change their relationship with their (probably abusive) parent(s) and fear the same from their AC.

Abusers/Narcissists know that their "supply"/victim is in jeopardy when that victim finds a new #1 priority. Like his wife/the DiL or her and a baby. When the abuser/MiL tries to reassert her control/authority? The DiL 'wins' for two reasons... She looks 'right' in his eyes because he 'knows'/was trained -- You can't have 'two masters'.

AND instead of either 'side' (because both 'sides' are dysfunctional) saying, "We're all adults here. It's called finding a compromise..." The dysfunctional thinkers/abusers keep the cycle going while the scapegoat/son is screaming, "I just want everyone to 'get along' and stop playing these drama inducing games!"

And as always, the most rationally minded person in the cycle, the Scapegoat, doesn't even get heard. Or is that 'herd'?

Smileless2012 Fri 06-Mar-20 07:48:30

Looks as if you and I were thinking along the same lines rosecarmel.

Smileless2012 Fri 06-Mar-20 13:05:50

I've just googled mock funerals and they're quite common. People hold them for all sorts of reasons; to acknowledge the 'death' of relationship as in the OP and divorce etc.

They're also used as a tool to help people with addiction and suicidal thoughts and many find them quite cathartic.

Madgran77 Fri 06-Mar-20 13:31:16

I suppose it is a similar principle to therapy advice given re writing down all the things one is angry about with someone and then burning the piece of paper. Again, it is used as a cathartic way of ridding oneself of the anger, that is the principle

Referring back to the original post and the EP mentioned, I personally feel very uncomfortable at children or even others being involved in such processes as a mock funeral. I think that each individual should be left to decide what is right for them, not out of obligation or whatever but just because it is what they personally need to deal with a given situation.

Smileless2012 Fri 06-Mar-20 13:40:10

I was thinking the same thing, like writing a letter and then burning it Madgran, something that's often suggested.

I fully agree with what you say about children being involved but it depends why others were there. There's no background information at all in the OP, all we know is that there was a mock funeral.

We know nothing about the estrangement and whereas I don't agree a child should have been present, there's no evidence that this P's estrangement is due to her abuse of her AC.

We don't know that the others who were there attended out of loyalty. Often when estrangement happens the EAC estranges their entire family. Perhaps that was the case and other family members also wanted to acknowledge the 'death' of their relationship and bury it. Worth considering I think.

Yennifer Fri 06-Mar-20 13:53:59

I didn't find any mock funerals relating to estrangement online. I still feel very uncomfy about it all. I feel uncomfy about the reasoning. This isn't a knee jerk reaction it's planned in advance. This isn't just letting someone go and hoping they find happiness and peace in themselves even if that has to be without a relationship. That would always be the healthy option to me. It feels more about being angry and hateful and wanting to be supported in that. I guess it's just not something I can relate to x

Smileless2012 Fri 06-Mar-20 14:14:15

I don't agree that it's necessarily about being angry and hateful. Accepting that a relationship has died doesn't mean you don't hope that the person you once had a relationship with doesn't find peace and happiness.

There's an assumption being made that the EP is abusive and that's why the mock funeral was held so it has to be for malicious reasons.

Yennifer Fri 06-Mar-20 14:19:13

Funeral is death? Dead, gone, buried. It's the pretend version of actually bonking someone over the head with something heavy. In my head anyway. Maybe someone can make me see it differently with different context but can't imagine it myself x

Yennifer Fri 06-Mar-20 14:24:16

Actually for me it would also be completely losing hope if my mother did this. I'd feel sure I was never loved or wanted and absolutely right but I'd also feel that the chance that my mother would ever change would be gone. While I am comfortable and happy with things the way they are, I would never be turning my back on her if she got help and changed. Just not me x

Starlady Fri 06-Mar-20 14:25:24

I can understand having some kind of memorial service for a lost relationship. I think going so far as acting out a funeral is a little extreme though. But if it's just a small, private thing and it helps the estranged party in some way, I guess that's ok. I don't see making a big deal of it, however, or including children - too confusing for them, IMO, and too morbid when no person has actually died. And I certainly can't condone using it to teach a child what will "happen" to them if they stand up to family members! That can't possibly be healthy for the children!

But fortunately, Ive never known anyone who did anything like that, not even among my EP/EGP friends.

Yennifer Fri 06-Mar-20 14:29:18

Hard Starlady, for all I know this could be my mother, I don't know where she hangs out, just know its not here as I'd recognise her I think x

Starlady Fri 06-Mar-20 14:37:42

Wow, Yennifer, wow.

Hope she's not your mum. And yeah, I imagine you'd recognize her if she were.