I joined Gransnet a few weeks ago - my first grandchild is 10 weeks old today. I wanted to find out how to be a good granny given my children are both boys, and the other one is due to become a dad in two months time. With three brothers - and as an ex-wife x 2 - I know it can be a tricky dynamic so I want to tread lightly.
Then I saw all the postings on estrangement. It's a revelation to me that there's so much of it, so many people affected. My reason for posting today is that I discovered the best book I've ever read on the subject last week, via a random reference online. I went straight to Amazon and downloaded it on to Kindle and didn't stop reading till the end.
You might already know about it, but I feel compelled to share the info because it helped me to clarify what has happened to my family. So first, the book - but I'll also paint a quick picture of my situation.
Title: Beyond All Belief: A Living Bereavement,
Subtitle: Understanding Estrangement and How to Survive it
Author: Diana Dunk
I haven't put in a link to Amazon or whatever, because I'm not sure of the Gransnet rules on links. I read it on the Kindle app on my iPad and phone, but there is a print version.
So I'm the eldest of four, and the only girl. There are 2 years between each of us. My brother J, next in age, cut off my parents in 1991 or early 92. There had been a slow withdrawal in retrospect. In March 1993, not long before my 40th birthday, he cut me off too.
Again there was a slow withdrawal, which left me wondering if I was doing something wrong. We were very close and lived round the corner from each other. He cut off the next brother down but never officially. For some reason my parents and I were the main villains in his mind. Although with no explanation it's impossible to know.
We had a comfortable boomer upbringing, parents not very demonstrative but in no way abusive. My brother began to change in his early 30s, not long after his first child - a son - was born.
J has never given a reason for the estrangement. He returned cards and gifts and told my parents not to send any more. They died without ever seeing him again and he didn't come to their funerals. Interestingly, he didn't turn down his quarter share of their estate.
I bought this book because estrangement affects everyone in the family and Diana Dunk describes it so well, with so much empathy - from her own experience - that I'll probably read it again soon.
Long post ... but it's well meant and I hope the book tip is helpful.