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SUPPORT for all living with the pain of estrangement

(1000 Posts)
Smileless2012 Sun 26-Apr-20 14:05:51

Come on ladies, get postingsmile

Starblaze Sun 26-Apr-20 14:10:50

Oh well done. Not sure estrangement causes me much pain these days but that's a good thing

Smileless2012 Sun 26-Apr-20 14:41:25

I've been trying to work out how many support threads there's been here on GN.

When I first joined 7+ years ago the support thread was on the AIBU forum and I think it was the second, but for the sake of argument let's say it was the first. If you see this Yogagirl you may know as you were here when I first came on.

The threads on average seem to last about 18 months before they max out and another one begins.

GNHQ moved the support thread from AIBU to the Relationships forum before creating an estrangement forum, 2 years ago I think.

So, after 7 years that I know of, if the thread lasts about 18 months that would mean this is the 5th or 6th on this subject. Pretty amazing isn't it; more than 7 years and 6 threads of care and support helping one another get through the most painful of experiences.

When I look back to how broken and distraught Mr. S. and I were when I first came here, I'd never have believed we would be as we are today and that I'd still be posting here, making new friends and with many fond memories of those who no longer post.

Namsnanny Sun 26-Apr-20 19:13:31

Thank you Smileless… Even though I haven't been posting much I read a lot, and find that people in the majority who post on this thread do offer a lot of support to others.

I find it helpful on here, more than any other thread about estrangement as the others always turn out the same way!

Smileless2012 Sun 26-Apr-20 19:26:38

I'm glad you find this thread helpful Namsnannysmile.

Just finished another delicious BBQ and will shortly be digging into bread and butter pudding, with cream of course. Good job I've stuck to my exercise routine for 5 days this week.

Not the usual desert after a BBQ but I've been wanting some for ages and only managed to get sultanas and demerara sugar on Friday.

Namsnanny Mon 27-Apr-20 00:14:37

Sounds delicious! smile

Starblaze Mon 27-Apr-20 07:59:00

I have to work on very little sleep today, I probably shouldn't be working at all which makes me anxious but I can't abandon my vulnerable charges. CV hasn't found us here yet. Hopefully it stays that way. It's so difficult right now. I desperately miss my friends but find talking to them online or on the phone just makes that feeling worse. I can feel myself getting quite depressed honestly. Saying that here because I can't say it to dear friends and risk their mental health worrying about me. Maybe things will look brighter soon.

Smileless2012 Mon 27-Apr-20 08:56:14

The B & B pudding was delicious Namsnanny even if I do say so myselfgrin.

A change in the weather; cooler, cloudy and light drizzle so there wont be any BBQ's for a day or two. I need to walk into town today or tomorrow to get some things for our dogs so maybe a change in the weather is a good thing as there may be fewer people about.

Having said that, I can now see some breaks in the clouds, blue sky and the drizzle has stopped!!

Yogagirl Mon 27-Apr-20 09:18:34

Morning All

Well done on opening yet another support thread Smileless

Yes we were both in the same black hole when we first started posting all those years back & now we both find it hard to believe that we have actually moved on into a much better place now, no more being hurt by the children we loved & adored, sticking a very big knife in our backs & giving it a good twist, over & over for many years, making us cry, until now, where we've reached the space where they can't hurt us anymore.

Keep safe everyone & God Bless xxx

Smileless2012 Mon 27-Apr-20 09:44:18

Hi Yogagirlsmile. It's pretty amazing isn't it that the support thread is still going strong and to know that this is where we first 'met'.

I don't know if you're aware of this but you and I are the 'oldest' posters on this thread. I mean of course because of the length of time we've been here and not necessarily our actual agesgrin xx

StellaStreet Mon 27-Apr-20 10:28:10

Hello there

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.

Smileless2012 Mon 27-Apr-20 11:17:47

A warm welcome to you StellaStreet and thank you for the book recommendation. It's been a few years since I read anything on estrangement but that book sounds interesting so I'll order it.

Congratulations on the birth of your first GC. This lock down must be very frustrating as I'm sure you'd love nothing more than to be able to have some cuddles.

It's sadly a common denominator that estrangement follows the birth of an adult's child first child. Our son estranged us before his son's 1st birthday, nearly 7.5 years ago.

He has minimal contact with his older brother, our only other child but has estranged the rest of his family.

I'm so sorry that your parents died never seeing him again or knowing why he'd have nothing to do with them. His willingness to accept his inheritance raises the issue of wills which is sometimes discussed here on GN.

Some EP's us included, take the decision to dis inherit the AC who is no longer a part of their lives, preferring to have those who remain in them as beneficiaries while others do as your parents did, and leave them an inheritance.

Often no reasons are given and sometimes when they are, they have no basis in reality. Either way, the EP is left in a permanent state of confusion and pain as to why the child they love should choose to discard them, and in so doing, take away their GC.

I enjoyed your post and hope that now you've taken the plunge so to speak, you'll come back.

I hope that your own experience with your brother and your parents doesn't make you anxious now you have a GC and another on the way.

As you say, it can be a tricky dynamic and treading lightly is the way to go.

I wish you and your expanding family wellflowers.

Starblaze Mon 27-Apr-20 11:40:53

Estrangement is a plague in my immediqte family. People have come and gone for years. My mum estranged everyone for most of my childhood. Then I estranged her and others estranged me. I will read the book.

Starblaze Mon 27-Apr-20 12:42:48

Thinking on it, my mum was directly involved with every single one. Either her estranging people, people estranging her or people estranging me after I estranged her. I don't think there were any estrangements before her.

3nanny6 Mon 27-Apr-20 13:44:28

Just realized the other thread we were posting on has finished.

I have found the support estrangement threads most helpful
when coming to terms with my daughter who at times cuts me out of her life without any explanation at all leaving me with thoughts what has gone wrong what have I done and will I ever get to see the GC again. In fact she was quiet the other day when I took more crayons, skipping ropes and tennis bats and left them at her door. I think though it was more to do with the stress of the children at home from school more than anything. I am not going to let it give me too much pain at the moment as we are all struggling with the C.V. and have to take care of our own Mental Health.

I have been thinking about one of my cousins a lot recently, possibly because we are in lockdown and there is time to think about things.
I have been wondering if your birth mother puts you in an orphanage as a baby and then you later meet up with her is that still estrangement? Or perhaps it is just circumstances and things that happen in certain situations.

My mothers sister married a lovely man and because my mothers sister had been ill as a child she was unable to have children. The man she married from Ireland had a sister she still lived over there, and when he married my aunt he went back to Ireland to see his mother and father. His sister had got pregnant but the father did not want to know and told her to her find someone who might want the child. The sister meanwhile met an American over in Ireland after the war and he "apparently" fell in love with her however that love had conditions and those were that he wanted to take her back to America with him but not the baby as he did not want someone elses child. So because she felt she had no option she put the baby (my cousin) into the orphanage. and went off to America with her new man.
My aunt also went over to Ireland and when she heard that the baby was in an orphanage she convinced my uncle to try to get him out which there was some possibility because of a family link. It took over a year for them to be able to take him out of the orphanage as the sister had signed papers but eventually they got him so he became their son.

Now this is quite long and I suppose anyone reading it is bored so if anyone is interested let me know and I will finish it. The thing is I want to know if it is sort of estrangement or adoption. (They had to legally adopt him) and later in life he did meet his real birth mother

Starblaze Mon 27-Apr-20 14:11:48

I'm interested 3nanny6, I have an older sister who was adopted. That's an interesting question about whether it counts as estrangement. Maybe it depends on the reasons for giving up the baby. Whether you are doing what you think best for the baby or just wanting rid of a responsibility. No way of really knowing whether what people say and what they are think is the same either.

Smileless2012 Mon 27-Apr-20 14:29:18

Oh yes do finish it 3nanny. From what you posted so far how wonderful that your aunt and uncle managed to get the little boy out of the orphanage and adopt him. Not only giving him a family but also preserving the blood link to his mother.

I don't think being placed for adoption is the same as estrangement. Children who are placed for adoption are not making the decision themselves to be estranged from their parent(s). Many try to trace their birth parent(s) to find out about their roots, where they came from etc.

Estrangement happens later in life, when the estranger for what ever reason decides they no longer want their parent(s)in their life and often their entire family.

Can I ask, was it your cousin who eventually decided he wanted to meet his birth mother and do you know how that went and if there was regular contact afterwards?

Life must feel like an emotional roller coaster with your D cutting you off and then 'having you back' again. I'm sure you're right that her quietness the other day was due to tiredness and the stress of having the children at home 24/7.

Easier said than done I know, but try not to worryflowers.

3nanny6 Mon 27-Apr-20 14:32:32

Starblaze ; Thankyou for the message, with my cousin I do think that his bio-logical birth mother wanted to put him out of the way and forget her mistake of having him, that let her marry her American and go over to America for her new life.
I cannot judge because I was not the one with that choice to take. I will let you know more later as really must go out for milk and bread. The circumstances of him getting in touch with his birth mother are a bit sad and the story is long.

3nanny6 Mon 27-Apr-20 14:46:05

Smileless2012 ; Thankyou for you message, and it was such a wonderful thing especially for my mothers sister who sadly could not have children. Obviously in the early days I did not know anything about him having another mother as to me my aunt was the woman that raised him and loved him and to her he was her dearest son. I was wondering if estrangement came into it on his mothers (bio-logical) side. Although she wasn't estranging she was giving him up.
I must get a few things so I will finish off later and let you know what eventually happened with my aunt and the biological mother it is a little bit sad.

Smileless2012 Mon 27-Apr-20 15:06:07

Looking forward to that 3nanny. I need to go out today too but will go in about an hour when hopefully there wont be too many people about.

Take care.

Smileless2012 Mon 27-Apr-20 18:03:21

Well my walk into town didn't go according to planhmm. Yes there weren't many people aboutsmile but that could be because a lot of the shops are closing early.

Out of the 3 I needed, one had closed at 3.00 pm and the other 4.00 pm; I got there at 5 minutes past 4angry.

On a positive note I managed to get everything but one item from the shop that was open, so even though I'll have to go back in a day or two, I'll only need to go to one.

'Always look on the bright side' as they say.

Starblaze Mon 27-Apr-20 18:10:58

I came home from work to find the family rabbit very poorly. My daughter has had him for a long time. He is old for a bunny but he is still bright, he still plays fetch and he still likes to give you a good licking. We are throwing everything at him. He is such a character. Thank goodness we quit smoking and can afford the bills lately. Husband is telling me to stop feeling guilty. It's a default from my childhood where everything was my fault. I immediately blam myself for anything that goes wrong. Ever seen a grown up sit and sob for dropping a mug thinking they will be in massive trouble or the universe is punishing them? That's me.

PetitFromage Tue 28-Apr-20 05:49:17

@StellaStreet - welcome to GN and thank you for your book recommendation (Beyond All Belief by Diana Dunk), which I downloaded yesterday and read in one sitting.

I second your view that it is one of the best books around the topic of estrangement. The author has clearly suffered great personal pain but does not dwell upon the details. Instead, she focuses on healing, personal development, love and forgiveness, leading ultimately to freedom and peace. The chapters are short and easy to read, and the book is sprinkled with some very wise quotations.

I feel that the book has helped shift my perspective towards the ongoing reconciliation with my daughter, from whom I was semi-estranged for several years. It has strengthened my belief that ultimately the only choice is between forgiving and not forgiving. You have to forgive in order to move forward, not only in the relationship, but also for your own peace of mind.

@Starblaze - I am very sorry to hear about your rabbit. It is so upsetting when a beloved pet becomes ill, as they are integral family members. I hope he makes a good recovery.

Yogagirl Tue 28-Apr-20 08:37:36


Same here Smileless after putting in new fences with my son & help from neighbour, trying to clear the mountain of garden rubbish; Ivy broken fences, setting up our new, albeit small, incinerator, I dashed to the local shops just to get Joey, my little dog, his morning biscuits, baby Markies, he has two with my first cuppa and loves them, anyway same as S the shop closed at 3pm, I just missed it. On the way back home I noticed a new pet shop was open, they only sold natural raw foods and offered me pigs ears & chicken feet, being a vegetarian I left feeling a bit queasy envy So need to pop back again today angry

The estrangement book does sound interesting, I read loads in the first few years, but prefer a bit of escapism now.

I agree with S re: putting your child up for adoption as a baby, is not the same as estrangement.

Smileless2012 Tue 28-Apr-20 11:24:33

Morning ladies.

I'll definitely get that book, it sounds both interesting and positive. Like you Yogagirl I read a lot in the first few years but haven't done so on estrangement for some time.

The best I ever read was Sharon Anne Wildey's 'Abandoned Parents: The Devil's Dilemma' I seem to remember it was on your recommendation. I swear she'd been sitting on my shoulder from the very beginning of our estrangement and had read my mind.

I actually 'met' her on line and we're still in touch. She asked me to do the initial edit of her second book, the title escapes me so I'll have to find it and tell you all later.

It's more psychologically and clinically based and needs reading at a slower pace but id very good if you're in to that sort of thing, which I am.

Her first book sounds very much like Diana Dunk's and I'm glad you found that helpful PF. It's good to find something that helps shift our perspective and aids us in moving forward.

One of the reasons I stopped reading about estrangement is I felt as if too much of it was keeping me emotionally trapped in the past. Reading of other EP's experiences made me re live my own and for me, I couldn't let go and move forward while I was constantly dwelling on how thing used to be and how bad the became.

We had a lovely start to our day. Our door bell rang at 9.00 am and on the door step was a beautiful Orchid from 'our girls' next door because they miss ussmile.

Sounds as if your shopping trip was as successful as mine Yogagirl; if only we'd thought to check closing times on line before we ventured outhmm. At least we know for future reference.

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