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Discussing estrangement with extended family

(10 Posts)
Shelbel Tue 07-Sep-21 19:54:54

I joined a 'dysfunctional family' group on FB. I didn't realise that it wasn't a private group and commented regarding my family, something about having given up trying to be a part of a family who neither loved or respected me. Shortly after this my cousin, (fathers brothers daughter) contacted me to say that my comment had brought tears to her eyes and that she didn't know about this etc. I told her that I was sorry, hadn't realised that the group was not private. We chatted a bit on messanger then she gave me her email address.

She and her family are lovely people and I am sure her message was from concern and not being nosy.

But I've since wondered, do you think her giving me her email was an encouragement to open up? They know I'm not in contact with my family any more but I don't go into details. I dont like to seem that I'm asking for them to take sides etc.

Any thoughts or experiences, advice etc?

freedomfromthepast Tue 07-Sep-21 20:06:42

I am going to post from the EAC point of view.

Many EAC have said that when they estrange a family member, other family members take sides or judge. It is difficult for people who do not live in the dynamics leading to estrangement to understand why we would make such a decision.

It is normal for the EAC to make the decision to cut off anyhow who we might THINK would judge us or try to interfere, even thought that could be further from the truth and we don't know unless we talk to that person.

She now knows your story and has reached out. It may very well be that she wants you to know that you have family in her. IMO, I would let her know you feel venerable and would like to have contact with her, but also state your boundaries. Obviously you do not want information about you getting back to people you have chosen to estrange.

Shelbel Tue 07-Sep-21 20:26:00

Thank you freedomfromthepast. I think you're right. I am sure that her family know how mine are/were. Many people have commented about my mother especially (abuse etc) and more recently how they have treated me over the LPA resulted in me cutting contact and her mother (my aunt) knows about this and sympathised. This was about 2 years ago. I don't like to burden people with my problems.

freedomfromthepast Tue 07-Sep-21 21:42:51

I don't think you are burdening anyone. You are rebuilding a relationship with extended family.

Lolo81 Tue 07-Sep-21 22:16:25

I’d look at the email as an olive branch. That said, I’d be inclined to keep the conversation away from the causes of estrangement etc. That way you can build a new extended family relationship without the shadow of the past hanging over you. I wish you every success and hope this gives you a renewed family connection.

VioletSky Wed 08-Sep-21 00:18:43

I also think it would be better to stay away from the topic of estrangement. What matters is who you are and who she is and she obviously wants to be in touch.

I am glad she did reach out to you, she gave you her email which is great and I hope you can build a relationship again. Just make sure you protect yourself and don't share any info you would not want your estranged person to know until you have built trust.

Smileless2012 Wed 08-Sep-21 11:28:01

I would take it one step at a time Shelbel. It's understandable that you are cautious and I think you're right to be so.

Avoid any talk about your estrangement and enjoy having your cousin back in your lifeflowers.

Shelbel Wed 08-Sep-21 18:31:39

Thak you all for your thoughts. I will be keeping it light in my communications with her.

JaneJudge Wed 08-Sep-21 19:07:01

I haven't had any contact with the side of the family from my estranged parent. It was a long time ago now but I know others have joined in the general gossip about me, which is fine as I am not that bothered anymore. I think you need to ask yourself what YOU want from this otherwise it will cause YOU upset and disappointment too.

Smileless2012 Wed 08-Sep-21 19:34:39

FWIW I think that's the best way to go Shelbe1 and I hope that things work out for you and your cousinflowers.