Are old family photos and videos difficult to see?
Do you dread a pending family birthday or major holiday?
Does “unfinished business” bother you all the time?
Our families are often the first place we seek safety and connection. From infancy onward we understand the importance of this attachment, because we depend on it to survive. But at some point we and some members of our family may take different paths, leaving us to wonder how many values and bonds we ever shared, still share, or can share.
Idyllic images of families can create false expectations that our family will always be there to provide unconditional support. But we know this is not the case for many people. At one time or another we will likely experience estrangement in our families, often with an immediate family member, like a parent, child, or sibling.
Losing these connections – temporarily or permanently – involves only the physical absence of the person, but also of losing the shared history, traditions, and beliefs that once functioned as interpersonal glue that held a family together. Unanswered texts, emails, and phone calls may often be the final step on a long road of conflict. To feel cast aside by someone who once provided our safest comforts and our greatest joys can be a unique pain. Losing these connections in turn may produce feelings of fear, anger, and resentment that can start harming our other relationships.
Feeling cut off from your family may seem like a bolt from the blue. More likely, though, is that there were long-standing challenges within the family structure. We can work together to recognize those and make sense of those underlying issues. Or if you feel that you have tried everything to stay connected with your family and you are conflicted about what to do next, we can explore your attachment needs and better understand your roles in the family structure. In time you will be better able to balance not “beating yourself up,” maintaining realistic expectations, and nurturing the best relationship possible.
Guelph counsellor Bryan Muscat has experience with family estrangement, and can help you navigate yours. You can contact Spacious Mind Counselling any time to book a complimentary 20-minute consult with Bryan.
Free no-obligation 20-minute consultation
...with the option to stay for a full session right after if you so choose.
We offer online, in-person and telephone coaching sessions and look forward to working together. You can also book your normal sessions online by clicking the button below.
MSW, RSW, Psychotherapist About Nicole
Not currently accepting new clients. Returning clients please enquire about availability. New clients, please connect with one of our other skilled team members with immediate availability or or you can contact us to be added to a waiting list for Nicole.