According to Karl Pillermer, in his book Fault Lines; 27% of adults experience family estrangement that either they or another family member initiates. This translates to almost 70 million people in the United States.
Family estrangement is a process; rather than an event. Family estrangement is the loss of a previously existing relationship between family members, through physical and/or emotional distancing. Often, there are different degrees of estrangement; communication is negligible or no communication exists between the individuals involved for a prolonged period. Experiencing family estrangement is a very painful experience that often rises to the level of a trauma.
In my professional experience, family estrangement is one of the most common situations that clients come to therapy for. There are many layers of complexity to family estrangement; the entire family system is affected by the estrangement-not only the family members estranged.
There is often what I call a “silent mode” that accompanies those dealing with family estrangement that magnifies the pain of estrangement. This occurs when the estrangement is kept secret aka silent from as many people as possible to remove stigma, discussion, questions, judgement, shaming, blaming, and guilt among many other feelings and emotions.
What often happens is that a specific family estrangement can lead to other family estrangements as a result of others within the family system taking sides. Feelings of betrayal, bitterness, anger, indignation, loneliness, isolation, alienation and ostracism typically accompany estrangement.
You don’t have to suffer in silence or feel ashamed. I am here to support you through this painful experience.