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Together Estranged: Defining Estrangement

There are many terms that someone may use to describe estrangement, such as:

  • "Cutting off" someone

  • Disownment

  • Alienation

  • No Contact

  • "Grey-rocking"

  • Low Contact

  • And more

Family estrangement is defined by Wikipedia as,

"The loss of a previously existing relationship between family members, through physical and/or emotional distancing, often to the extent that there is negligible or no communication between the individuals for a prolonged period.

Disagreements within families occur from time to time, but there are some instances in which family members don't communicate in a healthy way and emotional attachment collapses or dissipates altogether.

Oftentimes, it takes years of tension, stress and downright hurtful experiences to cause someone to become estranged - be it from a single family member or the entire family. For those on the outside looking in, it may be difficult to identify exactly what led to a person's estrangement; however, the experiences, effects and aftermath are very real.

Common Factors of Estrangement

Ignoring a family member or avoiding sharing major life details with them

Not many positive memories with this person; bad memories or feelings present

Moving away to be further from them, or not coming over as often

Differences in opinion on whether or not to reconcile or make amends

Feeling everything or absolutely numb

Mismatch between expectations on how family roles should be played out

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