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The Aftermath of Estrangement

Hi Everyone.  I am recently estranged from my brother, cousin, and mother.  I just cannot and will not handle the constant drama, gossip, headaches, lack of consideration, disrespect, and stress they bring into my life.  So, I've been "done" for nearly two months.  To be honest, the time without them has been incredibly peaceful (no drama, no energy suck), albeit sad, angry, and lonely.

I'm curious for those of you who are estranged from one or more family members, how long does it take to feel like this is a new normal?  How do you handle the loss of the relationships (even though they were toxic)?
TarponMonoxide

Re: The Aftermath of Estrangement

  • It is hard to say.  I think the more time that passes the "easier" it becomes.  I can't say it doesn't cross my mind from time to time.  But try to focus on the positive (non stressful) things in your life.

    To answer your question - everyone is different.  For me the 6 - 9 month mark I just stopped caring.  I was over it.  I realized how much calmer my life was.  I focus my attention on my life and my family and our happiness.
    wedding countdown
    TarponMonoxideSheMarie82
  • edited August 2014
    Hi Everyone.  I am recently estranged from my brother, cousin, and mother.  I just cannot and will not handle the constant drama, gossip, headaches, lack of consideration, disrespect, and stress they bring into my life.  So, I've been "done" for nearly two months.  To be honest, the time without them has been incredibly peaceful (no drama, no energy suck), albeit sad, angry, and lonely.

    I'm curious for those of you who are estranged from one or more family members, how long does it take to feel like this is a new normal?  How do you handle the loss of the relationships (even though they were toxic)?
    Funny you should mention this.

    I am grapling with the same kind of problem.

    I have had a problem with my sibling for years. He's been problematic since about 5fh grade when he started goofing off in school and continually lying about anything he could lie about.

    I am convinced if my mother got him some type of professional intervention for the lying and school problem, it very well could be I would not be grappling with the problems I am having with him now.

    He still has the lying problem and a nice spending problem, to boot. I do not trust him and I don't even LIKE him at this point.

    I currently am in a legal battle with him -- he is the defendant in a court case and he isn't happy about that.

    None of this is easy to cope with. The upheaval from the aftermath of this case is going to be terrible; not only will I be rid of him I will also be uprooted in many ways.

    And I have a lot of guilt, too. If I did something about this problem years ago  ie buy him out or we sell the house (an uncle left us a house and we own it together; this is what the legal battle is about; I am partitioning to dissolve my ownership with him.You bet he is really pissed off to beat the band; tough tit for him) I'd have been way way ahead of the game. I should have known better but I did not. And hence my guilt.

    To top that off, I have a slew of other problems and this battle with Bro is adding to the whole mess. My head is spinning and I don't know which way to go.

    Yes it's lonely and yes it sucks. I have no relatives in this area --- except for some cousins who are kind of scattered and live far away. The uncles and aunts are all gone. I am divorced and by myself and I have a team of a few friends but that's about it.

    I stopped caring about Bro years ago.But when this is all settled and done -- and it is going to be going on for a good while longer; I am at the one year mark of it right about next week --- the uprooting is going to be terrible. This is worse than any divorce, imo.

    Realize what you have is a codependency, not a nice healthy familial relationship. Get counseling for the problems that they caused you.  And never speak to them again or the whole shitting pattern will start all over again.

    Remember that everybody is different and we each process a loss (and this is what it is: a loss) at a different rate of speed.

    Good riddance to Bro indeed; I am working on separating myself from him now.  Better sooner than later; I am doing so gradually and preparing for the inevitable.

    When this is over, I want to buy a little house and get far away from him as possible; I plan not to let that bastard have my forwarding address.He can keep his lies, his lack of character and his doxies; who gives a damn what happens to him.
  • edited August 2014
    @TarponMonoxide, I'm so sorry you're going through that.

    I've always perceived myself to be close with my brother.  We had a horrific childhood that we survived together, and I always thought that gave us a very "special" relationship.  He gave a beautiful speech at my wedding that made everyone cry, including the caterer.

    After a lot of thought, though, I realize that I love the idea of my brother a lot more than I love my brother himself.  My brother does not treat me well.  He's super smart, super professionally successful, and earns enough money to put him in the 1%.  But he is rude, condescending, self-righteous, and unappreciative.  Whenever we have a major disagreement, he has a pattern of becoming downright abusive and going for the jugular rather than addressing the issue at hand.

    My brother is in an extremely unhealthy relationship, and they fight CONSTANTLY.  My brother lives about 1 mile away from me and we would regularly get together on the weekends, but it got to the point that 60% of the time, our plans would get cancelled, postponed, or destroyed because of his and his BF's CONSTANT fighting.  DH and I have bent over backwards for them, going so far as to move into his place for a month while they were on vacation to watch their dog. (Dogs are not allowed in my apartment complex.)  For my brother's birthday, we spent a LOT of money getting him a nice gift and taking him out to the fanciest restaurant and bar.  (He only appreciates expensive things, which is why he's close to bankruptcy despite earning more than double my combined household income.  And we do well for ourselves.) 

    My brother and his BF destroyed our Thanksgiving, which my mother flew out for, with their fighting, and again they destroyed our July 4th.  At that point, DH and I said enough is enough, and I took a big step back from him.  After about a month, my brother had not called me AT ALL, so I reached out and made some small talk, hoping he would apologize.  He then told me I stopped speaking to him for no reason, that his text message of July 4th saying "I'm sorry you are upset" was his apology, and became extremely condescending and abusive. 

    He then went on to say "Lately it seems that when someone you love has a lot of shit going on, you find a way to make it worse for them, injecting additional needless drama and arguments for pretended offenses against your feelings to their plate. You did it with Cousin and you did it again with me, and as a result your relationship with both has taken a turn for the worse. It may be time to ask yourself – is everyone else crazy or could it be that maybe my approach isn’t the right one." 

    (Cousin and my relationship got damaged when she and her BF would both REGULARLY bitch to me about their constant fights and how their relationship wasn't working.  Finally I told Cousin that while I really liked her BF as a person, they were not compatible, had different priorities, and that marrying him or having children with him would be a mistake.  She said nothing to me, turned around, talked a ton of shit about me to my brother, and then got royally pissed when I told her that since we're both adults, she should feel free to address issues with me personally.)

    When I pointed out that the only people I'm quarreling with are those that make their unhealthy relationships MY problem, he told me that my husband is a saint and that I'm only in a healthy marriage out of dumb luck.

    Mom is a whole separate barrel of worms.

    Let me tell you, I really hit the family lottery.
  • Fleur67Fleur67 member
    5 Love Its First Comment
    edited August 2014
    I am dealing with family estrangement myself. I live really far away so it makes things easier but my middle brother and I don't get along at all. We used to but last year all he did was complain about his life (going to college but never actually signing up because he was lazy) despite the fact that I was going through a hard time mentally (I was going through depression and had some  other issues that I was try to fix). I tried to talk to him about it but was cut out. When I reached out to my mom and told her about how I was feeling about my depression and therapy, she mentioned it my brother what was going on he called me up to tell me how MY being going to therapy affected HIM and he was mad I never told him despite my trying to. I told him that I did try to tell him about it and he turned it around on me saying that I was selfish for  not caring enough about his goals and aspirations because I couldn't focus on him during the long phone conversations.

    Then I helped him out because there was a family reunion and he called me up asking for help and crying about how he couldn't afford to come. I felt bad and paid for his plane ticket. However, during the trip I discovered that he did have enough money (he admitted it himself and laughed that he "played" me.) Then he proceeded to complain about everything from no one making the meals that he liked and when my mom asked him to chip in he went on about that. After the trip, he kept asking me to pay for him to come and visit me (yeah right...). When I told him no he cussed me out and my husband overhead and told him to never talk to me like that again or there would be problems. I have already made it clear that my brother is not invited to visit me. I live in another country and I will not host him in my home. If he does want to come...there is a handy hotel right nearby.

    He acts entitled, is a narcissist and instigates drama between family members. He whines about since he was a middle child he didn't get "anything" but I know for a fact my parents have supported him a lot more than any of us. Anyone who helps him out, he instantly complains about them.I kept quiet but finally it got to be too much and I have cut him off.
    TarponMonoxide
  • edited August 2014
    Wow. These stories are unbelievable.

    I think it's a "given" that if somebody is problematic, so will their other relationships be. Don't ask about Bro's gf he is living with (she is adding to the problem and I am avoiding her at all costs; I see her coming and I duck out of the way whenever possible; she lived here once before and ended  their engagement because he was cheating...she moved out but the relationship with her and Bro never ended)...and not only that, there is a second filly in the stable and what is worse, these 2 bananas don't care they are sharing a guy! They want their man, etc.

    He doesn't remember the panic attacks he had when she lived with him the last time around, he doesn't remember a fight with her that so bad that it made her then 2 year old daughter cry (yes, there is a kiddo in the picture and now the girl is 13) and he doesn't remember anything else negative about why the living arrangement failed the first time (a cousin flat out said to Bro, "This is what you want? I wish you luck" and she hung up on him). Nope, doesn't remember...but I do. Ugh.

    It's enough to make you run for the hills.

    I am going to get uprooted. I am upset about that --- I have friends in the area and I'm well known in art circles, also --- I didn't like the uproot when my H was gone (all of those people and mutual friends vanished when the marriage ended) and I'm going to get it again when I move.

    My mother should have taken care of the problem when it began. She wouldn't see it for what it was, she would tell him "Stop the lying" and the lying only got worse after that.
  • *Waves hand in air like Hermoine"

    Ooh! Oooh! I'm estranged! Have been for 11 months now! (from my mother)

    And let me tell you - it has been GREAAAAAT!! It took me years, and much prodding from the nesties here, to finally take this step. I agonized over it. Debated. Doubted myself... Breaking away from the cycle of abuse and making this step despite the crippling anxiety it spiraled me into has been an experience I hadn't anticipated at all.

    I feel like there should be like some sort of an AA 12 step programme for this complete with sponsors and pins. Or something.

    My mother would tell me things like she wished she had had an abortion. That I was stupid and uneducated and a humiliation. That my book was a humiliation to the family. That I was fat, obese, selfish, rude, egotistical and a loser. My home wasn't good enough. My clothes weren't expensive enough, colorful enough or fashionable enough. My car wasn't nice enough. I wasn't living 'her' way in the city I live in. I'm not well traveled enough. She's a classic Narcissist. The disease I'm struggling through was based in hypochondria and a need for attention (yeah, because they totally hand out monthly chemo for hypochondria). Nobody likes me and every single person in the family is better than me in every single way.

    The only memory I have of my mother saying something genuinely nice to me was that she 'likes the way I walk down stairs'.

    Anyway, the first week was horrible. I wanted so badly to call her and beg her for forgiveness, as I had done all my life. Then she got much worse, realizing her loss of control. She had her husband contact me, all about how I've done this to my poor mother who is so distraught she can't stop crying or get out of bed. I didn't bite. Then she got worse, and had my younger sister send me an email that was so abhorrent and vile that I've cut her out of my life completely as well. She called me a cancer on their family and that I needed serious therapy for more than just my 'medical drama'. I'd been hospitalized and nearly died twice that year. Just... wow. 

    Then my mother sent me the holy grail of all guilt emails - which I promptly read once and have never read again, nor did I respond. That was the last of our contact and with every month it gets easier and easier. There are some times that I fall back into considering things - maybe I was really in the wrong, maybe I should contact them, maybe it would be best for my kids to have a relationship with them...

    And then I remember the horrid things they have said to me and done to me and I'm like NOPE! This right here that I'm feeling? These are new feelings and I LIKE THEM.

    Pride. Happiness. Freedom. Ease. Unconditional love. Contentment. But most of all pride in myself and the feeling that being proud of myself and my achievements is okay.

    So you're asking about the aftermath of estrangement? 

    It's wonderful. Stick with it and ride it out. It's hard but so worth it... so worth it. Life is too short to let yours be governed by negative people that pull you down instead of raising you up. Huge hugs, this is so hard and I wish you all the very best.
    image

    Chronically hilarious - you'll split your stitches!
    I wrote a book! Bucket list CHECK!
    TarponMonoxideloves2shop4shoes
  • Tofumonkey's got some guts.:)  Congrats to you, my friend.
  • @Tofumonkey, thank you so so much for that advice, and for sharing.

    I don't know you, but I do know that NO ONE deserves to be spoken to, or treated, the way that your mother has spoken to you.

    I actually gasped as I read the things she did to you.  You are SO much better off.
  • I have been estranged from my parents and brothers for periods of time. It usually stemmed from me standing up to my mother and being just as disrespectful as she was to me. I grew weary of the constant insults, controlling behavior and gossiping. My mother is a narcissist and I am one of her scapegoats. She has always been jealous of how close I was to my father. My mother also resents the way I am not afraid of her the way everyone else in my family is. 

    The most recent estrangement lasted for a year after my husband and I eloped. We didn't want my mother at our wedding because she tried to take over the planning and then became very belligerent once she realized that we wanted an intimate wedding. She wanted to choose my dress, the venue and my attendants.  I found this ridiculous because I am an independent person and my mother and I were never close, so there was no reason for her to assume that we would plan my wedding together.  She is a show off, so she wanted this grand wedding so that people would think she was rich. I did not want to be the centre of so much attention and my husband and I are a low key couple. 

    I am glad that my mother came to realize the error of her ways and apologized later. I refused to have my mother in my home for over a year because I did not want her to come and criticize where we live. My husband tolerates my mother but he warned me that if she came over and started putting me down, he would intervene as it is his home. I was pleasantly surprised when my parents came to visit and my mother actually complimented my cooking and our place. I grew up always being compared to others and told that I wasn't good enough. I think that my mother realizes that she needs to be kind and respectful if she wants any kind of relationship with me. 

    I have three brothers and one of them has always been an abusive bully. He feels that just because he is older than me, he can smack me around and treat me like garbage. My brother is always talking about how I don't respect him, while glossing over the many times he has assaulted me. Now that he is having a child, he seems interested in having some kind of relationship. I still keep my distance as my brother makes me feel uncomfortable. I did not attend the baby shower because I have no interest in seeing him unless I really have to. I can send gifts and see the baby when he comes to visit but that is all. 

    I don't miss my second brother at all.  He is nothing but an abusive and menacing pig. He bullied me mercilessly when we were kids and hit me more than once as an adult. I feel sorry for his new daughter that is coming because his wife is very passive. I think my niece will likely grow up feeling terrified of her father. 

    I missed my father and two of my brothers when they refused to talk to me because they were too scared to stand up to my mother. 
  • *Waves hand in air like Hermoine"

    Ooh! Oooh! I'm estranged! Have been for 11 months now! (from my mother)

    And let me tell you - it has been GREAAAAAT!! It took me years, and much prodding from the nesties here, to finally take this step. I agonized over it. Debated. Doubted myself... Breaking away from the cycle of abuse and making this step despite the crippling anxiety it spiraled me into has been an experience I hadn't anticipated at all.

    I feel like there should be like some sort of an AA 12 step programme for this complete with sponsors and pins. Or something.

    My mother would tell me things like she wished she had had an abortion. That I was stupid and uneducated and a humiliation. That my book was a humiliation to the family. That I was fat, obese, selfish, rude, egotistical and a loser. My home wasn't good enough. My clothes weren't expensive enough, colorful enough or fashionable enough. My car wasn't nice enough. I wasn't living 'her' way in the city I live in. I'm not well traveled enough. She's a classic Narcissist. The disease I'm struggling through was based in hypochondria and a need for attention (yeah, because they totally hand out monthly chemo for hypochondria). Nobody likes me and every single person in the family is better than me in every single way.

    The only memory I have of my mother saying something genuinely nice to me was that she 'likes the way I walk down stairs'.

    Anyway, the first week was horrible. I wanted so badly to call her and beg her for forgiveness, as I had done all my life. Then she got much worse, realizing her loss of control. She had her husband contact me, all about how I've done this to my poor mother who is so distraught she can't stop crying or get out of bed. I didn't bite. Then she got worse, and had my younger sister send me an email that was so abhorrent and vile that I've cut her out of my life completely as well. She called me a cancer on their family and that I needed serious therapy for more than just my 'medical drama'. I'd been hospitalized and nearly died twice that year. Just... wow. 

    Then my mother sent me the holy grail of all guilt emails - which I promptly read once and have never read again, nor did I respond. That was the last of our contact and with every month it gets easier and easier. There are some times that I fall back into considering things - maybe I was really in the wrong, maybe I should contact them, maybe it would be best for my kids to have a relationship with them...

    And then I remember the horrid things they have said to me and done to me and I'm like NOPE! This right here that I'm feeling? These are new feelings and I LIKE THEM.

    Pride. Happiness. Freedom. Ease. Unconditional love. Contentment. But most of all pride in myself and the feeling that being proud of myself and my achievements is okay.

    So you're asking about the aftermath of estrangement? 

    It's wonderful. Stick with it and ride it out. It's hard but so worth it... so worth it. Life is too short to let yours be governed by negative people that pull you down instead of raising you up. Huge hugs, this is so hard and I wish you all the very best.
    Isn't it funny how narcissists try to use guilt to control others? My mother has my eldest bro completely trained like a monkey-if I stop talking to my mother, he will lay on the guilt. I have told him that I refuse to let guilt control my life. If she is rude to me and I am rude in return, she cries to my brother and he will defend her every single time. 

    My brother is over 50 years old and he is unhappily single and childless. I know that part of the reason is he will not stay with any woman whom my mother doesn't approve of. He runs to my mother with all of his relationship problems. Past girlfriends have called him a mama's boy. She is very imperious, nosy and controlling. I also think that my mother doesn't want anyone to "steal" her favorite son.
  • @NoneForUs, I can TOTALLY relate about your mother.  My mother has a borderline personality disorder, and my brother is her favorite...because I'm not afraid to tell her how things really are.  She'll tell me I'm wrong, my memories are wrong, will invent ridiculous series of events that "happened" which paint her in a better light, and I'm always somehow the blunt, unrefined black sheep.

    When DH and I planned our wedding, we had saved up the money to pay for it ourselves, but my dad then offered to pay for it all.  We graciously accepted and put the money towards student loans.  My mom then sued my dad for alimony he allegedly still owed her from 1991, and basically used her long held strategy of making the legal fees so exorbitant that he'd settle with her out of court.  Well, after all of that, my father did not have the money to pay for our wedding...so we had to plan our wedding over from scratch.  With nothing.  Because of my mother.

    We had to re-plan EVERYTHING, including the state the wedding was held in, due to budgetary constraints.  My mother then proceeded to criticize EVERYTHING about the wedding from venue, to location, to food, to the fact that it wasn't held in a church.  DH and I WANTED to get married in a church, but since we couldn't afford to get married in the expensive city we were living in, and we already lived together, no random church in a nearby state would agree to marry us.  So we had to improvise that too.

    My mother did not offer a dime for our wedding, despite knowing the desperate financial straits we were put in because of HER.  But then she threw me a ridiculously extravagant bridal shower that EASILY ran her 3-4k...because it made her look good.  How did it NOT occur to her that it'd be better to give me the money to put towards the wedding and have a more modest shower at someone's house?  Nothing about the shower was about me.  It was scheduled two WEEKS before my wedding to accommodate the schedules of others.  It was ridiculous.

    Every holiday my mother feigns some illness so that my husband and I (the work horses in her mind) will prepare ALL of the food, which she later takes credit for.  She threw an ACTUAL tantrum when DH and I told her that we'd start splitting the holidays because it wasn't reasonable to spend Christmas in 3 states (where our immediate families live.)  She is a nightmare.  Completely dramatic, selfish, always the martyr, and is NEVER wrong.

    In my entire life, I have no memories of her apologizing to me for ANYTHING.
    NoneForUs
  • Loves to Shop: Stop inviting her over for holidays. And don't explain why.

    I will bet you a million dollars that None For Us' brother is doing the same to his son: abusing him and making his life hell. The pattern never stops.

    Bro doesnt know yet what I have decided and he will probably have a shit fit when he finds out. That's too bad; he can blame himself for what happened.

    He still lies about everything and always has; this trouble with him started when he was in 5th grade. My mother never got a professional to nip it in the bud -- all she'd do is go to him "Stop the lying" but he never did.

    Awhile back, he got ahold of a significant chunk of change that an old uncle left him. He blew through that and put himself into debt. He's had his salary garnished and I've gotten a slew of phone calls from collectors, all looking for him.  Who knows what he spent the money on? I still think he's got a spending problem or an undiagnosed emotional/mental problem. If anything, it is vast insecurity and a lack of maturity ---- he's 55 and there is no way he's going to grow up.
  • I stopped talking to my biological birth mother a few months ago and I only wished I had done it sooner. Im adopted and my bio mom is a big drug addict. She has been using since she was 17 years old. She was a really horrible person and Im glad that I stopped talking to her and taking her shit. She loved to play the victim and nothing was her fault. She put my brother threw hell. She stole from him, almost got him arrested, and many other horrible things I wont mention. It takes a lot to cut people from your life but once you do it feels great.
  • Loves to Shop: Stop inviting her over for holidays. And don't explain why.

    I will bet you a million dollars that None For Us' brother is doing the same to his son: abusing him and making his life hell. The pattern never stops.

    Bro doesnt know yet what I have decided and he will probably have a shit fit when he finds out. That's too bad; he can blame himself for what happened.

    He still lies about everything and always has; this trouble with him started when he was in 5th grade. My mother never got a professional to nip it in the bud -- all she'd do is go to him "Stop the lying" but he never did.

    Awhile back, he got ahold of a significant chunk of change that an old uncle left him. He blew through that and put himself into debt. He's had his salary garnished and I've gotten a slew of phone calls from collectors, all looking for him.  Who knows what he spent the money on? I still think he's got a spending problem or an undiagnosed emotional/mental problem. If anything, it is vast insecurity and a lack of maturity ---- he's 55 and there is no way he's going to grow up.
    Because I know how cycles continue, I have decided not to have children. I have my mother's temper and a very poor model for motherhood. 

    My brother's daughter is only a baby so I don't think my brother has made her life hell yet. I see it in the future. I feel sorry for my SIL; my mother is living with them for a few months to help with the baby. My mother has already complained to me that my SIL doesn't like to cook and she has a cleaning lady. My mother does not approve of any wife and mother who doesn't have a spotless home and cook wonderful meals. 
  • @NoneForUs, I can TOTALLY relate about your mother.  My mother has a borderline personality disorder, and my brother is her favorite...because I'm not afraid to tell her how things really are.  She'll tell me I'm wrong, my memories are wrong, will invent ridiculous series of events that "happened" which paint her in a better light, and I'm always somehow the blunt, unrefined black sheep.

    When DH and I planned our wedding, we had saved up the money to pay for it ourselves, but my dad then offered to pay for it all.  We graciously accepted and put the money towards student loans.  My mom then sued my dad for alimony he allegedly still owed her from 1991, and basically used her long held strategy of making the legal fees so exorbitant that he'd settle with her out of court.  Well, after all of that, my father did not have the money to pay for our wedding...so we had to plan our wedding over from scratch.  With nothing.  Because of my mother.

    We had to re-plan EVERYTHING, including the state the wedding was held in, due to budgetary constraints.  My mother then proceeded to criticize EVERYTHING about the wedding from venue, to location, to food, to the fact that it wasn't held in a church.  DH and I WANTED to get married in a church, but since we couldn't afford to get married in the expensive city we were living in, and we already lived together, no random church in a nearby state would agree to marry us.  So we had to improvise that too.

    My mother did not offer a dime for our wedding, despite knowing the desperate financial straits we were put in because of HER.  But then she threw me a ridiculously extravagant bridal shower that EASILY ran her 3-4k...because it made her look good.  How did it NOT occur to her that it'd be better to give me the money to put towards the wedding and have a more modest shower at someone's house?  Nothing about the shower was about me.  It was scheduled two WEEKS before my wedding to accommodate the schedules of others.  It was ridiculous.

    Every holiday my mother feigns some illness so that my husband and I (the work horses in her mind) will prepare ALL of the food, which she later takes credit for.  She threw an ACTUAL tantrum when DH and I told her that we'd start splitting the holidays because it wasn't reasonable to spend Christmas in 3 states (where our immediate families live.)  She is a nightmare.  Completely dramatic, selfish, always the martyr, and is NEVER wrong.

    In my entire life, I have no memories of her apologizing to me for ANYTHING.
    I believe that my mother has BPD or NPD. I suffered from very serious depression as a teenager and young adult. Every doctor I spoke to said my mother was the reason after they met her. My mom didn't start to make changes until I left home with nothing and refused to return. She also changed some more after my elopement. 

    I am so sorry that your mother ruined your wedding. She obviously wanted to make things hard for you because she was jealous of the attention you were going to get. Keep your mother at an arm's length to protect yourself. 
  • I've been estranged from my mom since May 2014.  

    I originally expressed to her that there was a problem in our relationship that needed to be fixed or the inevitable would happen (which it did).  She became jealous of my life I'm told by other family members & she's pissed off that me & my dad have a good relationship (they've been divorced for 31 years).  When I was planning my wedding nearly 4 years ago is when I noticed the change, but everyone around me says she was like that when I was growing up as well (it's unfortunate that I never noticed it back then).

    Since she has been gone there is NO drama, negativity, or stress in my life.  

    It sucks at times that she's not around for any mother/daughter moments or to make memories with; but at the same time she wasn't there for that stuff before she became estranged.
  • DH was estranged from his dad and stepmom and sister (half-sister, stepmom and FILs child) for years.  Around 5 years.  Of those three relationships, actually the sister was the hardest, but only because she had children that DH loved and felt that they were caught in the middle (they were too young to understand).

    At first it was difficult, mostly because other family members would try to guilt him into maintaining a relationship ("all people fight, it's important to forgive and forget." or "but it's your FATHER!").  DH's other sister was outraged when DH refused to attend a birthday party she threw for FIL (it was a milestone).  It it weren't for the extra drama caused by OTHER "well-meaning" family members, it would have been a lot easier.

    I would say after about a year he completely weeks would pass before he would think about them.  He did do some things like avoid extended family gatherings in order to avoid a confrontation with his dad or SM or sis.  

    Since that time, he has reconciled with all three, sis because she apologized, dad because he became ill and needed care, and SM because that is what he needed to do in order to take care of his dad.  Even though he reconciled, he does NOT regret cutting them out for those five years.  It was what he needed to do in order to protect himself, stand up for himself, demand he be treated decently, and ultimately led to a better relationship with his sister (because he taught her how he expected to be treated).  SM is deceased now and DH visits his dad (who has dementia) around once a week.  
    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • I had a similar situation with my aunt and cousins.  My aunt is an alcoholic/drug addict and I am certain that she is severely depressed.  My cousins are adults like me but can be a product of their environment because of their mom and they father also left them in a sloppy divorce. My aunt can be incredibly cruel and my cousins follow her lead.  Both my mom and I been subject to verbal abuse for years and it was always some how my fault when I spoke up and everyone kept telling me to turn another cheek.  It finally got so bad that I could not handle the constant criticism and I threw in the towel and asked to be excluded from the family.  When this happened my mom and dad backed me up and cut ties with my aunt and cousins.  It was very very bad for quite a few months, lots of name calling and one instance my aunt showed up and threatened to punch my mom.  We then had a period where we did not speak for a year or so, I think everyone needed to cool down and during that time my mom went to therapy to learn how to handle her sister.  We are now whole again but there are lines that we wont cross and we will probably never be as close as we once were, which both my mom and I are alright with.  Sometimes my aunt starts and when she does my mom just removes herself from the situation which has helped tremendously.

    To answer your question I think every family is different, there are ways to get back to a good place but you have to know your limits and sometimes taking a breather can be the best thing.  But what I have learned is that family is not worth being around at your expense.  It is not healthy and if it is making you sick you need to remove yourself. 
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