According to reports 1 in 5 families, 5 million people in the UK are affected by estrangement with family members. Either be it being forced on them or by choice.
What an extraordinary figure that it.
As I have written before, there are those who have made a choice to separate themselves from a member of the family or the whole family, within that group of people there will be those who have had to make that decision for very difficult reasons, it could be abuse, neglect or protection issues.
What is more difficult to understand is, those who say they have no contact because they weren’t listened to, or they feel that they are not loved enough, or their parents didn’t do enough for them.
Anyone reading this who may well be someone who has made that decision for those reasons, will no doubt think “how can she say things like that, she doesn’t know what its like.”
Well, actually I do.
My own father was not the man he should have been, he was very strict with me, he said things like,” you will look better when you can wear make-up,” some of his behaviour, shall we say, was inappropriate. When I was 16 he announced one morning that he was leaving, he had been married to my mum for over 33 years. We had absolutely no knowledge of his other life. The truth was that he had led a double life for some time, and had already set up a second home. He told me that he didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. This person who had been Dad for 16 years of my life, was suddenly not the person we all thought he was, he was in fact fake. I was therefore estranged from him for 15 years. I made attempts then to make contact but it never really worked. He lived until he was 93 and at his funeral I was totally airbrushed from his life.
I now have first hand experience of estrangement from that point of view as well as being denied contact by an ex daughter-in-law, from my granddaughter.
I spend my time supporting grandparents who find this such a confusing and traumatic situation, some who never get over it.
Even those who have had some form of reconciliation , are still struggling with unanswered questions. Afraid to have a conversation with their adult child/children as to why did it happen? Fear that they will be rejected again.
Sometimes to self protect we don’t want to ask those difficult questions, it is easier to just keep quiet and accept the status quo.
The thought for me that 5 million people are apart from family members is something I will never get my head around.