Although family estrangement is known to leave scars in many cases, including symptoms of anxiety or depression, divorcing a parent can have the opposite effect, reports Samantha Ladwig. As Mark Sichel, a clinical social worker and author of Healing from Family Rifts: Ten Steps to Finding Peace After Being Cut Off from a Family Member, suggests, such a divorce can also have a positive impact. In fact, as one of his patients frankly put it:
‘My mother and I were at odds my entire life. Somehow I mustered the courage to tell her I was done with her: done with the fights, done with the provocations, done with the criticism. I felt freed, like a slave being freed from an evil tyrant. Overall, life without my mother is a joy.’
“I was done with the fights, done with the provocations, done with the criticism. I felt freed.”
Needless to say, not everything is peaches and cream after such a split, no matter how necessary. Rebecca Bland, founder of Stand Alone, an organization that services adults experiencing family estrangement, told Broadly, the process can be messy and confusing even if it’s ultimately beneficial.
“Not being in contact with family or a key family member can be a source of shame and isolation,” Bland says.
But if a woman can move beyond that chaos, the move can be liberating. Despite what is seen in our media,” Bland points out, “80 percent of people in our research said something positive had come from being estranged from family.”