Parent Estrangement: How To Cope After Going No-Contact
Breaking up with parents. It may sound weird to some, but yes, indeed, there is a breakup from our parents, and it is called parental estrangement. It happens when the adult child decides to cut off from their parents, or from one of the parents. Of course, this usually occurs after long years of efforts for reconciliation and of trying to bridge the differences. When all these efforts are not successful, parental estrangement seems to be the only solution for these adult children. In this article, we will discuss what parental estrangement is, what causes it, and how to cope if you have estranged yourself from your parent(s).
Let's clarify "Self-Care"
In my previous blog post, I talked about boundaries, which for me is core to the act of self-care. Without boundaries, self-care is a non-starter. This post is a continuation, and talks about self-care, and its importance in motherhood. It is interesting to hear different perceptions of what self-care entails, and what mothers may say about self-care. It typically can sound something like this...
Self-Care in motherhood.
We hear this term a lot these days. It is bounded around as a reminder to look after ourselves, to not let us take on too much, to take time out to nurture our needs. I am totally brought into the importance of this, especially as a mom. However, as a mom I find it difficult to commit to this choice and way of looking out for my own well-being. There is always something that we think is more important, which seems ridiculous as what could be more important than looking after yourself!
Setting Boundaries with Children - A Coach Explains
Boundaries: many parents struggle with this. You are not alone and you are completely normal! Learning how to set healthy boundaries with your children is not only beneficial for you, it teaches invaluable lessons to your child. This way, they will learn how to appropriately set boundaries and foster healthy, respectful and loving relationships with others.
The "Good Enough" mother is the one...
...who doesn't need to be perfect, who doesn't judge others for not being perfect and who teaches her child the beauty not being perfect and of being different among people. And therefore she takes a lot of (perfectionism) stress off her child's shoulder.
...who accepts the love that her child feels for her, but who also equally accepts all the other feelings that may come from the child, even anger or rejection.
...who admits that she has feelings of unconditional love for her child, but also acknowledges that there will be moments in everyday life when she will be experiencing more negative and overwhelming feelings. She is well aware that these uncomfortable, conflicting feelings cannot erase or even diminish her loving side.
Children understand everything they hear and see around them. Probably not in the way we adults perceive reality around us, but in their own unique way. And when they hear the news, the shocking, terrible news on the TV, they get the feeling that something bad is happening, or is going to happen (even if they don't understand the details of it). And they are scared. Terrified. And they don't feel safe anymore. Especially when they see their own parents feeling the same way, they feel helpless.
Children sometimes lack perspective of the world around them. They hear about something that happened in India while they live in Oslo, and they feel that this is happening ...next door. They cannot understand how big the world is or how far from them is what happened. They even think that if they move to another house, they will feel safe again. Listen and attend to their need: safety.
When perfectionism runs in the family
It is quite common, although worrying, to see children or teenagers trapped in a negative self-talk about their achievements ("I am not good enough", "I always fail", "I should have tried more"), their performance ("I am so stupid", "Why others always get better grades than me?"), their popularity ("I have no friends", "I will be forever alone", "I feel like a burden to my friends") or their appearance ("I am so fat", I have ugly face", "No one likes me"). Sooner or later, they start being less sociable, they spend more time in their room, their eating habits change, they are less cheerful and more sad, they get easily irritated, they take everything more personally.
Children often feel or are really helpless when their parents get divorced. This is a very emotional time for parents and children become part of the conflict, since each parent individually decides what is in the interest of the children according to their own beliefs.
Most of the parents continue to care for their children and maintain a civilized, if not friendly, relationship with the person with whom they are separated for the rest of their lives. For those who cannot keep that kind of relationship with their ex-spouse, it seems that children have much to say about it. In case that they tell you what they think, it is a good idea to listen carefully of some words of wisdom they have to offer. Here are some examples:
Children do not want:
... To see their parents arguing. It makes them feel bad about themselves.
HOME IS WHERE YOUR HEART IS.