It’s been 12 years since it all started. Twelve long, grueling, exhausting years. After all the writing I have done, I wanted to give an update on the estrangements in my life.
Complete and total estrangement. There has never been any attempt on their part to talk about or work on anything. When we took my father off life support and when we buried him, and during my son’s wedding, these two women, both in their 50’s, acted like school girls and ignored my husband and I completely. They even had ‘fun’ by making sure I overheard clearly-exaggerated stories of how great their lives were. I, however, finally came to peace with this a couple years ago. Even though I am the one who was wronged and viciously hurt, I eventually forgave them and even reached out a couple times. I was not expecting a response and in fact did not get one from either of them. But I can look back on my life with no regrets – can they say the same? Honestly, even if they did contact me, I would only ever maintain a civil relationship with them; I could never trust them again, not after they used and turned my child against me. You simply do not mess with children!
This was never really an estrangement but more of the fact that he just never spoke up for me or tried to talk to me to find out what was going on throughout all the family drama. We have never been close, as he molested me when I was a little girl. These past few years we have only chatted by phone a couple times, usually in regards to my mother, or when his wife was diagnosed with cancer. I did stay with them when I visited my mother a couple times. Talk about anxiety! When they offered, I felt like I had to stay with them, even though it was very uncomfortable for me. I guess I have never found my own voice, at least not one I have been able to speak up with.
We have been reconciled for about 4 years now. I reached out to her to talk and then went to visit her. It was a struggle at first as I didn’t feel like I could discuss anything of importance with her, me being afraid it would all go right back to my sisters. We also couldn’t really go into what had happened all those years ago because her memory is fading and she doesn’t remember a lot of how she treated me. We did however develop a decent mother-daughter relationship again. We speak often by phone and I would like to go visit her again, I just have to get through this Covid thing. I will always carry hurt in my heart caused by her and I can’t really hold it against her, but our relationship will never truly be what it once was. Can any relationship truly recover from estrangement to what it once was?
This is the tricky one and the one that hurts my heart the most if I let it. We somewhat reconciled in 2015, the year he got married, the year that gave me so much hope… until it didn’t. Turns out the reconciliation was nothing more than the occasional text from him on holidays. I call what he does to me the dangling carrot – he comes in briefly and gives me hope, but then he tears that hope away when I don’t hear from him again for a long time. He has done this repeatedly. This year however, he gave me a grandson. We spoke by phone a couple time and he has been sending pictures, but that is happening less and less. I have finally accepted that this is the relationship we have now. That acceptance was a long time coming but I am glad I finally got there. With that, now I am trying to move on and find me again, figure out how I want to live moving forward, letting go of the pain and confusion of these past 12 years.
Estrangement really is a terrible trauma, especially when it occurs over the most trivial of things. I think it is happening more and more these days too. If you have found yourself thrust in the middle of estrangement, my heart goes out to you. Please know that you are not alone and others out there understand. HUGS!