"My daughter should not be estranged from me. This isn't the way it's supposed to be."
Have you had this thought? Me too.
That thoughts happens, and it hurts. We end up feeling wronged, cheated, victimized.
Then we look at our friends with kids of the same age as ours, maybe even the kids our estranged daughter or son grew up with, and think about how unfair and wrong the estrangement is. For me it's pretty easy to go into an achey downward spiral when I see grandparents playing with their preschool-age grandchildren.
And it is a downward spiral because then there's envy, and we feel less than. Like there's something wrong with us to be having this experience. You know, the experience of estrangement that isn't supposed to happen, that shouldn't happen.
It's all so understandable. And common. I'll go out on a limb and say that no estranged parent has avoided thinking "why me" and arguing with the reality of being estranged. It's part of it.
But here's the thing: your daughter did estrange from you. It did happen this way.
You cannot feel better if you're committed to thinking that something has gone wrong. When we think in terms of "supposed to" and "should," that's exactly what we're doing. We're blocking our ability to heal.
The truth is, it doesn't really matter if you or I think estrangement shouldn't happen, or if it's not supposed to be this way. Why? Because it does happen. You are I are living proof. And we can judge it, and argue against it, but it won't change.
All it does is block our ability to find acceptance, healing, and peace. All the "supposed to" and "shoulds" prolong our agony.
I know you hate being estranged. And you may see it as 100% horrible. Trust me, I get it.
If you open a bit to the idea that maybe it's just estrangement, it's just something that happens sometimes in life - like sickness, death, birth, love. None of these things are supposed to happen or supposed to not happen, they just happen. And it doesn't matter if we think it's right or wrong, because life carries on regardless.
With all the work I've done, and continue to do, I don't see a day when I'll say estrangement is "right" in my family. But I'm not going to say it's "wrong," either. It simply is part of our experience. The more I want to argue that it's wrong, the more I lose. I lose myself to negativity and suffering. I get obsessed with my judgement and proving I'm "right."
When I'm fighting against what already exists I deny my life in it's current state. I remove any possibility of acceptance. Of what is, and of myself. And that's painful. And exhausting.
When we learn to see estrangement as something that happens, and we learn to accept it, we‘re better able to co-exist with it.
And then, how much peace would you feel? Would you feel more capable of moving forward?
Acceptance of estrangement might seem like a stretch, but there’s no downside. It doesn’t mean you agree with it. Consider it for your own peace of mind. Send me your questions or comments any time.
Peace, estranged mamas!