It's possible for the experience of estrangement to lift us up, not break us down. We'll be broken for a while, yes, especially in the early days. But once the dust settles, it’s possible to come back stronger and wiser. How do i know? I’ve lived it. I’ve helped other women through their journeys as well. It’s nothing short of miraculous to watch their transformations.
But it can feel impossible. I get that. I felt that way too. I loved my daughter and granddaughter so much - I still do - and I didn’t see how life could go on without them.
Lynn felt this way exactly. Her history includes mental illness, a hostile divorce, and events in the past that made family life difficult for her 2 kids. She was a few years into estrangement with both of them when we met.
Lynn felt so lost without her children. She described herself as completely void of self-esteem. Without her kids, she told herself she was worthless. She isolated herself. “If my kids don’t want me, who will?”
So painful, right? Yet how many of us can relate?
While working with Lynn, she was going to therapy to deal with the separation, and seeing a psychiatrist to medicate her mental illness. She had a lot of support, and I was glad to contribute my specific expertise. I specialize in teaching skills to help people know how to help themselves. During our initial consult it was clear that Lynn would benefit from coping strategies to help her feel better and move forward. So that’s what we worked on.
And slowly, Lynn began to change.
Initially, Lynn cried often with regret about the past. She was consumed by thoughts of rejection. She was completely stuck. Convinced that she was hopelessly broken
After a few weeks Lynn began to open to the idea that maybe she could have value without her kids’ presence or affirmation. She started to feel confident again. In part, because she saw her strength. Lynn had previously focused on her “failings” and her thoughts about being shut out - so much so that she couldn’t see her successes. In time, she felt powerful and took pride in herself as both a human and a mom.
We all tend to get stuck in the negative - that’s where our brains go. It’s normal. The more that we repeat the negative messages in our brain, those become beliefs. And when our beliefs aren’t questioned, we accept them as truth.
And then we miss the good parts. We miss all the positives. Not just around us - the sunsets and puppies and people who love us - but also in us. We don’t look for our own beauty and wisdom and strength. We don’t give ourselves nearly enough credit.
I don’t need to tell you, estrangement is an incredible experience. Incredibly painful. Incredible that it happens at all -- at least for me, I never would have thought it was possible.
We all sink into the misery of it at times. We’re moms, we’re human. Maybe we’ve all had moments when we didn’t know how we’d make it. But we are. We are survivors. We’re here everyday, making life happen. That shows strength.
Some of us grow and evolve exponentially through estrangement. Some of us don’t. There’s no right or wrong or one way to experience it. But whether you’re actively working at growing and moving forward or not, I’d encourage you to take a moment to look for success and value in yourself. It’s there. You’re amazing and strong and powerful. We all are.
If you'd benefit from additional support in your healing, email me: email@example.com
Live forward, strong, beautiful, amazing moms! You’ve got this!