It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow in Australia. A day when many families come together to rejoice in the loving bond between mothers and children. A day to celebrate the blood, sweat and tears that ooze out of mothers while raising children. But for some families, it’s a day of heartbreak. There will be no bunches of flowers or boxes of chocolates. Adult children and parents can become estranged to each other. That’s tough.
Those that choose to break the relationship with their parent or child, often see it as a move of self-preservation. For some reason, the family dynamics have gone awry and the person, unable to stand the emotional turmoil, chooses to leave. A broken attachment can feel calmer and safer than a strained or damaged attachment. But often intense sadness remains, along with a yearning for their family to be different than it is.
Those that are left behind are often profoundly sad and bewildered by what happened. They may have struggled for years to remain connected, often hurt and rejected multiple times until the attachment is completely severed. Left with achingly empty arms, they long to hug the absent child or parent.
Counselling can, sometimes, heal the rift. If all parties are committed to the process, families are facilitated to set workable boundaries and develop respectful, safe and nurturing relationships. Counselling can also help with rebuilding a meaningful life, even though the estrangement remains.
For those estranged from the families they long to love, tomorrow will be a day of mourning. To lose the love of a parent or a child is a loss like no other. It can feel like a death.
If you are estranged from your family make Mother’s Day one of self-care and nurturing, focus on those who are present in your life and perhaps you could gently whisper a wish of love, goodwill, and hope into the wind.
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