The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Underlying Gift in my Estrangement

When we hurt, sometimes it is difficult to see anything other than our pain. For me, estrangement seemed like drawing the “short stick" - a matter of survival - but not emotional prosperity.

After the loss of my childhood to physical and emotional abuse, I was determined to construct a healthy life for my daughters and me.

As painful as my estrangement was, I used the time to grow in ways that would not have been possible while having a relationship with my family members. My greatest emotional growth occurred as a result of my separation from my mother. Our parting was essential for me to have the time to heal in an environment free from re-injury. It forced me to develop my own sense of self, separate from my family and shook me free from my denial. Estrangement gave me the space necessary to learn to set boundaries within the safety of a protective cocoon.

Of course, during the bulk of the time I was cut off from my family, I saw only the down side of estrangement – feeling rejected and disconnected. I wanted to heal from my abuse, be safe, and have relationships with my family. It wasn’t until after we reconciled that I saw the underlying gift in our estrangement. I am who I am today as a result of all the hard work, self-nurturing, and support I received from other individuals in my life that would not have been possible if I remained “enmeshed” in an unhealthy family dynamic.

3 comments:

Tamara said...

Beautifully said. Thanks for the reminder that sometimes it is so hard to see the positive when we are in the midst of a painful situation.

Lisa said...

Thank you so much for your perspective. I've had little or no contact from my family since I went to a therapist and "told the family secrets." I've found one huge gift is the protection of my son from this family which is still in denial and still protecting the abusers. Although I feel sorrow in the fact he doesn't know my family, I am also relieved that they can't influence or harm him.

healandforgive said...

Tamara - So true, it was very hard to see the positive while in the thick of it.

Lisa, Thank you for stopping by and for your comments. I can relate - I too, felt bad that my kids didn't have "a" family, but grateful they couldn't be harmed by "my" family.

My best,
Nancy