I know more than most that family estrangement never occurs without very good reason.
In the early days of my own family estrangement back in 2005, I grieved long and hard for what had been and would never be
Cutting ties with mother and the (half) siblings I grew up with had been a long time coming. There was a lot of bad blood. Too many lies had been told. Too much drama brought to my doorstep. Too many situations which had left me broken hearted.
Although highly dysfunctional, my family are not evil people, which made walking away from them hard.
In fact scrap that, what a ridiculous understatement. It was the toughest decision I have made to date. And I sincerely hope I’ll never face a decision as soul destroyingly difficult ever again.
But our relationships had become toxic and unsalvageable
You see, they had always been takers. Ever since leaving home at fifteen, I’d been bailing them out in some way or another. I was the fixer upper. The shoulder to cry on. The ATM. I had tried so hard to help them, and I learned the hardest way that no one can save you but you.
In the end it came down to a heart wrenching choice. Allow these toxic relationships to continue, and sign myself up for all the associated fallout. Or walk away.
So I told my mother she wasn’t welcome anymore, and I never saw her again. My half brother and sister didn’t seem to care too much about my absence.
I was done
I didn’t have the capacity for more drama and heartbreak. It was time I started saving myself. In the year that followed I experienced full mental breakdown and rock bottom. Forced to look at every single aspect of my life and the way I was living it, I massively re-evaluated so I could become a better person.
I firmly believe I would not have been able to go through this process had my family still had as much power over me as they once had.
I am also convinced my experience as a mother would have been better had I had a great mum by my side. Oh how I’ve wept for the fairytale superhero mama I have desperately needed over the years. When autism and sleep deprivation and agonising education decisions have had me on my knees with despair. When childcare might have been the magic bullet, but was as non-existent as unicorn dust.
Fairytales aren’t real, and in the end we have to do what we think is best.
There is much to be said for this great quote by filmmaker Robert Evans:
“There are always three sides to a story; yours, mine and the truth!”
Before you brand Meghan Markle a “social climber” who has “forgotten her roots”, take it from me; she would have agonised over her own family estrangement before walking away.