When family abandons you: what to do next?

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In this blog we will discuss what you can do when family abandons you. 

We will also discuss what you can expect when family abandons you and whether you should consider reconciliation with your family. 

Family Counseling
Family Counseling

When family abandons you: what to do next?

When family abandons you for whatever reason it is a painful experience and the shock of it could leave you flustered and confused as to what steps you can take next.

Here are some things that you can do to help yourself when family abandons you:

Seek Out a Therapist

When family abandons you, you have to understand that estrangement within the family is a very complex issue and it can oftentimes be a traumatic experience. 

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

This is why it is important that you reach out to someone- usually a professional- for help if you need it. It is advisable that you seek out professional help to process the difficult emotions and the aftermath of the experience. 

There are therapists who specialise in this particular situation aim to provide unbiased support, psycho-education regarding estrangement, and also provide you with coping tools.

While you might be in shock and feel that this experience does not affect you or you feel like it is “good riddance” on your part, we still advise you to seek out professional support to work out any feelings- even if it is anger, shock, or denial about what has happened. 

Find a Support Group

When it comes to estrangement, not everyone understands exactly what you are going through and how hard it is to find one’s rooting after your family abandons you. 

What you can do in this case is to seek out group support with a group of people who know exactly what you are feeling simply because they have also gone through something similar. 

Within a support group you can experience emotional support first hand within these communities and over time learn how to manage your challenges by learning from each other. 

By joining a group that is open, empathetic, and growing towards healing, you and your experiences can be an excellent sense of support to someone else who is also in their early part of their journey. 

Be Patient With Your Process

It is important that during this time, you are patient and kind to yourself as you go through the motions. 

This means that you be kind to yourself when you are dealing with your feelings or lack of any feeling, thoughts etc as a result of the abandonment. 

At times one might choose to directly deal with these difficult feelings and thoughts while for some they might deal with it by not dealing with it. 

In any case, it is important that you allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling while remembering to be non-judgemental to yourself about how you are processing this entire situation.

Surround Yourself With Supportive People

If you have been abandoned by your family and have found that the people around you do not understand nor are they willing to understand, one choice that you do have is to seek support from other people. 

It is challenging to accept that the people you love the most do not understand your condition but that does not mean that you remain lacking in support. 

You can also choose to seek out group support for people- friends and supporters who are able to be present with you during this difficult time. 

Set boundaries

The problem with estrangements is that it leaves other family members in an awkward state even if they support you since it impacts the whole family and different relationships within it, which can allow tensions to rise as well as cause conflict.

If you are unsure where you stand with other extended family members or family members who support you, it is important that you clarify the boundaries that you share with them so that expectations are clear and you are not left disappointed. 

Focus on self-care

While it might be hard to take care of yourself- you might find it hard to eat, wash, wake up, and do other basic things. 

It is okay to allow yourself to let yourself go for a few days but making the effort to stick to routine and structure in your day to day life can help you move forward. 

Taking care of your physical needs is very important as it is a way to care for yourself. Taking care of your emotional needs is also important and you can work towards emotional self care after taking care of your physical needs first. 

You can choose to make new changes that help you feel better or healthier like going to the gym, changing your diet to a more healthy one, going for wants. Sometimes change in routines can also be your way of caring for yourself. 

When family abandons you: what to expect?

Family estrangement or abandonment can be a traumatic and difficult experience. Here are some of the things that you can expect after your family abandons you:

  • Expect Intense Emotional Responses in response to what has happened. Understand that this is normal and that you might feel overwhelmed by these emotions. While some people might express outwardly, others tend to shut down emotionally when they are overwhelmed.
  • Each individual in the situation will deal in their own way, that means that some of your family members might deal with it in anger while others in sadness. 
  • You might be pushed over to the deep end and might feel a sense of hopelessness about your life, your future, and yourself. If at any point you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, reach out for professional help right away. 
  • Remember that everyone processes their experiences in different ways and when someone experiences something as traumatic as abandonment, it might take years to fully heal. 
  • Abandonment can impact you deeply and can influence the trajectory of your life, your choices, your future relationships etc. being aware of how far reaching these effects are- it is important for you to be mindful of how much you allow this experience to take hold of your life. 
  • Prepare for Triggers especially those that come around the holidays, or notable days in the family such as  birthdays, inside jokes, favourite restaurants, and family events etc. these triggers can be painful especially when people around you have family that they can go back to. 
  • The problem with estrangements is that it leaves other family members in an awkward state even if they support you since it impacts the whole family and different relationships within it, which can allow tensions to rise as well as cause conflict.

When family abandons you: should you consider reconciliation?

For some people even when their family abandons you, they still long for reconciliation and the hope that they will once again be accepted back in the family. 

If you are one of them, it is important to know that what you feel is natural and you hoping for reconciliation is not a betrayal to the hurt and the struggle you went through. 

While it might be nice to think that at some point reconciliation will happen eventually, you have to understand that while you might want it desperately, your family might not want the same thing. 

So it is important that you are aware of facing rejection in your desire to reconcile and before you enter this sort of conversation with your family, it is important that you are ready to face the consequences of the conversation- whichever direction it might take. 

Take time to consider what is the best option for you and think through the situation and process your feelings with a trusted individual- preferably a therapist- before attempting to reconnect.

On the other hand, there might come a time when your family seeks out reconciliation and you might feel great pressure to reconcile with your family because you are expected to or because it is the natural order of things. 

However, it is when you are faced with such pressures that you take some time to distance yourself from this conversation and take time to assess whether you are all capable of talking calmly, and also if everyone is willing to take the steps needed to repair the damage in your relationship.

You must clearly assess whether you and your other family members are willing to work through this process or not. Remember that you have the freedom to think things through before making a decision. 

If you find yourself where you do not want to reconcile, but are experiencing contact from your family to get back together, it’s best to kindly explain that you’ll get back in touch when you are ready. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what you can do when a family abandons you. 

We have also discussed what you can expect when family abandons you and whether you should consider reconciliation with your family. 

Faq related to when family abandons you

What do you do when your family abandons you?

The best thing you can do when family abandons you is to seek support from people you are present in your life. If you have been abandoned by your family and have found that the people around you do not understand nor are they willing to understand, one choice that you do have is to seek support from other people. 

 When should you give up on your family?

When the people you can family are causing you harm- physically and emotionally to the point that it is interfering with your health, your life, your safety, and causing you intense stress- it is time to take a step back and create some distance between you and them. 

Why does abandonment hurt so much?

When family abandons you, you have to understand that estrangement within the family is a very complex issue and it can oftentimes be a traumatic experience. The reason why it hurts so much is because of the ultimate betrayal from the people that you trusted the most.

Is it okay to abandon family?

Yes, When the people you can family are causing you harm- physically and emotionally- it is okay to create some space between you and them or even walk away from them to give yourself time and space to process your feelings and gain clarity.

References

Gabrielle Applebury. When You’re Disowned by Family: Healing and Moving On. Love to know. Retrieved on 4th April 2022. https://family.lovetoknow.com/about-family-values/when-youre-disowned-by-family-healing-moving

Family Estrangement: Advice and Information for Adult Children. Standalone. Retrieved on 4th April 2022. https://www.standalone.org.uk/guides/adultchildren/

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