Family estrangement.

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Wikipedia has a good, in depth article about the sad phenomenon of family estrangement, which is related to shunning or ostracism.  Family members who have been estranged (ostracized or scapegoated) are likely to develop PTSD and have dismally low self-esteem.

Family estrangement occurs for a number of reasons, and is most common in societies that value individualism over the family, tribe, or community, so it’s more common in the United States than in other countries.    It’s also my personal opinion that it’s more common in upper middle class families who value material and financial success over loving relationships.  An adult child who fails to toe the line and make the family “look good” becomes an embarrassment to the family’s upwardly mobile aspirations, and becomes the scapegoat or is even rejected from the family.   They are also likely to be disowned.  The ostracized adult child, lacking financial and emotional support and a healthy sense of self worth (because nothing is more devastating to a person’s sense of self esteem than being rejected by one’s own family), often falls into poverty, illness, or mental illness, further shaming the “perfect” family.

The sense of shame of having been rejected by the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally is emotionally, spiritually, and even physically devastating.  It’s the worst kind of soul murder.  To make matters worse, it’s often the “truth teller” (the one who sees through the toxic family dynamics) or the most sensitive or vulnerable child who is shunned in this way.  The scapegoated or ostracized adult child is then blamed for their “failures” and told they brought their hard luck on themselves.

Cluster B personality disorders are very common in families where members become estranged, scapegoated or ostracized, because people with these disorders tend to lack empathy, which is the glue that holds families, tribes and societies together.   Substance abuse is also a common factor and may be co-morbid with Cluster B disorders (substance abuse being a very common but maladaptive coping tool among people with these disorders).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_estrangement

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About luckyotter

This blog is my journal. I just choose to share it with the world instead of keeping everything inside my head. I'm a recovering Borderline and have also struggled with Avoidant Personality Disorder. I also have Complex PTSD due to having been the victim of narcissistic abuse for most of my life. I write mostly about narcissism, because I was the child of a narcissistic mother, and then married to a sociopathic malignant narcissist for 20 years. But there's a silver lining too. In some ways they taught me about myself. This blog is about all that. Not all my articles will be about NPD, BPD or other personality disorders or mental conditions. I pretty much write about whatever's on my mind at the moment. So there's something for everyone here. Blogging about stuff is crack for my soul. It's self therapy, and hopefully my insights and observations may help others too.
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15 Responses to Family estrangement.

  1. nowve666 says:

    But isn’t this what going “no contact” means?

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      No. This is when the narcissitic family rejects the scapegoated child. You’re thinking of the opposite–when the scapegoated or abused adult child deliberately cuts off contact from the N family or family member. Often they happen at once–the scapegoated or rejected adult child is continually hoovered or manipulated or verbally abused by the rest of the family or the N relative (usually a parent) even after they have been rejected or shunned, so they decide for their own sanity and peace of mind to go No Contact and refuse any further contact (abuse) from the toxic individuals or family. I cut off my mother because of her condescending, disparaging, blaming put downs in her phone calls to me, even after I’d been actively rejected by her and most of the immediate family (who served as her flying monkeys). Estrangement is something they do to you; No Contact is something you do to them. Estrangement is rejection and abuse of one person; No Contact is an attempt by that person to regain self-respect. That’s the difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Susan says:

    wow what timing..my brain has been obsessing about this concept today..! its like im doing chores ..you know how you go about your regular day but your brain is like in OCD overdrive having a whole conversation? well it was about this very subject and on my own.. I had decided as well that this estrangement did have something to do with the cultural differences between traditional…tribe first and as the article says.. individualism.. I get stuck RIGHT There every day of my life.. it feels so paramount
    but whats underneath it is a false sense of betrayal that OTHERS seem to have about ME! when I am a human same as them..totally in this thing called life in love time with them! and it was unfair for me to somehow be singled out.. what I mean is I felt somehow that my family has an issue as well with the tribe vs individualism.. even as Americans! they seemed in all ways typically American and individualistic..
    I sensed somehow they feared I would be bringing a tribe in… or make them somehow adapt to a lifestyle they don’t want
    this is all by “sense” since NOTHING ACTUALLY HAPPENED.
    but scapegoats… all his this bewilderment..accused of a crime we know nothing of and that issue right there seems smack dab in the middle of mine.(tribe/individualism)
    a paranoia from them….
    my family treated me the SAME as what the world is going through now about immigration! and our “American way of life”
    they think I threatened it!
    when I LOVE this way of life and individualism
    I did stand against some patriarchy that’s for sure
    I seem “feminist” or something… but what was it to them??? They never seemed to care what id do in the first place.they would pretend a lot..and jump sides.. on one hand.. moral and traditional and on the other quite the opposite and needed to bully me accordingly to their wishy washy ness.
    I somehow became a target of “well where do we PUT her” when I was doing just FINE and actually quite very well.. what arrogance! for them to feel to “put” me anywhere at all! it took me years to even figure that out.. since I was fine..without them… which I wasn’t allowed to be I guess.
    they made sure I was broken… because something washed over me in my teen and early 20’s which was quite fantastic! and I seemed like I was blossoming and confident and happy.. and they weren’t the cause.. so they seemed to try to destroy that for sure..
    and they did. I went from blossoming bright confident…to ..barely able to speak…and always hiding.
    and they saw that and were quite content with it. no remorse ever showed…I mean for years on end.
    so as far as tribes go..for that to be “family” and for me to blossom without them and shrivel and die with them.. well when there is a “community or tribal “reckoning” and they present me.. what will they say for themselves?
    instead of feeling shame.. like look what we created.. we don’t take care of our own (the way tribes think and feel) it would be.. oh look at her.. its her fault..get her out of here.. the bad one..
    so while id be in the middle of the circle ..before a community summons..expecting help and mercy ..and even severe anger to fall on my family…
    instead what I usually get is… they are right…
    or why don’t you fit in..it truly is like on animal planet.. when an animal gets suddenly ostracized from the pack for a different scent it picked up.
    but the animal is often unaware that it picked up a scent…
    it fights the onslaught..not runs away…
    it tries to stay with the pack. it has nothing to feel guilty about by “association”
    if they are so great..then you are too! and scents or “associations” wouldn’t change that.
    (they were racist) so my dating a non white guy.. they acted that way towards me.
    but if its great to be white and I am and they are… when and how did I lose the so called whiteness?last I checked it wasn’t transferable lol I don’t know im at a loss.
    that is where I feel creepy because brothers and fathers are not husbands and shouldn’t act like they are….. a little weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      These kind of families want to keep you down. They don’t want you to do well. If you do well, they will tell you the reasons why it doesn’t really count, or point out your failures. You see, they need you to be a failure because then they can continue to use you as an emotional garbage dump…a receptacle for all the family shame. Well, I refuse to play that role anymore. Let them find someone else.

      Like

  3. Susan says:

    describes my family to a tee! even the underlying fear they seemed to have that somehow poverty would fall on them! (due to me somehow i guess!)we were upper middle.. and I was shunned from financial support as well.. faced homelessness for no reason…
    and I brought my troubles on myself they said.
    it seemed to be all an imagined paranoia which fell on me.. I took a punishment for what was never even going to happen
    its very insidious
    I went on to make more than any of them ever did.. but I still hurt a lot and still over ptsd and emotional trauma have a tendency to quit jobs and be unstable..
    my mother did say the blanket or chair was more valueable….. material belongings…than my welfare. (blanket I was cold.. she said its to decorate the couch I cant have it, I lived without heat…chair when my brother kicked it instead of me who was sitting in it… I was about to be seriously injured but he refrained and took it out on the chair instead..she was sitting right next to us and said oh my chair my chair..! and whined about the chair like she shed her own blood. I was in shock.. like.. are you really worried about this broken chair when he almost hit me like that!? I was yelled at for that too)
    dunno!
    if people force you not to care about them and to stop caring.. when your heartbroken and crying.. wishing they loved you…
    then you stop and they still don’t…
    its like you die inside..
    and we all go to God.
    I don’t want to be dependant on God either in this type of mess.. God forbid some fake God is a narc! enjoying this as we run to Him!
    a true God restores families
    “turn the hearts of the children back to the fathers and the fathers hearts back to the children,lest I come and strike the earth with a curse”
    basically.. our families are delusional and under a sickness or curse and we await their senses to return….

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      I’m sorry you had to experience that, Susan. I think so many scapegoats turn to God or Christianity eventually because we have to! I think of God like the mother/father I never had. But I have a problem with some Christians’ concept of a punishing, jealous, narcissistic God.. the God of the Old Testament, basically. That God I cannot accept.

      Like

      • Susan says:

        me too, after ive read the old testament God with my afterwards family shattered heart.. I could see he may have even been the problem! and that’s earth shattering too.. not only your family treats you bad..you turned to God and then start to notice He did too.. all throughout time
        you know what.. I needed to tell you..if you haven’t seen it already or sorry if you’ve mentioned it
        there is daughter zion in the bible.. she is a regular scapegoated person like us.. who complains about it all same as we do
        and there is a book called “daughter zion talks back to the prophets”
        and the other book “daughter zion her portrait her response”
        both books shake up the God of the bible and the church….
        yet are biblical
        its just her line or thread is there throughout but ignored… it SAYS she is a scapegoat.. yet an unwilling one and that she is furious at God.
        and its more like what we all talk about here
        it is not even sounding like a religious book
        its a book where she refutes God and wins…
        you would love to read excerpts online… I always do..i always feel vindicated..that we have a voice in the Bible.. she seems more powerful than God in the bible and He is helpless… when it comes to her… it is very true…
        creepy thing is I feel like her as well and my ex tried to put himself in a role in bible verses that I was her… and as always “wrong”
        from his point of view (as a moron) it says “she raised her voice at me therefore I hate her” and stuff like that
        basically its a broken and non fixable relationship.

        toxic all the way.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. truthaholics says:

    Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    “The sense of shame of having been rejected by the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally is emotionally, spiritually, and even physically devastating. It’s the worst kind of soul murder. To make matters worse, it’s often the “truth teller” (the one who sees through the toxic family dynamics) or the most sensitive or vulnerable child who is shunned in this way. The scapegoated or ostracized adult child is then blamed for their “failures” and told they brought their hard luck on themselves.

    Cluster B personality disorders are very common in families where members become estranged, scapegoated or ostracized, because people with these disorders tend to lack empathy, which is the glue that holds families, tribes and societies together. Substance abuse is also a common factor and may be co-morbid with Cluster B disorders (substance abuse being a very common but maladaptive coping tool among people with these disorders).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_estrangement

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dray0308 says:

    Reblogged this on DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN and commented:
    Are you following Lucky Otter’s Haven?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

    Liked by 1 person

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