I am sure we have all heard about someone being estranged. It’s normally not a good thing when we hear about it. Estranged is defined as “no longer being close to someone”. A relative sent me a Facebook message recently acknowledging that he knew I was estranged from another family member. I have thought about that word since his message to me. Yes, I am estranged from someone and it’s not a place I wanted to be.
One thing you have to understand if you are ever estranged is that people never know the whole story and they rarely know both sides of an estranged relationship. Most of the time they fill in the gaps with their own assumptions – and you know what they say about assumptions.
I have found that people often mean well but they won’t get involved yet they want to offer advice from what they think they know. They will say something like you should just forgive and forget. Now I won’t argue with that. That is a good idea but only IF both sides will actually do it. You can offer to forgive but if the other person won’t even give it a chance there isn’t much you can do about it.
I will tell you that being estranged is a difficult place to be in. As frustrating as it is, estranged relationships can’t always be fixed. Believe me I have tried. Whenever I have tried to fix it, I have only made matters worse.
Perhaps the hardest thing to do is to keep the estrangement from making you bitter. It’s so easy to give up and let the bitterness stir up its poison into your emotions. It’s an ongoing battle for sure. The bitterness tempts you to throw up your hands and give up on the relationship and be done with it. You have to constantly fight the bitterness.
The one thing that ticks me off about people is that they will offer you their advice but they won’t do a darn thing to help or mediate things and be a peacemaker. Most of the time they will turn chicken and tell you that they don’t want to be involved. How easy is it to give advice but not get their hands dirty? So don’t tell me to forgive and forget if you aren’t willing to help facilitate it.
People who truly know me know that I don’t like being estranged. That’s who I am. I don’t like being someone else’s source of pain. I never relish the bad guy role that I am assumed by others to be.
The saying that “time heals all wounds” is a total lie. The longer an estrangement goes, the bigger the wound grows and the harder it is for the relationship to heal. Unfortunately I am very familiar with estrangement and it’s not something I want to be good at.
Being estranged can tempt you to do stupid things such as acts of revenge or hurting the other person back when they don’t respond to your attempts at reconciliation. It’s a very tricky situation because the emotional response is to attack. Sadly, I have not always been good at using wisdom with this and responding the right way.
Having spent years dealing with this situation, I offer theses things I have learned (the hard way) which might help you if you are estranged with someone:
- Don’t depend on anyone to help you. People don’t want to be involved. They will claim that they don’t want to “take sides”. That’s a cop-out so expect it.
- People will assume what they don’t know. What people don’t know they will make it up. You can’t get hung up on what they believe. God knows the truth.
- Avoid bitterness. Don’t let your emotions tempt you to make wrong choices. Don’t seek revenge or hold a grudge.
- Don’t make alliances with others. Don’t be tempted to think you need to get people on your side. It doesn’t matter.
- Always leave the door open to reconcile. Never give up hope. Stay positive and keep hope alive.
When you are estranged with someone there is a void where that person is supposed to be in your life. You can’t allow it to make the rest of your life miserable either. You have to live your life and keep that estrangement separate from the rest of your life. You can still be happy without that void affecting other relationships. Be open to reconciling but don’t waste your life frustrated if it doesn’t happen. Unfortunately not all relationships have a happy ending but you can still have a happy life in spite of estranged relationships.