When Your Family Members Cut Off Contact with You

I was disowned by three close members of my family — two without explanation — and the pain of unbearable loss prompted my research.  Hopefully, I can provide some understanding to many who are also experiencing this unusual attack on family and friends.

As early as 578 B.C., the legendary philosopher Pythagoras wrote in his Rules of Conduct,

Honor thy parents and thy nearest kin:
Of other make the virtuous thy friend:
Yield to his gently words, his timely acts;
Nor for a petty fault take back thy love[.] (Runes, Dagobert, A Treasury of Philosophy, 1973)

For at least 2,600 years, the family unit was intact until the woke rewrote the meaning of family and true friendship.  In a family relationship, the bonding, particularly with children, is profound.  The possibility of loss or permanent separation is an unbearable thought.  How did this concept of toxic family relationships evolve?  In the past, physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse were the primary causes for estrangement.  Today, perceived attacks on one's mental health are the number-one cause for estrangement.  Historically, the basics of family and true friendship meant working through disagreements.  The philosophy once was agree to disagree and move on.

The BBC's article "Family Estrangement: Why Adults are cutting off their parents" (Maddy Savage, December 1, 2021) explains:

Polarised politics and a growing awareness of how difficult relationships can impact our mental health are fueling family estrangement, say psychologists.

"I am done" is the familiar term for dealing with disagreements with family and friends.  Karl Andrew Pillemer, author of Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them, surveyed families in the United States, indicating that one in four Americans was experiencing family estrangements.  According to a British survey by Stand Alone, one in five families were experiencing the same.  This phenomenon is most prevalent in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

Joshua Coleman, psychologist and author of The Rules of Estrangement: Why Adult Children Cut Ties and How to Heal the Conflict, states that most ties are broken by the adult child.  Although abuse, past or present, was among the causes of estrangement, a study by Coleman and the University of Wisconsin indicated that one of three estrangements in the United States was caused by "value-based disagreements," politics playing a major role.

Additionally, the article states, mental health awareness and isolating the individual interfering with one's happiness is just cause for creating boundaries.  Coleman states that individualism and personal identity has led to estrangement, and predicts that this new thinking of "individualism and personal growth" will remain.

What happened to the concept that one can be an individual and still have a difference of opinion?  One's self-confidence and self-esteem should not be diminished by another's different opinion.  If an individual is verbally demeaned, then that issue should be addressed.  However, the perception that a difference of opinion is equal to a personal attack is simply the woke motivation for changing values.

Where did the concept of "I am done" begin?  The first time I became aware was back in 2016, with my sister-in-law deciding she was no longer going to speak to her siblings.  Three years later, she convinced my stepbrother not to speak to me simply because I was my mother's daughter.  I became a toxic relative for some unknown and unexplained cause.

A difference of opinion does not equal mental abuse.  I was told by another family member I was not allowed to express my opinion.  I was speechless.  The new way of thinking is self-centered.  Their opinion is the only opinion of value, and the woke refuse to listen to any discussion.

Values have been influenced by political vision.  The term "fascism" once had a different meaning from today's definition. These changes were completed deliberately through education and books.  Dictionary definitions changed years ago, many years after WWII.

In 2002, the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defined fascism as follows:

[a] political group, the doctrines, methods or movement of the Fascisti — a system of government characterized by rigid one-party dictatorship, forcible suppression of opposition, private economic enterprise under centralized governmental control, belligerent nationalism, racism, militarism etc. a political movement based on such policies.

Today's definition:

a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

To date and since my research in 2008, the American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as follows:

a system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, a capitalist economy subject to stringent governmental controls, violent suppression of opposition, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

The Online Dictionary definition in 2008:

Fascism is a set of right-wing political beliefs that includes strong control of society and economy by the state, a powerful role for the armed forces and the stopping of political opposition.

The definition today:

Any ideology or movement inspired by Italian Fascism such as German National Socialism, any right-wing nationalist ideology or movement with an authoritarian and hierarchical structure that is fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism.

Changing terminology equals propaganda to meet one's objectives.  Most students don't pull out a hardcover dictionary, but rely on the internet.  Thus, capitalists and the right wing become the enemy.

These are small examples of the process involved in changing the mindset in families or friends.  Unless one has a library of old books, the young generation has a complete opposite view of philosophies of the past, including the meaning of family and friends.

Communism used to be the enemy, with definitions that have remained relatively unchanged.

 One of several definitions in Merriam-Webster:

a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production.

Wikipedia refers to Communism as a

far-left sociopolitical, philosophical and economic ideology and current within the socialist movement whose goal is the establishment of a communist society.

The woke movement has created issues of education without parental involvement as another angle of attempting to influence family estrangement.  Respect and manners, once fundamental in every household, barely exist, and their departure has devaluated the family system.  The adult child who has broken ties with family, friends, and any individual who disagrees with his viewpoint has lost respect for the value of those relationships.

If the root cause of family estrangement is the destruction of the adult child's self-image and self-identity resulting from a difference of viewpoints, then psychologists should be examining the root cause of lack of self-confidence in one's own opinion.  There is a major difference between exchanging thoughts and abuse.  One's viewpoint differing from another opinion should merely be food for thought.

For those dealing with family estrangement, I have understood for years that there is a movement, not realizing the evolvement and magnitude of wokeness.  You are not alone.  There is always hope that our lost family members and friends will awaken and remember the value of family and friendship.

Image via Max Pixel.

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