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  • Writer's pictureEmily Piette

Family and Sibling Estrangement

Family estrangement is defined as "the loss of a previously existing relationship between family members, through physical and/or emotional distancing, often to the extent that there is negligible or no communication between the individuals involved for a prolonged period."


I didn't realize how common, and how hard it is to experience... until I did it myself.


8 months ago I had to stop contact with my brother. This was a hard decision.

It became clear to me that we were not on the same page for value system, and expectations for a sibling relationship.


Fern Chapman explained in her Psychology Today article:

"Brothers and sisters are our earliest, closest companions, instilling important social qualities—tolerance, generosity, loyalty—that eventually affect every subsequent relationship, from friends and colleagues to lovers and partners. Siblings typically spend more time together than with anyone else; for the fortunate, the relationship endures for decades, outlasting friendships, marriages, and parents. Losing what should have been a lifelong bond built on shared history is a sad, continuing deprivation"


To take distance from him was for my well-being. It was the best decision for me to find healing, and surround myself with people who share similar values and expectations on how to be in my life. This was a big growth moment for me in my own therapy goals. (Yes I go to therapy too).

I don't share this part of my life with other due to my pain. Ongoing grief is exhausting. I think I am okay, then BAM- sadness, anger, denial, bargaining, more anger. I don't share this part of due to the many judgements and misconceptions around estrangement. When did the excuse of "because it is family" override the values of keeping ourselves safe?


My journey in this is not done. There is an unknown in the time frame because I can't put a time on my healing. The pain is real. And it sucks.


For more information around Family Estrangement and siblings- check out the following article https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/brothers-sisters-strangers/202202/8-things-people-need-understand-about-sibling-estrangement



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