The term “cancel culture” came to be around 2016 and according to the dictionary, it’s the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure. Yet, in families, estrangement has been around quite a long time. Parents can distance themselves from children. Adult children can stop “coming around” as the term goes. Friendships can end. The root of the word in Latin is extraneare, “treat as a stranger.” It can be chosen by you or it can be chosen for you, meaning that someone can estrange themselves from you. It can be a painful part of any relationship where there has formerly been affection or trust or mutual respect. It can be painful or not so painful. How is it connected to a dynamic called parental alienation? And of course, how do the stereotypes of “family” and “the holidays” make the pain of estrangement even worse?

We’ll talk about these questions and I’ll be looking into the work of Dr. Karl Pillemer to give us great direction. He’s the author of the recent book, Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them.

The listener email today is from a mom who’s been a listener to SW for quite some time – but a tragedy has occurred in her family, and she’s asking for some advice. There’s a trigger warning here – her daughter has been sexually abused – so please listen with care.

Vital Links! 

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Psychology Today article on “Estrangement: The Silent Epidemic”

New York Times article on Fractured Families

Forbes article on parental alienation

You can hear more about this and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive my weekly newsletter including a blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has been published and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life. And it’s available in paperback, eBook or as an audiobook!

Now there’s another way to send me a message! You can record by clicking below and ask your question or make a comment. You’ll have 90 seconds to do so and that time goes quickly. By recording, you’re giving SelfWork (and me) permission to use your voice on the podcast. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

Photo by Monstera.

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