You're Not Finished

#YNF EP21 - Thanksgiving is For Families & So is Estrangement, Apparently

November 29, 2022 Brittany Franklin Season 2 Episode 8
#YNF EP21 - Thanksgiving is For Families & So is Estrangement, Apparently
You're Not Finished
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You're Not Finished
#YNF EP21 - Thanksgiving is For Families & So is Estrangement, Apparently
Nov 29, 2022 Season 2 Episode 8
Brittany Franklin

In this episode, Brittany talks through her experience of being estranged from family & the impact estrangement has in general on mental health & well-being. 

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Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Brittany talks through her experience of being estranged from family & the impact estrangement has in general on mental health & well-being. 

Support the Show.

For more information & YNF content:
https://yourenotfinished.com/
https://linktr.ee/YoureNotFinished
https://www.instagram.com/ynfcast/
https://twitter.com/YNFCast
ynfdevo | Twitter, Instagram, Facebook | Linktree

Speaker 1:

Hey everyone. Welcome back to your Not Finished podcast. My name is Brittany Franklin and I am the host of this podcast. And thank you so much to everyone who has listened since episode one and has given me the grace to grow both as an individual and in the content that I post. For those who are listening for the first time, welcome and I hope you enjoy this episode and stick around. Before I get started, I wanna say congratulations to the winner of our final quarterly giveaway that was announced on Instagram earlier this month. And because you're not finished, hit a hundred plus followers on Instagram. I'm gonna go ahead and do a giveaway for Christmas. The same rules apply. All you have to do is follow. You're not finished on Instagram at Y N F Cast, like the giveaway post. Comment three green hearts in order to enter the contest. If you have entered before and you didn't win, you can always enter again. So make sure you enter the giveaway before December 5th because that's when the winner will be announced. The next giveaway, if you're listening after the fifth, will be in February. I also wanna acknowledge the tragic passing of actor and mixed martial artist Jason David Frank, who died by suicide last weekend. He was most widely known for his roles in the Power Ranger series. My condolences to his family, friends, and fans. I was a fan of Power Rangers as a kid, so I was definitely affected by the news. Obviously not nearly as much as those closest to him, but he is absolutely considered a legend in my opinion. And so I just wanted to take the time to acknowledge the impact that had on me. Personally. If you're struggling with suicidal thoughts or ideation, please call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9 88 for 24 7 support. To be fully transparent, I've actually used the hotline and the agent I spoke to was really helpful and gave me some excellent resources to use going forward. So from experience, I can say that 9 88 is a good source of support. I also want to offer my condolences and prayers to the loved ones of the victims of the hate crime that took place in Colorado Springs a couple of weeks ago. There have been actually multiple mass shootings that have taken place, and I just will never understand why it ever has to resort to violence, especially gun violence. Why people won't just leave other people alone if they hate them, don't like them, or disagree with them. I really hope we can get a handle on gun violence soon and not be so desensitized to this happening because this is, it's gone too far and it's absolutely too much. But unfortunately, that being said, may the lives that were lost rest in peace and I pray for complete healing for those who are injured as a result of those acts of terrorism. So for today's topic, I want to talk about family. I know most of us last week met with our friends and loved ones over the holiday for Thanksgiving, I spent time with my mom, my cousins aunt and uncle, and it felt really good. We had a lot of fun, we had a lot of food. Um, but yeah, it was a great time. Despite that though, a conversation with my brother the other day made me reflect on the connection I had with my family as a whole extended family, my father's side of the family, and how much generational brokenness has influenced the way we connect with each other. I'm sure others can relate to experiences like this as well of certain family members only coming together for weddings and funerals, only seeing updates for them through Facebook and Instagram or other social media. For people who you are once close to, for whatever reason, there is a separation or distance between certain family members and that reason more often than not is not a very good one. Or you might have even experienced having a conversation and saying, Hey, we should have a family reunion soon. We should get together or we gotta do better. And then you know, not doing better. I looked up how common this is, and a 2015 survey found that over 10% of mothers reported that they were estranged from at least one of their adult children. In a survey of undergraduates, 39% reported estrangement happening between immediate family members and 61% in their extended family. I can reference my own personal experience, so I have a brother and sister on my father's side of the family that I rarely connect with due to the way our father mishandled each of us as kids and into adulthood. I'm being kind of generous in the way that I describe that, but I think you get the idea without me going into detail. But each of us have differing experiences with our father. My sister interacted with him the most and therefore seems to have suffered the most from his actions, followed by my brother and then myself who interacted with him and my siblings the least. We are all estranged from our father, but my siblings, my brother and sister are or seem to be closer with each other. And then there's me who's kind of on an island. Anyway, this past weekend I talked to my brother for all of five minutes to wish my niece and nephew a happy birthday and just quickly catch up. But I spent about an hour and a half prior to that in a fit of anxiety, worried about the phone call, worry that I would say the wrong thing or about how awkward it would be, and overthinking the conversation knowing that it wouldn't be a long one since we both hate talking on the phone. I get pretty anxious when I talk to my siblings to be honest. And I think part of it is because of the seeds our father planted. But I think the other reason is that it kind of feels like I'm trying to force connections with people who seem to be okay with being estranged. But I'm thankful for the experience because I can do research on the effects of estrangement. Talk to you all about it. Do the necessary homework I need to do for myself and offer some support for those who can relate. An article on psychology today talks about five ways estrangement can cause lifelong harm. People tend to develop trust issues. They find it harder to develop friendships. They have low self-esteem, they feel like they have to choose sides in the family, which can cause severe emotional and mental distress, and they struggle with rumination or repeating thought patterns. I have definitely experienced all of the above and still have trust issues that I have to actively fight through as I'm connecting with new people. As of late, I'm practicing denying my natural instincts to shut down and be isolated on a consistent basis. And while it is difficult, I find myself believing that the good that can come from being open and cultivating healthy relationships with the right people will outweigh the bad. And if something bad does happen, it will likely not be the worst thing, especially given what I've already experienced. I can elaborate on that on another episode though. Here are some additional effects of estrangement as referenced in an article ony.net written by Dr. Kathleen Smith. It says, estranged family members may experience significant distress whether they initiated the cutoff or not. Their overall psychological wellbeing may be reduced and they may experience feelings of grief. Some psychologists treat estrangement as a form of ambiguous loss because the other person is still living estranged. Individuals may experience stigma from other family members due to the estrangement. The loss of social, financial and emotional support can be great as well. Estrangement can impact future generations when children lose contact with their grandparents or cousins never get to know each other. A person cut off from their family may be vulnerable to repeating the behavior in future relationships. Estrangement has both its benefits and disadvantages for those who choose to end contact. This choice may provide peace and safety from painful or even dangerous. Interactions with relatives therapy can and should provide a non-judgemental space for people to do their best thinking about what's right for them given their circumstances. This is something I absolutely can resonate with as it pertains to my father. Choosing to sever the relationship with him wasn't easy, but unfortunately it was the right thing to do. Remaining connected to someone who refused help and accountability and had the unfortunate ability to be emotionally abusive just wasn't in the cards for me and I could have operated as an enabler or someone who excused his behaviors if I remained in his life. As it pertains to my siblings, I do feel a sense of grief at the state of our relationship while at the same time wondering if I should even continue to keep trying because while I understand that our father cause the initial estrangement between us as children, we can't continue to attribute it to him as adults. Us not cultivating the relationship is intentional, whether we wanna admit that or not, and I say us, even though I do tend to initiate the conversations, I don't wanna force anything. It's definitely something I should talk to my therapist about next month anyway, in the same article, Dr. Smith says at the end, and remember, estrangement isn't good or bad, it's just a facet of the human family. The most we can do is put our best thinking towards our hardest decisions in our imperfect families. And while I get that, she might be trying to decrease the stress or anxiety or emotional turmoil that comes with making the decision to remain connected to someone or not, or offer grace to the reader who might be at a crossroads in their familial relationship. I don't think we should be saying stuff that normalizes estrangement or minimizes the importance of the family dynamic. I mean, we're kind of already doing that by not prioritizing family. And you can see that in the stats with 61% of undergraduates being estranged from extended family. But broken families are not a good thing and neither are the reasons for them. Like you can't detail the negative effects of estrangement in one paragraph and then say it's neither a good or a bad thing in another. All relationships take work and it's a difficult thing when you discover that someone you love or someone that you should be connected to doesn't have the desire or the ability to put in the work, or you realize that you are the person who needed to be cut off because of the work you didn't do in a world filled with negativity and brokenness. Family, your biological or your chosen family should be the safest place. And in a perfect world it would be. Let me know when you think about that in the comments. If you're listening on YouTube or send me a DM or email me with your thoughts on estrangement or if you wanna share your story. For those who are considering reconciliation, I found this quote from the same article to be pretty helpful actually. It says, and this is based on previous research that family members are most likely to reconcile when people were less fixated on reaching the same understanding of past events and more focused on building a better future together when people were able to lower their expectations, but also set clear boundaries in a relationship, relationships also tended to improve. And I think that is important because I used to always tell my father this, whenever we would argue about certain things, he would get defensive and say, well, you're holding me hostage from my past. And I would say, I don't even, I don't care about your past. This is me talking to him as an adult. I don't care about your past or who you've been. However, if who you are now is the same person as who you are in the past, then that's where I have an issue. So we can develop the trust, which is what I wanted to do with him. Develop trust, develop a connection, develop relationship as father and daughter slowly but steadily. And we can base that on our current character because we can't do anything about the past, like past is over. I'm not gonna continue to hold that against you because that doesn't benefit me or you. But if you are no different, then that's where we have an issue or that's where we have the issue because that's why we're unfortunately no longer speaking. So I just wanted to share that quote and that experience for people who are considering reconciliation, if it's safe to reconcile, if it's wise to reconcile, pursue reconciliation with the knowledge that is gonna take a lot of work and effort on both sides and for all parties involved. I wanna start ending the episodes with a quick prayer. So Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray for those who are experiencing mental and emotional distress due to being estranged from family members or from their entire family, whether they made the decision to do so or whether they are currently living in isolation because of being distanced. From I pray in due time and in the right time with the right resources, proper healing, taking place, that these families come back together in wisdom and love and understanding. And I pray that if estrangement continues, Lord, that you would give all parties involved peace and personal healing or God until red reconciliation can take place in Jesus' name. Amen. And I don't pray that prayer being hypocritical. That definitely goes for my own family as well. I am absolutely not exempt. Um, if you're a praying kind of person, pray for my family and pray for my father as well as he works through the things that he needs to work through. Anyway, that's today's episode. Thank you so much for listening. If you need additional resources for mental health addiction and suicide prevention and over to www dot, you're not finished.com and click the get help section. If you wanna share your story or journey or experience of overcoming mental distress or as someone with a diagnosed mental health or mood disorder and you're okay with that being shared publicly on the Your Not Finished website, shoot me an email to Brittany your not finished.com. That's B R I T T A N Y. You're not finished.com or stories@yournotfinished.com, or you can contact me through the website. Anonymous submissions are always welcome. Make sure you follow me on all social media platforms at Y N F Cast. If you're listening to previous episodes, I changed all my social media handles to just one, which is Y N F cast. So go ahead and follow that to say up to date on latest episodes and for more encouraging content. And don't forget to rate the cast on Apple or Google Podcasts if you love it. Thank you so much again for listening, and I appreciate you so much. Have a great day. Good luck if you decide to enter the giveaway and finish well.

Speaker 2:

Bye.