Mon March 27, at 9: She was divorced and left behind a 24 year daughter and a 17 year old son. However, after my 88 year old mother her grandma died of a broken heart almost four months after my sister my father died 24 years ago.
What I am referring to specifically is the conscious decision a person makes to cut off contact from another family member for a time- this can range from a few days to an entire lifetime. As a family therapist, I am constantly working with cut-offs and they are very tricky to navigate.
Most people I know have been at one or both ends of the cut-off continuum. Either they have had to end contact with a relative because it is abusive and harmful to their well-being, or they have been cut off by another relative and are suffering deeply as a result.
Having seen and worked with both sides regularly over the years, I can honestly say that neither is a picnic. Whether you have cut someone out or have been the one cut out, there is most certainly much grief and angst experienced either way. For the purposes of this article, I am going to focus on what to do if you are the person who has been cut off by another family member.
I have never seen anybody in so much emotional pain as when hearing a story about how their daughter, mother, sister, or any other close family member has stopped talking with them.
The look of anguish, deep sadness, and often bewilderment, can be really heart wrenching to witness.
What I do feel would be helpful, is to share some of the tools I offer clients who are at the receiving end of a family cut-off.
So here are some tools you or someone you care about can use the next time a family member cuts you out for whatever reason: Let go- Along with prayer, letting go is an incredible tool in healing a cut-off. Know that you cannot control the other person who cut you off, but you can control how you choose to deal with the situation.
You can either hang on for dear life, while continuing to suffer greatly, or you can loosen your grip, send that person love, and focus on living your life and being good to yourself. Anytime someone we care about leaves whether through death, divorce, or cut-offwe experience great loss and bereavement.
Let yourself feel the pain of loss by crying, licking your wounds, and feeling the sadness associated with the loss. It helps to move through the pain in the long run.
The benefit here is from getting what you have to say off your chest; not from sharing with the other. Talk about it- Lastly, it is vital that you find a safe person to talk to about the experience of being cut off. If you are experiencing a cut-off from someone you love, I truly feel for you.
But know that there are ways to deal with this tough situation see tips outlined above and that you are not alone. Many of us survive cut-offs from loved ones in our lives and even grow from the experience.Dear Elizabeth, We’re so sorry to hear about your mother’s death.
Losing a family member is always difficult. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do to assist you during this trying time.
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