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when family members stop speaking

When Family Members Stop Speaking: 3 Things You Lose

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When family members stop speaking everyone loses. In fact, there is collateral damage you don’t count on.

Looking back, I now realize there was a trade-off when I walked away from my entire family. Sadly, I didn’t feel the consequences until years later. There is nothing I can do about it now but own it.

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when family members stop speaking

If you are considering breaking away from your family, first of all, I am sorry you are even considering this option. It is a horrible decision, and not one to be taken lightly. Second, I ask you to count the cost. Consider what is at stake. If it is at all possible, wait, and take a step back.

If you can’t wait because your entire family is toxic, I totally understand. Sometimes you are forced to walk away to save your health, or you are in danger emotionally or physically. Or perhaps you are protecting your kids. Whatever the reason, I commend you for your courage to stop the abuse.

However, before you put the final nail in the coffin of your relationship, make sure you understand what you will lose because some of the effects take years to manifest. By then, it is too late to repair a broken bridge across a wide canyon. When family members stop speaking, sadly, it is hard to ever go back.

RELATED: Estranged: How to Heal Broken Family Relationships

When Family Members Stop Speaking:

There are at least three things to consider when family members stop speaking. I experienced all three of these things when I walked away. Additionally, I had no idea I was going to trade one set of problems for another set. Most likely, you will have some of the same issues if you decide to do the same thing.

1. You Lose Time When Family Members Stop Speaking

When family members stop speaking you lose time. My kids lost their grandparents at a crucial time in their life. I left the family when my son was 15 (9th grade) and my daughter was 11 (5th grade).

When we reconciled, my son was 22 and a senior in college. My daughter was 18 and a senior in high school. My parents missed my son’s high school years completely.

They never got to see him play baseball, celebrate his awards, meet his girlfriends, or watch him walk across the stage to receive his high school diploma.

It was even worse with my daughter because they missed all of her growing up years. They missed elementary, junior high, and high school. This time can never be regained.

My kids were both growing and changing so much that when we did return, my parents didn’t even recognize them.

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book.

You can find Estranged on Amazon or in your favorite digital store.

Now that my kids are adults, they are busy. It is hard for them to take the time to see their grandparents. Since they are adults, they live in different states.

We can only move forward from here, but that gap of time can never be regained. I never wanted to be estranged for seven years. It just happened. Time got away from us all.

2. You Lose Resources When Family Members Stop Speaking

When family members stop speaking you lose resources. It would have been nice to call my parents when I had an issue with my kids and ask for their advice. Or even send my kids to my parent’s house when we all needed a break from each other.

Kids can be an enigma at times. Having the experience of your parents helps because they were raising you not too long ago. They remember a few things. It’s really nice because you don’t have to spend a lot of time filling them in on details. They already know some context. Not having that resource was more difficult than I ever thought it would be.

So many times I wished I could have picked up the phone and called my mother just to talk. Perhaps about something that was important or maybe not. The only bright side of this is that it made me run to God for everything. And He does not disappoint.

God is the best parent to us all. He hears and knows all the pain and disappointment of your life. And He alone is the only one who can change things.

RELATED: When You Feel Like You Have Failed as a Parent

3. You Lose Family Connection When Family Members Stop Speaking

When family members stop speaking you lose family connection. There were seven years worth of holidays, birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries we missed participating with extended family. The holidays were especially hard.

I didn’t just suffer; it hurt my kids too. They missed seeing their eight cousins together at one time. This used to be one of their favorite things to do as a family.

All of this went away after we left. It not only broke up my family, but it also broke up the other families too.

Nothing was ever the same. Now all the cousins are adults, as well as my own kids. It is next to impossible to get us together all on the same day. Some of the kids are married now and have their own family holidays.

Unfortunately, family connection wasn’t just lost with extended family, I also set an example for my own kids to possibly walk away from me someday. I have spent an enormous amount of time in prayer breaking a stronghold that has been going on for several generations. Your kids are watching what you do. Your situation is not an exception. They are going to repeat what you do, not what you say.

RELATED: War Room Prayers: 7 Powerful Prayer Strategies Using Scripture

When a Family Member Cuts You Out of Their Life

When family cuts you off, it is good to start asking yourself why. I suggest you get into counseling or find a mediator.

Learn how to set boundaries, work on forgiveness, and see if you can find solutions that work for everyone. It is an option worth pursuing before completely cutting off all ties.

Estrangement should be a last resort. Believe me, when your family stops talking you don’t know exactly what you have signed up for in the process.

If you still decide to break away or a family member cuts you out of their life, work on yourself. Your part may be nothing but forgiveness, but it is everything. Unforgiveness eats at your heart and burns into your everyday life. It colors everything you think and feel.

You can choose not to deal with unforgiveness, but eventually, it will deal with you. It may come in the form of sickness, an explosive temper, or failure at relationships around you. Even if your parent/family member is gone, it is still important to completely forgive.

RELATED: 5 Burning Reasons Why You Need to Forgive Those Who Hurt You

Here is a thought to leave you with as you consider your difficult relationship:

Estrangement takes you farther away than you ever wanted to go, leaves you there longer than you ever intended, and the consequences are much worse than you ever thought they would be.

Lauren Daigle has a song called “Rescue.” I have played this song over and over. I love the way God chases after us when we are broken.

Do You Have Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you experiencing family problems or even estranged? Are you feeling shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement from my Christian family, but it also gives solid tips to help you with your own family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book with a single tree on the book

Creating Family Memories Book

Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

A farm scene with a farmhouse upside down sitting on a grass field with a lake in the background.

Join Christian Family Living Facebook Group

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.

47 thoughts on “When Family Members Stop Speaking: 3 Things You Lose”

  1. Martin Donald

    Thank you for this fantastic piece. I truly enjoyed reading this and need to state one thing – you
    really are an wonderful writer. I don’t usually
    bookmark resource – the last time I did so was with https://ideenkicker.ch/.
    And I do wish to see more of your posts in my bookmarks.
    Thank you for your work, have a fantastic day.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Estrangement is a hard topic to talk about especially if you are a Christian because Christians are supposed to get along. Unfortunately, we don’t always. Plain and simple. But there is hope when God intervenes in the mess.

  2. One month of total estrangement and its Christmas shutdown along with my own shutdown. What do I feel? An ache so deep its hard to describe, a sense of betrayal, being lost.. and guilt. The reality is that it isn’t an overnight decision…or a decision at all. It’s almost like when your mind runs out of will or resource, and your family doesn’t seem to do anything about it either. There is a shutdown and disconnect that even I can’t control. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anybody.

    1. AM, I am so sorry. I understand how you feel. God hasn’t left you. The emptiness is real and the pain is deep. Lean into God. He is the only one who can help you get through this. A family may fail you but God will never fail you.

  3. Have you talked with your adult children about their feelings of missing out on family time and memories for seven years that was beyond their control? I was just wondering if they have feelings of resentment towards you for keeping them from their extended family.

    1. Yes, we have had long conversations about it. I think they have handled the situation with grace and understanding. They knew that I was forced to leave because of my health. And they saw how fast I recovered after I got away. We are all glad to be back with the family as it is the best thing to not repeat it another generation.

  4. It sounds like you suffered through the estrangement yet it took 7 years to reconcile. Why did it take so long? Thank you!

    1. I wish. God was working on both sides. I’m actually writing a book about the whole thing. The way God put us back together was nothing short of a miracle. Thanks for your comment.

  5. What a timely post. Yes I am taking a minor break from some of my family members because they are cliquey so I am keeping my distance until further notice.

  6. I’m in that situation as my parents don’t communicate with me because of religious differences. My oldest is 4 and met her a handful of times, net my second twice in the nicu and hadn’t met my son till October I believe of 2017….. He was almost one. I wish me and my mom were close but we aren’t. Well written post.

  7. I am sorry that your family was divided for all of those years. But it’s important to see some perspective. It may seem easier, but you also have to consider what you’re giving up.

  8. I am so glad to see someone writing on this subject. Growing up I was extremely close to my mothers’ side of the family but barely knew my father’s. It’s a sad thing to go through as children but also as the parents.

  9. So many factors I never really considered – I am grateful to have a family I love being a part of, but know so many people aren’t quite as lucky. It breaks my heart that you and others have to go through this. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  10. I totally agree with this post. When I was a teen I waned to leave my family so bad, I felt like they were boulders on my shoulders. Shortly I realized that I needed them and they were only trying to help. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Lavanda,
      I have read several of your blogs. Thanks for reading mine! I am glad you haven’t left your family. Hopefully, you can set some boundaries and keep the relationships. Take care.

  11. I believe, Family is the only important thing in life. whenever we fall in life, only people support us is our family. Nicely written the importance of the same. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  12. You are so brave to talk about this kind of topic. Some are having a hard time to admit that there’s a problem within the family members. This will help a lot. Communication is the key. Keep sharing.

  13. This is powerfully written. I agree with you; unforgiveness will eat away at you. I strive to choose forgiveness not just for the other person, but for my own well being.

  14. What an awesome post about how important the family unit is. I notice that the connection or family ties so much stronger in other cultures. We can choose our family but we can definitely cultivate those relationships.

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