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when family members stop speaking

When Family Members Stop Speaking: 3 Things You Lose

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.

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. Try to set boundaries.

If your family members won’t adhere to your boundaries or you are in a toxic family system, I totally understand.

Sometimes you are forced to walk away to save your health, or you are in danger emotionally or physically. Additionally, you may need to protect your kids.

Whatever the reason, I commend you for your courage.

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: How to Move On From Family Estrangement: 5 Ways to Heal Your Heart

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 from family 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.

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. I no longer had the wisdom of older and wiser family members who could help me.

So many times I wished I could have picked up the phone and called not only my mother but other family members as well. Perhaps talk about something that was important or maybe not.

There is something reassuring about hearing the voice of a family member on the other end of the line who loves you no matter what you say or how bad it gets.

The only bright side of this is that it made me run to God for everything. And He does not disappoint

He hears and knows all the pain and disappointment of your life. Furthermore, He alone is the only one who completely understands and can change things.

RELATED: Feeling like a Failure as a Parent? 6 Tips to Overcome

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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 difficult not talking to my parents or relatives.

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, the 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. Don’t be fooled, your kids are watching what you do more than what you say.

RELATED: War Room Prayer Strategy: 7 Tips to Pray Powerful Prayers

How Common Is Family Estrangement?

Family estrangement is more common than you think. Sadly, people are embarrassed to talk about is so it stays hidden in the dark.

I had no idea that several of my close friends were struggling with this very issue until I started talking about my own family problems. Ironically, I had known these friends for over fifteen years and it had never come up in conversation.

If you are feeling too much shame to talk about your family estrangement or rift, I suggest you get into counseling or find a mediator. Perhaps talk to a godly friend who knows your family and the way you interact with each other.

The important thing is to start working through your feelings. (Many times dysfunctional families don’t allow for feelings to be expressed.)  Don’t stay in the shadows grieving alone. There are things you can do to move on from where you are right now.

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

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When Family Members Stop Speaking

What Causes Estrangement in Families?

Estrangement is not an easy thing to unravel. In my research, I have found nine things that cause families to split apart.

Some families are guilty of doing one or two behaviors while other families, who are more toxic, do all nine.

Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store to read about my seven-year estrangement from my Christian family.

It also gives 15 solid tips to help you when your own family refuses to talk to you. It’s time to 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.

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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.

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

  1. My mom is still talking to me and I would like her not to be talking to me anymore and to stay out of my room and stop with this ridiculous bug nonsense there’s no bugs.

  2. 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
    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

      1. Hi its joe here. I lost my mum 2 years ago but before she died she was living with my older brother for 4 years then she had to go into a nursing home as she had dementia as it would of been difficult for my brother to cope so my mum picked the nursing home she wanted to go into and all the family were ok with this and she was happy and made friends. But as time went on some family members started nit picking on things they weren’t happy about in the nursing home and they would phone the older brother and arguments started then after being in the home for a few years my mum unfortunately ended up in hospital with bad bed sores and succumbed to to them but before my mum died i managed to spend time with her in hospital and read the bible to her and sang to her and also cried but one of my siblings previously wanted to take my mum out of the home to look after her which i dont think she realised she wouldn’t have coped looking after her so this brought a lot of arguing and talk of any money my mum had and when it came to my mum’s funeral some family members just stood together not talking to myself and other family members and they haven’t spoken since my mum was first in hospital and there doesn’t seem to be any reconciliation either but i do pray for my whole family everyday.

        1. Joe, I am so sorry about this. This is a very difficult situation. Money and care of an older parent are very big issues. Control also seems to rear its ugly head in these situations. The only thing you can do is work on yourself. Ask God to help you remember any times that you acted badly, and then ask for forgiveness. When you change, it forces others to change. Perhaps your broken heart is the door to help usher in some conversation. If you don’t feel you have done anything wrong, you can just work on forgiveness. God commands us to forgive even if we never get back into a relationship. My prayers are with you. Family estrangement is hard. But God is a big God. He can work miracles.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!!!!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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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