Estranged: 3 Things You Lose When Your Family Stops Talking

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When your family stops talking 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 left my family. Walking away proved to have some consequences I didn’t account for at the time. There is nothing I can do about it now but own it.

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Puzzles pieces with pictures of family on them. Estranged: 3 Things You Lose When Your Family Stops Talking

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. Here are three things to consider when your family stops talking:

1. You Lose Time When You Stop Talking

When your family stops talking 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.

RELATED: Estranged: How to Heal Broken Family Relationships

2. You Lose Resources When You Stop Talking

When your family stops talking 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

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Estranged:3 Things You Lose When Your Family Stops Talking.

3. You Lose Family Connection When Your Family Stops Talking

When your family stops talking you lose family connection. There were seven years worth of holidays, birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries we missed participating in as a family. Holidays were especially hard.

You may moan and groan about going to lots of people’s houses during the holidays, but when it comes down to is family. It is nice to have a place to go and be with the people who love you the most. (Unless your family fights when you’re all together.)

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. It wasn’t as fun for the kids to get together. Now all the kids are adults. It is next to impossible to get us together all on the same day. Some are married now and have their own family holidays.

RELATED: How to Break Free From Family Problems For Good

Estranged:3 Things You Lose When Your Family Stops Talking.

Before Your Family Stops Talking

It is important to count the cost before your family stops talking. Instead of breaking off the relationship completely, try and step back and take a breather. I suggest you get into counseling and see if you can work through some of the issues.

Learn how to set boundaries, work on forgiveness, and see if you can find solutions that work for everyone. Ask your family members to meet in counseling or get a mediator. 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, 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 options:

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.

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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.

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Julie Plagens


  1. on November 21, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Thank you for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further post thanks once again.

  2. plenty of fish dating site on November 12, 2019 at 12:46 am

    Hi there, just wanted to say, I liked this post. It was inspiring.
    Keep on posting!

    • Julie Plagens on November 18, 2019 at 11:52 am

      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. AM on December 14, 2018 at 2:17 am

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 3:05 pm

      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. Marian on November 19, 2018 at 7:52 am

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on November 21, 2018 at 3:33 am

      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. Cathy on November 9, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Was there anything your parents/ family could do to repair the relationship quicker?

    • Julie Plagens on November 9, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      I think it took the full seven years for me to heal emotionally. Neither side felt they did anything wrong either. Stubborn pride dragged it out. Thanks for comment.

  6. Kat on November 4, 2018 at 5:39 am

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

    • Julie Plagens on November 9, 2018 at 7:51 pm

      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.

  7. amazon product reviews on April 22, 2018 at 9:30 am

    This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found
    something which helped me. Thanks a lot!

    • Julie Plagens on June 1, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      I am so glad that what I am writing is meaningful. Thanks for saying this. I always wonder if anyone is reading!

  8. Kiwi on February 12, 2018 at 7:46 am

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on February 21, 2018 at 2:41 am

      Oh, I’m so sorry that has happened. Maybe time away will heal the wounds.

  9. Angel on February 11, 2018 at 3:11 am

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on February 11, 2018 at 7:39 pm

      Oh, that’s so hard. They are losing out out on precious memories with beautiful people. This breaks my heart.

  10. Heather on February 10, 2018 at 6:00 am

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on February 11, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      Oh, yes. We gave up a lot. Hopefully, this is not something you’ll ever experience.

  11. Holly Lasha on February 10, 2018 at 3:21 am

    Thank you for being so honest. Very encouraging.

  12. Heather on February 9, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on February 11, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      Yes, it’s not a subject people talk about because it’s so personal and very sticky. I’m sorry for your loss. Really they are the ones who lost out.

  13. Becca on February 8, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on February 8, 2018 at 11:18 pm

      Very sweet of you to say this. I believe God uses all things for His good. Hopefully, I can help others with this issue. Thanks for reading.

    • Julie Plagens on February 11, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      I’m so glad you have such a great family. I hope you’ll never experience this.

  14. LavandaMichelle on February 8, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    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!

    • Julie Plagens on February 8, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      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.

  15. Dee Jackson on February 8, 2018 at 4:22 am

    I completely agree that you lose a connection with your family once you stop talking. It is so sad that this happens these days.

    • Julie Plagens on February 8, 2018 at 11:21 pm

      It happens way too much, unfortunately. Thanks for reading this!

  16. sonal on February 6, 2018 at 6:20 am

    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!!!!

    • Julie Plagens on February 6, 2018 at 10:29 am

      Thanks for your comment. Family is definitely important. No one loves you like family

  17. Kate on February 5, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Family is so important but so is cutting toxic people from your life!

    • Julie Plagens on February 6, 2018 at 10:29 am

      Yes, I get that. Really difficult decision.

  18. Stacy Karyn on February 5, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    This is such an important post, and I’m so glad that you shared it. Thank you for all of these reminders. <3

    • Julie Plagens on February 6, 2018 at 10:30 am

      Thanks for reading. Not a lot of people talk about this subject!

  19. ciara on February 5, 2018 at 4:54 am

    Thanks for sharing this post, it is a reminder we should spend more time repairing or maintaining our relationships than holding onto anger

    • Julie Plagens on February 6, 2018 at 10:32 am

      Relationships definitely must be nurtured. Thanks for commenting.

  20. Rica on February 5, 2018 at 1:11 am

    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.

  21. Emily on February 4, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on February 6, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Oh so true. Forgiveness is for you. Thanks for reading.

  22. Anissa on February 4, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    I meant we can’t choose our family!( correction)

  23. Anissa on February 4, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on February 6, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Family relationships take work and nurturing. Thanks for reading!!

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