Estrangement is a final boundary that many adult children choose to enforce with their parents after a lifetime of not being heard, valued, or respected. It's not a decision that people make lightly or easily — indeed, there are countless barriers to estrangement that come from a societal belief that family is an immutable, infallible bond that can't be broken or ignored. There is no morality in estrangement. Those who can cut off their parents aren't better people with better boundaries. Those who continue a relationship with parents who abused them aren't broken or codependent or foolish for wanting to keep their parents in their life.
What makes us launch into the next huge step instead of taking the time to make a plan that makes sense?
Boundaries can feel scary when you've never had them before. In the past, maybe standing up for yourself felt dangerous.
Boundaries take practice, especially when you have a history of trauma. Being a survivor of abuse can make the inner alarm bells malfunction -- they either don't go off at all because mistreatment has been normalized, or they go off at the slightest whiff of something that reminds you of a past traumatic experience. This … Continue reading Practicing Boundaries After Trauma
When I turned 25, I made a five year plan. Become debt free and a mother by 30, in April 2018. I am now 31 and neither of those things happened. In fact, as 30 approached, I was facing a lot of other huge life circumstances. In August 2016 I got married and immediately started … Continue reading There’s no timeline on healing or love
I recently did something that I thought would be silly, or selfish, or outlandish. I wrote a manual on how to love me. It gives the basics about me and my background, includes a list of my favorite things, discusses how to best communicate with me, describes how I interact within each of the … Continue reading How to ask for the love you need
In March 2018 I left an abusive marriage and entered into a new phase of life: the casually slutty phase. My dating app profile included the line, “I am dedicating 2018 to non-monogamous exploration.” I had my first one time hookups, met my first friend with benefits, and soon met my first long-term partner after … Continue reading The healing power of non-monogamy
When I saw the trailer for Rocketman, I instantly knew I’d see the movie when it hit theaters. In the mid nineties, my mother and I would trek from our small village of Seville, Ohio into the “big city” of Medina to do grocery shopping. Our soundtrack, more often than not, was Elton John’s Greatest … Continue reading A Surprising Number of Things Elton John and I Have in Common
I got divorced last May, and in the midst of Justin Timberlake memes and shorts weather and anticipating my upcoming book launch, the anniversary of my divorce date looms near. And I am still mad at my abuser, which is frustrating because I thought I would have overcome all my trauma in a neat, tidy … Continue reading Can emotional abuse be sexual abuse?