Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Post Estrangement: what lies beyond judgement?

We can only judge actions. Trying to fathom intentions behind the action is always just about making a guess or making assumptions. 

One of the problems with labels based on assumptions occurs when we take them one step further and use these assumptions to justify actions taken or to explain actions experienced.  Neither is helpful beyond a certain point because they are based on conjecture without fact, suppositions without knowledge.

The challenges with such justifications and explanations are that they are simply a hypotheses based on what we think we know. 

A world wide problem is that our whole way of communication is structured around judgmental-ism and accusations.  We tend to talk in terms of who did what to whom, or who did what to me and try to explain it in terms of judgmental expressions.

I am researching another area lately; looking at "what needs are not being met".  This is a fascinating way of approaching human relationships.  When someone acts in a way that we perceive as being without empathy, I am now choosing to ask; "what needs have not been met for this person to treat others this way?"

Are there answers from this point of view?  I don't know, because this is a new concept / point of view for me. However it would seem to be a healthier way, for me at least, to view the actions of others as coming from a place of lack, a lashing out because of an unmet emotional need.

I think if I had a do over I would ask my estranged daughter; “what emotional need have I not been able to fulfill for you in the past and how can I fulfill that need now”?

Would that open up dialogue?   I really do not know. 
What I do know is that explaining, apologizing, begging etc. did not work.
Anger and blaming also have not helped me in my own healing journey.  Can I extrapolate that to mean that her anger and blaming me is not helping her to heal either? 

Self-compassion is a way of looking at myself that is helping me to heal.
Does that mean that compassion toward estranging offspring is a viable path on the road to acceptance or even reconciliation? I do not know the answer but I am willing to struggle with this different perspective and allow time to show me the possibilities. 

Trying to justify and explain away the behaviour; the action of rejecting, distancing, non communication and abandoning does give me a sense of closure yes.  But does it heal?  

That is the question that I am facing right now in my own personal healing journey.  In trying to find my path forward I have to move beyond closure to a new perspective, a different outlook based on what I am learning about myself, human interactions, relationships.

Where previously I wanted to understood from the view point of making a judgement and finding an explanation, I now want to go beyond into a new frontier.  I want to look at what was / is missing that gives rise to a person exhibiting certain personality and character behaviours.  

I especially want to discover the correlation between what my personal "unmet needs are" and my responses to certain actions.  

I hope that in doing, so I will offer myself the opportunity to gain a better understanding of myself.  And my hope is that in getting to understand myself better, I will also be better able to see similar co-relationships in others when they act badly towards me. 

  • To be able to see beyond the action and the judgement to unmet need causality.  
  • To discover if there is indeed a relationship between unmet needs, internal pain and actions that cause pain towards others.  
And if there is indeed a relationship then I will be in a better position / better equipped to protect myself from further pain by the structuring of more effective and yet at the same time more compassionate personal boundaries. 

Renate Dundys Marrello 
2016 - 06 - 21

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  1. There are some very wise words here. I am only 5 months into estrangement from my oldest son. At first I though I was alone but have been shocked to find out what an epidemic this is. As I am reading the same stories over and over, it almost feels as if there is a whole generation that have been brainwashed into feeling nothing for their parents but coldness. My goodness how life has changed. I wonder what is in store for them from their own children since it is common now to 'abandon' babies in nurseries before they can even talk. Thank you for being here - it helps.

    1. I, too could not believe all the parents, thrown away by their estranged children. I never knew, thought I was the only one.

  2. "What needs have not been met for this person to treat others this way?" This perspective certainly invokes reflection and one in which I will pursue. That being said, human behavior is so complex and with its myriad of fractured personalities, I personally feel that "getting into one's head" in order to find a healing just plain burdensome. For almost 8 years I wrestled with any number or reasons why our only child (a daughter) would cut us off so unexpectedly and I'm still at ground zero in understanding. For years I figured I could resolve this perplexing question with one diagnosis...Bi-Polar, but even this pales in diagnosis. So, the bottom line for me is...I no longer care. I love myself enough not to make sense of senseless actions by an immature adult child rob me of my life.

  3. What's missing leads to conjecture and judgement. Many alienation cases are due to 3rd parties and the willingness to disrespect and detatch from others. Every family has dysfunctional aspects but to those who estrange, they are not willing to forgive and they prefer their own justice and tales of whooa.

  4. I am also experiencing this with my 30 y/o daughter she alsonhas our first grandon 1 1/2 and I feel as though she is keeping him from me because apparently I was an awful mon and she doesnt want him around me...Ive apologized,Ive really really tried so sad and hurt....but wow!So shocked and saddened to see this is the new norm..