Publication date January 5, 2024

Estranged From Parents? Here’s How You Can Forgive Yourself

Parental estrangement may be a traumatic event. It frequently comes with thoughts of guilt, humiliation, and perplexity. Nevertheless, it is not impossible to forgive yourself for having distant parents. Healing requires forgiveness, and self-forgiveness can result in considerable personal growth and constructive transformation. 

Sure, there are likely many parenting tips your parents might have neglected, but they're only human. We will look at how those who have grown apart from their parents may forgive themselves and move on.

Estranged Parents

Source: SBS

Recognizing Estrangement

Estrangement is the collapse of a parent-child connection that has already been formed. It can happen for many causes, including maltreatment, neglect, disagreement, or personal differences. 

Feelings of alienation, loneliness, and rage are some of the devasting consequences of estrangement. It is essential to recognize the suffering and anguish brought on by alienation and to look for support and assistance.

One of the most important steps in recovering from the agony of alienation is forgiveness. Not forgetting or dismissing the wrongs done to us is not the definition of forgiveness. On the contrary, it is about forgiving the past, putting the past behind you, and moving on.

Stress may be reduced, and our mental and physical well-being can be improved by forgiveness. Additionally, it may result in an improvement in compassion, understanding, and empathy. Here’s how you can forgive yourself for being estranged from your parents.

Acknowledge Your Feelings and Experiences

Accepting your sentiments and experiences as the first step in self-forgiveness is important. Recognizing the suffering and trauma that caused the estrangement is crucial, as is validating your feelings. It may be beneficial to think back on your interactions with your parents in the past and the causes of the separation. 

Clarity and understanding may result from this, which may facilitate the process of forgiving. Keep a diary, talk to a trusted friend or therapist about your feelings, or write them down. A challenging but essential step on the road to self-forgiveness is acknowledging your emotions and experiences.

Recognize Your Limitations and Boundaries

Recognizing our limitations and boundaries in relationships is crucial. We shouldn't hold ourselves accountable for other people's acts because we do not influence their activities. Consider the limits you must impose to keep yourself safe and maintain mental stability. 

This could entail developing open lines of communication, placing restrictions on how much time or how many contacts you have with your parents, or creating distance. We must learn to set appropriate boundaries to protect ourselves from damage and preserve our sense of self-respect.

Self-compassion is essential for self-forgiveness, so practice it and care for yourself. We ought to be kind, considerate, and understanding to ourselves as we would be to a friend in need. 

Meditation, exercise, and creative expression are a few examples of self-care practices. It may also entail scheduling time to sleep, unwind, or participate in enjoyable activities. In addition to fostering a sense of self-worth and self-acceptance, practicing self-compassion and self-care can assist in reducing emotions of guilt and shame.

Seek Assistance From Others

We should refrain from attempting to complete the self-forgiveness process on our own. A secure and judgment-free environment may be created for us to process our feelings and experiences by asking for help from friends, family, or a therapist. 

Sharing our experiences and emotions with people who have gone through similar things may be beneficial. A therapist can offer direction, encouragement, and coping mechanisms to aid in the healing process. Getting help from others may be a very effective tool in the self-forgiveness process.

Consider Treatment or Counseling

The trauma and sorrow brought on by alienation can be processed successfully with the help of therapy or counseling. A therapist can offer direction, encouragement, and coping mechanisms to aid in the healing process. 

In therapy, you could investigate the causes of your estrangement, learn how to create appropriate boundaries, and hone your communication and conflict-resolution skills. Counseling can offer a safe environment to process feelings like guilt, shame, and rage. Self-forgiveness can be facilitated by working with a therapist or counselor.

Forgiving oneself for being separated from one's parents is difficult and takes time, perseverance, and self-compassion. 

Self-forgiveness includes acknowledging your thoughts and experiences, realizing your limitations and boundaries, practicing self-compassion and self-care, getting assistance from others, and thinking about therapy or counseling. Self-forgiveness, which ultimately entails embracing the past and letting go of guilt and shame, has been shown to boost sentiments of empathy, compassion, and understanding.

How to Move Forward After Forgiving Yourself For Being Estranged From Your Parents

Forgiving yourself for being estranged from your parents is a significant step towards healing and moving forward. However, it can be challenging, and it's normal to feel uncertain about how to move forward. Here are some steps you can take to help you move forward:

  • Reestablishing contact with parents: Reestablishing contact with parents can be a challenging endeavor, but it can also be a life-changing event. Approaching the process with an open mind and a readiness to listen and comprehend is crucial. Setting realistic expectations is key since rebuilding relationships takes time and work.
  • Establishing sound boundaries: Maintaining sound interactions requires having sound boundaries. It entails expressing our demands and expectations clearly and strongly. Healthy boundaries protect us from harm and encourage respect and communication amongst others.
  • Release of guilt and shame: One of the most important components of self-forgiveness is the release of guilt and shame. It is crucial to understand that we are not accountable for the deeds of others and to free ourselves from the weight of shame and guilt.

Moving on while accepting the past entails embracing the current moment and focusing on the future. It's about putting the past behind us and realizing we can shape a happy and satisfying future.


It is a challenging but important process for recovery and development to forgive oneself for being alienated from one's parents. However, it's crucial to let go of guilt and shame and concentrate on the present and future. You can reestablish contact with your parents and establish appropriate boundaries to ensure that you move forward.

Source: Kenny Weiss

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. How to move on from family estrangement?

It’s hard to answer how to move on from family estrangement, as it’s a complex and deeply personal matter. There’s no size-fit approach the process will vary depending on the specific circumstances and your emotional needs, however, there are some strategies that an adult child might utilize such as therapy; self-care activities such as yoga or meditation; journaling about thoughts & feelings surrounding the estrangement; participating in activities that bring joy such as cooking. reaching out for support from friends & family members who understand you. 

Q. What to do when your family turns against you?

When your daily turns against you, it's best to understand the core reason why they turned against you, then try to rectify the situation if you can through constructive conversation. If you feel like nothing is really changing and reconciliation isn’t an option, it's time to move on. One should never accept abuse or disrespect, stick firm to your boundaries, and talk to your friends and family members or a therapist who can listen empathetically without trying to "fix" things.

Q. How to deal with toxic family members?

When dealing with toxic family members the first step is to recognize patterns and triggers of the person’s toxicity so you can figure out how to try to sidestep it. Then set boundaries and avoid arguments with that person. Try to limit your contact with that person in general and avoid being involved with the family members when you do see them. Also, put the brakes on the person’s bad behavior. You could simply say, This is not a conversation I want to have then leave the room.

Q. Is estrangement a form of abuse?

It’s hard to tell whether estrangement is a form of abuse as it depends heavily on the context and specific circumstances of the estrangement. However, in some cases, estrangement can act as a form of emotional abuse, to manipulate or control someone.  This can involve silent treatment, isolation, threats, or guilt-tripping, causing significant emotional harm to the estranged individual.

Q. What are the signs your family doesn't care about you?

There are many signs your family doesn't care about you including: 

  • Disrespecting personal boundaries
  • They never contact you
  • They are always criticizing
  • Your needs are ignored
  • Abuse
  • Invalidates your feelings
  • They consistently let you down
  • They have no time for you
  • They never acknowledge your accomplishments
  • Always canceling plans
  • They ignore or dismiss your opinion
  • They try to control you
  • You feel unloved

Q. What to do when family members hurt you?

Here are a few things to do when your family members constantly hurt you: 

  • Don’t let anyone else’s behavior change who you are.
  • Direct communication (if safe)
  • Find compassion
  • Hold the space. For them and for you.
  • You don’t need to convince anyone. 
  • It’s okay not to be with them. 
  • Acknowledge their feelings, but don’t buy into them.
  • Prioritize your well-being

Q. What does the bible say about toxic family members?

While the Bible does say that we should forgive other people, and love our enemies, it’s important to understand these Scripture verses in context. The Bible does not say that we should allow toxic family members to continually abuse, and mistreat us. In fact, there are times when the most loving, Christian response is to set boundaries or cut ties with toxic family members to protect ourselves, so we don’t continue to allow our toxic family members’ selfish, sinful behavior.

Q. How to deal with family members who disrespect you?

Dealing with family members who disrespect you is actually tough, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to handling toxic members. However here are a few things that might help you:

  • Keep Your Distance  
  • Be Direct 
  • Keep Your Emotions in Check 
  • Set and Enforce Boundaries 
  • It’s Not Your Responsibility to “Fix” Them
  • Cut Ties  

Q. Why is the middle child always hated?

The idea that the middle child is always hated is a common stereotype, but it's not entirely true. But, they're probably not praised like their older sibling or coddled like their younger ones, which may make them feel neglected. This phenomenon, called middle child syndrome, may also leave them without a sense of place within the family. It’s important to keep in mind that birth order might play a role in family dynamics, but it's not the sole determinant of one's personality, relationships, or happiness.

Q. Why do my grandchildren ignore me?

The reason why your grandchildren ignore you can be anything from family issues like parental divorce to any kind of family conflict. Emotional turmoil within the family can lead to less contact and strained relationships, making it seem like your grandchildren are distancing themselves intentionally.

Also Read:

The Power of Positive Communication in Parenting and Why It Is Important

Homeschooling: Is it Right for Your Family?

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