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Estrangement is a separation from family members, spouse, social group or another group like work colleagues. As well as being a painful process to go through, it is an experience not fully understood by people who haven't experienced this as well as by our wider society.

Even though estranging oneself from spouse or friends, and especially family members is taboo, it can still be a healthy choice. 

There are different ways we can estrange ourselves - infrequent contact, email or phone contact only or complete end to contact. 

Estrangement may be permanent or for a certain length of time.  A temporary estrangement can provide a chance to work on healing ourselves; sometimes then deciding to extend an estrangement or make it permanent. Or to return to the relationship with a new way of relating which shifts the dynamic.

People estrange themselves for many reasons which include abuse, mismatched expectations about family roles and relationships, clash of personality or values, neglect, issues relating to mental health problems, trauma. Some people who have been cut off from a family member may be confused about what has happened and want to make sense of the estrangement.

Counselling support can be useful for people going through this process, whether or not you have chosen the estrangement. Joining a support group can be a valuable experience to meet others in a similar position who might be able to understand and empathise with the difficult feelings that arise for someone who is estranged, such as shame, loneliness, isolation. This can help you feel less alone and sometimes aid in a process of gaining clarity and insight.

At together together we have a great deal of experience of working with estrangement and understand that this is a challenging process which is benefitted by different types of support. Often a great deal of suffering has preceded the decision to estrange, this along with the estrangement itself can impact other relationships, sense of self and general well being.

Support groups, as well as counselling, can offer a supportive space to help you face the estrangement and develop other relationships and networks that encourage you to find connection and engagement with self and the world.

If you would like support with estrangement on a one-to-one basis or by joining a group or workshop, email together together using this link.

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