What is your way of coping with trauma and grief of losing someone (in my case a child, a family member, ex in-laws) you cared and loved very about, yet you didn't lose them to death? They are alive, they just alienated you for whatever reason. The Parental alienation group I get on every once in a while, abounds with Christian commenters claiming that their prayers and faith brought their alienated kids back and they have relationships now, giving glory to Jesus, when really and truly it's a lot of hald work trying to communicate gently, tenderly, and succintly, also walking on egg shells, eating crow, and waiting for the right time for that member to change their mind. It hurts to read and think, well, that's not very helpful to me. I am glad it's brought you joy and solace. I am so lonely here in this small town, work, work, work, 2 hours commute during the week, and come home to an empty house. Being totally alone after 20 years of marriage is so hard for someone who is affectionate and raised a family full of action at all times! I still don't know how to fully relax! I try to listen to atheist comedians to lighten up the mood, podcasts, audio books, etc It helps me get out of the funk remporarity, but then in hits me again. I do yoga, I walk, I workout. THerapy here is not an option as the therapist are not trained in PAS. But the loneliness is so F deep! Thanks for any other tips!
I empathize with your situation because I am in a very similar position. I have a son and a daughter that I have not seen or spoken with for five years. When I left the cult that is Jehovahs Witnesses I lost my family, my home and life as I knew it. I didn't think that I would survive but I am still here. I had PTSD as a result of what happened. I was encouraged to look at The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz and over time it got better. Of course I miss my children and I always will. I didn't close the door and it is always open if they ever wish to contact me. I didn't have to become a cold hearted person or anything like that to deal with the situation. I have always loved my children and I always will. I know what you are feeling, all the different emotions that are ever present. Look after yourself and it will get better. I thought that it never could but it has.
I don't know if this will help , but I found community and emotional support through what I call "strategically volunteering". I make sure that I not only greet each person that I can , but I also saw as many kind things to others whether it be "drive safely", "have a wonderful day", "peace and joy",etc... Some of the people I volunteer with are religious and some are not , but I simply busy myself with helping someone else if they start to talk about religion or just say something like "what you give to the world is what you receive." I even volunteer at a food bank at a church and have never had an argument or debate about religion . It's important for me to reach out to these people because they in turn shower me with the same kindness I give to them. Fo example, I brought just some bread and cheese and shared it and a nice lady made some peanut butter fudge. Now we have a tradition of sharing something with one another when we meet only twice a month. I think once you find some organizations to volunteer in and you try to go out of your way to be kind to others then you will get a lot of love back. Sorry about your family, I hope that eventually they will come around. Just keep telling them that you love them and remind them that they are hurting you and remind them of all of the kind and unselfish things that you have done to nurture them.
What a sad situation. I don't remember how lonely I was, I just remember that I was in pain. I worked in a small-town in KS that required each to be divorced parent to go to a group about behaving well as too not alienate the child from the other parent. It basically taught that people that they you can call the other parent a dirty dog all that they want, but not in front of the children. it really confuses and hurts children when they are alienated from a parent. It is not considered abuse, but I consider it very bad parenting. All the therapist would have to do is read about it. PAS is debated but considered somewhat valid. A good therapist could help you deal with grieving your old life. I had to go see a therapist when my daughter grew up and went away. There was nothing wrong with me, Just coping attempts did not help and I needed to talk about it to a supportive person, and I did not want to burden my friends too much more. I would make sure that my therapist was a good match for me. Some therapists do well with atheist clients some do not. I was not helpful for me when the suggestion was to join a church. You don't know me well, but I talk to people on the message page as friends and fellow humans. I go through some things too that are burdensome.
You and I sound very similar. I'm divorced after 18 years, my son is grown and lives elsewhere, my parents are both gone. I took a job in a small town and in a state where I knew no one. What helps me is to focus on pursuing areas in my life I've never had time for until now. I've always been very creative, and if I were 18 again I would major in art, art history, or graphic design. In my personal time, I work on creative projects that give me a lot of fulfillment and comfort. I've even done some DIY projects around the house thanks to You Tube. I also have pets which are good companions.
Have you thought about volunteering? You could check with the local Rotary group and see if there are some local non-profit organizations that you could volunteer with. That is if your community isn't too small.
How far are you from some larger communities? I live close enough to larger communities that have Meet Up groups that I could drive to one if I really wanted and needed to be with a group of people.
For me, this site has been really great, a nice community of people. There are chat rooms you could join if you want more live communication.
I've had a bad year with the loss of a very special pet, a loss of my ancestral home ( pending), and my fiance leaving. I think they all feel pretty much the same. Like a death. That's the hardest for skeptics and atheists. We don't have a happy place to put death. Or I don't yet. All I know how to do is try to keep moving forward, trying not to repeat mistakes, and helping others ... everyone, in their grief.
first, please accept my condolences; it is sometimes harder to lose someone this way than to death. second of all, drop that group. it won't help and it will drive you nuts.
i have no advice about reunification. it may not be possible. children go their own way and you may never know their motivations. so the thing to do is lessen the pain. that's rough, but time can do that. focus on the good times. stay available if you feel that you want to, but don't expect anything. you still have a life; fill it with things that make it worthwhile. don't feel guilty if you have moments of happiness.
I went through this with an estrangement from my son for 2 years. It’s quite a story and even though he is no longer estranged, the relationship is somewhat strained and not what I had hoped for. Being a member of multiple support groups for estranged parents on FB definitely helped. Therapy helped. Maybe Talkspace would help you? I think making a plan to move forward is helpful.