Archive for June 1st, 2011

June 1, 2011

He’s estranged form his family. Should I say something?

by Rod Smith

“I am dating a man who is estranged from his parents, his two brothers, and a sister. He says they are idiots and he wants nothing to do with them. I have read your column for long enough to know that cutting off from family members is not a good idea. Do you think I should suggest he approach his family to resolve some of the issues they face?”

There exist good and healthy reasons for some people to cut themselves off from their families. They involve a family history of violence of any form — emotional, sexual, or physical violence.

Given the absence of abuse and violence, it is wise to stay in at least cordial, casual contact with family members. This does not necessitate close friendships – but servicing “invisible loyalties” within a family usually serves as a way to reduce the anxieties that accompany any family system.

I’d suggest you stay out of his conflicts with his family as much as possible and regard them as none of your business.

If you go from being his girlfriend to being his girlfriend and therapist you will both find yourselves out of your depth and the results will more than frustrate each of you.