A Thread for Those Who Have Gone No Contact with Family: Does the Loneliness, Isolation, and Grief Ever Get Better?


Your family sounds a lot like mine. It's why the no contact is so needed on my side. Because if I start again, they all start. And you can't have a relationship with just one person. They all get involved. It's so crazy making. And as far as creepy stuff. After I went no contact, my brother went so far as to call work and ask to speak to my manager.
That's called group abuse..........if you're in....you belong and you are emotionally abused in a more manipulated way, and if you aren't in....you are emotionally abused as lots more overtly..........but if you go no contact, eventually.....you hear the sound of quiet. 😋


I think that having boundaries with my friend between my "dysfunctional family issues" is super important. Family shit-because it's so dysfunctional, is dealt with in therapy. I don't involve my best friend anymore than is necessary in my old family crap-and try not to talk negatively about them because I don't want to set her up in a "helper/pseudotherapist role".......which then changes the power balance to I'm not okay, and she becomes Ms Fix-it. So boundaries between crazy family when you have a good friend who works as a guidance counselor, is important to a healthy relationship. I want friends who get together to have fun. You can't have fun and dog your family at the same time....that's a downer.......and it can get to be old news for the friend. So when I have issues with my family......even though I'm no contact....(but they occasionally find a way to irritate me), then I deal with those issues solely with my therapist and not those I rely on for friendship and support.
This makes quite a lot of sense to me. But it’s difficult at times to exactly draw the line. True though that when I think of it, I almost never mention my dad or other family members out of factual events, and only if asked. To friends who also have similar family problems, a bit more though. Family also manifested itself enough in front of my friends as for them to have had a taste of how they were…

And yes @Muttly and @TruthSeeker , the pack-like behaviour can be so destructive. Like, you mess with one, you mess with all. And they pride themselves with it. At times even the ones that I sensed have a bit more of personal sympathy towards me are too intimidated by the others to make a move.


I can answer the original post question but only in the context of my own experiences. Does the loneliness isolation and grief ever get better? Which loneliness isolation and grief? the feelings caused by leaving my family or the feelings when I was still willing to try to earn their acceptance and failing?

It sets a lot of hackles up when I mention religion, but why not talk about one of the biggest causes of family separation in a thread for talking about separating from a family? No false representations here, it happened in my family the same way it has happened in countless families. Someone got religious, someone didn't and the judgements and resentment started in right away.

At 11 I lost my mother to disease and before she died she found comfort in the church she had been exposed to as a child. My father joined her in hopes of a divine intervention that never came. He made a bargain with the church that he would remain in their fold and raise his children to be members, he told me so. Didn't work, she died. Within 6 months of her death, my mother had been replaced by a woman raising two children of her own, all organized by the church through a singles dating service they ran (if you break families you can take the broken pieces and make families too). My life changed over the course of one spring and summer.

By 14 I was out of that house, escaping the isolation, the brainwashing they tried to run on me at their school and summer camps, and the loneliness of being the only person that wasn't drinking the kool-aid of their cult-like beliefs. I was being punished constantly, chastised, humiliated, and isolated from all connections with my old friends and my mother's family. They were literally being given instructions by the church in their efforts to break me and turn me into a member.

So yes, the loneliness isolation and grief get better. Much much better.

The problem lies in our desire as children to be accepted and loved by our parents and family. It's a survival skill. Even though sometimes it can't be done, we try and try to make it right, to understand what is happening and to assign blame. Guess where the blame goes? The only willing target: Ourselves.

Still working on that one. I hated them but I wanted them to love me. I took blame I didn't earn, they got to be right when they were sooo wrong. It is unsolvable and it has made me more susceptible to other traumas along the way and now i have PTSD that started when I was 11 and didn't go away just because I was able to leave them behind.

So no, it doesn't get better, the loneliness isolation and grief are still real, and I am 45 years older now.

On a first level, glancing blow thought across my mind, the memories of them cause me pain to this day. On a second round, do the math level of thought that is going to hang on until I hang up, I am so so happy that they didn't get their hooks in me and I didn't go down their rabbit hole. I truly feel sorry for them, they missed so much they missed their own grandchildren and now their great grandchildren. All lost in fear of angering their god. Thats the REAL outcome, the TRUE loss.

So, yes it does get better, but it still sucks.

It wasn't my fault, I did the best I could, I am better for it.


Well I can't say in my family there was a religion thing, but I finally get it: yes, it's a relief to not have to be where you are not wanted or worse. It's actually pretty simple.

Does it get better? Hopefully, if you don't repeat it, or expect miracles of the past changing. You can only change your response, your education, your attitude, your focus, your circle, your choices, your beliefs +/or your own expectations, thoughts, understanding, resentments, fears, grudges, and priorities.


The grief comes in waves. Sometimes the intensity of loss are almost unbearable. I don't miss my family, but I long for what I wish they were, what they could have been: supportive, accepting, respectful, loving.
That longing is what kept me going back to them even though they made me miserable and were incredibly toxic. I always wished that things would be different, maybe they had changed. Maybe now they could love me.

I decided to make decisions based on who they are, not who I *wish* they were.
I cannot get them to value me, but I can value myself by severing our ties.

Though I know I made the right decision for myself, it still really hurts sometimes. There is something so deep and primal about our relationship with our families- and to not get the love we deserve is the deepest pain I have known.


@fern @Rosebud @Friday
My latest change in direction came at me hard. I was reintroduced to the old family attachment models where being raised in a family where children avoided/were confused by the disorganization/were able to feel secure about parental affection causes different outcomes and attachment styles/views of the world/views of themselves. Pretty psych 101 but when viewed in the framework of the work I am doing with my therapist now, I see more than I ever had before in the type of attachments that were available to me as a kid and how deeply that experience affected me.

There truly is something so deep and primal about our relationships with our families. And man, I could write that book now.

Loneliness isolation and grief? wow, I remember that- those were the good old days when I thought that was all that followed me out of that cesspool.


it does ease. i have been zero contact with any of my family members since i was 19 and do not know who is alive and dead beyond my father who is thankfully deceased. the last time i heard of my mother she was in public housing. in and out of hospitals. mentally unwell. when i was 18 i used to get phone calls from the doctor claiming that i was her medical proxy. i told them to get a lawyer because i was not doing that.

i have been guilted and shamed for failing to "care for" my mother on the rare times that i have discussed the issue before i learned to navigate things more diplomatically. these days i just tell people i have no family. parents are dead. easier that way. sometimes i do think about reaching out to her. my fear in doing so had always been linked to my father. on her own she doesn't frighten me.

but i do not think there would be any benefit to doing so.

people do not grow or change out of those types of pervasive behaviors even with years of therapy. she would blame me for what happened to him (which is true. but i also have zero regrets and would do it again in a heartbeat.) and ultimately his death. it would not be a healthy exchange and i do not see the point.

the way i see it is that my biological origin is not the same as my family. the people who i love and who love me and who treat me with respect and dignity to whom we have mutual loyalty for one another. it was a long road to realize that i deserved to be around people who did not beat me, sexually abuse me, degrade me, yell at me, blame me, gaslight me, et cetera.

those people are my family.


I can't stand this. I see it everywhere. Feelings overpowering logic. Its like if someone feels like 1+1=3 then it's acceptable to allow that person to ignore the truth. Who is to blame for this familiar dysfunction? The answer is who benefits from the problem. Again...who benefits from this problem? Its exactly who enables it and produces it that benefits from it.


I can't stand this. I see it everywhere. Feelings overpowering logic. Its like if someone feels like 1+1=3 then it's acceptable to allow that person to ignore the truth. Who is to blame for this familiar dysfunction? The answer is who benefits from the problem. Again...who benefits from this problem? Its exactly who enables it and produces it that benefits from it.
what is this in response to?