How to deal with family estrangement (caused by divorce and other factors)

Family is important.

However, there are many factors which can lead to rifts and the rupture of family structures.

Family bonds can become disintegrated by various physiological, societal or economic factors, explains clinical psychologist Bradley Daniels.

Read: Why divorce counselling is key to a healthy marriage split

Some reasons include migrant labour, financial issues or poverty, illness, addiction, incarceration, institutionalisation, trauma, divorce and death.

Family estrangement can also be caused by clashes in values, religious and cultural believes, Daniels says.

Without family support, individual's may struggle navigating through several aspects of life, according to Daniels.

Also read: Advice on how to mend broken relationships with friends and family

Where family counselling is not accessible, he advises that families work on their communication styles and talk through their value systems to address any deep-rooted issues.

People should always start with either seeing a psychologist or a social worker.

Bradley Daniels, clinical psychologist

People with strong social support, with family being the first institution, will tend to recover and manage better in all aspects of life.

Bradley Daniels, clinical psychologist

Sometimes your chosen family doesn't have to be your genetic family. The two can be interchanged.

Bradley Daniels, clinical psychologist

We're looking for a collective of people drawn together by some common value. They meander and navigate through life together.

Bradley Daniels, clinical psychologist

Fundamentally, what brings about change in families is simple communication. Have square off, eye-to-eye, to settle the matter.

Bradley Daniels, clinical psychologist

Shame is the number of killer.

Bradley Daniels, clinical psychologist

Once you have to have to do things via the courts, you know that your family system is in distress.

Bradley Daniels, clinical psychologist

Daniels offered his advice and callers phoned in to share their personal stories of family estrangement.

After my 35-year marriage went bust and I won my maintenance case, three of my four children have been estranged from me. How do I cope?

Sureya, caller

I'm the parent being alienated, I've been in court and nothing works. My children hate me and I did nothing. It's been almost four years since I last saw them. Parental alienation is real.

Mark, caller

Take a listen to the touching conversation:


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