Sedna’s Daughters: Healing from Family Estrangement

Families in patriarchal cultures often mete out similar types of domination and oppression on their daughters that women experience in the larger world. For many daughters (and sons/trans/genderqueer folks), this includes scapegoating and rejection. Sedna’s Daughters provides a safe space for discussion on earth-based, spiritual approaches to healing from the confusing experience of family estrangement and recognizes all people's inherent belonging to Mother Earth, the human family, and the cosmos.

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This Holiday Focus on What Uplifts

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_candles.jpgFor many people, the month of December, and this day in particular, can bring with it difficult memories and reminders of the lost and spoiled relationships in their lives. For some, painful memories are so deeply embedded in the holidays of December that the memories and holidays have become one and the same: harsh words, cruel scenes, heartbreaking separations ARE the meaning of Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Eve to the language of the heart. Grief, Loneliness, and Anger over the legitimate injustices meted out by aggressive families can indeed overshadow any bit of goodness a person may have once felt about the holidays--even if their families never celebrated them. Being surrounded by a world lighting candles and embracing happy relatives who appear to have healthy relationships can add a deep sting to those cut-off and scapegoated by their biological kin. But there are some other choices, some other paths through the dark forest of emotions for those who struggle with deep losses most especially at this time of year--and there are loving guides along that path waiting to take their hands!

The annual Remembering and Re-experiencing familial losses at the winter holidays is completely understandable, and honoring those losses is important...but what next? There are some other routes besides planting oneself in the deep muck of holiday suffering.

For many people, there is nothing "next" to do or remember after the traumas of winter holidays brandish their teeth every December. To many, there seems to be little more than an unrelenting remembering--grief that seems not to abate; rage for cruelties that seems to swell as the holiday beckons and the singing of carols surrounds, but does not include, them.The realization that, perhaps just across town, their biological kin are continuing on making merry without them as if they never existed, can paralyze targeted family scapegoats...but then what? What happens after the moment of anguish? There IS the next moment. You do exist beyond the experiences of the past; there IS more to your life than the treatment of your family...so what's next?

The next step is your choice...your former family does not control

this moment

or the holidays

or your life.

 

For targets of family aggression, the holidays can feel hijacked and kidnapped by old traumas and people they have not seen for perhaps many years; tragically, the grief of family aggression can feel as fresh as it did in the very beginning even if decades have passed since the original break occurred. Knowing this is normal can be a relief. Be comforting to yourself; Have compassion for yourself. Even in the midst of holiday grief, there can be much to uplift you. After acknowledging the losses, what can make you smile? After recognizing the complexities of what has been blunted and cut-away, what renews your hope in this beautiful world? In your own precious life?

What one--or a few--small things can you do to open your heart a bit and let the light come in, uplift you, and shine forth into this world?

Kindness for a stranger? a neighbor?

A few dollars to a charity? or a few hours of your time to one?

Writing a letter of advocacy to a cause that is dear to you, like protecting the Earth?

Taking supplies to a cold-weather shelter for people or a shelter for animals?

Looking into the eyes of someone on the street?

Stopping to chat with an elder in the grocery store?

Love even more consciously and dearly the people and animal companions in your life?

Pay attention to the condition of your heart after you do one act of kindness--notice the shift from "alone and grief-stricken" to "making a small difference in my community where I am valued and belong"...that's a big jump! This is what heals the heart and soul. Even if you do these things with tears in your eyes and a heavy heart because of what your biological kin have done, you are still taking charge of your own life, still the captain of your own ship, still acting within the spirit of generosity this holiday season--no one can take that from you!

Your aggressive family did take a lot from you, and they gave you things you never wanted; but what they can never rob from you is your capacity to love, and you decide when you are ready to unload the uninvited baggage they assigned to you. You can keep the maturity, deep wisdom, and largess of spirit that all suffering offers to human beings, but the chaff you can blow away--this holiday and this new year--and let your heart open wide as it can, for now.

I will be lighting a candle for all people who are targets of family aggression this holiday and sending out a prayer of recognition of your journey. May you all find what uplifts and nourishes, and may this upcoming year see you ever-stronger in your healing and reclamation of a new, thriving life!!b2ap3_thumbnail_candles.jpg

 

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I have a Ph.D., am a victim's advocate, college-level educator, and was shunned by my maternal biological kin and their family friends over a decade ago. I have built an international community of daughters (and sons) committed to supporting one another and thriving despite the aggression of our relatives. “Sedna” is the EuroAmerican name of a revered Inuit Creatrix who was violently rejected by her parents and cast into the sea to die, but instead survived to create otters, seals, and whales.  Sedna is also the name of a star just appearing in the farthest reaches of our solar system and discovered by astronomers on November 14, 2003. Nick Anthony Fiorenza writes that "Sedna's message here is that humanity must recognize the truth about the suppression, persecution, abduction and exploitation of the feminine force in the world; and this mentality perpetuating such must be addressed and changed." Healing women is my life's work. See my Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/SednasD/

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