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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Sedna

Sedna

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/

b2ap3_thumbnail_joy.jpgWith every new year, we are told to assess our current life and begin making changes to all that is wrong and inadequate about ourselves. "Once and for all" we are expected to erase our short-comings by looking for what we lack, where we have failed, and pointing to our previous poor choices. "Look in the mirror" and start judging, for our own good, we are urged by self-help groups, healthcare professionals, and mainstream media...This self-criticism is supposed to motivate us for positive change; but we all know that it rarely does, at least not for long!

Railing on ourselves with a cruel inner critic is paralyzing, not motivating.

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Greetings to all on this radiant morning of Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere of our amazing planet! I want to show you something, to warmly invite you to come with me on a short journey... everyone is welcome, but most especially those who feel that the switch to their inner flame of happiness turned off some time ago and you cannot find the lever to turn it back on anymore, cannot find the comforting path you once tread so easily, or perhaps you never did. I most especially invite those who feel too much suffering has occurred in their lives and to our world that happiness is no longer in reach, that, indeed, you no longer know what it even feels like to be happy, content, at peace with yourself. Perhaps you feel that, considering your own and others' suffering, no one has the right to feel happy, that it is perhaps disloyal to those whom you still grieve and to those who suffer mightily around the world. Nevertheless, if you might take a moment here with me, I want to show you something...that may, possibly, provide you with a shift, and then from you, a shift may happen in our world.

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The Winter Holidays have arrived and the new year is less than a month away. For people who would rather skip them because of heart-aching estrangement from biological kin, I dedicate this Blog to you!

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In the global community of women who have been ostracized by their biological relatives, one of the most painful cut-offs is losing relationships with their own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and younger cousins. How to handle the loss of those relationships and the inability to speak to family members who may have been very young when the estrangement occurred is what today's blog addresses. Finding a way to speak to young family members and express long-held thoughts and feelings is a key piece to managing powerful emotions of grief and anger incurred by Family Aggression.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_59867281-480px.jpgHappy New Year, everyone...I hope this holiday season has provided some precious jewels of memory and experience for you to treasure well into 2019! However, if you are estranged from biological relatives and those cuts still sting like scratches on your soul, I hope even more for you that bits of beauty filled those spaces within you that may still feel dark and unloved. If you are saying to yourself, "Nope--nothing like that happened for me--no beauty, only memories of loss", I am wondering if you would consider looking a little closer at the just-passed holidays, maybe just a peek backwards into the past few weeks to see what may be hiding there to uplift and console you?

 

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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.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_fd005255.jpgWith the onset of autumn marks the beginning of the holiday season. For people estranged from their biological kin, this can be a difficult time of the year; however, planning ahead can lessen the dread or denial you may feel and turn your sprint through the annual holiday corridor into a meaningful stroll filled with love. Planning ahead is critical to do this, though. Feeling condemned because your former family is no longer in your life and, therefore, neither should joyful holiday celebrations, is not true. Celebration is a human right and how, when, and with whom you do so is entirely up to you--an aggressive family doesn't get to decide that for you. Ever.

Realizing with the onset of cooler temperatures and the calendar that has been turned to November that again this year, and probably forever, you will not be spending Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or New Year's celebrations with people who were once your family can pierce you to the quick. This is especially true for folks who believed that grieving for their lost family was over and that it was all water under the bridge now--that you've worked on your recovery and done deep healing so that the worst part of the shock is over. Then, a picture of a turkey with smiling relatives around it makes your heart flutter...the first snow makes your chest ache, and the smell of certain foods cooking reminds you of old memories, real or imagined, from times of childhood when needs were not met, emotional or physical. Ruminating on your losses, wondering, once again, how the situation with your family came to be, and considering, futilely, how another outcome could have been possible, swirls in your mind. This is tiring and can keep you up at night, even put a dark cloud over the bright autumnal skies that are there for you to enjoy.

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