It’s been a year and half since I became estranged from my family. I was 35 and in the midst of a contentious divorce from an addict. Needless to say, timing was not optimal. While I was blindsided at the time, looking back it was more like swallowing the reality of everything I never wanted to admit to myself about our relationship was true; in one giant razor sharp pill. Crushed, broken, and paralyzed with fear, I sat in disbelief of what had happened in a way that still hurts to this day. It was like being unplugged from the Matrix; you could no longer ignore what’s in front of you. But what I also experienced then and now, is a growing sense of peace and contentment. Time and space bring a perspective not seen up close. I came to understand my family was not healthy, and to expect healthy behavior from unhealthy people is a waste of time for everyone. Away from their influence, I broke free from maladaptive beliefs I had about myself such as: being responsible for other peoples’ feelings and experience; that my own understanding and experiences are negotiable; that my worthiness was conditional to my usefulness. Leveraging relationships and playing emotional chicken for compliance and control would no longer be tolerated. I wont betray myself and be forced into playing a role in someone else’ narrative so THEY can like themselves. Most importantly I found the confidence to advocate for myself. I WILL NO LONGER TOLERATE ANYONE OR ANYTHING THAT CHALLENGES MY WORTH, OR RIGHT TO BE TREATED WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT. Being estranged from my family taught me that loving adult relationships consist of mutual respect and reciprocity. While I’m sad the relationship is broken, I’m beyond grateful for the knowledge, self love, freedom, and peace I have come to enjoy away from them.