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Coping Techniques for Disowned Children

Updated on August 24, 2017

Coping Techniques for the Disowned Child

Being disowned by your family is a devastating experience. Whether you were disowned because of a change in religion, they did not like your mate, a misunderstanding or because of an addiction, you will need to learn coping techniques. This lens will outline several different ways you can cope and learn to love yourself in spite of your family disowning you.

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How to Cope After Being Disowned

Being disowned is devastating. It is a topic people rarely talk about and when you bring it up, they wonder what you could have done to have your own flesh and blood throw you away like a used Kleenex. I have been there... I was disowned by my parents 6 years ago, but I have healed and learned several coping techniques along the way. I would like to share these techniques with my readers.

1. Know that you are lovable. I always thought that if my own parents couldn't love me, then nobody would be able to. Thinking like that just leads to depression. You are lovable and you have to believe that. Spend time with people that love and appreciate you.

2. Write a letter to the family that disowned you. You do not have to mail it if you don't want to, but you should write a letter and write down exactly how you feel. Getting your thoughts out on paper releases stress and can help you vent. If you choose to mail it, file it or throw it away is up to you. If you are going to mail it, do not assign blame to others in the letter or be mean-spirited. Simply state how disowning you hurt and how it has affected you.

3. Consider moving to a new place. If the family members that disowned you live a few blocks away, it may be hard to heal your heart when you keep running into them or seeing them drive down the street. The neighborhood or city that you live in may bring up constant reminders. Sometimes it can be beneficial to move away to have a fresh start.

4. Seek counseling to help deal with your emotions. Being disowned by your parents or another family member takes a severe emotional toll on a person. Whether you were at fault or not isn't the core issue... getting past it and healing from it is what is important. A counselor can help you work through those feelings and may offer a safe place to vent your anger and frustration.

5. Analyze the situation to prevent it from happening again. After you have had some time to heal, analyze what happened. Perhaps you are not at fault - maybe they could not accept your choice of a mate or became enranged when you changed your religion. In this case, you need to understand that they were simply not ready to accept you for who you are. One day they may change their minds, or they may not. They only thing you can do is think of how you could have dealt with things differently. If you were disowned because of an addiction, then understand that they probably didn't know what else to do. Our actions have consequences and sometimes the hurt cannot be undone. While there is no excuse for disowning a child (tough love would have been a better option,) you need to focus on recovering from your addiction so this does not happen again.

6. Find a new family and embrace them. Everyone needs a family but there is no rule that says they have to be related to you. Is there an older woman who was like a second mother to you? Do you have good friends that you consider brothers or sisters? If you don't, then work on building new relationships.

7. Figure out what to say to others about your family. In my case, not many people know I have been disowned. When they ask about my parents, I simply say that they live in another state and we haven't seen each other in a long time. Only those who I am extremely comfortable with know that I am disowned. Sometimes it is hard to tell people because then they start asking a lot of personal questions that I am just not ready to answer. If you choose to tell everyone, only some people, or nobody is up to you and your comfort level.

8. Mentor others who do not have a family. Helping others is an excellent way to stop dwelling on your own problems and focus on others. Perhaps you could be a Big Sister or Big Brother to a youth. Maybe you could volunteer to help those who have lost loved ones. While the death of a loved one and being disowned are two different things, they do have one thing in common: you both feel a void from that person no longer being in your life.

9. Learn to meditate or pray. If you are religious, you can pray every time you feel old memories coming back. If you are not religious, you can learn to meditate. When those memories and "what if" moments come up in your mind, it is best not to let them fester. You need to focus on other things, whether you focus on your breathing, on the peace of being still and quiet or focusing on your Higher Power.

10. Look at the positive in your life rather than the negative. I admit, this is easier said than done, but it is so important to healing. Even if you have nothing, find joy in the sunshine, in the clouds floating in the sky or the fact that you are able to see, hear and speak. Even if you don't believe that you can find joy in anything, keep telling yourself that you do and eventually, your mind will believe it.

Coping techniques after being disowned by your family is very important to heal from the trauma. It will take a long time, but you can recover. Six years later I still cry sometimes, and that is okay. It is perfectly normal to cry and feel anger long after being disowned, but if you learn coping techniques, you will see that the anger and depression do not have to take over your life.

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    • profile image

      22 months ago

      My fiancé was disowned because his mother doesn't like me, but instead of stating that, she decided to cut ties. He's dealing with it the best he can, but I came here seeking advice to help him cope.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hello, I was just recently disowned by my parents. I need adive on how to cope. Cause Iam having a real hard time with this. I don't understand.


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