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Coping Techniques for Disowned Children

Updated on April 29, 2012

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.

Duel Debate Module - Would you ever...

Would you ever.... debate.

Would you ver disown your child?

Yes, if they commited a crime, had an addiction, a mental illness or other reason.

Yes, if they commited a crime, had an addiction, a mental illness or other reason.

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    • Duck 2 months ago

      Different religion. Came back to religion. Still on a disowned​ list with siblings. Left out of much. Still being left out.

    • Anonymous 4 months ago

      Being disowned because of who I am with. We had a rocky relationship but are now married. Having my mom and siblings disown me and put their nose in the air when they see us kills my heart. My real dad disowned me As a child but I kept visiting until I was an adult and realized he didn't care about me. There is a lot is tension inn my marriage over this family erruption so now I'm feeling more alone than ever and the stress is taking a till on my health.

    • Anon 9 months ago

      I have been disowned because spending every morning and night with my mother wasn't good enough, I was always yelled at for texting my only friend or even my boyfriend. I had real pains in my body, I was told to ignore it because it was all in my head, she constantly called me fat. And so much more

      One afternoon I wanted to get on YouTube, my mom came in my room screaming that I'm not with her enough, she threw my laptop and broke it and forced me out the door, "dont come back" she screamed.

      Turns out I needed surgery for my pains, I weighed 100lbs and I lost my best friend.

      A year after all that my new therapist told me to talk to my dad, I did, last thing he told me was that I was an ungrateful slut that has ruined their life.

      2 and a half years later, I still sometimes cry to sleep.

    • Tina 9 months ago

      My adopted family disowned me for not choosing to marry a gypsy and raise the unwanted child with him! Even now my "mother" accepts this gypsy and his nasty friends and family into her home but refuses to accept me and my now gorgeous husband and 18 month old son into her home! They should NEVER have been allowed to adopt me in the first place..and my birth mother stalked me,used me for financial gain and media attention,then bullied me after I decided to not be a part of her dysfunctional low life family,so all in all,I have been rejected by TWO mother's and TWO families! I would of committed suicide long ago had it not been for my wonderful living husband and our beautiful son.

    • Jen 13 months ago

      I was recently disowned by family for moving out of state for a better job (with their only two grandchildren who are now teenagers). This article has been very helpful.

    • anonymous 16 months ago

      I disowned my adult daughter due to her disrespect, abuse and hateful behaviour towards me.

    • Anon 18 months ago

      I've been disowned by my family because I was diagnosed with bpd... i hate my illness it stopped people loving me

    • Anon 18 months ago

      I've been disowned by my family because I was diagnosed with bpd... i hate my illness it stopped people loving me

    • Anonymous 22 months ago

      I think my mother is disowning me because she doesn't like my boyfriend. When we first started dating she loved him and then something changed when I was moving into college. She caused us to break up because she wasn't just threatening me she was threatening him. She would say that she was doing to call the cops on him and get me a restraining order for him. But she never realized that she was the one making me depressed, not him. She was the one giving me anxiety. She just found out that we are back together and is mad so she's making threats again. She's even going as far to say that all the men in his family are dangerous and will rape me if I'm alone with them. She needs to learn that she can't control my life now, I'm an adult.

    • Anonymous 23 months ago

      I am currently going through the process of my family disowning me because my bf isn't the same color. Crazy, I know. He is everything plus more they have ever wanted me to have but bc of his color, he hasn't achieved anything. It's heartbreaking and it makes me wonder if I am making the wrong choice. I know he is good for me but it still hurts.

    • Anonymous 23 months ago

      I am currently going through the process of my family disowning me because my bf isn't the same color. Crazy, I know. He is everything plus more they have ever wanted me to have but bc of his color, he hasn't achieved anything. It's heartbreaking and it makes me wonder if I am making the wrong choice. I know he is good for me but it still hurts.

    • anon 2 years ago

      my family disowned me because I didn't listen to them twice and went to the mall and came home late by 30 minutes

    • anon 2 years ago

      my parent disowned me because I didn't listen to them twice and went to the mall and came home late by 30 minutes

    • thabo 2 years ago

      Right now my parents are working are working in better companie but they fail to pay me school fees,buy me clothes.In order to get what I want,I must wake up earlier in the morning ang go look for part-time job,especially on school holidays.If I'm not doing this,then what am I going to wear,would I be able to go to school,N0.

    • shana 2 years ago

      My brother disowned me for being a stripper. It was painful. I disowned my grandmother for being mean to my son. I thought it would be liberating but no. Well maybeva little but i just traded anger for guilt. I would never disown my children. No.

    • shana 2 years ago

      My brother disowned me for being a stripper. It was painful. I disowned my grandmother for being mean to my son. I thought it would be liberating but no. Well maybeva little but i just traded anger for guilt. I would never disown my children. No.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I disowned my parents because they were so abusive towards me that it gave me debilitating PTSD. My siblings still like them and that's their choice to make.

      I'd disown my own child if they were abusive towards me and/or others, and consistently failed to acknowledge the problem and convincingly work on it.

    No, my child could never do anything to cause me to disown them

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      • PAM 5 months ago

        my sisters disowned me over a misunderstanding. Something was said about one of them and attributed to me. I never said it but instead of asking they have just cut off communication. I tried talking to them and sending messages but they refuse to communicate with me. I am not included in family get togethers. I am at a loss and devastated by this. clearly I can't change their behavior but I don't know how to get over this.

      • anonymous 11 months ago

        I was disowned by my father for no reason at all, I suppose at the age of 9. He simply left to never return again. My mother has disowned me for not moving into her immediate area due to not being able to afford it. The saddest part is she is the one losing out a relationship with her only grandson. I am thankful for the family that I do have; my husband & son. Life is unpredictable, but I refuse to make it less than beautiful. Prayers to all going through the same.

      • McGreggums 14 months ago

        My family disowned me after I overdosed on a legal version of ecstacy commonly sold in head shops. I had been mislead into thinking it was alcohol, but it was still my fault in the end; I had always been a problem child so an overdose was just the final straw. After going through it myself, I would never do that to my child, nor recommend it to anyone else. I don't know what any of my children may do in the future, but I will always stand by them. If they need help with an addiction, if they commit a major crime, or if they just don't turn out like I want them to, I am going to accept them as family. I was disowned almost 10 years ago, and my heart is still split in two. I have no real relationship with them anymore, but I still think about them everyday and it kills me. I often find myself pacing for hours or chain smoking (like I am right now), talking or crying to myself about it. I have also lost touch with most of my friends because I struggle to be social anymore. What's more, it was completely ineffective at changing my behavior. Instead of becoming a better person, I spent the next four years drinking heavily, mostly by myself, doing a variety of drugs, skipping classes, and sleeping around. I lost a scholarship because of that behavior (also my fault). I have since cut down on my drinking, but I still do a good bit of drugs. They help me escape my mind. I strongly recommend everyone avoid Red Dawn, the "dietary supplement," that I took. I also recommend avoiding drinking and drugs in general. It has not worked out well for me. And again, to any parents considering it, please think twice about disowning your child. It will not help them, it will drive them away, tear at their soul, and quite possibly lead them further down a bad path. If they are acting up, get them a therapist or rehab. Kick them out of the house and cut them off of any money if you have to, but always make it clear that they are family and are loved. If they are gay, are dating someone you disapprove of, or have lost their religion, remember that disowning them will only exacerbate the situation, not fix it. At that point, you are completely giving up on them, and you are losing them forever. Even if they come back, your child and your relationship with them will never be the same.

      • anonymous 3 years ago

        I could never disown my own children. I could never willing hurt any child the way I have been over and over and over again. I've seen so many things in my young life that, trust me I couldn't live with myself. That doesn't mean that if one of them would be dangerous to the others children I would find someone to help them and still love them and see them. But I would still be there for my children.

      • anonymous 3 years ago

        My dad disowned e at the age of 16 because i finally told him I didn't like his long term girlfriend. he was also never supportive even when he knew I was self-harming.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        My son dis-owned me, and I have grandchildren that hurts even more that I can't be their grandmother...it's a long long long story that covers 37 years of our lives.You can't. Love someone that won't love you back. And now he di-owned his sister because she won't shun me also.

      What justifies disowning a child?

      What justifies disowning a child?

      What justifies disowning a child?

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          andrea-clark-526875 4 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.