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/

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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_blood-moon-lunar-eclipse.jpgAre you rockin' on a turbulent sea?

Mother Earth says "come home to me"

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Sedna
    Sedna says #
    Not sure if it relates either, Anthony, but thanks for writing!!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Whenever I see news about a lunar eclipse I think of the Bloodmoon Ball episode of Star Vs. the Forces of Evil. Not sure if that

b2ap3_thumbnail_nature-flowers-sun-60006.jpgThose who are estranged from their biological relatives can struggle deeply with feelings of grief, but it is a strange grief, something that feels unnatural or out of season. No one has died, gotten divorced, or was fired from a job. But what did end was the image you had for most of your life about the people you thought you knew so well.That ending is an extremely difficult loss not only because of the sudden nature of most family cut-offs, but because that ending also changed you and how you understand yourself and, importantly, life itself. Family Aggression impacts our sense of justice, fairness, and a belief in the benevolence of the world. Additionally, estrangement and family shunning is not merely the loss of one person, but a sudden loss of an entire group of people with whom you were once intimately bound. Losing all this in one fell swoop is a profound and devastating loss, especially when parents you believe love you have now become hostile, even threatening.

Because there is no open dialogue in most cultures to help one come to terms with the reality of family cut-offs, grief and confusion can remain like a dark cloud hanging over every day. Where are the grieving rituals for family estrangement? Death and divorce are now openly discussed in many countries and there are rituals to mark these transformative moments in our lives. However, family cut-offs are typically hidden by the victims because they feel so unnatural and are so fundamentally wrong. Victims often believe that cut-offs are uncommon, which is not true. Also, families who act aggressively work hard at convincing daughters and sons who differentiate from the Family Script that they themselves are wrong, unwanted, and alone. Isolating targets is a way to pressure them to conform and return to the family's way of thinking. This is a key piece in the dominating, aggressive family behavior and one reason why family estrangements are not openly discussed.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    Thank you Sedna. I too am e-stranged from my family who made me feel like the strange one. You are right that family estrangement
  • Sedna
    Sedna says #
    Thank you for writing and sharing your experiences, Carol, which enriches this circle. A goal of the Family Script for scapegoated
  • Sedna
    Sedna says #
    Virginia, Thank you so much for commenting and having the courage to share your story. As you note, "groupmind" is really a core p
  • Virginia Carper
    Virginia Carper says #
    I left my family years ago for reasons of sanity. I had several stints in mental hospitals and was under a doctor's care. We went
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    A wonderful post. I have been estranged from my blood family for decades, and as my parents have died off and others have simply m

b2ap3_thumbnail_95792621.jpgIn recognition and honor of the solar eclipse in Cancer tomorrow, the constellation of Home and Family in astrology, I offer this poem. Cancer is ruled by the Moon, the Mother, and I hope it opens something in readers to a place of contemplation about the role of forgiveness, of simultaneously holding the truths of our wounding as daughters (and sons) while also honoring the humanity of our mothers--with compassion, with deep love and compassion, minimizing nothing, accepting completely what was and is between us in one of the most powerful relationships we will ever have as a human.

May seeds of healing be planted in all daughters and mothers, and all people, with this powerful eclipse.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Family-separation.jpgIn the national news headlines of America these past weeks, our country has been overrun with images of migrant families torn apart. We have heard the heartbreaking cries of children and the pleas of parents who long to be reunited with their precious kids. But what about American parents who are sending their teen and adult children away deliberately, consciously, without looking back? What about the families who are attacking their grown-up children in person, in social media, and demanding the entire family ostracize them because of their political beliefs? These are not parents who are pleading or weeping for their daughters or sons to return to them, but parents who are saying "I disown you!" because they disagree with them.

Today, we are witnessing so many instances of the crumbling of the pretext of Unconditional Love in our families and realizing that parental and family love comes with very clear conditions: Agree With Us or You're Out! For many daughters, sons, and genderqueer people, what was once minor political disagreements (or at least you could live with those differences by avoiding discussing them) has become grounds for utter cut-off and outright attack. John Erickson writes about his experience in a 2016 blog post called "A Letter To Those I've Lost" that you can read here: https://feminismandreligion.com/2016/12/22/a-letter-to-those-ive-lost/

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Honour-Based Violence is the most extreme expression of a family's aggression toward their daughter (and also sons and transpeople). Known in America primarily as "honor killings", Honour-Based Violence (HBV) is an act of physical violence committed by one or more male family members on their daughter/sister/auntie. The acts of violence are extreme and include murder. Contrary to how HBV is portrayed in American media, there is no one religion, culture, or nation that practices HBV. HBV is widespread around the world, and that includes Europe and a few incidences in the United States.

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