Unbinding Family Ties

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Annie Wright on Stepping Away From Family

“Family is everything,” we’re told. But what about families that cause us pain? In this episode of Woman Worriers, host Elizabeth Cush and Annie Wright, a therapist who specializes in complex relational trauma, talk about family estrangement and why it might be necessary.

It’s a real unfortunate and real challenging thing to come from a family that’s dysfunctional or abusive. It’s also a very common reality.
— Annie Wright, LMFT

Show Notes:

Family. It’s wonderful—except when it’s not. But we’re told family is everything, that we should never turn our backs on them, that we should forgive them everything. For many of us—especially those of us who have experienced familial trauma, abuse or neglect—that’s not always possible, or even healthy. We have another option, but it’s rarely an easy choice. If you’re considering stepping away from or creating stronger boundaries around family relationships, listen to this week’s episode of the Woman Worriers podcast. Host Elizabeth Cush, LCPC, of Progression Counseling in Annapolis, Md., and her guest, Annie Wright, LMFT, founder and clinical director of Evergreen Counseling in Berkeley, Calif., discuss family estrangement, why it happens, why it’s sometimes necessary and why it can be so difficult to cut ties with our family of origin.

Listen and learn:

  • What family estrangement is and how it differs from a strained relationship

  • What family estrangement might look like

  • The difference between formal and informal estrangement

  • Why many of us never consider stepping away from family, even when it’s our best option

  • How cultural messages about family make a difficult decision even harder

  • Factors that make stepping away from family more complicated

  • The kinds of situations that make “no contact” a healthier choice

  • Why it can be hard to identify situations that might warrant separation

  • What the separation spectrum covers in terms of distance and time

  • How therapy helps in the decision-making process

  • The therapy helps you manage the fall-out from the decision

  • Why healing from a dysfunctional or abusive family is a lifelong process

  • Where to find resources for stepping away from family


Learn More

> Annie Wright’s website

> Annie Wright’s blog

> Evergreen Counseling

> Annie Wright on Facebook

> Annie Write on Twitter

> Annie Wright on Instagram

> Woman Worriers groups

> Progression Counseling


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