Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Family estrangement - Need advice on how to deal with it.

Community Member

In a nutshell, I have always had a strained relationship with my sister and mother, we are just very different people with different values. I reported my sister to Child Protection over substance addiction, and a magistrate agreed her child was at risk in her care, now she has to be supervised with her child. My mother and sister are very upset about my report, saying I should have trusted them to deal with the substance use, though I know she had fallen off the wagon while pregnant multiple times. They are also upset I talked to Child Protection about her partner and concerns about things he said. It's a very long story but no one is doubting my report is accurate, they just think I should have kept quiet.

Now my sister is refusing to ever see me or my family again unless I write her partners family a formal letter of apology and apologize to her. The problem is I don't feel I can do that. I am sorry for the situation her family is in and I hope it improves, but I feel I made the right decision in reporting and my report was completely honest so I'm not sorry I did it.

Now my Mother has told me all family events are cancelled until I fix the situation with my sister, and she believes the onus is on me, not my sister, to fix our relationship.

My father (divorced) and other sister both agree the situation is out of hand and that I should not need to apologize. So basically the whole family is going to pay for this. My other sister and dad will suffer for not being able to have whole family functions. My kids will suffer because they love their family and have no idea about the arguing (I'd like to leave them out of it). Mum and sister are upset my husband did not stop me from reporting and are now saying he is no longer welcome at family events, so they won't let him have Christmas with our children.

I think this is toxic, and they are holding me to emotional ransom but If I don't play along, everyone else suffers.

I just feel like I can't do this any more. I just want to cut ties completely, and after periods of non communication in the past my mental health has improved. But this is the easy, selfish way out for me, everyone else will pay for it.

Has anyone else been through estrangement like this? Did you try family counseling? If so did it help? Any advice? I feel like a support group would really help me, does this exist for adult family estrangement?

Thank-you for any advice or support people can offer.

8 Replies 8

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion
Hi, welcome

I have a lot of experience with toxic family members. Emotional blackmail, manipulation, my mother ruining my first wedding and so on.

In your case it's not surprising you have arrived at this decision point.

I believe you did the right thing in reporting to protection, I believe your mother and sister ate not realistic in dealing with the substance abuse themselves. I also think that them placing restrictions on your partner is classic toxicity to pressure you to apologize.

I'm afraid you should face life without them until such time as they change their attitude. There is only one effective method of moving forward and that is ignoring them zero communication. Otherwise you play into their hands.

As for others suffering from being banned from family events- that is not your fault. My sister and I stopped all contact with our mother 9 years ago. She has been successful in persuading some family members from stopping contact with us. That's ok, it's easily manipulated people we don't want in our lives.

After a few years you'll realise that close loyal friends are family.

Rest easy, you did the right thing.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Katie1234,

Welcome to the forums.

You did what your conscious dictated when you called Child Protection and you did it for the welfare of her child. That's not a deed you should be sorry for. I do understand the dilemma you now are in, especially with regards to having your family fragmented. But I think it's better for you to stand your ground rather than to give in an apologise. I hope when your sister recovers, she and your mother will come to realise that you did what you did in her best interest.

Cutting ties is not an easy way out. Sometimes, it's a necessary way out. Your father and other sister's support show that you have family who will stand by you, you've not lost your entire family with this. Perhaps, over time, you will be able to reconnect with your mother again. But for now, I think you need to take some time to tend to your mental health.


Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Katie1234

Welcome to the bb forum. I know it took courage for you to share your story and I appreciate the trust you have given to our community.

You did the right thing in making your report to the authorities. Somebody had to be the adult and put the needs of the child first. I applaud your strength and character.

It's a shame that your mum and sister have given you such tough ultimatums. From what you've written, I can't see you ever writing a letter of apology to the partner and his family or making an apology to your sister. Nor should you, in my opinion.

Ignore the threats. Stand your ground and let the chips fall where they fall.

While it's true that an estrangement would be painful, that's not on you. It also doesn't have to be permanent.

If I were in your shoes, I would concentrate on my own family, enjoy Christmas (if that's something you celebrate) and focus on my own mental health. You are also hurt and you need time to heal. It's okay to take a break from it all.

But I also think it might help for you to talk this through with a professional, just to get your head around how to manage this long term. I would start with a double appointment with your GP and see where it leads.

Kind thoughts to you

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hey Katie - welcome

You sound like an amazing person..

I did actually try family therapy before I cut off my family - it was very unhelpful for me personally. It was triggering. They won't change. I find individual therapy better and I can deal with my own concerns. They will never get therapy or try improve but I let that go. And i tell myself mentally - they technically could do that at any time - nothing is stopping them. So if they want the help, instead of harming me or blaming me or roping me in - they can go get help. They won't - but that's not my problem.

I think you may have actually assisted and saved the vulnerable child by reporting your sister. You did what you needed to and what you believed in. They will try and take away your choice and ownership ...but you are allowd to make a decision of what you believe is best. They are blackmailing you.

I hope you are okay.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Katie, well basically I want to jump on board what those above me have said, and let's say you did write an apology, then the situation wouldn't improve, it may only become more prominent and make you feel worse off.

After no communication, you have become stronger, that's to your benefit, not your mum or sister who will begin to struggle as time progresses, especially keeping your kids safe, they don't need to mature around these circumstances.

You have done what you should've done.

Take care.


Community Member

I want to thank everyone for their kind words of support and for taking the time to give me their thoughts. It is tough sometimes when you are too close to a situation to see it clearly, but you all seem to point towards the same advice which helps me clarify how I feel.

I love my family and that probably won't change anytime soon, but I do need a break from the stress and scapegoating. My husband (who is wonderful and supportive) and I think it's best we stand our ground, advise we need a period of no communication but that we do want to be able to reconnect with them once everyone has calmed down and the situation has settled somewhat.

It's nice to hear from others that they understand my intentions were good, and I had a little cry as I read the feedback! Thank-you all. It will be ok but I need to prioritize the well being of my kids, my husband and I, which is what I will do.

You are all wonderful!!!

Hello Katie, you seem strong enough to be able to look after your kids, plus you have your father who has also supported you.

Best wishes.


Community Member
I cut ties & walked away as you do not need toxic relationships.Please look after your own wellbeing