Out in the Open

Estrangement

The model family is often depicted as close, loving and in contact. But new research shows a less-romanticized reality: estrangement from a loved one is more common than we think, and yet we still don't fully understand or accept it. This week, Piya speaks with people who have cut off — and been cut off from — their immediate family members to find out the many motivations and effects of estrangement.
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The model family is often depicted as close, loving and in contact. But new research shows a less-romanticized reality: estrangement from a loved one is more common than we think, and yet we still don't fully understand or accept it. This week, Piya speaks with people who have cut off — and been cut off from — their immediate family members to find out the many motivations and effects of estrangement.

Here are the stories from this week's episode...

A support network for estranged people built by the estranged

Estrangement touches many families, but it remains highly stigmatized and widely misunderstood. Becca Bland shares her own experience of estrangement, which includes not just pain and social shame, but ultimately a deep sense of freedom. She became so motivated to bust myths about estrangement that she created a charity to support people in situations like hers.
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How race and politics threaten to divide one family

Panama Jackson's mom is white. She's also a Donald Trump supporter. His dad is black, and that's how Panama identifies too. He also finds Trump deeply problematic. Jackson tells Piya how — at this point — he's struggling to maintain a relationship with his mom because their politics and worldviews are so far apart.
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'Is this going to be forever?': How to handle losing contact with a child

Josh Coleman's psychology practice focuses on parents who are estranged from their children. But it's also an experience Coleman has grappled with in his personal life, after his daughter decided to cut him out of her life. He tells Piya how his experience informed the advice he gives to other parents.
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The complicated role mental health plays in estrangement

When Gabrielle Moss was a teenager, she had a conflict-filled relationship with her mother. Years later, her mom was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and Gabrielle hoped seeking treatment could improve their bond. She talks about balancing empathy with self-protection, and why she ultimately chose to keep her distance.
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What do you say to your father after almost a decade of estrangement?

Sandy Jorgenson stopped talking to her father when she was 23-years-old. She decided to cut off contact after discovering his infidelity, which led to her parents divorce. Almost a decade later, Sandy sent her dad an email and told him what she learned and how he hurt her.
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'I see my children as strangers': The painful choice of Canada's temporary foreign workers

After economic strife and natural disaster struck his home country of St. Lucia, Gabriel Allahdua decided to come to Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. But he says his work as a migrant farmer left him estranged from both his family back home and Canadian society in his new home.
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