Blood is thicker than water. Isn’t that what is said meaning that family should come first? Or maybe it means that blood shed in battle together forms the strongest bond but that is besides the question of today’s post.
What are our cultural views when a family member chooses to cut contact? What if it is a daughter who ‘abandons’ her mother?
A study by Rittenour, Kromka, and others looked at stereotypes and attitudes toward adult child-parent estrangement. They found that mothers—who claim to be abandoned by ungrateful, impetuous, and difficult adult children, who never informed them of either their complaints or their plans—are more likely to get a fair hearing by our culture, to get sympathy and support when they wage war against the so-called ungrateful adult child, and to be embraced by their communities for their actions . They get the sympathy card.
Every story has three sides, mine, yours and the truth. Culturally we do think about mothers a loving beings, I did at least and hoped that it would become true if I was deserving enough to receive that love. Looking at animals, they know how to ‘mother’ don’t they? It is an instinct. Being a mother in humans is au contraire very much learned behavior. Still the common idea persists that ‘thou shall honor your father and mother’. But what if it doesn’t go the other way around? What if your parents don’t ‘honor’ you as their child?
All women are maternal and nurturing. Mothering is instinctual. Maternal love is always unconditional. Not one of those three statements is true.
Here are four pieces of the puzzle revealed by research that are worth considering when we talk about familial estrangement .
- There may be an evolutionary reason for the taboo.
Surviving as a hunter in the early days was easier in a tribe than on your own. Therefore forgiveness promoting the proximity of others was more preferable than abandoning someone. This could be a very easy explanation why going no contact is frowned upon. We need other humans to survive.
2. It’s not really rare (and, no, blood isn’t always thicker than water).
Estrangement may sound rather rare in your head but it actually isn’t. A study by Richard Conti (2015) which was conducted with a sample of college and graduate students found that 43.5 % had been estranged at some point and that 26.6 % reported extended estrangement. His study also confirmed that anecdotal evidence makes clear: that estrangement from a parent always involves estrangement from other family members.  Another study, conducted by Lucy Blake in Great Britain, found even higher percentages; out of the 807 people interviewed, 455 were estranged from their mothers.
3.Estrangement isn’t the only way adult-child relationships destruct.
In literature we see three separate processes at work: Family-member marginalization, Parent-child alienation and Parent-child estrangement. Where in family-member marginalization one person is the black sheep, it doesn’t always mean that that person would break ties. They are singled out and called maybe non-conformist, rebellious or they might tell some truths other family member don’t like to hear. Parent-child alienation happens in the context of divorce. When one parent makes it difficult to establish or keep a bond between the child and the other parent. The child is influenced to choose a side. This process can pave the way for parent-child estrangement in the future. Where the child doesn’t repair the bond with the alienated parent, the separation may come back and bite the instigating parent in the ass. The third process is today’s topic, parent-child estrangement. Research indicates that estrangement instigated by a parent is conservatively estimated at 12 percent.
4. While estrangement may be cyclical, reconciliation is usually elusive.
Is it a radical decision to go no contact? Yes. Does it happen overnight? No. Daughters usually attempt to manage the relationship first, either by attempting to set boundaries, limiting communication or simply having fewer interactions. This ‘low contact’ works in some cases, especially when there’s geographic distance between the adult child and her family of origin, but not always. Sometimes, the failure of low contact grows into the decision to move into a full-blown estrangement. Other times, a daughter will re-institute contact either because of hopefulness that things can change or some other reason. 
A study by Carr, Holman, and others showed the difference between the parent’s perspective and that of the adult child. In a study of 898 of unmatched parents and adult children, the researchers found that there was absolutely no agreement at all about what had caused the estrangement.
While parents tended to focus on their children’s objectionable relationships or sense of entitlement, adult children honed in on toxic treatment or feeling unloved and unaccepted. Interestingly, while the adult children were able to be explicit about why they felt unloved or unsupported and connected those feelings to their parents’ behaviors, the parents showed very little self-reflection.