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Estrangements Impact on Health: Exploring Gender Differences and Urgent Calls for Mental Health Awareness

By Marie Morin January 19, 2024 Family

Estrangement, a universal emotional and psychological phenomenon, significantly influences the well-being of individuals. In this blog post, we will delve into the complexities of estrangement, examining its unique impact on both men’s and women’s mental and physical health. Additionally, insights from Sean Evans’ article, “Not Talking About Mental Health Is Literally Killing Men,” will be integrated to highlight the pressing need for mental health awareness.

Understanding Estrangement

Estrangement is a complex and nuanced emotional phenomenon characterized by a significant emotional distance that manifests in various forms within relationships. This distancing can occur among family members, friends, or partners and is often triggered by unresolved conflicts and cultural differences.

Family

In family dynamics, estrangement may arise when deep-seated disagreements or unaddressed issues create a palpable emotional gap between relatives. The inability to resolve conflicts or address underlying tensions can lead to a sense of detachment and emotional separation.

Friendships

Among friends, estrangement might occur when differing perspectives, values, or life choices strain the bond between individuals. Unresolved conflicts, from miscommunication or conflicting priorities, can result in a gradual emotional drift, ultimately leading to estrangement.

Romantic Partnerships

In romantic relationships, partners may experience estrangement when trust issues, communication breakdowns, or unmet expectations persist without resolution. The emotional distance in these cases may intensify, creating a barrier that hinders the connection between partners.

Cultural differences also play a significant role in the manifestation of estrangement. Divergent cultural backgrounds can lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and clashes in values, contributing to the emotional distancing between individuals.

Estrangement is not a one-size-fits-all concept but a dynamic and multifaceted experience influenced by various factors. By acknowledging the role of unresolved conflicts and cultural differences in the process, we gain a deeper understanding of the intricate dynamics that contribute to the emotional distance observed in estranged relationships.

Estrangement and Women’s Health

Research suggests that women, who often prioritize relationships and social connections, experience unique challenges in the face of estrangement. The absence of these connections can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, impacting mental health. Additionally, stress-related health issues such as anxiety and depression may become more prevalent among women.

Moreover, the stress associated with severed relationships can have physical health implications for women, contributing to conditions like cardiovascular problems and weakened immune responses.

Estrangement and Men’s Health

Men, traditionally encouraged to prioritize autonomy, may respond differently to estrangement. Societal expectations for men to be stoic and independent can lead to internalized emotions, heightening the risk of mental health challenges like depression and substance abuse.

Men may also be more susceptible to the adverse physical effects of estrangement, with suppressed emotions and a lack of a support system contributing to increased stress levels and potential cardiovascular issues.

Sean Evans’ article,  “Not Talking About Mental Health Is Literally Killing Men,” emphasizes the urgent need to address mental health issues, challenging the stigma around men who discuss their struggles. The statistics presented are staggering, revealing daily struggles with depression for 9 percent of men, affecting more than 6 million individuals. Anxiety is a daily battle for over 3 million men and male suicide is classified as a “silent epidemic,” ranking as the seventh leading cause of death.

Evans denounces the antiquated and dangerous macho attitude of suppressing emotions, advocating for breaking the silence surrounding mental health. Courageous figures like Zayn Malik, Kevin Love, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have shared their battles, inspiring others to open up and seek support.

Practical Guidance for Men and Women

How we feel and perceive our mental state reflects our daily choices, outlook, and overall well-being. Mental health stigma has prevented individuals from seeking assistance. However, with the convenience of virtual consultations and extended support, help is only a phone call away.

Stigma grows when individuals care what others think of their struggles and worry somebody will judge them. Sometimes, access and lack of insurance hinder mental health treatment. Then, some want to go it alone, accessing self-help books and committing to daily practices that promote mental health. Daily routines, an active lifestyle, and staying socially active are excellent.

The benefit of being informed and aware is following critical practices can reduce distress. Hopefully, when stress and state are overwhelming, one avails themselves to where they can gain relief. Decreasing stigma and supporting ourselves and others to address mental health and physical health is more important now than ever.

Conclusion

Estrangement’s impact on health is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon affecting both men and women. Understanding gender-specific implications is crucial for developing strategies to mitigate adverse mental and physical well-being effects. The urgency highlighted by Evans reinforces the need for open conversations, empathy, and support, contributing to positive change and replacing detrimental silence with a proactive dialogue on mental health.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How has estrangement affected your mental health? What are your thoughts on mental health awareness? What has worked for you when you have had a tough go?

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jennifer

Some families suffer estrangement due to religion. A member of the family may become hostile due to another member’s religion OR his / her lack of religion. This has been my own experience.

Debbie

My heart goes out to you. This has been my experience as well.

Julia Callahan

Estrangement hurts. I have had estrangement from my sister for five years now. Our issues were supposedly resolved. However, she has only text me far and few between with nonsense texts. I used to call her. My last phone call to her last June, I asked her why she hasn’t called me and her response was she’s been busy. I replied for four years. I told her that was my last phone call to her until she decides to reciprocate. It’s been six months now and no phone call. I try to deal with it. However deep down it still hurts.

Debbie

I am sorry that things haven’t resolved for you. It’s sounds like you have made a good effort and now it’s up to her.

Debbie

Estrangement can be overwhelming for both parties involved.

I have been on both sides more than once in my life.

For me, I usually take a pause and let sometime pass before reaching out to see if the other person is interested in trying to resolve our issues. When doing that, I have to continually remind myself to listen and try not to get on the defensive. It isn’t easy, but in most cases we have eventually been able to work things out.

There will always be someone that isn’t willing to do this. In that case I have had to grieve the relationship, try to accept what is and let it go.

It’s one of the most difficult and painful things that I have had to do.
But we are stronger than we know.

My heart goes out to any of you that are going through this.

Julie Van Dyck

It’s horrible and infectious. My oldest daughter has her masters in counseling and is a mental health counselor at a local hospital said to say, as she stated she does not take her own advice. I have four children and slowly they are all becoming estranged. It’s never been explained to me specifically what I have done it’s just generalizations. I can’t seem to get over it or except it. I keep trying, and the rejection is the worst feeling on the earth. I spent this past Christmas all alone, not even a text from any of my children. A holiday feels like any other day without family.

Marie Morin

Hi Julie:
Thank you for sharing. I hear you. It feels infectious and widespread. I’m sorry you spent the holiday alone. I think it is important to prepare so that we are around others and find support. We can move forward.
Wishing you all the best.

Mica

That is so sad. I have been going through it with one of my sons. I have not seen him in years. He will text me back sometimes but he will not see me. Life is going by oh so very fast and I so want to see him before it is too late for either of us.

Sharie

As soon as the estrangement from my son happened, I realized it had the power to crush me, both mentally and physically. Luckily, my obstinate bits said, “Nope! No way we’re going down that path.” The work to process through the loss is worth it and is working; but, I’ll tell you, it does sometimes seem mountainously difficult.

Marie Morin

Hi Sharie
Thank you for sharing. I so appreciate how you navigated this. It can be extremely difficult but the daily decision to keep moving forward no matter what happens is the best path.

The Author

Marie Morin is a therapist and wellness coach at Morin Holistic Therapy. She helps women develop a daily self-care routine, so they overcome perfectionism and limiting beliefs and be their most confident selves. Marie is a grateful blogger and YouTuber. Find out more at morinholistictherapy.com and contact her at morinholistictherapy@gmail.com.

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