Estrangement can be defined as the breakdown of a supportive relationship, between whānau members and other close relationships.
Family ties and a sense of belonging are an essential part of a person's identity. When those who are supposed to support you and don't, and those who should be on your side aren't, the grief and heartbreak of estrangement can occur.
Causes of estrangement include: divorce, differing expectations of family roles, traumatic events, mental health issues, emotional and sexual abuse and a whānau member's sexual identity.
Estrangement might not be permanent, long lasting or even mean a total lack of contact, but it is harmful, hurtful, often the result of misunderstanding and usually takes considerable time and energy to resolve and rebuild the relationship.
In the context of divorce and where children are involved, it can escalate quickly. A child can reject or prefer one parent, for lots of reasons. The reality is, that often issues are multi-faceted and may need professional mediation to resolve.
For more reading about family estrangement ...