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Its ok to Break Free - The Journey of Being a Self-Imposed Orphan

In today's digital age, the world often looks picture-perfect through the lens of social media. We all look at Instagram and want the perfect body, the perfect family the perfect life. But there's an untold story that many of us silently bear: the weight of toxic family relationships. Sometimes, the best decision for mental and emotional well-being is to cut ties and become what is known as being a self-imposed orphan. 

Here's an insight into this challenging but often necessary choice.

Understanding the Term "Self-Imposed Orphan"

To be a self-imposed orphan does not mean your parents are dead. Instead, it signifies a conscious choice that you have made to sever the ties with your family members, especially parents or immediate family, due to longstanding toxicity or harm. This can be the hardest thing in the world to do but it can also be the best decision you will ever make. Sometimes you have to look at the big picture to really make the choice. It is similar to toxic friendship but familiar ones are harder to break ties and do the right thing for you. 

women with head in her hands looking sad

Reasons for Choosing this
  • Mental Health: Constant exposure to negativity, criticisms, or emotional abuse can erode your mental health. Distancing yourself can be the first step towards healing.
  • Physical Safety: In extreme cases, family environments might be threatening or physically abusive.
  • Emotional Independence: For some, cutting ties is a path to finding your own voice, away from overwhelming familial expectations or manipulations. This about making your life better. 
The Challenges of This Journey
  • Societal Judgment: Society often stigmatizes those who break away from family, perceiving them as ungrateful or rebellious. Yes, this is the case. I have encountered this on many occasions. 
  • Emotional Guilt: Feelings of guilt can surface, driven by societal norms or personal beliefs about family.
  • Isolation: Holidays, celebrations, or milestones can feel lonely without the traditional family support system. 
Finding Support and Moving Forward
  • Seek Therapy: A professional can offer tools and strategies to cope, heal, and build a new life.
  • Find Your Chosen Family: Many find solace in friends or support groups who understand their journey and can offer unconditional love and acceptance.
  • Focus on Self-Care: Prioritizing your well-being can be empowering, whether it’s through meditation, pursuing hobbies, or simply taking time for oneself.

Choosing to become a self-imposed orphan is not an easy path. It’s a decision made after years of pain, introspection, and, often, as a last resort. However, for many, it’s a step towards a happier, healthier life. While the shadow of the past may always remain, the future can be shaped by choice, resilience, and newfound freedom.

If you or someone you know is struggling with this decision, seek professional counselling or support groups that can provide guidance and understanding.