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Photo: vitalika_mm (Shutterstock) The holiday season is known for evoking thoughts of family, both good and bad. Although most of us have a complex relationship with our family—including those we enjoy spending time with and those we don’t—there are many people for whom the subject of family evokes more pain than most. Although we don’t often talk about it, being estranged from a family member is more common than we realize, with an estimated 65 million Americans being estranged from at least one family member . In a survey of mothers between the age of 65 to 75 with at least two children , 11 percent reported being estranged from at least one child. As a result, the holiday season, with its strong emphasis on spending time with family, can be especially painful and difficult to navigate for those who fall into this group. What is family estrangement? Estrangement is when a family member intentionally decreases contact with someone, either because of a negative relationship or the perception of a negative relationship. Estrangement exists on a continuum, ranging from decreased contact to no contact. Estrangements can also wax and wane, with the relationship shifting between low contact to no contact and back again, depending on the circumstances. Usually, estrangement happens because of a long history of conflict, although in some cases, it can be very sudden, such as in the cases of parents who disown their children after they come out as LGBTQIA. Research on family estrangement indicates that […]