Family estrangement doesn’t get easier, you just get used to it being so hard

Updated: May 18

Something I never get used to being an ex-Muslim, is the feeling of being alone. If you look at me, my social life is thriving. I’m probably more social in this past year then I have ever been before. I have more friends now than I had in the past. But I’m still alone. Sometimes I have realised is that like a lot of losses in life, family estrangement doesn’t get easier, you just get used to it being so hard.

Usually, the feeling of being alone comes when I register at a new GP or some sort of physical activity, for example when I started my self-defence classes a couple of months ago, and they ask you for an emergency contact. I always put down a friend, but I know they have their own families, and my emergency would probably not be number one their priority list like it would for their own family.

Today I felt it again, probably the worst it’s been in years. I am looking to move into a new flat. As I rent, I usually show details relating to my employment to prove I can afford the rent. I am going to be fully self-employed soon, so they are going to ask me for a guarantor. I literally have no one that can do this for me. I even asked a couple of my closest friends, which took a lot for me to do as someone who hates asking for this kind of help, and both said no. This isn’t a reflection of them at all, after all they might see it as too big a risk. If you’ve seen the Tinder Swindler or Inventing Anna, you can’t be too careful.

Years ago, it was an immediate member of my family who was my guarantor. Because that’s what family do. They are always there for you, right? And that’s the hardest thing about family estrangement. Knowing I don’t have a person. There is no one who I can count on. Even my other ex-Muslim friends all seem to have a partner, or some family members who they are still close to.

The only positive from this, if there is one, that I’ve learned I have to put myself first. I have to show up for myself all the time, because no one else will. That might sound like a bad thing, but it means I never compromise. One thing I’ve noticed about dating, is a lot of people make do with what they get. They stay with someone because they don’t want to be alone. But once you’ve been as alone as I feel, and you learn you can survive it, you don’t make room for anyone who isn’t everything you want. You learn to be okay on your own, because you have no other choice. It has made me a stronger person.

One of my favourite movies is ‘PS, I Love You’. There is a quote that resonates with me, and maybe it resonates with you too.

“So now, all alone or not, you gotta walk ahead. Thing to remember is if we're all alone, then we're all together in that too”

#familyestrangement #exmuslim

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