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Defooing. This might be an unfamiliar term to you or maybe, if you have already walked down the path that led you to a red pill with your family name on it, this might be an all too familiar word to you. But just in case you fall in the former category I will try to define this concept to the best of my ability and I will do so by starting with a definition followed by a warning.

If, by the end of this blog post – which is the first part of a series of three – you will be brave enough to remain interested in this subject, then please check out Defoo part II and Defoo part III. In the following blog posts I will talk about the great benefits that will result from your potential choice of walking down this path, I will share my own defoo experience and the wisdom gained from it and I will give you a step by step guide to my own approach to this process.

Foo is an acronym that stands for Family of Origin which includes parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles and sometimes even cousins. To defoo means to separate from the family of origin.

If you have a loving and caring family and your relationship with them brings joy and happiness in your life then none of the things that you are about to read should apply to yourself. However, if you have an abusive relationship and are looking for a way out, this blog series might provide the guidance and the clarity that you are looking for.

To truly understand the magnitude of the defooing process and the incredible pain associated with it, think of divorce. I know, this comparison does not render complete justice to the defoo experience but I think divorce is a good standard of measurement that will allow some of you, that have not been through this process yet, to grasp its significance and the high price that it demands from anyone who has the courage and the spine to undergo such a separation.

We all know first hand or maybe by witnessing some of our friends and family struggle with it, how tough on the psyche and on the finances divorce can be. Defooing is very similar to that but, in almost every case, it is a lot harder and a much more painful experience.

While divorcing your partner is a decision that is widely accepted in the Western culture – although not necessarily encouraged – defooing is not. There is still a very strong narrative that supports familial bonds even in cases of past or continued present abuse.

Separating from your family of origin as an adult is still loudly and strongly condemned by vast portions of society who – if you decide to undergo this process – will be very eager to express their strong disapproval and sometimes disdain for your personal and quite intimate choice to not see your family anymore.

If you will find yourself at a point in your life where you feel the right choice for your sanity, for your self-esteem and, very often, for your finances is to defoo, prepare yourself. Loads of disapproval and social ostracism will be coming your way.

People going through a divorce will usually find support in their social circle. People going through the process of defooing will usually be abandoned and isolated, left to deal with the pain of this incredibly stressful break-up on their own.

If you decide to go down this path, get ready to repeatedly hear platitudes like: “But she’s your mother”, “They did the best they could with the knowledge they had”, “How can you be this ungrateful?” or “You should forgive and forget”. These are things that you would hardly ever hear should you choose to separate from an abusive husband or wife.

While divorce – as traumatic as it can be – is the process through which one separates from a partner that he has met as an adult and has spent a limited amount of time with, defooing will take you through a break up from people with which you lived for about two decades of your life.

These were two decades of your formative years which you spent in the company of people that have actively shaped you as a child and that you most probably internalized as an adult. You will be breaking up with people that, to some extent, will continue to live inside of you for the rest of your life. At times, it will feel like you carved out parts of yourself.

While a divorce has you going against one single individual, defooing puts you at odds with an entire clan and, more often than not, with your close social circle, your culture and your entire society. Divorce is destructive, divorce is painful but – I would argue – defooing is much worse than that.

If you haven’t gone through this process yet and are wondering how it might look and feel like then imagine a divorce, multiply it by the members of your family, magnify it through the lens of a reprehensive culture, take it into the depths of your inner, most intimate workings, expand it to the outer-limits of your personal reach into society and you will only have a glimpse of the ripple effects that your decision will make into your world and the echoing pain and pseudo-moral condemnation that will be coming your way as a result.

So, if it is so bad, why do it? Why should you ever put yourself through this? Well, the answer – at least for me – it’s because staying where you are, with your family of origin, surrounded by people that either abuse you or demand self-erasure and self-abnegation is actually worse.

I wanted start this bog series by pointing out the drawbacks of defooing because I think that, when approaching this subject, it is important to understand the magnitude of what it entails and its many negative aspects before rushing unprepared into making decisions that will impact and irremediably change your life in more ways than you can count.

However, I don’t want to focus only on the negatives because there are many positive things that will be happening in your life as a result of you separating from an abusive family.

Check out Part II and Part III to find out more about the benefits of defooing and to get a better understanding of this experience.

If you are looking for help with regards to your defoo, RTLC offers support sessions that are tailored specifically for this process.

Sign up for a free introductory session to find out more.