We Made It

In this final piece post-project from two of our Estranged Young People, the anonymous narrator talks about life after Chances for Children grants, their friendship with another estranged young person, their struggles, where they both are now and what the future holds for them.

When people talk about estrangement and their experiences, there is rarely a positive side to talk about. But for people going through estrangement at the moment or looking for a glimmer of hope, we thought we would talk about our experiences but also a look into the future; because there is a future.

What estrangement means to us – 

I became estranged at 16 years old after leaving an 8 year old abusive relationship with my adoptive Mum. I never meant for the move to be permanent but the shock of losing a daughter wasn’t enough for my Mum to change her ways. So I am now 20 years old and still living with my fiance. Despite several attempts to reconcile with my parents, they never changed and their narcissistic tendencies always got in the way of loving me.

I met my best friend Grace (19) through Buttle Uk after years of believing I was the only one and feeling alone. Grace went through a very traumatic event in 2016 when her father drove the car up the wrong way of the motorway in an attempt to kill her.

Her Mum suffered with huge mental battles after the history of abuse towards her, Grace and her sisters. Subsequent to this, at the age of 16 Grace turned up at the Council asking for a home because her Mum couldn’t Mum anymore.

After going back and forth with the council and social services whilst they decided whose responsibility she was, Grace ended up in a Travelodge with no support. She then moved around BnBs and hotels until in 2022 she was given a place to call home.

Estrangement to us was an upheaval at a young age where we were thrown into adulthood whilst our peers enjoyed being carefree.

What the hardest parts were – 

For Grace, the challenges were never ending and not only did she keep going for herself, Grace has a little girl called May (1). Grace found the lack of support the most detrimental to her leaving home, not just physically but also mentally.

The mental side of estrangement took its toll on Grace as she never expected to be living alone without her parents at 16. Despite it being 6 years on from the trauma, Grace still accesses mental health support and has had admissions into hospital and therapy.

Grace has also had financial battles to get the support for her and May. Accessing Universal Credit was a battle in itself, Grace still only receives the lowest amount because she is under 25 (£290). This makes paying bills tighter than ever in the cost of living crisis when her gas/ electric is £150 on its own.

For me the hardest part of being estranged was leaving my little brother behind. At the time he had just turned 13 and I haven’t seen him since he turned 14. One day I hope to explain to him the reasons why I left but for now I just have to be patient and wait for when he is ready.

Alongside this, the constant legal battles with my parents, accessing Universal credit all whilst trying my hardest to stay in full time education had a huge effect on my mental health and I tried to take my own life in 2020 when it all just felt too much.

Like Grace I hugely struggled with my mental health and I don’t think people understand the effects trauma can have on the mind. The flashbacks were the worst, the vivid nightmares which led to months of insomnia. Trauma can make your mind block out the past as a fight or flight response and it is only now that my mind allows me to think back to my early teens and my relationship with my parents.

As estranged young people aren’t a recognised demographic, the support is so limited and extremely hard to access when it is there.

Where are we now – 

I am currently getting ready to move into my first home at long last and cannot wait to hold the keys in my hand. I am in full time employment after 3 years of mental health battles, which is something I didn’t think I would be able to achieve. I am a recruitment consultant and absolutely love my role. But most importantly, I have learnt that no day is guaranteed and to live a happier life, I try to take one day at a time.


Grace has her own house and is working as a youth ambassador to stress on the issues of poverty to MPs and wants to continue sharing her story to help others feel less alone. She is learning to drive and cannot wait to be able to take May out on day trips without having to walk an hour.

Our future ambitions – 

When I asked Grace how she felt about her future, she said she felt proud of where she is now, in her own home with a happy, healthy little girl. She has hope for the future which is such a change from 3 years ago. Grace hopes the benefits and laws change for estranged young people and is proud to have been on this journey.

We are both so grateful to have found each other at the time we both needed someone to lean on. We met in the strangest of circumstances, but our friendship is priceless and we will always be there for one another.

I hope to continue building my family and building my confidence. I hope one day to be a private counsellor to help those who have struggled to get through trauma. My next goal is to write a book about estrangement to get the message further and hopefully find another me who needs assurance everything will be OK.

‘A butterfly cannot see the colour of its wings but others are in awe of its beauty. Likewise, you may not feel strong or good enough but others can still see how special and resilient you are’