A family could be one’s greatest support system. However, there are family members that lose touch with each other due to various reasons. While not everyone losing touch with their family did not plan on doing so, many people consciously choose to distance themselves from relatives. That said, it should also be a conscious decision to reconnect with relatives. Reconnecting out of a genuine desire to do so tends to make the process easier and the resulting established connection stronger.
Why Do People Get Estranged from Family?
Family estrangement is mostly an intentional decision to distance oneself from a family member. This is usually because of a negative event or a toxic habit or relationship. The degree of estrangement is often dependent on the reason for the estrangement. For instance, estrangement due to loss of communication because of distance is comparatively lighter than estrangement due to a toxic relationship.
The reasons for family estrangement could also vary based on the perception of an individual. For instance, if a parent and adult children become estranged, they may attribute the same estrangement to different reasons. For example, a parent might attribute the estrangement to their child’s objectionable relationship while the adult child may attribute the same estrangement to the parent’s controlling and toxic behavior.
Serious conflicts or reasons that often lead to estrangement include the following:
- Behavioral Problems and Mental Illnesses
- Abuse (emotional, physical; sexual)
- Substance use
- Domestic Violence
Why Reconnecting with Family is Important
When people choose to distance themselves from a family member, they most likely have a strong and valid reason. Moreover, at the time, they most probably felt like it was the best thing to do to preserve whatever love or respect they have left for that particular relative as well as for their own emotional and mental well-being.
Not all lost or severed connections must be re-established. Still, there are instances where reconnecting with relatives could do you a whole lot of good. This, however, must not be forced but something that should be done if and when you are ready. Revisit the reason for the estrangement, establish your expectations, and set clear boundaries this time.
Here are some reasons why reconnecting with relatives might be something you should consider:
Reconnecting could give you the emotional healing that you need. When you decide to reconnect, it also means deciding to forgive your family member and, in some instances, even yourself. It also means finally letting go of whatever it is that caused your estrangement so that you could all finally heal and move on.
Reconnecting with family members, whether you have been estranged or have simply lost communication, could mean once again having the kind of support that only family members could provide best. While some friends can undeniably become like family, nothing beats great family dynamics with your blood relatives.
Once good communication is restored, you’ll have more people to turn to for support. This includes emotional support – sharing the good and the bad moments. There’s also the matter of tangible support through care packages or financial help. You’ll also have network support strengthened by shared experiences and values.
Reconnecting could also give you the peace of mind of knowing that there are no more negative feelings or relationships weighing you down. Reconnecting with family does not necessarily mean being very close with them again. The simple fact of knowing that you’ve put past misunderstandings to rest could lift a great weight from your mind.
How to Reconnect with Family Members
Here are some steps you can do to reconnect with family members:
- Reach Out
It could be a phone call, a visit, or even small steps like a chat, a text message, or a comment on their social media post. The initial step of reaching out would depend on just how far apart you’ve grown as well as on the reason why you became estranged in the first place. If you are sincere and determined to reconnect, however, you shouldn’t wait for them to reach it, do it yourself. This is even if you believe in your heart that they are the ones at fault. If you need help in finding out their contact information, try out a person search tool to find ways of reaching them like social media accounts or email addresses.
You could never fully reconnect, heal, and move on from your estrangement if you do not wholeheartedly forgive the person. Forgiveness means a willingness to finally let go of the past and explore various ways to reconnect.
- Manage Expectations
Reconnecting doesn’t mean everything will be fine right away. Manage your expectations of what could happen. At the same time manage your expectations of that family member. You surely know their flaws and shortcomings, their habits and attitudes, so instead of expecting them to change, try looking at their positive traits and helping them become better versions of themselves.
- Build Trust
This is something that you should do over time. Reconnecting means rebuilding your relationship, including the trust that might have been lost.
Forgiving them or forgiving yourself, letting the past finally rest, and moving on with a lighter heart are more than enough reasons to reconnect. Reconnecting with estranged relatives could bring you emotional healing, peace of mind, as well as different levels of support that you may not get from other people. Reconnecting with relatives, however, doesn’t necessarily mean getting as close to them as you were before your estrangement. While that might happen in the future, having taken the big step of reconnecting should be enough for now.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is it important to reconnect with family?
Reconnecting with family could mean having the kind of support that only family could give. It could also bring you healing and peace of mind.
- Why do families become estranged?
Family estrangement could be caused by distance and loss of communication. It could also be caused by more serious matters such as abuse, behavioral problems, mental illnesses, and domestic violence.
- How do you reconnect with a loved one?
First off, make sure that you are truly ready to reconnect with them. Reach out to them and talk. Forgive them and ask for forgiveness too. Work on whatever issues you may still have, build trust over time, and follow through.
- How do you stay connected when apart?
To avoid getting estranged even when separated by great distance, make sure to keep your communication lines open. Take advantage of technology – call, send a text, chat. You can also send care packages. You can even set up virtual catch-up dates or start a project together where you would need to keep each other up to date.