When and how do you get back in touch with relatives that you have been angry with in the past?
Which family doesn’t have some form of issues causing anger and not communicating with each other for at least a little while? Because we are related we try harder keeping the communication channels open. There are times though when boundaries are broken and we are really angry at each other. Angry enough not to speak or pay attention for years to come.
Now comes the interesting part. How long should this radio silence last and what kind or under what conditions do we try reestablishing contact again?
It’s a riddle that has very personal roots. Pretty soon it will be 25 years since seeing and talking to my dad. He did a couple of really stupid and hurtful things to mom, my sister, and I, but forgave him in the mid-nineties (I needed to get my life back). Based on what I have heard he has not changed his ways. Should I get in touch anyway?
Why am I thinking about this now? Truth be told my motivation are our kids who have been wondering what their granddad is like. Its part of their history and heritage, but why subjecting our short ones to potentially the same hurtful things of yesteryear? When is enough enough?
Unfortunately, there are no guidelines to solving issues like this. Each of our journeys is very different. Each of our reasons for not being in contact anymore may be different. There are only a few questions worth sharing though, that may lead to making a better decision:
- Am I at peace with myself if nothing changed?
- Am I ok with the status quo even we never saw each other again?
- Am I ready to forgive (forgiveness does not need to be carried out in person)
- Am I the reason for the problem(s)?
- What do I really want from a future relationship?
- What am I willing to give or compromise for having a better relationship?
- Why do I want for the relationship to improve again?
- Am I willing to take the first steps getting in touch again?
- Is there enough common ground and enough neutral ground to have a non-confrontational conversation?
Honestly, I do not yet know if and how we will decide to potentially getting back in touch with my old man. How about you though? Do you have a family member or a friend with whom you are not speaking right now? Hopefully, some of the questions above may help you make a really good decision. Good luck and happy pondering.