Whether it is with our friends, family, or significant others, whoever our loved ones be, it seems like a no-brainer when it comes down to the importance of doing our best in establishing and strengthening a healthy relationship with them. However, this is not always the case for some people as they find themselves having a difficult time connecting with them on a deeper level. There are a lot of factors that come into play when this happens, such as the degree of toxicity of the person, hurt feelings and disappointments, conflicts in personality, trust issues, grudges, and among other things. Soon, all these factors build up and develop over time until one day, the line of communication with them stops entirely and maintaining or salvaging a broken relationship with them seems all lost and beyond hope.
It is unfortunate that there are people in the world who do not have healthy relationships with the ones they love, ultimately becoming estranged from them. All human relationships have periods in which people draw apart from each other. But, more often than not, there are ways to remedy and improve the situation if one seeks to work, rather than wish, on repairing them. Regardless of the bitterness and resentment that caused a rift between you and your loved ones, it is never too late to mend relationships with them if you can muster up the courage, patience, and compassion to do so. Here are 11 ways you can do to mend relationships with estranged loved ones.
Taking responsibility for your part
One of the reasons some people experience several years of estrangement with their loved ones stems from their inability to accept responsibility on their part. When it comes to reconciliation with your loved ones, it’s imperative to comprehend that there are faults on both sides that caused the rift. Even though you might think you haven’t done anything wrong to have caused the relationship to sour, your estranged loved one might have seen or felt something from you that you weren’t aware of. Thus, by apologizing sincerely and accepting responsibility on your part, it could lead to crossing the threshold of fixing the broken relationship that caused estrangement with your loved ones.
Forgiveness goes a long way
I think a lot of people underestimate the power of forgiveness as a way to mending broken relationships with your estranged loved ones. Forgiveness, in of itself, is hard to do because it’s a conscious decision of letting go of resentments and vengeful thinking despite the other person’s responsibility of hurting you and doing you wrong. Therefore, your estranged loved ones might have a difficult time to forgive you, but it is worth striving to ask for forgiveness, if you are sincere about repairing your relationships with them, because the healing power to forgiveness cleanses and relieves the feeling of unpleasant burdens. Moreover, forgiveness leads to conversations in which you and your loved ones can listen to each other’s perspective which will help to lead a possible new and fresh start.
Be the one to reach out first
When you want to fix what’s broken, especially if it’s relationships with your estranged loved ones, it sometimes means sucking up and courageously be the one to reach out first regardless of the outcome. One of the underlining reasons why it’s difficult to mend relationships with your loved ones, even though there are desires to do so, in the first place is because neither feels they should be the one to reach out. By making an effort to reach out, it will reinforce your eagerness to restore the broken relationships to them as well as showing that you want to talk about what happened.
Set new boundaries
It’s safe to say that broken relationships with your estranged loved ones don’t mend overnight. Depending on the severity of the root cause of the estrangement, it could take up to days, months, or even years before things could return to normalcy. But even then, things can’t always go back to the way they used to be. However, the positive aspect of breaking and fixing relationships is that both you and your loved ones now know each other’s boundaries, and from this, it sets in motion of paving the way to establish a new set of ground rules when attempting to mend and have a healthier relationship going forward.
Do some self-reflection
Sometimes, we need space and a hard look at ourselves when attempting to mend broken relationships with our estranged loved ones. While it might be tempting to go over there to find and hear out from them directly the reasons behind the estrangement, your loved ones might be unwilling to communicate with you. When this happens, we often can be forceful to them in prying out the root cause as it takes two to play the game when repairing a broken relationship. But, all this does is create more fire. The process of mending relationships with your estranged loved ones is also about spending the time with yourself to reflect on what happened and what went wrong, finding out the answers yourself instead of badgering them to understand the estrangement.
Keep the lines of communication open with your estranged loved ones
Another way that can help you mend relationships with your loved ones, including friends and significant others, is keeping the lines of communication open with them. At the end of the day, the most important aspect of fixing any kind of relationship is the level of communication we bring to the table. By letting your estranged loved ones know that they can always communicate to you will show them that you are thinking about them on a daily basis. From this, it definitely shows that you are maintaining an interest in what they are doing in life. So, write an email to them, call them, send cards to them, or whatever it is because they will take notice of it.
Give it time
Usually when you’re attempting to mend relationships with estranged loved ones, sometimes, they do not want to see or talk to you and thus, reject any of your request to do one of the two things. Because of this, one of the few things you could do is give them the time and space to process everything, contacting them from time to time to see if they are ready to talk though do not have such high expectations since repairing broken relationships can take a long time.
Identify and focus on the real issues, not each other
Most of us, while fixing problems to broken relationships, tend to look on the surface of the conflicts, pointing fingers and blaming others to solve the problems. Sure, tensions can flare up when talking things out but, remember, you’re trying to mend the estrangement between your loved ones. Maybe if all of us looked into what is being felt, such as the fears, anxieties, expectations, and hopes of the other person, it will clarify and get to the bottom of finding out how your behavior has affected them in the relationship.
When it comes down to repairing broken relationships, particularly with our estranged ones, nothing is as good, or better, as showing your commitment to them. Presenting them that you are dedicated to mending the broken relationship, which will reinforce the notion that you are acknowledging yourself wholeheartedly to rebuild trust. Besides this, commitment shows the willingness to be understanding, accepting, and supportive.
Leave your ego at the door
Our egos are additional obstacles that stand in between when rectifying broken relationships with our estranged loved ones. The thing about ego is that they are barriers in which we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable because we don’t want others to see us that way. However, in order to have a meaningful communication, we have to leave our egos at the door. By withdrawing your defenses, it will get your estranged loved ones to withdraw their defenses as well, which will create room to reconnect with sincerity.
Go to counseling together
It is always helpful to have another insightful third party to help you deal and find ways to mending relationships with your estranged loved ones. There’s only so much we can do by ourselves and thus, a therapist, or even another friend, can help you identify the root of the cause and issue and teach you tools to improve your communication and behavior. There’s no shame in seeking professional help because it shows that you’re concerned, that you care too much to not give it a shot one more time in repairing relations with your estranged ones.