The Healthy Way To Repair A Rift With An Estranged Family Member

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Family relationships are complicated and even though you always try your best to stand by your family, there are certain situations where that isn’t possible. It might be due to problems with addiction or crime, or maybe you cut somebody out because they didn’t agree with your lifestyle and you argued every time you spoke. In some cases, there are family members that you have never met because your parents haven’t spoken to them since before you were born. 


Whatever the reasons, these rifts in families are not healthy. As you get older, you realize the importance of family and you might decide to repair those divisions. However, this is quite a sensitive area, especially if there was a lot of bad blood in the past. If you want things to go smoothly, you need to go about things in the right way. Here’s how to repair relationships with estranged family members in a healthy way. 

Making First Contact 

Making first contact with an estranged family member is tricky because that initial interaction can determine the outcome of the whole thing. If you haven’t seen them for years and you don’t know where they are, you may need to hire a private investigator to track them down and give you some information about them. Once you have their contact details, you should send them a brief message. It’s important that you don’t start throwing accusations around or trying to address big problems in the past straight away because it will only lead to an argument and they will shut down. Instead, just let them know that you miss them and you want to see them again. Don’t put any pressure on it and make it casual. Hopefully, they will respond well. 

Set Clear Expectations

Expectations are very important in a situation like this. Are you hoping to have that person back in your life all of the time or do you just want things to be less awkward at family gatherings? Knowing where you stand is important for both parties and asking too much of the relationship from the very beginning can lead to more problems. So, start slowly and set clear expectations from the outset. 

Address The Past 

Although you shouldn’t try to address the past right away, you will need to discuss the reasons why your relationship broke down in the first place. In many cases, if you can’t solve those issues, you will never be able to move forward. However, if you clash because you simply have different values and lifestyles, it may be better to focus on the things you do have in common instead of having the same arguments over and over because you will never come to an agreement. 

Build A Healthier Relationship In Future

Now that you have repaired the relationship, you need to think about what you can do differently in the future. Knowing how to build healthy family relationships by being open and, if necessary, seeking outside help is the key to making this change stick. You will both have to put the work in, so make sure that you are willing. 


Repairing a rift with an estranged family member can be difficult, but if you follow these steps, you will have a good foundation to work from.  

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