Family Matters & Friendship

Making peace with alienated family members and friends.

Many, many families include individuals who, for a multitude of reasons, have broken off contact with each other. Sometimes contact is broken off because of abuse and addiction. In these cases it isn’t always appropriate or possible to attempt to mend fences, especially when the parties have not recovered therapeutically. But even in some of these cases, and certainly in the great majority of others, it can be extremely satisfying to find a way to offer an olive branch, or accept one, from the other party. If the individuals are willing, with some gentle support, to look at their own role in the conflict, all things are possible in terms of healing and a renewal of the relationship. And, it is never too late. Most of us don’t want to go to our graves with such matters left uncleared and, with support, many are ultimately willing to ask themselves, “how could I have handled things differently?”, “how can I do my part now to help repair the damage to the relationship, irrespective of whether the other party responds?”. This process can give one the assurance that they left no stone unturned, and be at peace with the result, come what may.

Friends and lovers are no small matter. They are some of life’s greatest riches. When a relationship or friendship ends without clarity as to the reasons why or with unexpressed feelings, which is often the case, we’re sometimes left wishing we had taken the time to speak from the heart about a few things, and be listened to, as well. This is very often the case for the other party also, though they, like us, may not have shown it. To talk about what was beautiful, and what was hard, to speak the truth, to listen, and to leave at peace with ourselves and our friend. Sometimes after such dialogue, a new basis for a relationship appears; sometimes in a new form.