How to Heal a Family Rift: A Guide

By  |  0 Comments

When we look at the families of our friends and acquaintances, it can often seem that everybody else is living in familial harmony. However, what we don’t realise is that most families have long-standing issues and conflicts which have either been dealt with or are bubbling beneath the surface. From warring siblings to estranged parents or children, statistically, around 20% of UK families are affected by a significant rift between one or more members. If you are struggling with a rift in your own family but are hoping to build some bridges, this guide has some useful tips which may help. 

Think about what you want

Make sure you are attempting to heal your relationship for the right reasons. If you are getting in touch with someone to simply re-open an argument and try to force them to see your point of view, it is unlikely to end well. However, if you are genuinely ready to let go of the issues which caused the rift and look to the future, you are in a good place to take the first step. 

Adopt their point of view

Try to take a step back from the situation or disagreement and look at it from their point of view. Fault is rarely entirely one-sided when it comes to a family rift and it’s likely either your attitude or actions contributed to the fallout, so be ready with an open mind.

Make the first move

You will need to make the first move if you want to heal the rift which requires a lot of strength and courage. They may want to reconnect but are too concerned about your reaction to do so. 

Consider writing a letter before a face-to-face meeting

A face-to-face meeting can be difficult, particularly if you have not seen them for a long time and the issues are very emotive. Consider writing a letter or emailing them before you approach them in person as this gives you the chance to construct your words and edit them so you can say exactly what you need to without getting angry or upset. It also gives the recipient the chance to absorb your words and consider their response. 

Involve a mediator

A third party can sometimes be helpful when trying to reconnect with family. A professional mediator or family counselling sessions with Elevations RTC can help you to work through your emotions in a structured and supportive environment. 

Set some boundaries

If you do manage to mend some bridges, try not to rush the relationship. You don’t need to launch into seeing them every week or organising a family Christmas. Meet up for a coffee a few times before arranging longer meetings so you can ease back into the relationship.

Look after yourself

There may be a chance that one or more issues will not be worked out and you may find this difficult to accept. Therefore it’s important to contact a counsellor to talk through your emotions. Remember to prioritise self-care by getting regular exercise to help you relax, eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep as this will help you deal with emotional stress. Surrounding yourself with good friends could provide the family network you’ve been missing. 

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply