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Estranged relationships are common in families, with feuds being especially brutal among siblings. There have been stories throughout history, from Cleopatra to Genghis Khan, of the unheard of ruthlessness by which family members with whom there is a clash have been disposed of.
Various modern studies show a sizable percentage of families are fractured, with estranged family members and disputes going on for at least four years. An estimate shows that as much as 20 percent of American adults are in a state of ‘estrangement’ among their family members.
Admittedly, many family situations are dangerous and abusive. If a situation in an estranged relationship is not entirely intractable, one can try reconciliation, which can help in healing, growth, exploration and change.
If it's possible, resist the urge to recreate the past and build a new future. Try to find common ground, be in the present moment, and move ahead from there.
While faced with a young adult who has walked away from your life, understand that you may be a problem, and the adult child has to be seen with empathy and understanding.
The formative years are bound to be problematic and it is in the nature of young adults to commit certain mistakes, which becomes a part of their personal growth. There is no need to ridicule them for their mistakes.
A simple sorry and an acceptance of your not being able to realize your actions, your prejudice and your own blindspots may help them move towards reconciliation. Do not use any toxic words or actions that can easily backfire.
Often the aggrieved young adult does not want a specific apology about a particular mistake, but is generally aggrieved about their entire childhood, or how their parents related to them. An apology then becomes a first step towards making tangible, impactful change.
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