If someone has cut you off, and the two of you aren’t speaking, it can feel like something is being done to you. It’s like you’re the victim and they’re the perpetrator.
But if you take a step back and look at the entire picture over time, it’s probably not quite like that.
Two Perpetrators, Two Victims
Do you have an email, mailing address, website, or phone number for the person?
Do you know where they work or play?
Do you know anyone who might be in contact with them?
Do you know what state (or country) they live in?
If you can answer “Yes” to just one of the questions above, you are a full participant in the estrangement. Both a victim and a perpetrator. Or neither, if you prefer.
Your feelings have so far kept you from making successful contact. There’s no shame in that. The point here is not to assign blame, but to accept responsibility for your feelings, thoughts and actions.
You don’t have to feel like a victim of estrangement.
When you acknowledge your part in what’s happening, you regain a sense of power. Power is the upside of responsibility.
You could do something to make amends, to apologize for hurting them (even though you didn’t mean to), to let them know how important they are to you, and why. You could fight for the relationship.
Always, there’s the caveat: You need to be sure that having a relationship with this person is what you want.
If you DO want the relationship, why not fight for it?
Yes, I know it’s risky. I know they’ve already rejected you, and all indications are they’ll do so again.
So why should you bother?
You shouldn’t, unless the relationship is super important to you. Because if that’s true, chances are the relationship is important to them, too.
In that case, rest assured they’re as hurt as you are. And they’re protecting themselves by staying away from you. (And guess what? You’re doing the same thing!)
So ask yourself, how much do I want a relationship with this person whose rejection has hurt me so much, and whom I managed to hurt badly enough that they can’t stand to be around me?
Consider the following:
- How satisfying was the relationship before things went wrong?
- How much value did it bring to your life?
- What will you lose if you lose the relationship?
- Can you find it somewhere else?
If you decide the relationship isn’t worth it, you can grieve what you’ve lost and move on.
If you decide your love for this person is greater than your fear of being hurt again, maybe you’ll use your newfound power to follow the estrangement advice on my website.
Whatever you decide, I wish you peace and happiness.
Are you a parent? Read the excerpt from the Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children.
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