Repairing a broken family with therapy
Has a rift in your family pulled your loved ones apart? Family life isn’t easy, and the majority of families go through difficult times together and struggle to find common ground. It could be something that happened many years ago or perhaps be a more recent issue; the key thing to remember is that it is never too late to rebuild bridges with friends and family. If you are ready to start mending your broken family, the following guidance will help you on your journey.
Take care of yourself first
Imagine you are on a flight, what is the first thing you are supposed to do when there is a sudden loss of cabin pressure? You put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. The same principle applies here as the first thing you must do to start mending a strained and broken relationship is in fact, take care of yourself. You may need to talk through your own issues with a close friend or even a therapist to help you to gain a fresh perspective and unbiased support. It is so very important that you make sure that you are in a healthy and strong position mentally before taking on the challenges of repairing broken bridges with friends or family.
Step into the other person’s shoes
It might be incredibly hard, but you need to look at the situation from the perspective of others. Make a real effort to understand the story from their viewpoint and try not to judge. You need to try and find out why they acted the way they did and that will give you more insight into how a potential compromise could be reached. You also need to be open and honest with yourself and perhaps even ask yourself questions about the situation you are in – are you completely innocent? How did you contribute to the issues at hand? This will help you to be more open-minded and you will find it easier to compromise or forgive.
Before anything else, if you want to mend a broken family you need to start by letting go of the past. Forgiveness is the decision to rid yourself of resentment and vengeful thinking. Holding a grudge will only cause further friction and it will be virtually impossible to mend a broken family without letting go of it first. It’s all about accepting that what has happened in the past is history and instead, focusing on rebuilding a future with your loved ones. Research has also found that people who learn to be more forgiving will learn to cope better with stress.
Extend an olive branch
Reaching out to estranged family members or friends can be the most difficult part of repairing your relationship, especially if your family or friendship history is filled with trauma or other stressors. However, in a stalemate, someone needs to make the first move and if you want to repair connections, you may need to take the first step. You could simply make a phone call, post a letter, visit them or even send them a Facebook message.
As you reach out, take responsibility for any actions you may have taken and offer a sincere apology, whilst also letting them know that you would like the opportunity to change things and move forward. It’s really important to remember that no situation is completely the fault of one individual and you need to decide which you value more, being right or the relationship with your family member(s). Making the first move also shows family and friends that you are serious about making amends and moving forward with the relationship. If they are open to your approach, then you are on your way to repairing your broken relationship with family or friends.
Attend therapy together
It’s a misconception that counseling is just for one-on-one sessions on traumatic life-changing events. In fact, therapy is for anyone and it can be especially helpful for families that are struggling to get along. Joint therapy will help you and your loved ones identify the root of the issues causing the damage to your relationship and also give you the tools to improve communication in a safe, mediated space.
Accept and Embrace your Differences
Friend circles and families are always full of individuals, and with this comes a wide range of different morals, beliefs or ideals that can cause friction in the relationship. Remember that it’s always important to respect others’ views, even if you don’t agree with them. Instead, ask them questions and show an active and honest interest in learning more. By being open-minded, respectful and a good listener you will put them at ease and they might even be more open to hearing your own viewpoints on the subject without any unnecessary friction.
If you need help with a broken down relationship with your family or friends, don’t hesitate in contacting me today for more information on how I could help you start mending bridges with your loved ones. I specialise in person-centred therapy, based near Warrington, Cheshire and I’m easily accessible from Chester, Altrincham, Knutsford, Northwich, and Tarporley.