There Is Too Much Emphasis On Reconciliation

There is just way too much pressure put on people by society in general to reconcile with their estranged family members. Each case is different and reconciliation isn't always the best choice. Often, trying to reconcile with estranged family members means allowing toxic people back into our lives, thus opening ourselves up to yet more hurt. Sometimes, the best thing to simply let them go and move on. If I have one more person insist to me that I should attempt to reconcile with my estranged family members because "it's faaaamily", and because they think I will regret cutting these people out of my life, I think I'm going to scream. I absolutely don't want these estranged people back in my life after the unconscionable way they've treated me. I don't know why people can't just accept that, especially when it has no bearing on them or their lives.
CaliforniaSun CaliforniaSun
56-60, F
7 Responses May 23, 2012

I agree. I had lunch with a good friend the other day who gently encouraged me to consider that I might regret not reconciling when it's too late. I thought about it and maybe she's right but I don't feel it. I'm supposed to try to reconcile with people who had no problem shutting the door in my face? Even if I reconcile, I will never be able to forget or truly forgive them for the pain they caused me. I think having them back in my life wouldn't solve anything unless they came to me and apologized and explained why they did what they did. Perhaps it is they who will feel regret when it's too late. I didn't cut them out, they cut me out.

I really appreciate your post

I have stopped talking to all but one friend about this painful experience and yes letting go is best choice sometimes..i am learning to cut people off when they bring up the subject even after repeated requests to stop..only if you have walked in the shoes can someone understand the layers of pain

You are right. Forgive, but don't get stuck on stupid. There is no reason to continue to stand in harms way. You forgive so that person no longer has a hold over you. Continuing to allow them to hurt you defeats that purpose.
Sometimes you have to accept that, they are not going to change and while you do forgive them. Being with them will be harmful to your well-being. Well written my dear. Hugs

I am also estranged from my family. My father raped my 13 year old cousin in 1981, and attempted to engage another 13 year old cousin in sexual activity a few years later. My father repeatedly exposed himself to me as a kid, practiced voyeuristic behavior and a number of other sexually deviant behavior's. Unfortunately, my fathers family knew about the sexual abuse and kept it secret. As an adult with three children of my own, I tried to maintain a relationship with him, not sure why, but with strong boundaries regarding my children. I for one did not keep this a secret and although my father has not been charged, he has had to face other consequences of HIS actions. I confronted my father about this a year ago and he threatened to kill me which forced me to get a restraining order. I had an aunt and uncle on his side of the family who were like a mom and dad to me and they have completely cut off my wife, kids, and myself. I recognize that the relationship I had with them for so many years was also very toxic, I always felt bad about myself when being around them for any amount of time. I have decided that I am unwilling to open the door for a future relationship with any of my fathers siblings. I am no longer willing to tolerate ANY kind of abuse from my family and will take whatever measures necessary to protect my kids no matter who likes it or who doesn't. I too get CONSTANT pressure to reconcile from what I gather are well meaning but ignorant individuals. You have the right to rid yourself of toxic people, and family in my opinion, should not get a free pass on this.
Keep your chin up and do what is best for YOU!

I'm with all of the above posts. I've had someone tell me 'the poor schmucks didn't know any better', as though I'm supposed to feel sorry for them and therefore not feel aggrieved at their appalling behaviour. Screw that!

Oh sooo true!!!! I have completely had to pull away from my family. They are toxic. Actually they have disowned me for who knows what or why. I sent a letter explaining how they make me feel and haven't heard a thing. They think they are punishing me by acting like I do not exist but actually its been a blessing in disguise!!! It first hurt for a while and now I am at the point where I say screw them! They don't deserve to be a part of my life and I am done with their *****.

I am in the early stages so the pain kind of ebbs and flows. But on my good days, I feel a wonderful sense of freedom. I am released from a pack of selfish liars. What hurts the most, is that I am the outcast as though I did something wrong. Believe me I did not.

I couldn't agree more. One of the statements that's made the most sense to me during my process of disentangling myself from my toxic family is "You can't forgive someone who isn't even aware that they've done wrong" or "You can't forgive someone if they're not sorry for what they've done". Forgiveness is a two-way process. You can maybe heal yourself in relation to them in your own mind, but if the other person won't even admit they have a part in it, then it's pretty much impossible to forgive them. When you can honestly say to yourself, "If I was on my death bed, I would not want X to be there", then you know that reconciliation is not an option. That said, you can also do yourself even more harm by not having contact in certain cases, but that is a completely individual decision and nothing to do with anyone else. As you say, each case is different, and we should never presume that we "know" what someone else is going through. People who go on at us about reconciliation either have no problems in their own family or are totally in denial about the problems they have. Either way, they have no right to interfere.

I am not about to forgive someone who has shown no remorse nor attempted to apologize or make amends for their actions. I have healed myself in relation to these people and have moved on. I have not forgiven because under the circumstances, I find it impossible to do so. I completely disagree that one must forgive in order to find peace.

No need to forgive, enjoy the freedom of not having these people in your life. Cultivate friendships wherever possible, surround yourself with people who deserve to be in your presence!