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Old December 23rd, 2012, 01:01 AM
Queenie Queenie is offline
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Can Families Repair Themselves?

Hi all, newbie here, just looking for a bit of hope. My family is a bit broken at the moment and I'm wondering if any of you know of families which have recovered from major issues such as this:

The short version is this: a few years ago my sister (then 16) ran away from home. She would say that it's not "running away" since we knew she went to her boyfriend's place; I say that it's not "moving out" if you don't tell anybody. She decided that our parents are bad people and that she didn't want to have anything to do with them anymore. I don't really agree with this - no parent is perfect but ours were never abusive or neglectful. I had already moved out of home by this point and I don't know if these feelings of hers were new or if they were built up over years. Sister has never explained her feelings to me so that I can understand her. So she doesn't talk to me anymore either, other than the odd birthday message. But no proper conversation.

Anyway, a lot has happened between then and now and now things have settled down to a stalemate. Sister hasn't really contacted me for a long while, but I know she's safe and healthy, at least. I know there's nothing I can do, and it'll be a long time (maybe years) before she acknowledges my family again. I just want to know if we'll be able to bounce back from this. I know it won't ever be the same, but is it possible for a family to become whole again after such a rift?

Thanks in advance.
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Old December 23rd, 2012, 06:48 AM
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Re: Can Families Repair Themselves?

(hugs)


I haven't a clue how/if things will turn out.
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Old December 23rd, 2012, 07:31 AM
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Re: Can Families Repair Themselves?

Quote:
I know it won't ever be the same, but is it possible for a family to become whole again after such a rift?
The first part-- you don't want things to be the same. Obviously your sister had a different experience of your parents then you did. You don't know what it is, but you have judged her experience as wrong. You're not entitled to an explanation of why she feels as she does, and because you have already judged her experience, she's not likely to tell you about it. Her relationship with her parents is her business alone. Can you accept that?

Whether or not you family can become whole again depends on what you mean by whole. If you're looking for the big happy family with your sister and your parents, probably not.

If you're looking to just have your sister in your life, then maybe. When was the last time you called her and told her that you love her and miss her?
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Old December 23rd, 2012, 07:42 AM
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KayKay KayKay is offline
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Re: Can Families Repair Themselves?

Welcome, Queenie.

How much older are you than your sister? And how old is your sister now? You seem almost like a parent to her.

Are there other issues in your family? Or is your sister the only one. It doesn't seem, from my perspective, that just because one child has moved away that the family is what I'd call broken.
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Old December 23rd, 2012, 03:11 PM
Queenie Queenie is offline
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Re: Can Families Repair Themselves?

Thanks everyone. I really don't talk about this very often so you're really helping me to clear my head.

KayKay, she's my only sibling, and she'd be about 20 now. I do send her little messages every few months, but she never replies to me. The last proper conversation we had was over email last year, and she stopped responding. I'm only about a year older, and we were very close as kids, which is why I'm really broken up about all this. We were a very close family, us and grandparents and great-grandparents and everything. So there's a lot of tension rippled out through everyone. Parents are trying to get back in touch, send her Christmas money and things, they're so sorry for how everything worked out but still not wholly sure how it all got started. Grandparents on one side are angry at Sister for running away and at Parents for not getting the law involved to try and make her come back. Grandparents on the other side sad about everything but able to do nothing. Sister won't talk to anyone, and I feel like an only child, which I never was, and it scares me that this might last forever.

Thanks for your input, Lucy. I know what you mean, but I really do wish I understood why she felt that way. As far as I can recall I don't remember us being treated any differently by our folks. But as I say, that's only my memory, Sister's may be different. Maybe something changed in the six months between my moving to university and the first time she ran away (she came back once and left again a few months later for good). The problem is I only know what happened during the arguments from what others people have told me, so who knows? Maybe my parents are bad people. I don't want to support them if they are bad people, but I just don't know what happened, so I can't make that call for myself. The argument is between Sister and Parents, and I'm not taking any sides but I'm just trying to keep contact. So because I haven't cut them off, Sister doesn't talk to me anymore either.

I can't call her, she didn't have a phone when she left and probably has one now, but won't tell me the number. I don't even know where she lives, other than which city she's in, since she's moved on from the original boyfriend's place. I can't even be confident she's still using the same email address. I know we probably will never have like a big family Christmas or anything, but I want at least to hear from her occasionally.
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Old December 23rd, 2012, 03:21 PM
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Re: Can Families Repair Themselves?

Then that's the thing to tell her when/if you do contact her.

"I don't understand what happened. I love you, I always have loved you, I wasn't part of the arguments and don't know why they happened, I miss you. I don't want to be collateral damage between whatever happened with you and Mom and Dad, because as far as I know it has nothing to do with me. Call me if you need me."

Then leave it up to her. You really don't know what happened or why your sister is feeling that way, but she's an adult and has a lot of anger in her. Maybe in time she'll heal but in the meantime you have to build your own life.

I'm with your grandparents who are sad about everything but able to do nothing. It seems like they're learning acceptance, which is really the only available course of action.
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