There are relationships that most of us want to have in our life. Relationships with loving parents who accept us and are proud of who we are that give us a sense of belonging. Or a relationship with extended family grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins that give us a sense of connection with our heritage. Relationships with siblings that provide protection, Relationships with friends, and coworkers that give us connection with community.
So what does a person to do when the options in those areas are just broken relationships?
First you have to access is it a relationship that can be restored. Some questions to consider: Is being in a relationship with that family member or friend physically safe? If your safety is a concern, then it is not a healthy relationship.
Is your emotional wellbeing at risk if the relationship is restored? Will you have name calling, put-downs, negative comments, or other verbal abuse if the relationship is restored? If your emotional well being is at stake, then it is not a healthy relationship.
Does the restored relationship put anyone else at risk? There are several factors that could be considered with this question. If you were abused as a child, you may now be safe in a relationship with your abuser, but would your children be?
Second you need to find out, if you decide that the relationship can be restored, is the other person also willing to restore the relationship? Understand that if they are not in the moment ready for reconciliation, it does not mean that they will never be. My husband waited over a year for me to be in a place I was ready for reconciliation. I waited two decades for a relationship with my grandparents. “No” may mean, “not now”, regardless of how it looks in the moment.
Third, what steps need to be taken to reconcile the broken relationship? Is there some things that need to be said to clear the air? The conversation may be difficult to have and difficult the hear, but somethings need to be said for healing to occur. Are there boundaries that need to be set? Sometimes there are clear lines that need to be drawn by one or both parties for the wellbeing of all involved.
Lastly, are there relationships that you have or can establish to help fill some of the gaps where relationships do not exist or are not healthy? Just because you can not have a relationship with the person you want, does not mean that you can not have the need met through another relationship. I was blessed that when my grandparents and paternal family stepped out of my life, my husband’s family filled the void left. They were an amazing support to me and took me in even before I was officially part of the family as one of their own.
Restoration in a relationship should have a boundary of safety. There are times that this can occur under certain circumstances – like clear boundaries in a public area or under the direct supervision of another person who has the ability and willingness to intervene if needed.
Broken relationships can take a toll on the soul. Some relationships do not need to be restored. Other relationships need to be evaluated. Sometimes conversations need to be had and boundaries be put into place for healing to occur. When relationship needs are not met by those who should fill the roles, it is possible to have others step in and meet the needs. Broken relationships happen to us all, only we can decide how we fill the gaps those relationships leave, can we heal them or do we move on and heal ourselves.
This blog post is inspired by Anita Ojeda and the #Write28Days Challenge. The challenge is to write 28 days in February. For more posts on this topic go to Broken Vessel.