Family members lose contact for a variety of reasons: Neglect or abuse can cause a child to cut off a parent. Divorce may pit not only parents against each other but also siblings. And some children simply grow up without one or both parents.
“It’s okay to cut ties, and it doesn’t make you a bad person,” said Susan Finley, faculty member at OnlinePsychology@Pepperdine, the online Master of Arts in Psychology at Pepperdine University. “It may be temporary. It’s not [always] a permanent decision.”
In the digital age, being able to reconnect with an estranged or lost family member may be easier than ever. Still, there is a substantial amount of emotional baggage that can come with the act of reaching out and beginning to rebuild a relationship.
What can people do to prepare for a meaningful reconnection? And how do they cope if that reconnection doesn’t turn into reconciliation?