More and more resources are popping up these days, offering support for people suffering from family estrangement.
This is certainly a good thing; my great-grandparents had no help at all in repairing their relationship with their daughter, my grandmother — and so tragically, they never did. My mom grew up without knowing her grandparents.
I like to believe they could have headed off a lifelong estrangement with the knowledge and support that exist for parents today.
However, many emerging resources are not free, and may create a financial burden for people who could really use assistance.
Here are some ideas for getting the help you need and deserve, without spending a lot of money.
1. Visit your local library. There are more and more books coming out on estrangement by qualified academics, researchers, and mental health professionals. Your library can order a copy of Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child if they don’t already have one.
2. Start your own support group. Make and enforce ground rules to protect the discussion and keep it constructive, rather than allowing a downward slide into communal despair and powerlessness.
Inside the Reconnection Club, although all of our members are parents, our forum guidelines require compassion for everyone, including estranged adult children. You might want to write down and share the mission and values for your group. (These are ours.)
3. Stay informed about free and low-cost resources. If you’re on the RC mailing list, we’ll keep you apprised of resources we know of that are both free and valuable.
4. If you have trauma, prioritize trauma treatment. It can be difficult for anyone to make relationship repairs. But what’s needed for repair may be asking too much of someone from whom too much has already been taken.
Listen to the Trauma Chat podcast and do some gentle exploration while you save for trauma-focused treatment if appropriate.
5. Use our road map. Listen to the 3-part road map episodes of the RC Podcast and use them as a blueprint for your own reconnection campaign. The internet is full of free information if you know how to hone it into a plan.
6. Host a book group. Choose a book you want to really delve into and advertise a discussion. Some people feel more comfortable joining a book discussion than a group that’s less structured. But the right book is a launching pad for meaningful dialogue.
I hope you find these money-saving ideas helpful. If I missed something, or if you have an idea to share, please let me know.
– Tina Gilbertson
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