Most estrangements I hear about are not symmetrical.
The adult child maintains silence, either partial or total, while the parent reaches out regularly, trying to keep some connection alive.
It’s very one-sided.
I often hear, especially from parents of 20-somethings who’ve disappeared on them, “But it’s been a year. How long can this continue?”
It may be a year since the child spoke to the parent. But when I question the parent closely about their attempts at contact, it turns out it’s only been a matter of weeks since the parent sent a text, an email, a birthday card, or regards through a third party, to the child.
Just because it’s been a year (or two, or three) for you, doesn’t mean it’s been that long for your child. If they heard from you a couple of months ago, as far as they’re concerned, you’re still present in their lives.
Every time you contact your child who indicated a desire for distance, the clock resets to zero. That means if your child needs a full year of no-contact to find him- or herself, they haven’t had it yet.
When is the last time you reached out to your child? That’s how long the estrangement has been.
If they ask for no contact, you’ve been given the simplest (but possibly the most painful) set of instructions in the world: No contact.
That’s your winning strategy for the soonest possible reconciliation.
While you wait, you might want to educate yourself on how to make effective repairs by reading Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child.
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