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seeking33

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A long time ago, a huge fight erupted in our family, causing a certain family member to leave and cut off all communication with us. They insisted that they wanted nothing to do with my side of the family. I was little when it happened and I don't understand why they never wanted anything to do with me personally. Not even so much as a phone call or letter in the mail for me all these years...it seems a grudge is being held against us indefinately.

Recently, we attempted to contact said family member and sent them a letter and a birthday card. We explained that we were sorry for any part we played in the fight, we had totally forgiven them, it had been such a long time since we had spoken and would like to make contact. Well, after that, we recieved a letter from this person stating that they never want to have anything to do with me or other family members ever again. There was absolutely no hope for a relationship. Basically, they wanted to be left alone. It seems they refuse to move on.

We were heartbroken by this response, seeing that it's been literally decades since the fight happened. I think it's rediculous to be that angry and hold a grudge against someone for so long. I was very little when my family broke apart and can't understand why this person hates me. I can't understand what would motivate them to harbor such hate and anger for so long at other relatives, too.

We made the first move to reconcile things but it looks like we're getting nowhere. Is there anything else we can do at this point?
 

seeking33

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Messages
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A long time ago, a huge fight erupted in our family, causing a certain family member to leave and cut off all communication with us. They insisted that they wanted nothing to do with my side of the family. I was little when it happened and I don't understand why they never wanted anything to do with me personally. Not even so much as a phone call or letter in the mail for me all these years...it seems a grudge is being held against us indefinately.

Recently, we attempted to contact said family member and sent them a letter and a birthday card. We explained that we were sorry for any part we played in the fight, we had totally forgiven them, it had been such a long time since we had spoken and would like to make contact. Well, after that, we recieved a letter from this person stating that they never want to have anything to do with me or other family members ever again. There was absolutely no hope for a relationship. Basically, they wanted to be left alone. It seems they refuse to move on.

We were heartbroken by this response, seeing that it's been literally decades since the fight happened. I think it's rediculous to be that angry and hold a grudge against someone for so long. I was very little when my family broke apart and can't understand why this person hates me. I can't understand what would motivate them to harbor such hate and anger for so long at other relatives, too.

We made the first move to reconcile things but it looks like we're getting nowhere. Is there anything else we can do at this point?
 
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I don't think there's much else you can do. You have reached out and tried, but it sounds like they aren't interested. It is sad, but maybe the hurt of what happened was too great for them and this is the best way they know how to deal with it. Lots of times what seems like a grudge or hate and anger is really deep pain. Maybe they'll change their mind someday, maybe not. It sounds like you're completely innocent in all of it and that is really tragic. I guess I would just try my best to let go.
 
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I don't think there's much else you can do. You have reached out and tried, but it sounds like they aren't interested. It is sad, but maybe the hurt of what happened was too great for them and this is the best way they know how to deal with it. Lots of times what seems like a grudge or hate and anger is really deep pain. Maybe they'll change their mind someday, maybe not. It sounds like you're completely innocent in all of it and that is really tragic. I guess I would just try my best to let go.
 

ThatLady

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Janet has good advice. You gave it your best shot, but the other party isn't interested in reconciliation. For whatever reason, they'd prefer to nurse the old angers. That's their choice. Your best choice is to put it behind you and move on with your life.
 

ThatLady

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Janet has good advice. You gave it your best shot, but the other party isn't interested in reconciliation. For whatever reason, they'd prefer to nurse the old angers. That's their choice. Your best choice is to put it behind you and move on with your life.
 

Retired

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What motivates some members of families to hold grudges for long periods of time? Is it more noticeable in family relationships because if the same situation occurs between "acquaintances" the ties are easier to break?

Do family members nurture these feelings to elicit feelings of guilt from the other party? Does this have to do with power??
 

Retired

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What motivates some members of families to hold grudges for long periods of time? Is it more noticeable in family relationships because if the same situation occurs between "acquaintances" the ties are easier to break?

Do family members nurture these feelings to elicit feelings of guilt from the other party? Does this have to do with power??
 

seeking33

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TSOW said:
What motivates some members of families to hold grudges for long periods of time? Is it more noticeable in family relationships because if the same situation occurs between "acquaintances" the ties are easier to break?

Do family members nurture these feelings to elicit feelings of guilt from the other party? Does this have to do with power??

I think the relative involved is holding a grudge because they've had anger management issues in the past, and we have rarely seen them express emotions other than anger. Maybe being angry and holding grudges against people is the only coping method they know.
 

seeking33

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Messages
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TSOW said:
What motivates some members of families to hold grudges for long periods of time? Is it more noticeable in family relationships because if the same situation occurs between "acquaintances" the ties are easier to break?

Do family members nurture these feelings to elicit feelings of guilt from the other party? Does this have to do with power??

I think the relative involved is holding a grudge because they've had anger management issues in the past, and we have rarely seen them express emotions other than anger. Maybe being angry and holding grudges against people is the only coping method they know.
 

ThatLady

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There are a lot of things that can cause an estranged family member to hold a grudge and refuse contact. Among them are jealousy, embarrassment, shame, feelings of inferiority...gosh, the list goes on and on. Their coping skills aren't well defined, and they know no other way of preventing themselves from, possibly, being hurt again.

I do think these things are more painful when they occur in families, or very close friendships, than in simple acquaintances, for the reason you mentioned.
 

ThatLady

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There are a lot of things that can cause an estranged family member to hold a grudge and refuse contact. Among them are jealousy, embarrassment, shame, feelings of inferiority...gosh, the list goes on and on. Their coping skills aren't well defined, and they know no other way of preventing themselves from, possibly, being hurt again.

I do think these things are more painful when they occur in families, or very close friendships, than in simple acquaintances, for the reason you mentioned.
 

Philos

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I think that there is a distinction between estrangement coming out of some particular disagreement in a family and estrangement coming from much deeper, ongoing, psychological tensions.

If there has been abuse, physical or psychological, and a dynamic of torment which has never improved, along with denial of this abuse by other family members, I have every sympathy with a person who chooses to 'go away'.

Complete estrangement is never undertaken lightly IMHO and is a hard and cold road for anyone who takes it. I have read a good deal about family reconciliation, from all sorts of sources, but found only one quote in direct support of my own view. It was a Jewish rabbi, who said, "Sometimes estrangement is necessary, as the alternative is just too destructive."

I know of a couple of people who have chosen estrangement, as I have. I guess the only thing I can say for myself is that a day of estrangement is a day without humiliation.

Philos

PS - My own strategy of estrangement was to maintain minimal formal contact, enough just to satisfy appearances, with no intimacy. I would call it the estrangement of distant politeness.
 

Philos

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I think that there is a distinction between estrangement coming out of some particular disagreement in a family and estrangement coming from much deeper, ongoing, psychological tensions.

If there has been abuse, physical or psychological, and a dynamic of torment which has never improved, along with denial of this abuse by other family members, I have every sympathy with a person who chooses to 'go away'.

Complete estrangement is never undertaken lightly IMHO and is a hard and cold road for anyone who takes it. I have read a good deal about family reconciliation, from all sorts of sources, but found only one quote in direct support of my own view. It was a Jewish rabbi, who said, "Sometimes estrangement is necessary, as the alternative is just too destructive."

I know of a couple of people who have chosen estrangement, as I have. I guess the only thing I can say for myself is that a day of estrangement is a day without humiliation.

Philos

PS - My own strategy of estrangement was to maintain minimal formal contact, enough just to satisfy appearances, with no intimacy. I would call it the estrangement of distant politeness.
 

ThatLady

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I'd agree with you, Philos, under certain conditions...abuse being one of them. However, I didn't get the feeling from Seeking's post that abuse was the case here. I was under the impression that Seeking was talking about a heated disagreement amongst family members that has been held long beyond its usefulness by some members.

In the case of ongoing abuse, sometimes the choice to estrange oneself from such activitity is the best choice.
 

ThatLady

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I'd agree with you, Philos, under certain conditions...abuse being one of them. However, I didn't get the feeling from Seeking's post that abuse was the case here. I was under the impression that Seeking was talking about a heated disagreement amongst family members that has been held long beyond its usefulness by some members.

In the case of ongoing abuse, sometimes the choice to estrange oneself from such activitity is the best choice.
 

Heather

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Sometimes people just don't want to be helped etc... like that sorry it is like that for you, I have a similiar story in my family and I was also a child so can relate a little and it sucks.

Heather...

P.S. I have left mine at this stage hope to try again later...
 

Heather

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Sometimes people just don't want to be helped etc... like that sorry it is like that for you, I have a similiar story in my family and I was also a child so can relate a little and it sucks.

Heather...

P.S. I have left mine at this stage hope to try again later...
 

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