You're not even on Facebook friend level
April 22, 2012 9:10 AM Subscribe
How to respond to out-of-the-blue "reconnecting" attempts from estranged family?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Long story short, I have 2 family members from whom I have been estranged for about 10 years (since I was a teenager) - no contact at all.
Person #1 is estranged because of very specific actions that hurt me and my immediate family, emotionally and financially. I am still angry about this and usually do not want to reconcile, even now. Person #2 is someone that I bear less direct ill will towards, but also just never cultivated a relationship with as a child/teenager and I must admit I have little interest in trying to start one now.
Within the space of 24 hours, I received friend requests on Facebook from both of them. No prior contact - this is the first contact at all I have gotten in over ten years. My Facebook is set so that either of them could message me without being friended first, but neither did. Neither of them know my direct contact information, but they both know my parents' contact info and could have asked about me that way. Since the requests were so back-to-back I am sure they must have communicated about it somehow.
I am mostly angry at Person #1 - I feel really offended that they would just glibly try to friend me as if we could just brush off the past. I don't want to post all the details but this person deeply hurt me and my family. I have a draft of a letter I have written over several years saved, and I feel vindictive, but part of me really wants to send it in response and unload exactly what I think of this person. I could maybe reconcile someday if I thought they were truly sorry for what they did, but the last time we spoke (admittedly ten years ago) they acted much the same - as if we could just start fresh without addressing our MAJOR past issues.
Person #2 I am not so angry at, but still puzzled why their first contact in forever would be a friend request, not even an initial expression of sorrow that we have essentially no relationship.
I don't know how to respond or if I even want to. I guess my options are:
1) Reject the friend requests, complete silence
2) Send them a short message asking why they want to be my 'friend' after all these years, and see what they say;
3) send longer messages to them, telling Person #1 why I am still hurt and angry and need a better discussion than
just a "let's be friends" restart;
4) Give Person #2 very generic info about my life, and tell them I wish them well but have no desire to build a relationship at this time
I worry that I only want to do #2 or 3 out of vindictiveness, but I also feel like this might be my only opportunity to respond to them directly. I've never sent my letter to Person #1 because I felt like it would definitely be vindictive to send out of nowhere, and I didn't want to break the no-contact zone myself.
Please help me decide what to do, if you have had similar experiences. Are there other options? Did it make you feel better to tell your estranged friends/family how angry or hurt you still are? Or is it not worth even speaking until/unless I am ready to forgive and forget?
My goal with Person #1 is not necessarily to just say "I hate you because of all this stuff", but more like "I cannot reconcile at all with you unless I know you are deeply remorseful for your actions, and even then I can't just start over like it didn't happen. I can never guarantee that I will have a happy back-to-normal reconciliation with you so you need to be willing to accept that".