Tony Robbins - How to Rebuild a Broken Relationship - Tony Robbins Relationships
How to Rebuild the Relationship with Your Dad After a Remarriage
Major family changes can be extremely difficult, especially when they involve your parents. If your dad has recently remarried, this can be particularly difficult for you. However, you can rebuild your relationship if you work to overcome your issues, have conversations, and create a new, stronger bond.
Overcoming the Rift
Evaluate what you want.Before you try to mend your relationship with your father, decide whether you truly want to overcome what came between you. If you feel you dad was abusive or neglectful to you after finding his new partner, you may decide you do not want a relationship with him.
- No matter what happened between you and your dad, only you can decide what is right for you. There is no wrong answer so long as you know do what is best for your long-term emotional health.
Let go of self blame.Many times when parents divorce or split up, children often feel that they are partially to blame for the separation. Though having children can make a marriage undergo changes, you are never at fault for problems between your parents. Children are, in fact, typically the reason many couples on the brink of divorce often choose to stay together.
Talk to people you trust.You may have negative feelings for your father after he has remarried or perhaps you just feel uncomfortable about the situation in general. Regardless, it can be especially difficult if you are dealing with it alone. Reach out to people you trust and can lean on for support during this difficult and strange time. Siblings, if you have them, can be particularly helpful as they have the best and closest insight into how you are feeling.
- Perhaps your sibling has found a way to make peace with these recent changes. Ask them for advice on how to adjust your perspective. You might say to them “Mom and dad not being together anymore is already difficult enough for me, but with dad remarrying, it almost feels like too much. I feel pretty upset about it. How are you feeling?”
- If you don’t have siblings, reach out to other relatives or to your close friends. Mentors can be helpful, as well.
Don’t judge.Remember, that though your parents are older and hopefully wiser, they are humans, too with feelings and emotions just like you. Perhaps you feel that your father rushed into this marriage or that he hurt your mom in some way. You must, however, refrain from judging your dad for his actions. Passing judgement will only deepen the rift between the two of you.
- Your father likely knows some bad things that you have done or things he has not agreed with. Think about how he handled those things. If he still loved you and didn’t shun you, work to reciprocate that with him.
Be patient.You may feel very hurt and upset with your father and these feelings will not go away overnight. Be patient with yourself and don’t expect to wake up one day and feel completely okay with this new family dynamic. Give yourself some space to deal with these feelings.
- Be patient with your father, too. He has entered into a relationship that is new for him and he wants to enjoy it, but also maintain his relationship with you.
Forgive him.Your dad, though he has done something to upset you, is still your dad. In order to move forward and rebuild your relationship, you must forgive him for whatever wrong you feel that he has done to your or your family. Forgiving your dad is the first step in reconnecting with him. The four steps of forgiveness are: think about why you’re hurt, acknowledging how it changed you, think about why your dad has remarried, and decide if you want to tell your dad you forgive him.
- Remember that forgiveness is more for you than for him. Carrying around anger is harmful to your own emotional health. Once you let go of that, your life will improve and you will feel greater happiness.
- Forgiveness doesn’t meant that your feelings will immediately change about the situation; only time can change that.
Try for some empathy.Realize that your dad has gone through some pretty big changes in his life, just like you have. Whether he lost your mom to death or divorce, he has had to make some big adjustments. He probably won't seem like "the same guy" to you at first, but he’s still your dad.
- You may feel that your dad is different now and this could be true. Consider whether your dad is different in a negative way or if he is just responding appropriately and normally to his newfound happiness.
- Remember also that everyone needs someone, even if your dad no longer feels that that person is your mom. If your mom and dad are divorced, there is still time and hope for her to meet someone new and find happiness again, as well.
Having a Conversation
Set aside time to talk.Once you have assessed your feelings, reach out to your father and set aside some time to have a conversation with him. You can either call or text him to let him know that you’d like to meet soon to chat about your relationship and moving forward.
- You can begin the conversation by saying “Hey dad, I know our relationship lately has not been the best, but I was hoping we could get together soon to talk?”
- Meet in a quiet place where the two of you can talk. If you don’t feel comfortable going to his home, try a park or quiet restaurant.
Be honest.One of the biggest mistakes people make when discussing serious topics is holding back their true emotions to either end the talk quicker or to avoid discomfort for the person they are talking to. Though these may be helpful in the moment, in the long run, they are detrimental and they only serve to silence your emotions. Be very honest with your father about how you feel, the concerns you have, and any lingering issues. It may seem stressful in the moment, but you will feel better if you get your feelings out.
- Remember that your father cannot make you feel better or improve your relationship unless he knows how you feel. Being open and honest is the only way to start rebuilding trust.
Express your needs clearly.Perhaps you feel that since your dad has remarried, that you are no longer important or a priority to him. Though this is probably not true, it does not negate that you feel that way. Tell your father exactly what you need from him in order to feel happy, secure and loved.
- You might say something like “Dad, I know you are married now and have to spend a lot of time with your new wife and I get that. But I need you, too. I miss spending time with you and I would like to be able to see you at least a few times a week and go to the movies like we used to.”
- Remember that, though your dad knows you, he cannot read your mind. Tell him what you need from him and then be patient and give him room to deliver on those expectations.
Have realistic expectations.While it is important for you to explain what you need, remember to be reasonable. If you set impossible standards, your dad will always disappoint you and your relationship will never be fixed. Start by trying to navigating small expectations before moving onto larger ones, and always be honest with yourself about what you need and what you can do without.
- For instance, it’s realistic to expect your dad to call you every day or every other day, but perhaps unrealistic to expect calls constantly throughout the day, especially if he’s working.
- Talk to your father about your expectations. His may differ from yours, and it is important to seek compromise so that you both get what you need from the relationship.
Seek family counseling, if necessary.Sometimes, situations can feel too painful for us to repair through having a conversation. Perhaps your father betrayed your mother or was abusive and you are having a difficult time dealing with that coupled with his new marriage. Sometimes, you may feel that you need a little more guidance, clarity or support. Consider consulting a therapist to help you talk through your problems.
Building a New Bond
Hold on to good memories.Though things may feel rocky right now despite having forgiven your father and spoken to him, you have to remember all of the wonderful times that you’ve enjoyed with him. Though this new marriage is huge and definitely impacts your life, don’t forget about all of the thousands of others ways that he has impacted your life and made it all the better.
- Get out the photo albums and take some time to look at them with your dad.
Do things you both enjoy.Once you have gotten the difficult conversation out of the way, it’s now time to move to a more positive and joyful dynamic. Take some time to think about all of the fun things you and your dad used to do, no matter how simple, and invite him to do those things with you. This will help the two of you reconnect while having fun together.
- If you and your dad used to go to the beach a lot, as him to go with you to catch some rays or ride some waves.
- You might even do something like play board games together.
Try to get along with his new spouse.Though this may be the most difficult part of the process, it is inevitable. Your father’s new spouse is an important part of his life and the better your relationship with them, the better and the easier the relationship you’ll have with your father.
- Ask your dad if you can tag along with them sometimes if they’re going to lunch or to the park.
- See if you can spend some time with your dad’s spouse alone, just the two of you. Having a talk with them could be helpful for you and you might like them more than you expect!
- Remember that liking your dad’s new spouse is not an insult to your mother; it is a show of love to your father, and is an important part of healing your relationship.
Set up regular times to see each other.If your father and mother were married and recently got divorced and you now live with your mother, you might feel that you miss seeing your dad regularly. This may be the main cause of your frustration with him. Talk to him about setting up regular visits between the two of you so you don’t miss out on that crucial time with him.
- Perhaps you can even start a new tradition together like always watching a movie together on Sundays.
- In most cases, estrangement is not the child's fault. If your dad doesn't show up when he is supposed to, cancels plans without good reason, or is otherwise undependable or flaky, please recognize that this is a symptom of his own lack of maturity, not your lovability.
- Don't get angry or abusive - that never solves any problems.
- Unless abuse is present, don't ever give up. A dad who seems unable to bond with a small child might deal better when the child is older. Even if 18 years pass with a dad who doesn't seem very fatherly, your dad might become a decent friend to have as an adult.
- Consider the other people's point of view when looking at the situation.
Video: Rebuilding Trust In Your Relationship After It’s Been Broken
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