How I Reconnected With My Family After 8 Long Years

This is a very personal post about how I reconnected with my family after 8 long years.

How I reconnected with my family after 8 long years - So Much Better With Age

Today I’m sharing with you an update on recent life events and something that I thought would never happen – reconnecting with my family after eight long years.

A year and a half ago I wrote a very personal post that set off an incredible series of events in my life, none of which were planned.

I could never have dreamed what would have happened for speaking my truth.

It’s amazing what can happen when you listen to your gut and do what’s right for you.

I’m going to share with you how I reconnected with my family after eight long years of separation and how you can too.

The living room with a crock and a galvanized basket on the side table.

For years I felt stifled and not able to speak about my past. I hid my past and listened to people that said to lie about it. It made me feel awful, ashamed. It should have been a red flag to not have people like that in my life and I now know differently. I buried a piece of myself and gave my control over to people that didn’t deserve it. I allowed them to control my life.

The thing was I was starving for love. I felt unloved, I felt not good enough and by accepting someone else’s version of what they thought of me, I bought into that version too.

Wanting To Be Loved And Not Good Enough

One major reason for not feeling loved or good enough was from many aspects of my life but a major component was not having my family in my life. After leaving that religion and, of course, not having my family, I literally had no one. It took great courage to leave a life that I didn’t think was right for me. That religion forms an incredibly tight knit community but if or when you ever decide you want to leave you have nothing. That is the whole basis of their teachings, the reason that they don’t want you to hang out with people outside the religion, so you stay within their confines basically. I’ve had numerous emails asking how I left that religion and the simplest answer is that I just left and didn’t go back. It’s incredibly hard but you get to start your own life over again and decide what you want it to look like.

For the last eight years I haven’t been in touch with my family. Before that it was always on and off for years. I just stopped calling them but they didn’t reach out to me either. There were insurmountable problems and resentment built on both ends and time has a way of just passing by. After awhile it just becomes a way of life I guess. I made my own family with close friends but I had high expectations for those friends which wasn’t fair to them. Because of the emptiness I felt, I made bad decisions in who I let in my life – people that were overbearing, controlling and demanding. For a people-pleasing person such as myself, I just wanted people to like me but I felt like I was failing. I could justify not having my family in my life in 1001 different ways. I saw therapists for years. I saw a great adoption therapist who dealt with the adoption issues I had but other therapists couldn’t get me to work out my family problems. Some even agreed with my stance. I just couldn’t see how any of these major problems could be overcome.

For the last year I’ve been going through a divorce. My best friend recommended we try Landmark Forum. I’ve heard of it before but because I saw a therapist I didn’t think it was necessary. So I signed up and thought it was a great course until day 2 when the part of ‘families’ came up. I was so mad she recommended it to me knowing I’d have to deal with my situation head on. But today I thank her because if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have them in my life now.

Landmark Forum can come off as very sales-y. They really believe in their program because it really does work. So if you go in with an open mind and really go for it, you don’t have anything to lose.

And that was where I was at that point in my life. Desperate for a change. I was stuck. The same problems kept reappearing in my life over and over again. And they were going to keep repeating if I didn’t fix the problems with my family.

Many self-help books say the same thing…if you don’t fix the problems or unresolved issues in your life with your family, they will keep playing out in your life with your partner. It’s just the way we were designed.

It doesn’t mean that you have to have your family back in your life, if you are in a similar situation, but you need to make amends. After that it’s up to you to decide. But forgiveness and acceptance are the biggest factors. Landmark Forum is like an intense form of therapy in one weekend so you can get the same results with therapy or self-help books but within a much quicker timeframe and also a more direct way. Honestly, the biggest eye opener for me was that I just never accepting of my family for the way they are.

I’m by no means a therapist. All I can do is learn from each and every thing I do and see the gifts each mistake presents to me. If I don’t learn from it, it will show up in life again.

It’s sad I didn’t see the gifts that were in my family before. My mom and sister are extremely creative, they both have a super cool sixth sense (like a super hero power!) and have many other outstanding gifts. I learned all my DIY skills from my dad. He could fix anything around the house and farm. I hope he can still teach me to weld (how cool would that be?!).

A photo of Jamie and her Dad standing in a field.

If I had a reset button on life, that would be awesome. I’m sure we all do at times. But it doesn’t exist. And I’m convinced this is the way my life was just supposed to go. The hard way? Yes. But at the very least I can share my stories with you so you won’t take eight long years to reconnect with one of your loved ones.

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33 Comments

  1. Thank you for your story. My question is, how have you reconnected with your family? Are you spending time with them again or is it just forgiving them, realizing their gifts and accepting/appreciating them for who they are? Do you think “leaving” them was easier because of your adoption? Besides being a little weird, your family seemed like loving people… certainly in no way abusive or toxic. I’m not judging, just curious. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kay,
      Yes, I’m appreciating & accepting them, forgiving them and realizing my part in it. Basically Landmark Forum talks about new ways of listening and talking to your family, but you can gain the same in one on one counselling today. I think it might have been easier because I was adopted, good question.
      Hugs, Jamie

      1. Thank you Jamie. I’m in a similar situation. Maybe the next step (after acceptance), will be actually speaking with them again. For me, that’s the hardest part.. I’ve done the “self work” and now accept/appreciate my family, as well as my culpability but haven’t yet bought myself to speak with them.

  2. This is a wonderful post, and it really touched home with me. I also reconnected with family after 8 long years and it was the best decision I ever made. Throughout our lives, sometimes we are given the long road, and sometimes the easy trail – either way there are life lessons to be learned, and usually we are better persons for having lived through it all. So happy to read that you found what has been missing and that you will make many wonderful memories with your family.

    1. Thank you so much, Liz! The same amount of years too? That’s crazy. Thank you for sharing and I agree. We learn so much going through the long road 😉
      Hugs, Jamie

  3. hey girl – I’m so glad for you! God has blessed you so much! He has made everything beautiful! He blesses us every day! Love ya !!

  4. So happy that you’ve reconnected. In the end, all that is priceless is your family. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this we us Jamie! I love your openness, your honesty, and your bravery for writing this. I can tell this was really from the heart and I’m betting it was not very easy to write.

    I’m so happy that you have reconnected with you family and are taking such massive steps in your life for positive change. I can’t think of anything harder. Please continue to inform us readers as the inspiration you provide is amazing. I think I can speak for many when I say that we are along for the ride and we truly care. We can probably all relate in some way and when you share, you inspire, you encourage, and you help.

    XO

  6. I am SO happy for you! The effort you were putting into maintaining distance from your family can now be applied to your own life, making it the best for you. With your resources and intelligence, you are bound to be successful.

    Happy journey!

    Mary Lee

  7. You are a brave honest woman to talk about this so openly, Jamie, and your intelligence shines through.
    I,m so happy things are working out for you.

    Can,t wait to watch as you decorate your new house.
    Lynne from Australia x

  8. Beautifully written, Jamie. This post can provide such comfort to others who are suffering from the same problem. I know how much of a struggle the past year has been for you. I’m glad that something good came out of everything for you and that your life is starting to see some light of hope.

  9. Jamie,
    I just read your story. Thank you for sharing so honestly. Your vulnerability is sunray of warmth on my face! I feel like we would be friends. At 49, I have been on my healing and recovery journey for 3 years. I married my HS sweetheart and the hidden secrets of addiction, abuse, and just all around dysfunction in my extended family kept us confused and struggling. Mix a legalistic view of religion (instead of relationship with a Savior) and it makes a real big dose of crazy! The freedom and release from my prison of shame and guilt is life altering. Today i recognize I am not a bad person, that I’m actually a gifted, intelligent, kind and loving person who has a few weaknesses. You sound like a devoted, loving momma. It takes work and being intentional, but being connected and emotionally attached to your children makes a difference in their lives… and is a healthy component to growing into a mature adult! Today I have an 18 and 20 year old, and we are in the repair and rebuild stage. I’m so thankful to have better tools and skills today. I hope to hear more of your story in the future….you are an inspiration to me.

    Warm hugs from Texas

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment and thank you for sharing your story! We’re always learning and growing and trying to live the best life possible, right? Thanks again.
      Hugs, Jamie

  10. Hi Jamie,
    I just found your blog thru city farmhouse and instantly started checking it out. I stumbled upon this post and taken aback by certain similarities in our pasts and issues we have both with as a result. I, too was adopted and do not have a relationship with my adopted and a slight relationship with my birth family. I know what it is like living life alone, with no family. I hope you find peace and move forward with courage and integrity. You spoke of making many mistakes and you must remember we all make mistakes, do not let them define you! Learn and move forward. Best wishes!

  11. Thank You for being so transparent, I have experienced some what similar feelings and being separate from my family I have always felt like and outsider looking in except I was not adopted. Then during the separation building my relationship with Jesus and now rebuilding with my mom and sisters, during that time I have learned that friends have become family. The hardest times for me were Thanksgiving and Christmas only because I grew up with big holiday dinners now its and has been just me and my children for the longest time. sometimes we would be with friends , I have not spent it my mom since my youngest daughter who is going to be 30 this coming Oct. was 2. They have never come to be with us, I would go to their place but I don’t ever have the finances to do that and I have never been invited either. Though I have asked my mom., Now my children are Adults and I enjoy talking with them and Just Enjoy the Days. Sorry I rambled.

    1. Hi Pamela, it’s hard when families are like this. It’s taken me many years to know how to navigate it all. I think because I’m adopted it’s been a sore spot for me but I realize this is so common among so many families. I keep having problems with relationships in my life (specifically men/husbands) because these family problems weren’t resolved. I was done contacting and working things out with them but they also didn’t make the effort so nothing happened for years. I always feel like it’s me that has to be the one to make all the efforts…efforts with family and efforts with my marriages and now efforts with my ex. Why is it always me that has to make the effort? But what I’ve come to realize through therapy is that I’m the only one who can make a difference. I cannot control what other people do. If they want to do whatever they want, that’s on them. But I make the effort because I have a choice to. It’s not always easy and it feels like the world is always left for me to do the work but I sleep better at night. I’ve also learned that just because someone is our parent, that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily doing the parent/right thing to do. Okay, now I’m rambling!! Sorry it took me awhile to respond. I always like to think about my response when it comes to these personal posts.
      Hugs to you & have a great weekend.
      Jamie

  12. I’m new to your blog thus my reason for a rather late response.

    I am very happy you connected again with your family. Yes, forgiveness and accepting your family the way they are is crucial. However…. the reconciliation is a two-way street. If one “side” doesn’t want to reconnect, it’s difficult for the family to become one again. I know this because of my own brother’s family and our siblings and parents. Due to many circumstances, my brother and his family left 24 years ago (physically and emotionally) only to temporarily reconnect this past year at our dad’s funeral. He came willingly….there was a temporary acceptance by my sisters & mom but sadly, after all the hoopla of a funeral and 6 months later the scattering of the ashes, they all continued to shun him. (sigh)

    How do I personally deal with this? Well, there was a time about 15 years ago I told myself I could not live without my brother and his family. I HAD to reconnect at any cost. It took time, patience and prayer but once all the pleces were in place, we were together again and thankfully we were starting anew with a new -found love. And since his family grew in those 24 years (from just his wife and 3 kids to inlaws and grandkids) we had a whole new bunch of family members to get to know. 🙂

    You’d think it is all rosy now. Sadly not…In the past several years my spouse and I have been shunned by my sisters and mom because they feel “it’s him or us” meaning our brother or them. I’ve made it clear that I will not give up any of them and we are not “taking sides”.

    Will a complete and total family reconciliation ever occur? Who knows…… There is a time line with things that will have to take place along the way….but it is not our time, but God’s. He has the story already written. All we have to do is be open to listening to and trying to work The Plan 🙂

  13. Thank you for sharing your story. That takes courage. My family put the D in dysfunctional. I’m the baby so there’s just a few of us left. My other two sisters are in the depths of their addictions. I honestly don’t know how their bodies don’t fail them. But each of them lost a child to difficult circumstances so I stay out of it and let them have their grief. It just breaks my heart though. 😭. I’m so happy that you’ve found your way back to your family!😁. Spend as much time as you can with them, because life flies by quick and in a hurry! Thank you for sharing. Best wishes!
    Shelia

    1. Thanks Sheila for sharing your story. Everyone has difficulties to deal with and it’s so nice to be able to share with others. Every little bit helps. Wish you all the best!
      Hugs, Jamie

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