What I Really Regret That You Haven't Told Me About Her Family

I wrote this letter to lớn my extended family years after I chose lớn become estranged from my parents because many of them cut me out of their lives instead of reaching out to hear my side of the story.

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It pains me that I have lost liên hệ with some of them because they refuse to see the full picture, and at times I feel as though I have lost a part of myself. Yet, at the same time, I am free.

The letter you are about khổng lồ read comes from a place of acceptance và longing. I have chosen to nói qua this letter publicly because I suspect I’m not alone in what I have been through, và I hope my experience can be helpful to others in some small way.

I never meant for you to get hurt or caught in the crossfire. I never meant to place you in a situation where you found yourself questioning your loyalties and what you thought was true.

From the outside you saw a happy home. You saw a child receiving educational opportunities and the latest technology, fashion, and trips around the world, & having birthday parties with friends và family.

You saw pictures of vacations & holidays where everyone was smiling và appeared lớn be happy. You read the Christmas cards and e-mail updates describing family vacations, accomplishments, & happy memories.

You read about my sister getting sick, and you believed the beautiful story of a family coming together to overcome this adversity.

At a family gathering you watched as my parents presented me with a gift before I went away to lớn university. They acted so proud, and you found yourself thinking “What kind & loving parents.”

Then, without warning, you found out that I was not speaking to my parents & they were not even invited to my upcoming wedding.

Maybe you thought about reaching out khổng lồ me khổng lồ hear my side of the story, but you didn’t. Instead, you contacted them and you believed their story.

You began khổng lồ think that I was nothing more than a rude, entitled, spoiled brat who had decided that she didn’t need her family anymore và didn’t want to help her sister with her ongoing health problems because she was marrying into a “better family.”

If you did contact me, you tried khổng lồ convince me khổng lồ change my mind. You didn’t listen lớn me and you became frustrated. You declined my wedding invitation và sent me a pity gift out of duty, or you chose not to lớn respond at all.

The years passed, & when another family thành viên mentioned my name, you either said nothing or asked if I had “grown up & started speaking khổng lồ my parents again.” Or, you questioned why they would want lớn continue khổng lồ have a relationship with me.

What you don’t realize is that I tried. Behind the family gatherings you attended, the pictures you saw, and the stories you heard, a very different picture was being painted. I kept quiet about this picture, và I even helped khổng lồ paint it out of fear and shame.

At times, I desperately wanted to believe that this picture was true. I tried khổng lồ convince myself that it was, but I have learned that you can only endure pain and abuse for so long before you either give into it, surrendering yourself in the process, or fight to lớn break free.

After I left for university, I began to change how I saw the picture và I began lớn accept it for what it was, not what I so desperately wanted it to be.

I reached out khổng lồ my parents many times, I invited them khổng lồ come and visit me, & I suggested activities that we would all enjoy together. I came trang chủ for holidays và tried khổng lồ connect with them. I bought them gifts and tried to fill my old role within the family.

Each time I reached out I was rejected; they made excuses as khổng lồ why they couldn’t come & why they didn’t have more time to spend with me over holidays, & they continued to lớn find ways to lớn tear me down. The pain of this rejection ate away and my sense of self-worth, & I started khổng lồ question why anyone would love or take a genuine interest in me.

I invited them lớn award ceremonies và concerts, & while they appeared lớn express pride over these accomplishments, the story they told me was the same as it had always been:

“You will never amount to lớn anything. You are going khổng lồ come lớn a sad end. They only gave you that award out of pity. You only accomplished that by luck. If you had worked harder you could have gotten first place. You are never going to lớn have a successful career—that’s just a pipe dream.”

I never told you about these comments or how they tore apart my self-esteem, causing me to question everything I did & everything I knew to lớn be true, because they told me that you would never believe me, & I didn’t want to lớn cause more conflict.

Out of a sense of compassion I let my parents keep their picture, all the while hoping that you would see mine & reach out khổng lồ me and be part of my life again.

I hope you understand that no one comes to a decision lượt thích this lightly. For most estranged children, this is one of the hardest choices we ever had khổng lồ make. A choice that we have agonized over with our friends, other therapists, và in the silence of our own minds.

Often it takes years of hurt và pain lớn accept that we will never have the adult relationship that we want with our parents.

We are taught that relationships with family are the most important relationships we will ever have, & we are socialized lớn believe that we should continue lớn have these relationships no matter how they impact us physically and psychologically.

Society has painted a picture of the estranged child as being the problem, the emotionally unstable one, the one who asked their parents for money so many times they bankrupted the family & had khổng lồ be cut off.

Rarely vì chưng you hear the voices of the other side, the voices of the children so desperate for love, validation, và approval that they feel empty and continue khổng lồ try harder and harder until they break. The children that long for their parents khổng lồ take a genuine interest in their lives, without judgment, và walk alongside them in tư vấn during every phase of life.

But for some of us this picture will never be, and we can either be consumed by that longing or accept the picture that is. I know that this may seem harsh, but sometimes acceptance holds the key khổng lồ a better life.

Once I accepted the picture that is, I was free. I still saw parents helping their children buy supplies for university, but I no longer wished my parents would come & help me.

I still watched the proud parents with the graduates at convocation và longed to lớn be one of them, & I still found myself imagining what supportive parents might have said at my convocation và my wedding, & yes it still hurts. It might always hurt.

At the same time, I am không lấy phí from the hope that maybe this time they will come, maybe this time they will be proud of me, và maybe this time I will be enough. I can grieve the loss of what I had hoped for, accept what is, and move forward with my life.

If we ever talk again, you might ask me, “Would you ever talk to your parents now, now that you have grown up and are living the life you want?”

As I start lớn answer that question I find myself again imagining the relationship I had longed for & still long for, but I stop myself. Instead I will ask you a different question: “Can you please forgive me for the choice I had to lớn make và be a part of my life again?”

Grandma wisely said, “Every choice we make will hurt or impact someone, but sometimes you need to do what is right for you.”

When I chose lớn stop speaking to lớn my parents, I had lớn not only grieve the loss of them but you as well.

I don’t feel I can hotline you & reminisce about that time you taught me how lớn parallel-park, my failed attempt at making grandma’s Christmas pudding, or the camper I saw that reminded me of the one that grandpa had that we used khổng lồ play in.

I have no one who has lived through those memories with me to reminisce with, và this only fills me with a greater sense of loss.

If we ever talk again you might ask me: “Do you hate your parents?” The answer is no, I don’t hate them. The truth is I don’t feel anything for them anymore. In my heart I have forgiven them for the pain they caused me, but I don’t want to mở cửa the lines of communication to lớn tell them that, not yet, maybe not ever.

As I think back on the relationship, và those years of pain, I acknowledge this experience has made me who I am today.

I strive to lớn live a full life. I fill my days with activities và work that bring meaning lớn my life và the lives of others. I trust my instincts & I am aware of how people and situations affect my well-being, and I work to reduce the negative impact of these factors whenever possible.

I’m opening up about this experience because I hope you will start khổng lồ paint a new picture that allows me lớn be a part of your life again. But if you don’t, then let me use this experience khổng lồ help others.

I have learned that some people can only give us so much, và I am grateful for the only gift my parents could ever give me—my life, a life I will live lớn the fullest, & one I want you to be a part of it.

To anyone struggling with the choice lớn become estranged from their parents, let me ask you these questions:

Have you tried many times & been rejected? vì you feel that nothing you can ever vì chưng or be will be enough? and finally, do you hear their voices inside your head & then question your ability, your instincts, and your self-worth?

If so, you may need lớn let go. If you vì decide that this is the right choice for you, you will grow in ways you never imagined, and with that growth will come a sense of peace & self-love. You will learn to lớn trust yourself & to care for yourself physically, psychologically, & spiritually which will lead khổng lồ improved happiness và health.

Researchers have found that abused children vì chưng not stop loving their parents; they stop loving themselves. After I stopped speaking to lớn my parents, I became more confident, I began taking risks, and I learned for the very first time to love myself and accept the journey I am on.

I earned two bachelor’s degrees, a master’s, và I started my Ph
D. I taught at prestigious arts schools và wrote & had articles published. My point is not lớn brag, only lớn point out that had I not let go of the relationship with my parents, I never would have accomplished any of these things.

Their stories of what they thought I was incapable of & what I couldn’t be would have held me back, because I would have believed them. My relationship with my parents would have been lượt thích a dark seal that I would never have broken through.

If this is true for you as well, know that you likely will not be alone if you decide to lớn cut ties with your parents; odds are, there will be people in your life that will support you and even take on part of the role a loving parent would have taken. These people might be friends, friends’ parents, neighbors, colleagues, or even extended family. Any number of people might step up once they understand your story.

They will be grateful for what you bring khổng lồ their lives and will love and tư vấn you unconditionally. It will not be the same, but you will cherish these relationships because they are positive.

A part of you may always long for a supportive relationship with your parents, but don’t fight this feeling; acknowledge it as a part of your journey.

You might even find yourself questioning this choice years later & wonder if time could have healed this relationship. Remember why you made this choice, remember the pain, & trust that you made the right decision.

Also, realize that you didn’t make this decision alone, although it may feel like it. Your parents helped khổng lồ make this choice with you through their attitudes, their actions, and their refusal to be a part of your life in the way you needed them to. Knowing this may help lớn ease your feelings of guilt.

And know this: If you are estranged from your parents, you are strong because you have taken back the paintbrush and are now miễn phí to repaint your picture with those who love and support you.

UPDATE: In response to lớn some of the reader comments questioning her decision, Jen has posted a clip follow-up khổng lồ her article on You
Tube here.

Xem thêm: Hệ Thống Thư Điện Tử Bắc Giang, Hệ Thống Thư Điện Tử Công Vụ Tỉnh Bắc Giang

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Life is short. Youth is finite. You have every opportunity to lớn make the most of the life you have right now. Your choices today will determine the number of regrets you will have in the next ten years.

The most common regrets you have probably read about are: missed opportunities, not spending time more prudently, accomplishing more, not doing meaningful work, procrastinating, not forming better habits, not mastering another language or skill, getting into bad relationships, or making mistakes in a past relationship.

Regrets suck. But today, right now, you can vì something about your choices khổng lồ limit your regrets in future.

More from Thomas Oppong:Stop Waiting For Inspiration Psychological Secrets to gian lận Your Way khổng lồ Better Life Habits
Ignorance Might Be the Best Thing For Your Creative Mind

If you had a month lớn live, how would you spend it?

You could spend unique time with the people you love most, really paying attention lớn every word they said. You could go out và have some amazing experiences, explore the world. Or you could spend it learning as much as you can, in books and by studying life itself.

The thủ đô new york Public Library has teamed up with online video-streaming service Kanopy to lớn offer patrons its collection of arthouse, independent & classical films on demand.
Siqui Sanchez | Getty Images

You could create something. Make a dent. You could leave a legacy by creating art, making people's lives better, or solving a global problem in your own small way.

Any of those choices, or a combination of them, would be a worthy way to spend that month.

Each moment is limited, fleeting, precious. With the same mindset about time, live your life to the fullest, right now! It's a choice you alone can make khổng lồ avoid these regrets in the future.

Waiting for a perfect time

"Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles và less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger và stronger, more và more skilled, more and more self-confident và more và more successful." —Mark Victor Hansen

There is never a perfect time for you to lớn take action. There is never a perfect time for you lớn launch that project, lớn spend time with your family, to write a book, change your habit, or embrace a new habit. Once you acknowledge this, you will get a lot more meaningful work done everyday.

I'm too tired. I don't have the time. I am not capable. Someone else will bởi vì it. It's too late now. Now is not the right time. I am not talented. I am not ready. I'm too scared. Nobody will help me. What if I fail. I don't feel motivated. I'd rather vày nothing. I don't have the money..yet!


It's easy to come up with excuses và justify not getting started. The longer you fill your head with rationalizations and empty excuses, the less time you have to lớn take action.

It's easy lớn say, "I will start when I have more experience, money, time & resources". By this time next year, you will have a lot more excuses. It's a cycle. Và once you get caught in the loop, it, can be difficult to break miễn phí and vì chưng something meaningful you care about.

The self-criticism and self-doubt will always be present, & the only solution is to lớn just act in spite of them.

Your first e-book, article, song, podcast, freelancer work or creative work never will not be satisfying và perfect, and it's okay. But it pays to start anyway. In ten years, you will be glad you tried.

There will always be a reason why it can't be done. People constantly explain away why they couldn't, shouldn't, didn't, or simply wouldn't bởi something. When you make excuses, you are simply saying, "I'm not in control." But guess what — you are the only person who is fully in control of your actions & decisions in the world. Making excuses robs you of your personal power.

People make excuses because of the fear of the unknown. Others are just afraid of change, rejection & embarrassment. Fear locks you in your comfort zone. Và nothing magical or remarkable happens in your safe zone. You can stop making excuses if you learn how khổng lồ eliminate all traces of fear from your life.

The next time you experience a setback, don't make an excuse. See it as a challenge, learn from it and move on. Excuses are distractions, & they reduce your confidence and self-belief. You don't want that — especially when you still have a lot lớn show the world.

Waiting to be picked

"What pick yourself means is that it's never been easier khổng lồ decide lớn be responsible for your own work, for your own agenda, for the change you make in the world. Khổng lồ have a chance to lớn matter. Not lớn be finished right now, but starting now. Pick yourself means we should stop waiting và whining và stalling. The outcome is still in doubt, but it's clear that waiting just doesn't pay." — Seth Godin

Today, there are more ways than ever to pick yourself & show your work. Far easier to lớn have someone notice your creative work. Và if you're driven and focused, you may discover that the market loves what you do. That people come back for more of what you have to cốt truyện or say.

That's how you build public reputation. A good or even great one. You can become the best in the world at something that people value. You may not be able lớn monetise from it immediately, but showing up everyday makes the biggest difference.

ou have everything you need to make an impact in the world. You don't even have to lớn start your own business. What you need is something you can you can emotionally and deeply connect with. Don't think too far into the future. Use what you have right now at where you are & witness the magic of creative work. If you're thinking about it too much, chances are you're killing it.

Whatever you choose to do, there are resources out there that can help you achieve your goals in simple steps. It doesn't have to be anything hard. You can start small & scale or you can even choose to lớn be small but consistent.

Choose to be your authentic self. Let go of who you think you should be in the future và be yourself now.

You are the only one who can push yourself a little further to lớn start, create, giới thiệu or publish.

Stop waiting khổng lồ be picked! Choose yourself!

Living someone else's dream

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage lớn follow your heart và intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." —Steve Jobs

The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are; the second greatest is being happy with what you find & making the most of it. The decision lớn stay true lớn your own goals & dreams is a life-changer.

Make time to lớn pursue your passion project, no matter how busy you are. If you have always wanted to be a writer, and get a book published. Self-publish. Because you can. Amazon makes insanely easy khổng lồ upload a manuscript, design a cover & hit publish. It's that easy. You don't have lớn wait to lớn be chosen. You can choose yourself. You don't need permission lớn get your ideas khổng lồ the right audience.


"I don't have time to lớn write" is not an excuse. The time before you go to lớn bed is golden, as it exists every single day, và it's usually completely yours khổng lồ schedule. What vì chưng you want to vì chưng with this time? You can pursue your life's work.

With a full-time job, và maybe a family, there won't be a perfect time, ever. You have to practically make those hours. Set aside a block of time to bởi what you love, cut out other stuff from your life that take up your time, and don't let anything interfere with that passion project.

Imagine what you can achieve in ten years, if you consistently bởi vì something about your dream. You don't even have to lớn spend hours on it. It can be minutes every day. Small actions compounds. 

Have the courage lớn follow your calling!

Failing khổng lồ try

"Try và fail, but don't fail lớn try." ―John Quincy Adams

The biggest reason people fail at creating habits, changing their lives, pursuing their goals or simply taking action is that they can't find the motivation lớn start.

The problem is, you are comfortable with what you're doing (current routine), & the new habit you actually need lớn be better is less comfortable (it's too hard). You are clinging lớn the comfortable. It's so easy to lớn be enticed by a stable salary, a solid routine & a comfortable life, but at what expense?

"You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." Wayne Gretzky could not have said that any better. You can only make progress if you take a step. Overcoming the fear of failing is the first step towards success. Start confronting your fears today. And take even the most basic step towards what you have to do.

Remember the dream you were too scared khổng lồ chase? It's still not too late lớn give it a try. Never miss an opportunity khổng lồ try.

Tony Robbins once said "No matter how many mistakes you make, or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn't trying." Slow progress is better than no kích hoạt at all. You can only change if you make an attempt to actually do something. Whatever you do, don't fail lớn try.

To make it easier khổng lồ get started to achieve anything, focus on the smallest thing — just getting started. You don't have to invest an hour — just start. Commit ten minutes và improve with time. That's so easy it's hard to lớn say no.

If you take steps lớn make even the smallest progress, you will position yourself for lasting success without regret.

Giving up too soon

"Don't quit. Never give up trying to lớn build the world you can see, even if others can't see it. Listen lớn your drum & your drum only. It's the one that makes the sweetest sound." —Simon Sinek

If you have ever failed in the past but never gave up, you are stronger than you think. If you have failed recently and are considering giving up, don't. The obstacle is definitely the way. There will always be a way out. You just haven't found it yet. Keep on trying.

Find out why and how you got stuck, và dig yourself out of the temporary setback. Unfortunately, most people refuse to vì something about their failures. In the end, they give up on their dreams and stop working on projects that matter to them and continue khổng lồ wallow in discontent.

Everyone fears to lớn fail, experiencing it is inevitable, but it's your response lớn it that makes all the difference. Don't get stuck. You are not your failure. These are a few of the many habits that could guarantee your failure — & what you can vì chưng about them.

How persistent are you about pursuing your dreams và goals in life? One of the most important secrets of success is learning lớn conquer your doubts. Most of us give up on our curiosity too soon. Every successful person you know today has a perseverance story to share.

There is probably no better example of persistence than the story of Abraham Lincoln.

He failed in business at 21, lost a legislative race at age 22, failed in business again at 24 & lost a congressional race when he was 34. At 45 he lost a senatorial race. & he failed in an attempt to become Vice President when he was 47.

But he was finally elected President of the United States at age 52. Lincoln never quit. He could have given up after several attempts but pursued his ambition khổng lồ assume the highest office in America. There is no substitute for persistence. As long as you are still actively trying after every failure, you have not failed yet.

"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to lớn hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength." —Oliver Wilkins

The question is, are you going to change anything today, or tomorrow khổng lồ live a more fulfilling & meaningful life?

This commentary originally ran on Medium.com

Thomas Oppong is the founder & editor of Alltopstartups.com, a resource site for young entrepreneurs starting & growing businesses today.

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