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Estranged Son Returns: A Father's Battle with Trust and Forgiveness

Reconnecting with his estranged son brings old wounds to the surface, challenging this dad's ability to fully trust and forgive.

Hey MJ,

I'm reaching out for some advice on a complicated family matter. I've been happily married for nearly 17 years, and together with my wife for almost 19. Before this, I was in a 10-year relationship that resulted in two sons, who are now adults. Their mother, who passed away a few years ago, had created a lot of tension in our lives. She actively turned my sons against me with false accusations and actions that strained our relationship.


Recently, my eldest son, who had cut off contact with me for about three years, reached out. He apologized, acknowledging what I went through, and our relationship is slowly improving. He's currently with a partner who, according to him, exhibits behaviors similar to his mother's, and he often seeks my advice.


While I do my best to guide him, I struggle internally with thoughts of "that's what you get," remembering how his mother's actions and his own estrangement hurt me deeply. I've worked hard to prove my commitment as a father, from showing evidence of child support payments to planned vacations that never happened because of his mother's interference.


My question is, how do I move past these resentful thoughts when he reaches out for advice? And how do I learn to trust him again, especially with my current family who have also been affected by past events? There's a lot more to this story, like an incident where his mother took him out of state without my knowledge, exacerbating the trust issues.


Thanks for any insight you can offer.


Sincerely,

Anonymous


Dear Anonymous,

Navigating the journey of reconnecting with an estranged son, especially when old wounds resurface, is a complex and emotional process. It involves a delicate balance of forgiving past actions and rebuilding trust, not just for you, but also for your current family who have been affected by these events.


First, it's important to acknowledge and process your feelings of hurt and resentment. These emotions are a natural response to your past experiences. Consider speaking with a counselor or therapist, who can provide guidance on working through these feelings in a healthy way. Healing from past wounds is a gradual process, and it's okay to give yourself time and space to navigate these emotions.


When your son reaches out for advice, try to view these moments as opportunities to build a new, positive relationship with him. It can be helpful to consciously remind yourself that this is a chance to create a different future, one that's not defined by the past. Each positive interaction is a step towards rebuilding trust.


Regarding trust, it's a journey that requires consistent, positive interactions over time. Trust isn't rebuilt overnight, and it's okay to proceed with caution. Set clear boundaries and communicate openly about your feelings and expectations. This can help manage the relationship in a way that's comfortable for you while still being open to its development.


Involving your current family in this process is also crucial. Have open discussions about everyone's feelings, concerns, and how this reconnection impacts them. Ensure that they feel heard and that their perspectives are considered. This will not only help in maintaining harmony in your current family but also in making them a part of this journey.


Forgiveness and rebuilding trust are processes that evolve over time. They require effort, understanding, and sometimes professional support. By approaching this situation with patience, open communication, and a willingness to move forward, you're laying the foundation for a potentially healthier relationship with your son.


Kenbe la,

MJ

ABOUT "HEY, MJ"

In 2020, the "Badass Black Girl" book series author M.J. Fievre began receiving correspondence from a varied audience, including parents, young adults, and teens. Fievre, an established author and speaker, is known for her insightful engagement with themes relevant to these demographics. The communication, primarily through Facebook or the Badass Black Girl inbox, revolves around topics covered in her books and public talks. These interactions display a rich tapestry of experiences and viewpoints, highlighting the author's impact on her readers.


“Hey, MJ” is a platform created to foster a meaningful connection between M.J. Fievre and her readers. It offers a forum for open dialogue, personalized advice, and the sharing of collective experiences. The platform's effectiveness is rooted in Fievre's expertise as an author and speaker. Her work, particularly in the "Badass Black Girl" series, showcases her deep understanding of the challenges and triumphs faced by her audience. Her background as an educator and her commitment to empowering young voices further enhance her ability to offer relevant and empathetic responses.


Readers wishing to engage with “Hey, MJ” can send their messages to babg@mangopublishinggroup.com. All queries are treated with confidentiality, ensuring a safe space for honest and open communication.

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