Getting someone to restablish communication with family

This thread reminded me of my family’s situation.

In a nutshell: my cousin feels like he’s too ashamed to face his parents and the rest of us, for completely nonsensical reasons. I’ve seen my aunt cry out of grief for them. I’ve seen the hurt his brother & his father are carrying around. It breaks my heart. I won’t go into the details of the situation, but what he did that he’s so ashamed of is very very minor. I’m a hundred thousand times the black sheep that he is, and it doesn’t stop me from having a great relationship with my family.

He did speak a little to his brother, and we think that mental illness might be involved. His wife is definitely mentally ill–that is a fact–and it might’ve creeped into his mindset a little.

Have you ever been in one of these situations, on either end, and care to share your experiences & thoughts? Is there -any- chance that if I flew down there all of a sudden I could be able to convince him or is it one of those “he has to do it on his own” situations?

I don’t mean to pry (but I’m gonna). If you don’t mind sharing, what did he do?

My brother stopped calling (partly because I think he may be bipolar and partly because he felt like a failure for not achieving his goal). I wrote periodically and let him know how much we loved and missed him, and finally, when he was really down and out, he called me. We’re back in touch now and I feel so much better.

I think situations like this are very personal to each family, so can’t offer much advice.

I hope that perhaps one person (his brother? you?) could make contact. Then your cousin wouldn’t feel he had to face everyone at once.

Perhaps a letter would help - as I said, it all depends on the people involved.

Each situation is personal, and it’s hard to know why someone behaves in the way they do.

A letter is not always the best way, but it can’t hurt. Just be prepared for the fact that the letter may never be acknowledged. I’ve been through this, and have sent registered letters that have been received but never acknowledged. That can sting.

When you make the effort to reach out, you have to know when to stop. You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why people don’t want to be a part of your life. But you can’t crawl into their head, so you may never know.

Best of luck.

Thanks. I think letter-writing is probably the best way to go here, and the more I dwell on the little details of what happened & the events leading up to it & the news his sibling brought back, I think the situation is more similar to Kalhoun’s mentally ill brother.

If it were me that did it, I’d gladly tell. But if this guy’s hiding because he’s so ashamed of what he did, well, it just doesn’t seem right to share.

So I’ll give you something equivalent in severity (IMHO). Let’s say you fell in with some shady, though not illegal activities, and you hid them from your parents. When you do tell your parents, they are disappointed but are willing to accept it. Then you say that you got $100,000 as a result of these activities and you’re taking everyone on a vacation. Then when -that- doesn’t pan out (to nobody’s surprise though they’re still wondering why you’re persisting in these activities) you’re so embarassed you go into hiding.