Well there's a lot of better people than me to ask that question.saltman wrote:Nick how does a mature man repair his family - he has made a poor choice (or series of them in my friends case)
Yet is a sensitive, articulate and intelligent (most of the time) person. And 200% remorseful
Any tips on navigating the road to repair family relationships, particularly of say his daughter, who holds him somewhere between derision and contempt - bearing in mind she is a young adult around 20 yo And makes it very clear she prefers to have no communication with him anymore
It's a lot harder and takes a lot longer to repair those relationships than it takes to blow 'em up. So your friend really needs to know that it will take a long time and can only be done in bits and pieces and with the eventual co-operation of all involved.
Just from my own experience, your friend should begin with himself -- understanding and resolving the issues around his poor choices, and finding ways to support himself in getting beyond 'em.
As he makes progress with this, he should try to find practical ways to make amends to those people he's clearly hurt through those choices. These might be as simple as always being where you say you'll be at the time you commit to. Or never missing a family support payment if that's what he's having to make. Sheer reliability is a very powerful sign to people over time.
As the people closest to him (i.e. his daughter, perhaps ex partner, etc) begin to let down their guard around him, he should invite them to tell him how they feel about his actions, and learn to listen to what they have to say. This can be very difficult, because if they are honest with him and he is really listening to them, their words will rip away any and all the shards of self-justification he may have built up around his actions. He will feel naked in front of them, possibly irrationally angry, be tempted to react, act out, all sorts of shit. People are terrible at hearing criticism, the instinct is to protect yourself, but if your friend wants to make amends he's going to have to listen to this and respond out of his best self -- really understand the effects of his actions on others. He should get some advice about how to handle this from a professional family therapist.
He will feel deep senses of shame and worthlessness and should try to find ways to replace these feelings with better stuff via practical demonstrations of his value in the world. These don't have to have anything to do with his family, they might involve volunteering in some way, or simply learning to acquire a new skill - a musical instrument, a new language etc. He should also make sure those feelings of shame etc don't develop into spirals of self-loathing, at least not too often, I mean if he is halfway a decent human he will hate parts of himself for what he's done. But if that becomes the dominant feature of his life, he'll be no good to anyone, least of all himself.
Along with that, no self damage, i.e. no habitual drinking, drugs etc, that's a male nightmare in waiting that one.
Time and be good to himself and others, in the end that solves a lot.