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EdCork (@yangedd)

Reunion With Brother After Years (Severe Anxiety)

Depression & Anxiety | Last Active: Jan 16, 2019 | Replies (50)

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@yangedd

Hi @lisalucier

It's everything really that's sending my tail spinning. How do I greet him? What will we talk about? How will I react to meeting his son for the first time? Will we be able to reconnect after years apart? I actually rang a support line and broke down into tears as I discussed everything with one of the support volunteers. It's three weeks to Christmas and I feel (I apologise for saying this) emotionally destroyed thinking about my Mum and my Dad in a care home in Waterford following a stroke due to severe alcohol withdrawal in 2011. It should be a happy time for me, yet I'm filled with emotional upheaval and anxiety ridden. I'm so sorry to be withering on.

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Replies to "Hi @lisalucier It's everything really that's sending my tail spinning. How do I greet him? What..."

@yangedd

When I first read your post I felt your sadness and fear. You seem to be putting a large amount of pressure on yourself for this long awaited meeting. It sounds to me that you love and respect your brother, therefore you want everything to go perfectly. That's admirable, but probably an unrealistic expectation. I think you need to stop worrying that your brother won't love you. In fact, I recommend keeping your first meeting simple; the simpler the better. Many of us did things in our youth that we're sorry about, and when being reminded of those things we find out the actions are ripe to be forgiven.

I'm making a few recommendations for your meeting, which you can take or leave as you feel is right.
1. If possible, ask the friend who initiated your contact with your brother, be present at your meeting. She can mediate again if needed.
2. Write down your thoughts and fears now before he visits. Then write down what you want to say to him. Then let it go and just be
yourself.
3. Give your brother a hug, and tell him you love him and have missed him.
4. If necessary apologize for any past behavior and let him know you have learned a great deal since then.
5. Tell him how important your family is to you, and your fears about returning home to see them.
6. Hug your nephew and just be a real person with him.

What I'm recommending is that you just need to be who you are now. Say whatever you need to with an open heart. My hunch is that he's just been waiting for the chance to reconnect with you. The holidays are always stressful as we have expectations that all will be happy and light. Many family members suffer during Christmas because they feel they cannot be honest about themselves or their relationships. It's very sad. You've made your choices in life and have lived with the consequences of your choices, which are different than what your family may have wanted for you. We do that if we are even a little independent in our natures. Perhaps your brother even envies or respects your ability to break from the family mold. It's always possible. You deserve happiness and to love and be loved by your brother and other family members.

If you can identify why you have so much anxiety about seeing your brother that may help you put your fears to rest. I have always found my fears about something were always worse than the actual thing itself. I recommend that you take a meditation class for the future. It will help you learn how to reduce your anxiety without drugs. Also, chances are you and your brother will need more than one meeting to solidify your relationships as adults. Set a time to meet with him again before he returns to his home.

My heart is with you as I have been through similar situations with members of my family. Just be real and honest. Please let us know how you are doing going forward, and how things go with the meeting. When will you be meeting with your brother? Peace to you.

@yangedd Your thoughts are racing as mine do over this type of event. Maybe the estranged relative is struggling with the same thoughts.
No need to apologize as what you are experiencing is to be expected. Some of us approach this type of thing with much trepidation. I know I would be a jangle of nerves as well. Wondering what state the other party may be in…mayhap thinking in this manner for a bit may help help distract. Keep us updated as you can.