Brothers, Sisters, Strangers Blog

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Welcome to my new blog! Here, you can freely discuss your challenges with sibling relationships. If you would like, I will not use your name to protect your privacy.

My interest in this topic is rooted in my personal story; my older brother and I didn’t talk to each other for most of my adult life. Over time, we did reconcile, and I captured that journey in my book, Brothers, Sisters, Strangers: Sibling Estrangement and the Road to Reconciliation.

For years, I’ve wondered about the nature of sibling relationships and, in particular, when and how they break down, cut off, or enter the territory of estrangement. How do sibling estrangement and reconciliation define an individual?

Here, I hope to give others the opportunity to explore this underacknowledged topic, which many experts call “epidemic.” Like me, you may find it helpful to think through these issues; writing a post for this blog may provide a useful structure to begin to do so. Writing is therapeutic and capturing stories in words benefits both the writer and the reader.

For those who are seeking personal life coaching, I offer private sessions to discuss estrangement, reconciliation, and family relations. Please email me at fernschumer@gmail.com to discuss details. Thanks for participating and posting.

Three Ways Siblings Undermine Themselves in Poisonous Relationships

Rosy memories and unrealistic hopes can keep a sibling in a toxic relationship. Destructive thought patterns, such as euphoric recall, future-faking, and self-gaslighting, help us avoid facing the injuries a toxic sibling inflicts.   https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brothers-sisters-strangers/202208/3-ways-siblings-undermine-themselves-in-poisonous   .

A Reader Says Thanks!

I am 73 pages {also my age!) from finishing your book - "Brothers, Sisters: Strangers" and had to stop and say "thank you".... I'm spending a month in Maine, my home state, in the fall and am planning on reaching out to my oldest niece. She left me a message last spring and I just wasn't ready to respond. Your book is giving me the insight I need to be ...

Five ways Estrangement Does Lifelong Damage

Some relationships are too toxic to sustain, but cutoffs may hurt well-being. The estranged often suffer a loss of self-esteem and trust, which may play out in other relationships and ultimately compromise well-being. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brothers-sisters-strangers/202208/five-ways-estrangement-does-lifelong-damage

The stigma of sibling estrangement

  The estranged feel judged by a culture that expects family cohesion. Many view a cutoff as a personal failing. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brothers-sisters-strangers/202207/the-stigma-sibling-estrangement?fbclid=IwAR2cNF6t5tHgxiTqpKdshtzyigXB4htDFgrcwApSJTWZVvvIcRgnnYnhFzo

Driven by Books: Adventures on the Bookmobile – So this happened last night!

Last night, I had the great thrill of checking out one of my own books to a bookmobile patron!

How the Pandemic has altered the definition of the “family”

The pandemic has loosened family ties and changed who attends holiday events.   https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brothers-sisters-strangers/202207/how-the-pandemic-has-altered-the-definition-family

How estrangement can echo through generations

In cases of abuse and violence, cutoffs can be necessary and protective. However, in other families long-standing estrangements may become an acceptable model of coping with stress, replicated generation after generation. In these families, when conflict arises, siblings may easily cut each other off, having seen their parents do just that with their own brothers or sisters. Latest psychologytoday.com post: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brothers-sisters-strangers/202206/how-estrangement-can-echo-through-generations

Prince Henry and Prince William seemed distant at the Queen’s Jubilee. Can they reconcile?

Some say the royal rift between Prince William and Prince Harry was on display earlier this month at the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations, as the two couples refused to be together and appeared not to make eye contact. Can they reconnect? (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brothers-sisters-strangers/202206/can-prince-harry-and-prince-william-reconcile

Narcissism often is a factor in sibling estrangement.

Latest psychologytoday.com post: Many estranged siblings realize over time that a brother’s or sister’s narcissistic tendencies are the underlying cause of their toxic relationship. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brothers-sisters-strangers/202206/is-narcissistic-sibling-the-reason-your-estrangement photo: Rodnae Productions/Pexels  

Ten tips to help you stop ruminating

One of the most plaguing consequences of sibling estrangement is the thought pattern of rumination: rehashing the same thoughts, over and over, even when those thoughts breed sadness or negativity. Many rejected siblings – and even some who chose to terminate the relationship -- find themselves constantly mulling over, “What did I do? What was my role in the cutoff? Can I fix this?” Here are a few ways to ...

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