Brothers, Sisters, Strangers Blog


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. In fact, I have created a writing workbook, The Sibling Estrangement Journal: A Guided Exploration of Your Experience through Writing, offering you a private, emotional outlet to understand and process the grief of sibling estrangement.

Here is the link to the book on Amazon:

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

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)

Narcissism often is a factor in sibling estrangement.

Latest post: Many estranged siblings realize over time that a brother’s or sister’s narcissistic tendencies are the underlying cause of their toxic relationship. 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 ...

Five Stages of Grief for Estranged Siblings

  The five stages of grief for those estranged from a sibling are different from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's five stages of grief for a death.

Toronto Star advice columnist features my brother’s and my estrangement and reconciliation  

Mothers of estranged siblings may suffer on Mother’s Day

When adult children have nothing to do with each other, mothers (and fathers) don’t have the opportunity to gather with the entire family on holidays like Mother's Day. Instead, they have to choose whose house they will visit, and that often insults one child or another.

Five Life Stages when Siblings Are at Risk for Estrangement

Certain moments are especially vulnerable for the sibling relationship, as brothers and sisters must renegotiate how they interact with one another over the course of a lifetime. In fact, estrangement often occurs when a sibling’s life circumstances change and he or she must redefine his or her role in the family. blog post:

Interview with author marks one year anniversary of her book, Brothers, Sisters, Strangers In this special video, we discuss Fern Schumer Chapman's book, Brothers, Sisters, Strangers: Sibling Estrangement and the Road to Reconciliation, one year after its publication. Here, Fern shares her own heartbreak and devastation during the decades-long estrangement with her only brother. She talks about why she decided to write the book, and the challenges of finding resources for the under-investigated topic of sibling estrangement. The book was released during ...

Mark National Siblings Day by Making Peace With Estrangement

National Siblings Day is April 10—just around the corner. For sisters and brothers who enjoy good relationships, it’s a welcome cue to appreciate those loving bonds. But for the estranged, National Sibling Day is no cause for celebration.

New post: Ten risk factors for sibling estrangement

In 2014, when a possibility of reconciliation with my estranged brother surfaced, I was determined to do everything possible to reestablish a connection—and never let it go. I sent myself on a quest to understand the complexities of sibling estrangement. I soon realized that the topic is grossly unacknowledged and under-investigated. Nonetheless, I was surprised to learn that social science research has identified certain risk factors that increase the chances ...

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