Brothers, Sisters, Strangers Blog

Brothers, Sisters, Strangers
Brothers, Sisters, Strangers

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.

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 ...

New blog post: Siblings may grow closer when parents divorce

A friend of the New York Times writer Ellen Umansky was struggling with her daughters who simply couldn't get along. The friend asked Umansky how she could get her daughters to be as close as Umansky and her brother. “You and your husband should separate,” Umansky replied. “Then go through an ugly divorce. That’ll bring your kids together.” There’s truth to Umansky’s gallows humor.   Link to article:

New post: When Partners and Siblings Can’t Get Along

Sisters and brothers face one of the most perilous moments in their relationship when one of them chooses a life partner. I didn’t recognize the prevalence of this stress point until I conducted an informal survey for my book, Brothers, Sisters, Strangers: Sibling Estrangement and the Road to Reconciliation. Many respondents blamed a spouse or partner for fracturing a sibling relationship. Link to full post:

Latest post: “Are My Sibling and I Estranged?”

The basics on sibling estrangement for those who don't know whether a brother or sister has cut them off.  

First time my formerly estranged brother joins me for a radio interview!

When a public radio station in North Carolina asked if my formerly estranged brother would come on a show to discuss family estrangement and reconciliation, he said yes! Interesting to hear his perspective. Here is the interview. Our segment starts at 25:00.

New post: 8 Misperceptions about Sibling Estrangement

Misperceptions abound as estranged siblings avoid discussing their experiences.

New post: Resources for those struggling with sibling estrangement

Sibling estrangement is a kind of Me-Too movement, as those who suffer are finally breaking silence, rejecting shame, and sharing stories. Another resources for those struggling with family estrangement:

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