New Workbook Helps Estranged Siblings Cope with Their Grief

The Sibling Estrangement Journal offers a kind of therapy to process losses.  A survey for my first book on sibling estrangement produced many stories and statistics about this under-studied phenomenon. But I was most struck, over and over, by how respondents described the pain of the experience and the relief they found in completing the survey.

How a Chaotic, Abusive Childhood Can Lead to Estrangement

  Free girl bullied in school image, public domain childhood CC0 photo. Children raised in chaotic, abusive, or neglectful families run the greatest risk of estrangement in adulthood.

4 Challenges for Siblings When a Parent Falls Ill or Dies

  Conflicts between estranged siblings may re-erupt during a parent's last days.

How family cutoff can produce both grief and relief

Grief and relief. These two emotions make a strange pair, yet they’re often experienced together by those who have had a conflicted relationship with a loved one.               Photo: Shvets Production

In Memory of Gerda Katz, my mom’s best friend on the ship in 1938

Five years ago today, my mother's best friend passed away. The two met on the ship in 1938 as they fled Nazi Germany to America. In 2011, eighth-graders reunited the two friends after a 72-year separation. The first time Gerda and Edith "talked," they said hello and then sobbed together. No words were necessary. Each felt the other was the only person who understood their deep uprooting and unbearable losses. ...

How to grieve an estranged sibling relationship

The estranged often experience “frozen grief"—mourning without resolution. Essentially, sibling estrangement requires mourning a living person. Unlike in death, however, this mourning process fails to bring acceptance and gradual recovery. We experience all the emotions of grieving but can’t reach a resolution.

Another remarkable find in my mother’s old photo album!

Here, my mother's sister, Betty, (4th from left) is flanked by her German friends just before she fled Nazi Germany for America in 1937. In her writings, Betty described how she got her passport. “I was a wide-eyed fourteen-year-old, very much a country bumpkin. Everything was new and interesting. Life lay ahead of me and, if it were not for Hitler, things would have been fine. “But I knew I ...

How estrangement defines other relationships and friendships

New post: A family estrangement is traumatic, and it changes how an individual interacts.

A Reader Asks, “How to Move On?”

  READERS: Do you have any suggestions for Eleanor? She needs help coping with her losses. I don’t even know where to start. My brother cut ties with my mom and I in 2016, with no fight or one singular issue being the reason, except a less than ideal relationship that formed between our family and my brothers girlfriend at the time (now wife). I have no idea what happened ...

Germans live uncomfortably with the houses once owned by Jewish families

In Germany, old homes are preserved and handed down from generation to generation. After the Holocaust, homes that belonged to Jewish families in Germany were abandoned or torn down. For decades, no one wanted to live in them and face what had happened to these families. Nazis stole my mother's home in Stockstadt am Rhein, which had been in the family for over 200 years. I tell part of this ...