Therapeutic Feed

May 9, 2015 Keyword search: “Mother’s Day” & “Estrangement”

The following four links are the result of an internet search using keywords: "Mother's Day" and "Estrangement". The links are to articles recently posted and to articles that didn't have those annoying popups that appear all too often these days.


Note: To get a different perspective on Katie Naum's “Cards”, try the following changes and then read them again while imagining that they were written by a mother. I have numbered Naum’s “Cards” from 1 to 11.
In #1 change the wording to:
“Thank You For Living In My Womb and Being Born. (inside) That Part Went Pretty Well From My Perspective.”
Read #s 2 through 9 unchanged but as if written by a mother.
In #10 substitute the word “Mother” in the place of “Daughter”.
In #11 substitute the word “Daughter” in the place of “Mother”.

My request to look at the “Cards” as though written by a mother instead of a daughter is to bring a different perspective to what was written. I am not making a judgement. I am asking the question: If a mother had written those “Cards”, what would that say about the Mother? If the answer is different from what it says to you about the daughter who wrote them, why would that be so?

 


Is your Estranged one a professional diagnostician in their own mind?

A common experience that is talked about in a lot of groups where family estrangement is discussed is the one of being labeled with a pathological condition by the person from whom you are estranged. With their only qualifications being that they are related to you and that they knew you once upon a time, they diagnose you as being something that is generally thought to be pretty horrible. While there are people who do deserve those labels, there are a whole lot of people who do not.

I am not going to argue with anyone about the fact that there are people who are not objective about their relatives and who don't know what they are talking about when they malign them. It happens far too often. When the person maligned does not deserve what is being said about them, this behavior is abusive.

I found a very good discussion on this experience that I am linking to here:

How to deal with exaggerated claims by EC (thread begun on March 20, 2015)

 


New Link: Rejectedparents.net - a website for parents suffering estrangement

I found a website, rejectedparents.net, that was created in 2013 to offer support and information to parents who have been rejected by their adult children. It includes a discussion group for estranged parents.

Here's the link:

Parents of Estranged Adult Children: Help and Healing
When Adult Children are Estranged: Support and Information

 


Slate staff writer Katy Waldman's article on Narcissism: Link

Are you a Narcissist? by Slate staff writer Katy Waldman, August 2014

If you’re new to being estranged and to online discussions of the condition, you might not have experienced the word Narcissistic (with a capital N in the context of Narcissistic Personality Disorder) occurring frequently in discussions of family estrangement. If you are a longtime survivor of family estrangements, it would be hard to imagine that you have not encountered those two conditions, Narcissism and Estrangement, being mentioned as related to each other. Parents are labeled as having (or being) NPD. Kids are labeled as having (or being) NPD. It seems some days that just about anyone who gets up in the morning and thinks or says anything positive or negative about themselves must have NPD according to someone who has estranged them or is estranged by them.

Parents and adult kids in online discussion groups report being accused of pathological narcissism. Parents and adult kids regularly diagnose their respective adult kids and parents as having NPD. There are groups set up just to discuss the narcissism of parents. Oddly, since it seems that the condition of pathological narcissism would not be restricted only to those who see themselves as offspring but could be suffered by anyone, parent or adult child, there are no groups set up by and for parents specifically to discuss their experience of having offspring who are pathologically narcissistic. The reasons for that are open to speculation.

Anyway, what brings me to my blog this morning is an article that I read online about NPD by Slate staff writer Katy Waldman that I thought was worth adding a link here. She mentions a number of points that have occurred to me over the years of reading about the personality disorder of NPD and she includes links to other references on the subject too. Considering this subject is one that comes up so very frequently in relation to the condition of family estrangement, I thought it was a very appropriate and worthwhile link to share here.

Are you a Narcissist? by Slate staff writer Katy Waldman, August 2014


Baggage, baggage, and more baggage

I've been thinking a lot lately about the baggage that people carry and how people interpret who and what other people are. The series of posts I wrote about Being Wrong were motivated by my desire to get through to those who believe they are right no matter what, no matter if there is evidence that they may not be as right as they think they are. I've addressed this issue of baggage in years past and have made a permanent page link, to one post (written in May 2007) titled "On Baggage" in the left side bar.

I think that we all carry baggage but I think that when we are aware of our own baggage and our own limitations and history, we might become less likely to be so sure that we are right all of the time. If we are wrong less of the time, I can't help but think that would be a good thing. However, I am aware of my own limitations in getting this point across to strangers. So I have to accept that -- my limitations.

I have seen that there are some who have not figured out what I was trying to communicate with my posts on Being Wrong. I was trying to write on the topic without being more specific as to who or what inspired me to write as what I wanted to communicate was meant for many, not for a specific person or persons, even if the topic was motivated by the actions of a small number of people. I did not want them to feel singled out. And they are not the only ones who do the kinds of things they have done. I accept that I may not get through to anyone who believes that they are always right and that they always do the right thing even while they are being abusive.

As a result of what I have been seeing and thinking about lately, I offer the following links to the wisdom of others. I am posting the links and my reasons for offering each link.

1. I offer this link to the Shrinking Woman video because the poet addresses the issues of how women so often feel as though they must be smaller and smaller and smaller, both physically and in terms of behavior, rather than be large and make waves or complain or argue or do anything that men do. When men talk about what concerns them and make waves and stand up for themselves and share their experiences, they are seen as strong and brave. Women who do the same things are typically criticized, insulted, demeaned and called names. They are treated this way not only by men but also by women, especially by women.

2. I offer this link to a post on a blog that belongs to Danielle LaPorte because I have been told that it would be better for me to delete my blog. That I would be a happier healthier person if I deleted my blog. The reason why I have this blog is because I thought it would be appreciated by others who were experiencing estrangement to know that they were not alone in this experience. I shared my experience, not because I enjoy talking about being estranged and need to put myself out there, but because I believe that there are others like me and that they may feel alone in having this experience. When I started the website and blog there weren't the number of places online where there was information about family estrangement and there were no blogs where anyone was talking about the experience.


Yes, I could take the blog down. I have been tempted to do that but I have not given in to the temptation. I still think that the information here including my sharing of my own experience could be of help to someone. It costs me little to let it stay up. I do let my living my life take priority these days and rarely have anything to add.

3. I offer this link, Karma - Insults, which is from the blog, Quotes About Living from Doe Zantamata's "Happiness in your life" book series. I offer this link because of the baggage that causes others to do things like offer their amateur diagnoses of the people from whom they are estranged. Not everyone does this. Some people do have the opinions of mental health professionals as to what is wrong with their relative. For example, my mother really was mentally ill. She saw psychiatrists for almost sixty years and was in and out of psych wards.

4. I offer this link, Karma - Allowing change, from the same series because I believe that Zantamata offers a great truth in that quote.

5. I offer this link, Karma - Expectations, also from the Zantamata Quotes About Living, because it gives an explanation why some people find it so hard to trust that someone else doesn't have some evil agenda for why they do anything nice. Not all estranged parents and not all estranged children are people with personality disorders.

Many estranged parents and many estranged adult children are pretty much nice normal people who would be kicked out of any therapist's office in short order because they don't have anything sufficiently wrong with them for the therapist to help to resolve. And many of those who wouldn't be kicked out of a therapist's office don't have a whole lot seriously wrong with them either.

If someone can't believe that someone is a nice person no matter how nice they are, then it says more about the person who wants to believe bad things than it does about the person who is being maligned. It might not say bad things about the person who is believing untrue things but it does say something about them.

Someone can be a good person and still believe untruths. This is what inspired me to write about Being Wrong. Because I believe that many good people believe bad things about other good people who don't deserve being so maligned. After all, it is said that you have to demonize someone before you can hate them. It's a lot harder to dislike and hate someone who really is a nice enough person. So, to estrange them successfully, it helps to demonize, demonize, demonize!!

I recognize that I likely have not made much headway in making that point about baggage. I hope that somewhere out there my point is clear to someone. Or if not now, some day perhaps.

Ginny


How do you know if you're getting better?

When does recovery occur? When do you get over a serious loss?

Some things you never "get over" but you can heal. It is possible for life to go on. You know you're getting better when you make better choices. As described in the poem below.

The poem is from There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery by Portia Nelson.

Hole_in_street2

Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters

by Portia Nelson

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.


Being Wrong: Part Six

I woke up this morning and realized that I was not finished yet in talking about Being Wrong. There is another important question that we can ask ourselves as we examine our ability to be wrong and how our errors impact ourselves and others. Going back to the description of what occurred between Carol and Tim in Part Five of this series, what if we are Tim? What if we are wrong about someone? What if we are seeing someone through some very dark filter?

I don't know why Tim saw Carol the way that he saw her. I doubt that Tim could give me a good reason if I asked him. I suspect that Tim doesn't know the answer. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if Tim always sees Carol that way and never changes his mind. But I do know that sometimes the Tims of the world go through a transformation and lose that dark filter through which they had been seeing someone that they had spent years disliking, fearing, and even hating. Claiborne Paul Ellis did it. I've done it myself when I've gone from having a deep dislike of someone to becoming very good friends with them.

Continue reading "Being Wrong: Part Six" »


Former Things: A novel & blog. About Family Estrangement

I haven't yet read this book, Former Things, by Gail Lowe but I am going to order it and read it.

The author has a blog, Former Things - Planting a Seed Called Forgiveness,  that I am linking to right here. She writes beautifully. From what I have read on her blog, I expect that her novel is an excellent read. I am recommending it without having read it.

This is a belated Mother's Day present to visitors. I just found a reference to this novel this morning, the day after Mother's Day.

Ginny


Parental Estrangement: 2nd Teleseminar Series April 21 to May 26

Dr. Joshua Coleman is conducting another teleseminar series on Parental Estrangement. The first one of the second series was held on April 21 and was free. You might still be able to download the audio of that one  from his site. I'm not sure what the prices are for the other five as prices are quoted to be one amount if paid by a certain date but if you click through to order, the prices are still quoted at the lower amount. So perhaps if you are interested but only at the lower price, you might want to see what occurs if you go to the registration page and see what price is being quoted rather than assume that you'll have to pay the higher price.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has listened to the full series or to individual seminars in the series. I've listened to the first one that was free in the first series and thought that it was quite good. He mentioned a few new things about family estrangements that I hadn't encountered elsewhere. He is quite well informed on the topic. This comes through in his writings and in the teleseminar that I heard.

Ginny


Family Estrangement: Dr. Joshua Coleman's Teleseminars for Estranged Parents

I am late in posting a link to Dr. Joshua Coleman's page on his seven session series of teleseminars for estranged parents. The series started with a free teleseminar on Thursday, February 17, 2011. There is a link on his page to the audio of that session.

The next six sessions were scheduled for the next six Thursday evenings at 5:30 PM PST which is 8:30 PM EST.

Session # 3, "Should I Keep Trying or Just Give Up", is coming up on Thursday, March 3. Please note the time difference for whatever area you are in. Also, a download is made available of the sessions for those who are signed up so you can hear them later even if you can't listen to them at the scheduled time.

The prices are quoted on the linked information page.

Dr. Coleman's Seven Part Series of Teleseminars

Those who have participated have reported that they got a lot out of them. There are some questions that came up and have been answered that might occur to you also when you listen to the first one. He does answer some of the questions in the information emails that he sends out.

Compared to the costs of individual therapy and considering that Dr. Coleman has considerable experience working with both estranged parents and estranged adult children in therapy, it is a pretty reasonable cost for the teleseminars. He is also offering group coaching sessions for estranged parents.

I don't usually post things where someone is selling something but in this case, I feel that the teleseminars might well be worthwhile for many people and that many would want to know about them and make up their own mind about whether they want to participate or not.

Ginny


Family Estrangement: When being able to be wrong is a strength.

This week I found a post that was about something that can make or break a relationship: the need to be right. The post is at: The Wrong Stuff: Those Three Little Words: ("Honey, You're right!"): Harville Hendrix on Being Wrong. On Slate, August 9, 2010.

Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want, is interviewed by writer & blogger Kathryn Schulz on her blog, The Wrong Stuff. Hendrix talks about couples in romantic relationships but his ideas can be extrapolated to cover many other kinds of relationships.

Being able to admit when we're wrong can be a strength for anyone in a relationship but especially in our relationships with the people for whom we feel affection and love. Relationships between parents and children, between siblings, between friends. So often relationships break apart when one or both people feel that they are right and that backing down or seeing things from a different perspective feels like giving in or being put in a bad position.

Blogger Kathryn Schulz is the author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. (I am going to order this book!) On her blog, The Wrong Stuff, she features Q&As in which notable people discuss their relationship with being wrong.

As I wrote this post, I remembered with great pleasure a segment of the TV series, Mad About You, where the characters played by Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser got to wear virtual reality headpieces and to see the virtual reality of their choosing. Helen Hunt's character chose a virtual reality where her husband tells her over and over again, "You are right!" "You are right!" "You are right!" "You are right!" I laughed until I cried!

Ginny


Gifts of kindness: Softening the blow of family estrangement

Kindness has been on my mind in recent days. How kindness is a beautiful quality in people. How it softens the blows of life. What a difference a kindness can make. How it can cost so very little. What a wonderful present it is to give the gift of kindness.

Today's post is a list of articles that relate to Christmas, relationships, and the benefits of kindness. These all relate to family estrangements or conflicts in some way. Some more directly than others.

 


More from Dr. Cara Barker on being estranged from family

After Dr. Barker's article last week that touched on estrangement, she received so many responses that she continued on that topic today:

December 20, 2010: Learning to Love from Afar by Dr. Cara Barker

(I particularly liked what one of her readers said: "Don't trip on what's behind you.")


Dec. 20: Articles on coping with being estranged during Christmas

Thanksgiving is in the subject title but Gould writes about the entire holiday season, not only Thanksgiving, in this article that touches on the more difficult situations that we deal with at this time of year. Including estrangement:

November 23, 2010: Thanksgiving - - Sink or Swim by Roger Gould, author of Shrink Yourself: End Emotional Eating

Put away the feelings of victimization. Read what Fiona has to say about feeling like a victim:

December 20, 2010 Have Yourself a Very Merry, Victim Free, Christmas by Fiona McColl


On the Internet: Advice for the holidays when estranged from family.

Fiona McColl has been writing excellent posts on family estrangement and the holidays on her blog E-stranged. I am linking the posts below by dates and subject titles so that these posts can be found easily in the future since what she writes will remain true for future holidays as well as the current one.

December 17, 2010 Theme of the Week: Christmas

December 18, 2010 - Holiday State of Mind . . .

December 19, 2010 The Etiquette of Christmas Estrangement

December 20, 2010 Estranged at Christmas? Love the One You're With.

 

 


On Huffington Post: Dr. Cara Barker on Family Estrangement

Are you looking for advice on how to cope through the holidays despite being estranged? I found an excellent article today on that topic on the Huffington Post. The title is misleading. It is more about how to heal and cope despite being estranged rather than how to mend bridges. Be sure not to miss the Comments section which you find by scrolling way down below the article. The link is as follows:

How to Mend Bridges with Estranged Family Members During the Holidays by Dr. Cara Barker

Dr. Barker makes a reference to a poem by Howard Thurman. The link to the poem online is as follows:

I will light candles this Christmas, a poem by Howard Thurman

I didn't know who Howard Thurman was. So I looked him up. Links are as follows:

Howard Thurman

Howard Thurman on Wikipedia

Wishing you Peace in the holiday season,

Ginny


For Parents: Discussion Forum on Estrangement

Dr. Joshua Coleman's discussion forum is a place that is particularly helpful for parents who are trying to come to grips with estrangements by their children.

At this time of year I know that many people are looking for support to get them through the holidays. I do recommend this discussion forum. It has been around for a few years but has gone through major improvements. It is much easier to use than it was a few years ago when it was one long window of over 1,000 posts.

Forum: When Parents Hurt: Dealing with Parental Alienation

 


Being estranged and letting petty stuff get to us.

I've been estranged for a long time now. Life does go on. I am busy with my life but occasionally, like yesterday, something occurs that is really no big deal. It's petty. I don't have to react. Up till yesterday I did not react to that thing. I know that is better for me not to let little things like that get to me.

Continue reading "Being estranged and letting petty stuff get to us." »


How dumb & crazy would I have to be to do that?

Or maybe the title of this post could be "People who are never ever wrong".

I used to have a rather close relationship with someone who could never be wrong. It was crazymaking. In the middle of an argument, he'd change his position to mine as though it was his own all along rather than admit that his original position was not correct. He'd do this when his own position became difficult to defend. Do you know someone like this? It is crazymaking. Not everyone is like this.

Continue reading "How dumb & crazy would I have to be to do that?" »


Link to Comments on Today Show interview w/Coleman & Debby

What happens when children cut off their parents?

After the interview with the Debby, an estranged mom, and author and psychologist Joshua Coleman, on the Today Show on  July 6, 2010, there has been a discussion set up on the topic of the interview. The link above is to a page with the video of the interview and also a discussion of the interview.


On the Today Show, July 6, 2010: Joshua Coleman and Debby

Joshua Coleman and Debby were on this morning's Today Show on NBC. Joshua Coleman is the author of When Parents Hurt. Debby is a mother who has been estranged by her daughter for seven years. I am providing a link to the interview. I don't know how long the link will be good as the Today Show might not provide these links for permanent access. So if the link doesn't work at some point and I realize that, then I will remove it. It should remain good for a while.

What happens when children cut off their parents. Interview with Joshua Coleman and Debby.
July 6, 2010

BTW the url for the discussion group, Estranged Stories, has been changed to http://www.estrangedstories.com

The old url will still take you to the site but there is a new permanent url.

Ginny