Holidays Feed

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,


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


Altruism as an antidote to what ails us: Cami Walker's solution

Outside of what I wrote in my Guidelines for how to cope with being estranged I don't have any great answers on what to do about estrangements. But sometimes I see something written that rings a bell for me about things that have helped me. I saw an article like that the other day in the New York Times online.

Something that has helped me is to get involved in helping other people. In fact I do that a lot. Sometimes I do it so much that I don't have time to get other things done. So be warned! But it is a great way to get your brain going in a different direction and removing all the worries and preoccupations about things you can do nothing about. Also, you will make new friends and develop a whole new set of things to do that you never thought of doing before!

The article that I found was along the lines of curing what ails you by taking your viewpoint off of yourself and directing it outward towards the world. The article is about what one woman did and learned after she was told that she had multiple sclerosis. I think that the words "multiple sclerosis" would be mighty scary words to hear!

This is what Cami Walker did: In Month of Giving, a Healthy Reward by Tara Parker-Pope, Nov. 30, 2009.

That link is my gift to you today. Use it well!

Wishing everyone a peaceful holiday season,


Q&A on Writing and Coping with Estrangement & the Holidays

A reader asked me a question recently. She asked if I had any tips for dealing with the holidays. Another reader asked if I had stopped writing on my blog. I've been thinking about the answers to both of these questions.

Continue reading "Q&A on Writing and Coping with Estrangement & the Holidays" »

Triple Crown Winner: A Horse Named Addiction

This is the second attempt to write about my father for this Father's Day post. I thought of writing about how imperfect he was and how I had not estranged him. I started to write and talk about the negative things. I wrote two paragraphs and had to stop and delete them. I couldn't do it.

Continue reading "Triple Crown Winner: A Horse Named Addiction" »

Father's Day and Estrangement: a keyword search on June 1 '08

  1. Monday, June 18, 2007: She She on Father's Day Quote from She She: "There are no black hats. There are no white hats. There is only gray, and it’s the most beautiful of colors."
  2. Tuesday, May 6, 2008: Word Count II: Dear Monty Quote: "At this time, I am thinking of just sending a Father's Day card with my name on it. That is all I can bear right now."
  3. Tuesday, May 20, 2008: Passiam's Lodge: Control is an Illlusion. Quote: " If you read my Tweet, it talks about my mother wanting to bring my estranged and financially-challenged biological father . . . "
  4. Wednesday, May 14, 2008 McCall's Manic Merry-Go-Round: Mother's Day Schmothers Day Quote: "Next celebration to consider -- well other than some conspicuous birthdays -- is Father's Day, which is when I give John his props for dealing with all, and resolving most, of the "Daddy Issues" I carry around."
  5. Monday, May 12, 2008 Crossing Channels: The Commodification of Feelings. Quote: "This epidemic has been caused by a consumer culture that preys on the minds of gullible individuals and turns them into consumers hungry for love."
  6. Wednesday, May 7, 2008: Dating Trials and Tribulations: Un-official dating holiday. Quote: "Why is it that the week before Mother's Day or Father's Day considered to be a dating "National Holiday", comparable to the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving or Christmas???"

Happy New Year!

Wishing all of my visitors a Happy New Year!
I hope 2008 is a great year for you, that it brings you realization to your dreams, love, friends, happiness, and joy.

PS. I've been working too hard recently to find time to think about what to write on family estrangement here. I do think about my family estrangements a lot but I haven't had the luxury of time to think of new topics to write on and then sit down and write them. My apologies to those who bookmark this site for something new. If you look through the archives. I may have covered something in the past that you would find interesting.

My annual Christmas wish to you

I wrote the following as part of a longer post on  Christmas Day 2004  and have posted it again the last two years. This has become my annual Christmas wish to all my visitors, estrangees and estrangers.

Originally written December 25, 2004

About Christmas .... it seems almost inappropriate to wish those who come here looking for answers a Merry Christmas. If you have come here to find a way to resolve an estrangement and you're miserable over being estranged, then the last thing I'd think you'd want to hear is a greeting of Merry Christmas when you are feeling the least merry that you've ever felt. Christmas may have been torture. The entire season may have been just one hell of a day after another. Been there, done that too. A good grim "bah humbug" might be something you'd rather hear.

So ... rather than wish you a Merry Christmas ... I will offer you a Get Well card. I hope that you do Get Well and someday find yourself able to enjoy the greeting of Merry Christmas again. I wish you the ability to smile. to get up in the morning with no tears, the freedom to spend most of a day thinking of whatever you'd like to think about rather than this misery of being estranged, the joy of being able to appreciate the sun, good friends, the fact that you're alive. I wish you the miracle of waking some day and later thinking with surprise about how you didn't wake up thinking about your estrangement and you can't remember how long it has been since you thought about being estranged. I wish you relief from your pain, healing from your loss, and the ability to feel joy once again.

No, I don't have the answer that you may have come here to find but I promise you that there is healing whether you find the answer or not. Eventually. It takes time. Have faith and hang in there!


Father's Day & Estrangement II

  1. On (The Fayetteville Observer), May 17, 2007: Celebrate Parents' Day by Steven R. Edelman
  2. Written by a father for his son, Shane,  from whom he had been estranged for a time. Posted on June 18, 1995: Father's Day
  3. In the archive of This American Life, Chicago Public Radio: 26: Father's Day '96. Available for download.
  4. On, May 7, 2007: Adam Grenier makes a movie about search for dad
  5. A post on A Feast of Crumbs: Saturday Night Surprise, October 16, 2006
  6. A post from The Word of Todd, A Non-Prophet Prophet: It Gets to Me Every Single Time, August 5, 2006

Father's Day & Estrangement

  1. On AskMetafilter: How to be kind but firm with an estranged parent who wants more than I am willing to give, March 15, 2007
  2. On top40: The Story Behind "Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter to Father)"
  3. Go On, Make Peace with Dad by Will Kern. Originally published on June 17, 2001.
  4. On Healing Father-Son Relationship by Adeyemi Bandele, June 1999
  5. On How do the fatherless celebrate Father's Day, by Cherryl Aldave, June 19, 2005

More on Mother's Day & Estrangement

  1. Finding Mom's Right Gift by Elizabeth Lardie, May 8, 2007, The Times Record online
  2. Mars Needs Moms on Jim Hill Media. Only remotely connected to estrangement but funny nugget of mother-related stuff.
  3. CamelsbackandForth: Early Late Stories, May 10, 2007
  4. - On The Guardian: Mother's Day Coping Tips for the Bereaved, May 10, 2007
  5. On How to Mend Fences with Mom on Mother's Day
  6. On History of Mother's Day - ". . . to obliterate family estrangement . . . "

Mother's Day & Estrangement

  1. On ChristianityToday: When Mother's Day Is Hard - Taking solace in Scripture's difficult and unsentimental image of motherhood. By Jenell Williams Paris, May 1, 2004
  2. How do you handle Mother's day if you're estranged? On Yahoo Answers, April 2007
  3. Time's Fool: Mother's Day: Not Everyone Celebrates, May 4, 2007
  4. On   The other woman - When my mom split up with my not-mom, Mother's Day lost its charm.By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, May 10, 2001
  5. Honoring those who have mothered us  Barbara Child, March 5, 2007
  6. Life Without Borders: Mother's Day, May 14, 2006
  7. The Occasional Editorialist: Rewarding Family for Their Quirks, March 28, 2007
  8. "Mother's Day", a Meditation by Lianne Olive Hennig
  9. On iVillage, Garden Web: Estrangement from Adult Child, July 25, 2006 to April 20,2007 (or possibly more recent date)
  10. Love and Support Needed, May 9, 2005
  11. Allied: I am a mother, May 9, 2005