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Estrangement and siblings

(30 Posts)
Razzmatazz123 Mon 26-Aug-19 02:06:48

Often when one child estranges there is a sibling that does not. What would you do in that situation? Would you talk to the sibling about their estranged brother/sister and tell them all their brother/sisters wrongdoings? Would you expect them to take your side? Would you ask them to mediate? Or would you encourage them to stay in contact with the estranged child and stay out of their relationship?

GoodMama Mon 26-Aug-19 02:22:08

Do nothing, say nothing.
It’s best not to mention it at all. Have independent relationships with each adult son or daughter.

Not much good will come from getting them involved. Choosing sides never works out well.

If they bring it up just say you miss the sibling and wish them the best.

Then change the subject.

BradfordLass72 Mon 26-Aug-19 06:15:59

Why would anyone want to make a sad situation even worse by bad-mouthing one sibling to another, estranged or not?

I have never said anything nasty about my elder, estranged son, to his brother but then they flatted together for a few years and the younger boy knows all about him, as do I.

We all have faults but to point them out (as what, self-justification?) and expect a sibling to side with you, is, in my opinion, divisive and reprehensible.

But then some people need revenge against an estranged child because they feel slighted and entitled to more gratitude than has been shown. I've never felt that way.

I've loved my boys unconditionally, that means without setting any conditions or expectations for my love and the fact that one decided not to speak to or contact me hasn't stopped me loving him.

I have always left the question of contact to the boys themselves and not interfered.

Peonyrose Mon 26-Aug-19 07:24:49

Over forty years ago, my one sibling ceased contact with my mother, she shut the door twice in her face, no reason, no explanation, after about three years I asked my sister what the problem was, she had felt aggrieved by something but by then it was hazy, I told her that what she had done was cruel, how would she feel if her child did it to her, that if anything happened to mom, she was have that on her conscience. To be honest if she had ceased contact with me I would not have let it bother me, it was so unjust. However, they made up and were closer than ever. She was and still is, quick to judge and take offence when non is intended, which cam be hard work. Mom has been gone years now but it meant everything to have had her daughter back.

Dolcelatte Mon 26-Aug-19 07:44:25

I have the opposite problem. I was semi-estranged from my eldest for two years, who cut off all the family. Now I am reconciled but there is NC between the siblings.

With hindsight, I leant on the siblings more than I should, but they also suffered from their own hurt. The formerly estranged AC is now expecting a child of her own and, whereas both sisters have said they are pleased and wish her well, one has said that it changes nothing in so far as her relationship - or lack of it - is concerned. So it looks as though the estrangement will pass on to another generation. It's very sad, but I have learnt to my cost that it is a big mistake to interfere. I no longer mention the formerly estranged DD unless specifically raised by them.

Sara65 Mon 26-Aug-19 08:26:43


As always wise words from you.

I think in most cases it’s a matter of least said, soonest mended. I’m estranged from my mother, but don’t really discuss it with my brother, who I’m sure understands, but her relationship with him, was different than with me. The fact that I’ve walked away, has meant a complete change for my brother and sister in law, because she’s moved to be near them and their children, and I think my poor sister in law has had quite a burden to bear.

But the estrangement is between me and my mother, always tried not to involve anyone else.

Elcie Mon 26-Aug-19 09:39:55

I too am estranged from my mother, and have been for 10 years. My brother and his wife used to try telling me about her but I asked them to stop as I wasn’t interested, and we now have much nicer visits. It hasn’t affected my relationship with them at all. Neither of my two sisters (who I don’t really see much) has ever asked about our estrangement, and they all now just accept it. It really is nothing to do with anyone but me and my mother.

notentirelyallhere Mon 26-Aug-19 09:47:51

We had a situation some years ago where our eldest was estranged for about 18 months. It seemed related to questions about her sexuality but a lot of her anger was aimed at me.

We tried to listen non judgmentally and without arguing and we encouraged her sisters to stay in touch but we didn't comment on or ask questions about their relationship.

In a volatile situation, which is what estrangement is, it seemed important to try and keep things stable. I believe it happens because someone feels not listened to. To confide in one family member against another is a form of not listening, even if it's not meant. Usually it's done to ask for support. A better route is to ask yourself what part you've played in the development of the situation, very hard but necessary, and find someone who can be objective outside of the family to ask for support, maybe a professional.

It took time but our situation was healed and remains so.

Smileless2012 Mon 26-Aug-19 09:49:27

I don't instigate conversations about our ES with his brother but occasionally Mr. S. will, by asking how he is etc. I've never liked discussing our estrangement with him, he lives in Aus. and when we are together that time is precious but once a year, when we are together he'll broach the subject.

I do feel for him, it must be very hard for a sibling when their brother or sister refuses to have anything to do with their parents. We did say from the beginning that we didn't want him to be involved. He's the only family member our ES does have contact with all be it sporadically, and we didn't want their relationship to be adversely affected.

Hm999 Mon 26-Aug-19 09:51:31

One of my DAC was estranged from all family for a decade - worst pain of my life. We kept memories alive by frequently talking about him. His sibling made multiple attempts to link him back in, and after one such attempt, strangely, as instantly as it started, it instantly stopped. Reconciliation was easier because there'd been no initial row.

BusterTank Mon 26-Aug-19 10:02:27

Best of keeping your mouth shut because it will only come back to bite you on the bum .

Nannan2 Mon 26-Aug-19 10:09:20

Two of my older adult children have now been estranged from each other almost 2yrs after a falling out between them- i continued to ring/ see both separately,NOT mentioning either to the other at all as i didn't want to upset them,but one of them still took umbrage with me,as i think it was ( mistakenly) felt I'd spent more time with one than the other,(i only visit a few times a yr anyway as i live 80miles away) and,feeling a bit jealous i guess,that sibling then fell out with me,i couldnt see my GC either,so it hurt,and i hadnt done anything wrong- this went on for 6mths,(i still sent txts for all birthdays etc,so they knew i cared& loved them.Their eldest sibling mediated and in the end my son 'came round' to the sense the eldest was saying and made up with me- but i still don't mention his rift with his sister- however,i tell her about things I've done with his kids( trips,birthdays) as she genuinely loves& misses them all,and i can tell how much she misses her brother,as they were always so close,did things together as families with all their kids,and its a shame as theyre missing out on each other too.But i never tell them of any 'wrongdoings' or such,or 'get them onside'- im not even sure what's meant by that- my daughter knew my son had fallen out with me too for a bit,but we never 'hashed it over' or anything,we just enjoyed our own i do now with each of them.I just keep hoping one they will make up and be friends again.they're all missing out on so much precious time.

jaylucy Mon 26-Aug-19 10:30:06

Why on earth would you want to blab about someone's wrongdoings when there is already problems in their relationship ? Unless you are looking for brownie points that is!
My godson is estranged from his family - his father did something just before his sister's wedding (there were faults on both sides)so what was once a very close family is now completely splintered.
It would be very easy to tell both sides what the other has been doing, good or bad but it would be me that would end up the bad guy and I refuse to be a part of the "he said, she said" argument that would then start, with me as piggy in the middle!

Summerstorm Mon 26-Aug-19 10:37:10

Two comments really “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything” also it con easily backfire “ don’t shoot the messenger” you could very well loose another family member

MooM00 Mon 26-Aug-19 11:05:40

My mother in law was estranged from her Son and Daughter in law, also this ment the Grandchildren too. The arguement was between herself and the Dil. I was very close to my Mil and she had tried that many times to try and make up with her son and family but to no avail. When she became ill she told me whatever I do don't let the Dil go to the funeral. When she died I managed to fulfil her request with the support of my father in law. When Fil died guess who was first in line for the money. My Inlaws had not done a will. I think it would be really nice if people really listened to the lyrics of the beautiful song of Mike and the Mechanics. In The Living Years.

icanhandthemback Mon 26-Aug-19 11:57:42

My adult children knew exactly what had caused the breakdown between my sister and I but I was adamant that this was not their problem. I would never drag other members into my problems. I told my Mum, Dad and my children that I completely understood that they shouldn't take sides, their relationship shouldn't change and that I would always be civil in a "family" situation. My children made their own decision to step back from her whilst my mother and father put a lot of pressure on me to forgive and forget. I resisted their attempts and I do feel that my relationship with my Dad's side of the family suffered but I can live with that. As my mother deteriorates, I feel duty bound to inform my sister of how things lie but I can't imagine we'll have contact once she goes. I do miss the good bits of our historic relationship but cannot get over her actions about 6 years ago.

Witchypoo Mon 26-Aug-19 12:51:33

Have no contact with one child and very little with other. Apparently when asked what the problem was it was something from years ago. Ec has contact with a wealthy relative so will never have contact with me. Other child has wealthy in laws. I have nothing. I struggle being lonely and have had to make my life elsewhere. I have two ladies who i have met who treat me like a mother and to me they are my daughters. Their children my grandchildren. Very very sad but sometimes you have to do things you really dont want to

TwinLolly Mon 26-Aug-19 13:02:31

Sadly my twin cut me out of her life and I never knew why even though I asked.

I knew the best thing to do was for me to keep in touch with her now and then even if she didn't. And I always, at the end of a letter, or a message, said that I loved her (even though she tried my patience to the limit).

She went on to commit suicide but at least I had said "I love you" in our last short conversation a few weeks before she died.

Life is too short....

notanan2 Mon 26-Aug-19 13:07:34

If you "compete" for the person in the middle, you will show yourself in a poor light.

Razzmatazz123 Mon 26-Aug-19 14:21:32

My mother has destroyed my relationship with my brother . I take comfort from a lot of these answers though. I wonder if maybe my brother should have judged me by our relationship and not mine and our mother's. I wish over the years I felt him pulling away I had realised what was going on and not just assumed he was busy living his life. The only time we ever argued was when he had let me down and cancelled plans too many times in a row. The times we spoke after I estranged he behaved in ways that were completely unexpected, even nasty at times. I still feel it is my fault and I could have prevented it somehow.

Esmerelda Mon 26-Aug-19 15:07:49

What a wise and sensible comment BradfordLass. I don't think I can better the advice given. My niece stopped talking to me but I have never let that affect my relationship with her mum and dad, or her brothers. She's one to hold a grudge so I don't imagine things will change but I won't lose any sleep over it. Definitely do not beat yourself up over your situation Razzmatazz and blame yourself ... look forward not backwards! 🌹❤

Razzmatazz123 Mon 26-Aug-19 15:48:51

Thank you

agnurse Mon 26-Aug-19 16:16:54

My sister is estranged from us other siblings and our parents. Initially she estranged and then reconciled, and then she and her husband estranged again.

The first time the estrangement occurred, I felt very "caught in the middle" as I was hearing both sides of the issue from each party and my sister refused to speak to our parents. This time around, I was adamant that I wouldn't be put in the middle. Our parents do mention the estrangement, and I feel the estrangement isn't justified, but I have told my mum (and she agrees this is reasonable) that I'm not willing to be piggy in the middle. Not happening.

I always maintain that adult relationships are the business of only the parties involved. If children are estranged from one another or from their parents, it's not the job of the other siblings and/or the parents to try to mend fences as a third party. This often puts people in an uncomfortable position, and if it's parents trying to mediate between their children, it also comes across as the parents not respecting their children as adults. (Effectively it can seem as if the parents are treating their children as little ones having a squabble that Mummy and Daddy need to sort out.)

Enjoy the company of people with whom you do have a relationship, and don't mention the estrangement unless they bring it up first.

grizzlybear27 Mon 26-Aug-19 16:46:46

I haven't spoken to my estranged oldest son, in months. He had a messy divorce, and then a bad breakup with a rebound girlfriend. He has accused me of constantly lying, which I haven't done, but both wife and girlfriend have. I feel I am being tarred with the same brush. He won't talk, or even discuss it. He has decided that this is what happened, and nobody can dissuade him. You can't know the heartbreak of it, unless it happens to you.

Razzmatazz123 Mon 26-Aug-19 16:58:26

I hope he settles in time grizzly. All the fun things that come with relationship breakdowns like depression, anxiety, suicidal or self harming thoughts don't come with a rational mind. I hope he heals and comes back to you.