Relationships

These articles focus on relationship issues and communication.

Estrangement Takes Two, Part 2

Being cut off from someone you love is not only painful but apparently common, judging from the amount of feedback I receive about the estrangement advice on my website. In that article, I advise the person who’s been cut off and wants to reconcile to act on all those good cliches: turn the other cheek, …

How to Deal With Negativity

Little Kidbit comes home from school and declares, “School sucks.” Carl Coworker looks over the agenda for the upcoming meeting and sighs, “This is going to be a total waste of time.” Spouse comes home from the grocery store and growls, “That grocery store has the worst parking in town.” How do you respond? It’s …

Estrangement Takes Two

If someone has cut you off, and the two of you aren’t speaking, it can feel like something is being done to you. It’s like you’re the victim and they’re the perpetrator. But if you take a step back and look at the entire picture over time, it’s probably not quite like that. Two Perpetrators, …

How to Deal With a Persnickety Friend

Do you have a friend who’s got you walking on eggshells — someone who makes you feel like you’re not a good person, let alone a good friend? Friendship on Probation I have a friend like this. Everything I do feels like it’s never quite right, or quite enough. Each piece of positive feedback, every …

Mind-Reading is Bad for Relationships

Are you good at reading people? Do you easily pick up on the moods or feelings of others? If the answer is Yes, here’s some food for thought. For some years I facilitated therapy groups for people interested in personal growth. This involved interviewing potential new members to make sure the fit was right for …

How to Assert Yourself Without Being Mean

Someone asks you to lend them money. Not a lot. Just enough so you’ll miss it and wonder if you’ll see it again. You’d rather not lend it, but you can’t say no. You give it up, then resent the person for not paying you back without your having to ask. You visit the home …

When Adult Children Won’t Talk to Their Parents

There’s an article about estrangement on my website that gets more feedback than any article I’ve written before or since. In that article, I offer strategies for the person who’s been cut off by someone and wants to get back together. The gist of it is this: Like it or not, whether you agree with …

The Green-Eyed Monster

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d write about the color green. And because I’m all about emotions, today’s topic is the Green-Eyed Monster, also known as jealousy. First things first: What’s the difference between jealousy and envy? Quite simply, envy is when we want something someone else has, that rightfully belongs to …

What to Do When Someone Won’t Talk to You

Estrangement from important others is a sad fact of life for many people. One of the most painful experiences a parent can have is to be rejected by an adult child who appears to want nothing to do with them. Estrangement between siblings, in-laws, neighbors, even coworkers, is also common.

The reasons for estrangement are as diverse as the parties involved. Sometimes there was a very close relationship in the past, and something happened that created distance.

This may have happened either slowly over time or rather suddenly, but once that distance was created, it solidified into estrangement. Or, the relationship was never as close as it could have been, and the gap just kept getting wider, until there was no relationship at all.

If you’re estranged from an adult child, a sibling or someone in your social circle, and the estrangement is their choice rather than yours, you’re probably feeling rejected.

Rejection is a powerful emotion that can lead to all sorts of defensive behavior, which in turn can further alienate the rejecting person. If someone has chosen to have little or no contact with you, it’s important to acknowledge any softer feelings you may have about that.