I stopped talking to my sister for over a year because I just couldn't handle her bullshit any more. She has some severe psychiatric issues - she has just had a TBI diagnosed - and every conversation with her ended with me telling her that I didn't feel qualified to give her advice and she needed to talk to a therapist about her problems; she finally popped on me and stopped calling and I never called her back. Instead, I e-mailed her dd and got the details through her.
So now we're friends again and she's sworn to keep seeing a therapist, though I don't know if she'll ever be honest with anyone about her problems, so, the potential for another fallout lurks around every corner.
I have other sib's that I've completely cut out of my life, though, with no regrets.
I guess I posted this because I'm wondering if others in this age group have estranged family members (religious issues aside) and how often you re-establish contact with them.

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Damn. Not quite the same as my situation, but similar.

I haven't talked with my youngest brother since before my mother died. The last interaction we had was him lobbing things at me, and putting my neck out. I'd talk to him if he'd honestly apologize, but he doesn't apologize to anyone, and I won't put myself through his routine again where he only talks with family to try to get money out of them. He probably also has psychiatric issues, but hasn't/won't get help for them.

My other brother will be civil to me when we are both at my aunt's or sister's homes, but outside of that, he doesn't return phone calls or email. I have no idea why he acts this way. My sister once suggested it's because I am not blond, thin, and married with 2.2 children and a career.

My uncle doesn't return calls or respond to letters/cards/gifts either. He also is civil when we are at my aunt's house. He stopped talking with me for 10 years when we got into an argument about Manifest Destiny.

Then there are the not-quite-so-immediate family members who I've been trying to get genealogical information out of for years, 99% of whom don't return calls or letters. I suspect that one of my brothers "tattled" on me. Who knows what evil things I've done that has made people not talk to me? Never got married? Haven't had kids? Etc...

Could possibly be because I'm an atheist. I'm not a mind reader, so I really don't know.

I left the welcome mat out for my relatives, which is the best I can do at this point. I spent too many years being upset at their non-communication, or abuse, or neglect. I have a happy home now, and I'm not interested in rocking the boat.
...similar, but different, as I´ve been the "black sheep" of the family. Being an Atheist, Anarchist, partially "social dropout" and outlaw sure qualified me for this, by their means. As well as me, being a little bit mentally instable a few decades ago...

But, after struggling along for some years on my own, I´ve got rid off some, and established my opinion on other so-called problems. On the other side, due to age, my family has been shrinking severely, as nowadays only my little sister (actually she´s nearly twelve years ahead of me) and a nephew are living, and by now we have a very good relationship.

Would say, a little time of separation (maybe a few years) will settle problems and calm differences quite well...
Would say, a little time of separation (maybe a few years) will settle problems and calm differences quite well...

For some. Others have to make different social connections that give them emotional comfort.
I don't speak to my father, and I haven't seen him in over a decade. He suffers, in my opinion, from an undiagnosed bi-polar condition, and he always took out his frustrations on me. I have no intention of going to his funeral when he dies. (But I may not be able to refuse if my sister asks me: I adore my sister,) I've also estranged myself from certain members of my family, but not for reasons of mental illness or because I am atheist. Rather, my family tends to be very political conservative while I am very liberal in my political leanings. Some members of my family possess racist tendencies, and I avoid them as a rule.
Many in my family are also politically conservative, to the point of having autographed photos of Sarah Palin and George W. Bush. Conversations on politics usually end with them trying to get me into a "Yes he is", "No he isn't" lather, rinse, repeat scenario. I never bring up politics. They do. It makes me laugh how triumphalist they are about it all, and sad how they believe anything that comes out of one of their hero's/heroine's mouth.

I've pointed out the racism/homophobia/sexism, etc... in as gentle terms as I can. It's hard to deal with, so I try to minimize interaction with certain individuals.
Hi Cowpunk62,

My dad and I were estranged for many years. He and my mom got divorced when I was quite young. It was not a good marriage or a friendly divorce. Mom and her sister and parents raised me. Growing up, dad was pretty much a subject we just didn't talk about. As a young adult, I new that starting a relationship with him would hurt her, so I refrained from doing so. Then, in 2001, mom died of breast cancer. There was thus no further reason to keep him estranged, so I initiated contact. We actually got along pretty well, considering that we had absolutely no contact or knowledge of each other for 40+ years. Last winter, the whole family had a very nice dinner together at a restaurant. It was my treat. I am happy that I did this, as he passed away this summer. I suppose a lesson that I have learned from all this is that it is generally good to put away past differences, if at all possible, and to give people a chance. When they are dead and gone, it will be too late. But, these lessons just apply to me; they do not necessarily apply to you. Hope this helps.
What is a TBI diagnosis? Traumatic brain injury? I had to look it up, and that came closest.

I started wondering why I hadn't heard from the two relatives that do keep in touch. I called one, and found that their phone had been disconnected. So, I called their SO, and found that out the rellies that had been in contact with me had all signed up for Facebook and were communicating there.

This is typical for my family, which is why I try to make friends who aren't like them.

I think when some people suggest that issues be swept under the rug, they may not have experienced issues as difficult as those of us who may not want to initiate contact. I've bent over so far backward for my relatives that I could get a job as a contortionist. If you keep getting punched in the face every time you turn the other cheek, it becomes difficult to turn your head after a while. There's a certain point when you've taken enough abuse/neglect and its time to move on. Like I mentioned previously, the welcome mat is out for anyone who wants to visit who I'm on good terms with, and anyone who wants to apologize who's changed their ways.

I do think of trying to re-establish contact with my youngest brother from time-to-time, but since he abandoned my eldest nephew at age 11 and hasn't been in contact since, I doubt he cares to hear from me.
Yes, a TBI is a traumatic brain injury. She was in a car accident when she was eight, before they knew anything about car safety and was badly hurt. She's really had a hard life but I feel like I can only help her so much ...
Yeah. There comes a time when self-preservation takes priority.
And you feel like no amount of "help" is ever gonna really help.
Hey Hot Mess! Yeah, I have an estranged brother (the middle of our three). He pretty much left when I came out of the closet some 30 (plus or minus) years ago. And then when I got my MFA (in, oh my...PAINTING!), that pretty much sealed the deal - you know how we artists are. When it later became clear that I ALSO liked men, it really got confusing because I still kept my hair short. His wife still signs his name to birthday cards, etc., out of some sense of familial obligation. If he wants to know me, he'll have to call or come for a visit. It's sad, but the unspoken parlance puts the ball in his court. I can't swing if he doesn't participate. It's really OK with me - I have a lot of love in my life. On another note, it's nice to be back in touch with you - glad you're still here!

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