Episode 154: Nothing Happens in a Vacuum

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Some parents of estranged adult children beat themselves up for parenting “mistakes” they couldn’t possibly have avoided. Others blame their children for being difficult, ungrateful or too sensitive. What’s missing from these simplistic assignments of blame for estrangement? Context. According to Tina, context is very often overlooked to the detriment of both parents and children. …

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Episode 153: Are You Estranged From Yourself?

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Some parents experiencing estrangement from their adult children have known estrangement before. Not necessarily from other people, but within themselves. Self-alienation is a kind of internal estrangement that has become almost normal in our culture. With so much information available and so much to do, we’re not always fully present. We lose touch with ourselves …

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Episode 152: Lines of Development

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Estrangement from family, like everything else, takes place against the psychological backdrop of human development. Far from ending in adulthood, development continues throughout the lifespan, and offers hope for change in any given week, month or year of our lives. In this interesting episode, Tina takes listeners on a brief tour of the concept of …

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Episode 151: Losing Time While Estranged

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If your adult child is not responding to texts, emails or any attempts at contact, at some point you might begin to worry about the time that’s passing during estrangement. This could happen for a couple of reasons… One frightening thought is that the longer adult child(ren) are estranged, the harder it will be to …

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Episode 148: Healing vs. Coping

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Parents of estranged adult children often carry unhealed emotional wounds from long ago. The pain of those wounds can be reactivated when adult children become estranged, especially if original injuries involved separation, loss, rejection or abandonment. For those parents, the injury of unwanted estrangement brings back the pain of old trauma (with or without a …

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Episode 147: When to Stop Trying to Reconnect

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Many parents exhaust themselves trying in vain to reconnect with their estranged adult child or children. While some keep struggling to come up with new things to try, others succumb to despair and begin to believe the situation is hopeless. In both cases, the question may arise: When is the right time to stop trying? …

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Episode 146: Breathe.

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Breathe through your nose if you can. Make your exhale longer than your inhale. Slow down and deepen your breathing. All of those are simple, accessible ways to calm an upset nervous system. Controlled breathing is one of the oldest and most effective methods to combat stress over time. For parents unwillingly estranged from adult …

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Episode 144: What’s Your Strategy?

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It may feel wrong to use words like “strategy” and “tactics” when talking about personal relationships. But healing from family estrangement, especially for parents unwillingly estranged from their adult children, often requires strategic thinking. Tina points out that “strategy” is simply a word for having a plan. Tactics are the “how” of any strategy, including …

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Episode 143: Wisdom to Know the Difference

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Some parents of estranged adult children may already be familiar with the serenity prayer, popularized by AA and other 12-step groups: “God, grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.” Knowing when to take action and when to stand …

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Episode 142: The Race to Reconnect

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As soon as they realize their adult child or children are estranged, most parents will try to reestablish a connection as quickly as possible. And while it’s only natural to do so, racing to reconnect can lead to wasted time and energy — and sadly, needless extra suffering. In this short but vital episode, Tina …

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Episode 141: Go For a No, And Only If You Have To

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If your adult child has stepped away from your relationship by deciding to become estranged, then in general, it’s not a good idea to make requests of him or her. Instead, it may be best to view this time of estrangement as a request from your child, that you examine your relationship and seek to …

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Episode 140: Emotions of Estrangement, Part 2

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The pain of estrangement from an adult child or children is, for many parents, excruciating. Some describe it as the worst they’ve ever felt. It’s overwhelming, and feels unending. But to say that you’re in pain is not the full story. It’s just a disturbing headline with no further information. To deal with pain, we …

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Episode 139: Emotions of Estrangement, Part 1

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The pain of estrangement from an adult child or children is, for many parents, excruciating. Some describe it as the worst they’ve ever felt. It’s overwhelming, and feels unending. But to say that you’re in pain is not the full story. It’s just a disturbing headline with no further information. To deal with pain, we …

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Episode 138: Your Estranged Adult Child’s Pronouns

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If you’re the parent of an estranged adult child (or any adult child) who identifies as transgender or gender non-conforming, you might be asked to refer to them with pronouns you’re not used to. When your child was growing up, you called her “she” and “her.” Now you’re being asked to use “they” and “them,” …

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Episode 137: Is Estrangement a Trend?

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Parents of estranged adult children often worry that what’s happening in their families may be part of a growing trend. On the one hand, it’s soothing to know you’re not alone when you’re suffering. But on the other, fascination with “estrangement as a trend” is just one more way to take your eye off the …

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Episode 136: On Being Manipulative (Part 2)

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“Manipulative.” It’s an intimidating word, especially when other people apply it to us. What do they mean when they say we’re being manipulative? Some parents of estranged adult children are well acquainted with the word and the concept of manipulation. Either they’ve been accused of being manipulative themselves, or they find their adult child(ren)’s behavior …

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Episode 135: On Being Manipulative (Part 1)

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“Manipulative.” It’s an intimidating word, especially when other people apply it to us. What do they mean when they say we’re being manipulative? Some parents of estranged adult children are well acquainted with the word and the concept of manipulation. Either they’ve been accused of being manipulative themselves, or they find their adult child(ren)’s behavior …

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