Sibling Slander

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I recently found my relatives I haven’t seen in over 30 yrs and I figure I would get to know them. I talked to them for awhile and now they stopped talking to me after they talked to my siblings and other relations,which they look at me like I am the bad seed who caused the stress and problems in the family. Granted, my life hasn’t been great and I never gotten along with my siblings, since my mothers passing, I’ve been trying to reconnect with my family but it seems like they do not want nothing to do with me and it is hurting me inside. I want to bury the hatchet more than anything, but they are not willing to. What makes this difficult, is the fact they keep dragging my name through the mud and I want it to stop.

A: Whenever there is such a group reaction from a family I think the best strategy is to make personal contact with the most willing person and nurture this one relationship. Don’t try to ingratiate yourself with the whole family. Work to build one relationship at a time. Make the effort to develop brief contact first. The idea here is to build on success—so the goal of a brief meeting is to have it go well and to set up another opportunity to connect again. Don’t try to solve everything all at once. If you have been out of the loop for 30 years it may take some time to reintroduce yourself to your family. Let them know who you are now, and strive to develop a positive connection.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Apr 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Sibling Slander. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/04/02/sibling-slander/