Our mother was upset over our sibling schism…

by Rod Smith

My elderly mother was very upset at Christmas because my brother (32) and I (29) are not speaking (to each other) and so we came to Christmas Day at her house at different times to make it easier for her. We didn’t plan to come at different times: it is something we’ve worked out without actually talking about it. Now she is not speaking to me. Please help. (Letter shortened)

Given your capacity communicate without “actually talking” with your brother, I’d suggest you each also possess the ability to find enduring reconciliation. I will remind you that it is likely that you will have a brother for longer than you will have a mother.

Finding peace with a brother, quite apart from alleviating the pain the schism inflicts upon your mother, is usually a good and healthy thing to do.

When families are split it is the stronger person, and not the guilty person, or the “problem” person, who holds the keys of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Approach your brother in a spirit of humility: it might surprise how open he is to embracing his estranged sibling, and, at the same time, you will each be giving your mother a belated Christmas gift she will not stop talking about.

One Comment to “Our mother was upset over our sibling schism…”

  1. I have a problem sibling. My sister and I spent 4 long years not talking, much to my mom’s distress, and many other years bickering. We made up, mostly for my mother. It didn’t seem fair to me that I had to humble myself and beg her to let things go (even though the whole thing was almost entirely her fault) but I did it for the sake of family harmony. My kids wanted to see their cousin (her son). We are now on speaking terms but because of distance we only see each other once a year. She drives me crazy, but for that one short visit I just suck it up and smile.

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