Defusing the family feud: Steps to repairing strained or broken relationships

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  • pat1 Taylorsville, UT
    July 14, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    @Gildas: Thanks for the gentle word correction. We probably have more trouble with envy than jealousy. But often both wedges exist in families, especially stepfamilies.

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    July 14, 2014 11:40 a.m.

    I've found that those who want to "let the past be in the past" often are the ones who don't want to admit their role in hurting someone else. We had a family "discussion" between a sibling and a parent a couple of weeks ago. I facilitated. It was easy to see where both sides were coming from; the sibling initiated the meeting and discussion because this sibling wants to have a deeper, less superficial relationship with the parent, but a pattern of past behavior on the part of the parent has made it difficult. The parent felt attacked. I coached the parent into acknowledging that certain behavior had truly wounded my sibling as a child. Parent apologized. Then parent "attacked" my sibling with fresh venom about all the terrible things my sibling had done, too. Clearly the sibling was far more mature than the parent, but I applaud my sibling for trying. When do you give up? Never, if you care. But we might be waiting until the next life to work through some things.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    July 13, 2014 2:37 p.m.

    Jealous = protective of that which is yours.

    Envy = desirous of that which is someone else's.

  • pat1 Taylorsville, UT
    July 13, 2014 7:10 a.m.

    It can be impossible to "fix" everything, especially as families change. Unfounded jealousies can exist for years. Sometimes you have to just do your best and let others just deal with their own misconceptions.

  • dotGone Puyallup, WA
    July 12, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    Well said, Oatmeal, Dennis and Life 101. and especially humbug, well said. I don't usually cut people off forever, but will carefully check back every 5 or so years and see if there has been a change. Sometimes, I learn stuff that helps me manage their "quirks" better and there just isn't a return to closeness, and sometimes people are so hateful and rude and immovable that I think "the ball's in their court" and move on.... even if it is a dearly loved daughter or son..... and the decision tears at my heart. Still, why invite a viper into your bosom over and over?
    But lots of family drama is fixable with forgiveness. I hope these extreme cases are rare..

  • humbug Syracuse/Davis, UT
    July 11, 2014 7:09 a.m.

    As I read all of the comments, I realize that some relationships aren't worth saving or healing. They are toxic. Some relationships are worth the effort to save and improve. I guess it takes wisdom to know the difference.

  • Random Redlands, CA
    July 10, 2014 7:37 p.m.

    Thanks. Good to know I'm not alone in forgiving, but not putting myself in the situation ever again.

  • Tracy A. Provp, UT
    July 10, 2014 3:45 p.m.

    Thank you for this great article. I have come to the conclusion that deliberate caring is what we need and need to give. If we can give that to each other we feel loved and valued. For the one battling colon cancer, thank you for sharing and your service. Alkalizing Kangen water could help you immensely; it's been helpful for people with that... Paw-paw can help also, even in fifth stage it has.

  • photographer801 Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 3, 2014 7:45 p.m.

    Reply to KingmanAZ: I am going through a very similar situation with my daughter. She is the one who an affair on her husband. It was so devastating to not only her husband but also to me and my husband. In fact it has literally broken our hearts because she only stopped it because she got caught and here was her remorseful statement, "I would still be doing it if I hadn't been caught!" Her husband took her back but she continues to talk so badly about him to both us and her children that I can't stand it. She has never apologized to us for all the pain and suffering we went through because she doesn't care. Her "therapist" tells her that it is all my fault and her husbands because we are so domineering! This past year she has worked over time to turn our other children against us until I "changed". She managed to bring 2 out of 3 of her siblings to her "side" and ask them if they "have her back". AND, she has taken 14 of our 19 grandkids away from us. Talk about sad!!!

  • Aggie5 Kuna, ID
    July 3, 2014 7:27 p.m.

    You can't fix certain situations. I've got a brother that's toxic. The only thing that matters to him, is money, material items, hitting on my wife, and trying to find every single possible issue people May or may not have, and target them till they flee. It's either you walk, or punch him square in the nose.

  • KingmanAZ Kingman, AZ
    July 3, 2014 5:14 p.m.

    This is a very interesting article that I can relate to as my daughter and I don't have a relationship. My daughter is in the process of divorce. Her husband walked out for his girlfriend who since had a child by him. Instead of taking the anger out on him, she is angry at me. She claims this is my fault as I didn't teach her forgiveness, which is crap. I feel she is living in denial!! She is in therapy yet there is no change. I have asked her what I have done...with no answer? There is no talking to her, yet I do see my grandchildren, which I am thankful. Other family members know, yet I don't? I have decided that I have to go on with my life, with or without her. I am doing this with the Lord's help and he has blessed me in many ways during this unfortunate time in my life.

  • Life101 Anywhere, CA
    July 3, 2014 3:11 p.m.

    Sad, but true. There are certain family relationships that you cannot work out. Sometimes, the vacancy is better than the aggravation. After so many years, you get exhausted and come to the realization that you just have to let people go for your own sanity and health. Moving on is healthy. Toxic relationships friend or family are not. It's sad, but sometimes the best option.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 3, 2014 12:09 p.m.

    Just because you have siblings doesn't mean they worth your time and the aggravation. Some people never get out of the terrible two's.

  • Anonymous100 Anywhere, UT
    July 3, 2014 11:43 a.m.

    You took the words right out of my mouth. Sometimes after everything is said and done, it is best to just forgive the offender and move on. I have no time in my life to tolerate constant, petty vindictiveness and to be baited into very heated arguments. I have been very happy for the last 20+ years without having a relationship with certain in-laws, as has my spouse with my side of the family. Sad, yes, but it's the way it has to be for now.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    July 3, 2014 7:07 a.m.

    Sometimes the barriers cannot be overcome. What if one party abused a child? What if individuals have personality disorders which make the relationship toxic? If conditions cannot change, it may be best to limit or terminate the relationship.