家族の裂け目は増加しているようです. Here's why they happen and how to cope

毎週, Sheri McGregor gets hundreds of emails from parents shut out of their children’s lives. すべての物語は異なります, 彼女は言いました. 両親に共通しているのは、深い孤立感です.

“彼らが言うには, ‘I thought I was the only one,'” said McGregor, founder of a website for estranged parents who lives in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. “A lot of these people have been suffering alone for years. … You feel like you’re the only one, so you don’t tell other people.
After being cut off by her own adult son, McGregor had felt the same. In the years since, 彼女が持っている written extensively about the healing process, and heard from countless families coping with similar losses.
Family rifts between parents and adult children are the most common, according to the Cornell University survey.

マクレガー, and the people who write to her, are not alone in their rifts with family members. It’s something they have in common with millions of people.
    In one recent high-profile case, multiple family members of Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois released a letter shunning the politician for his criticism of then-President Donald Trump. “What a disappointment you are to us and to God!” 彼らが書きました. “It is now most embarrassing to us that we are related to you.
    Over a quarter of adults responding to a US survey by the Cornell Family Reconciliation Project reported being estranged from a family member. The representational survey, which is the first of its kind, suggested by extension that tens of millions of Americans may be estranged from at least one relative.
    That number is probably low, said Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University, who led the study and explored his findings in the recent bookFault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them.”
    People find this to be an embarrassing problem,” 彼は言った, noting that even in a confidential survey, some topics can simply feel too shameful to share.
    The groundbreaking survey sheds light on a topic Pillemer said is poorly understood by scientists, given how widespread and painful estrangement is. No more than 20 reliable scientific articles about estrangement exist, 彼は言った, “and those are all based on small and non-representative samples.
    今日, しかしながら, researchers and mental health professionals are tuning into the problem. Here’s what experts say about why estrangements happen, why they may be rising and how families can begin to heal.

    Why family estrangements happen

    Every family is different, but there are six mainpathsto estrangement between family members, Pillemer said.
    Divorce can have long-term impacts on families. Conflict over money and inheritance can play a major role in blowups.
    Relationships with in-laws can cause tension, sometimes to the point of estrangement. A family member might also have unmet expectations, seeing their relatives as failing them in some crucial way.
    Differences in values and lifestyles can come between families, あまりにも, in conflicts over sexual identity, religion and other deeply personal issues. Even politics can come into play, or strains related to interracial dating and marriage.
    例えば, tennis champion 大坂なおみ‘s Japanese mother, Tamaki Osaka, was estranged from family members for over a decade because they disapproved of her relationship with Naomi’s Haitian father, Leonard Francois.
    The most prominentpath,” でも, may be a painful history that proves just too hard to move on from, Pillemer said.
    Problems in childhood, problems in the family of originwere a main cause in many estrangements, 彼は言った. いくつかの点で, that reflects how what he callspositive shared historycan provide a buffer against the stress of normal conflict, Pillemer explained.
    Imagine a pair of siblings facing a conflict about money, 例えば. Or a parent-child relationship strained by a difference in values, like the family situation faced by Tamaki Osaka.
    Remembering a lifetime of positive, loving interactions could see the family through a rocky patch.
    If there’s been this long and solid basis of childhood attachment and affection, you’re more likely to reconcile. It’s more likely to be a temporary thing,” Pillemer said.

    Why family estrangement may be rising

    A family rift is intensely personal, yet each story plays out against a broader cultural backdrop of values and behavioral norms. While no historical data exist to demonstrate a clear rise, Pillemer said he suspects estrangements have gone up over time.
    Someone feeling comfortable saying ‘I never want to speak to my family members again,’ is probably increasing,” 彼は言った. Divorce, which correlates to likelihood of family estrangements, has risen dramatically over past decades.
    There is also a change in perspective, Pillemer said. “The sense that ‘I will stick with my relatives no matter what’ … I think that’s still there to some extent. But I think there’s a lower-threshold breaking point, for younger people in particular.
    Many Americans now place a greater emphasis on individual well-being, said psychologist Joshua Coleman, author of the new bookRules of Estrangement: Why Adult Children Cut Ties and How to Heal the Conflict.”
    Staying in contact is much more tied to identity, to personal growth, to the pursuit of happiness,” 彼は言った. 過去には, Coleman explained, such bonds were more likely to be grounded in a sense of duty or obligation.
    That’s different now, said Coleman, whose focus is mainly on estrangements between parents and adult children. Such ruptures are particularly painful, and the Cornell University survey found they’re the most common of all.
    今日, “parents are held to a much higher standard,” Coleman said. “The only thing that keeps an adult child tied to a parent is whether the adult child wants the relationship.
    That’s not necessarily a bad thing, 彼は言った. The cultural shift makes it easier for adult children to separate from parents who have been abusive, or who reject their sexuality, gender identity and basic values.
    Prior generations of parents had too much power in terms of relationships with their children, while today it’s much more equal,” 彼は言った. ある場合には, でも, Coleman thinks US culture has swung too far away from family cohesion to support overall social well-being.
    The equilibrium between cohesion and individual happiness varies between cultures and families. In the Cornell University study, 例えば, participants from families who immigrated to the US from the Caribbean, Africa and Latin America reported feeling strong social pressure to repair any rifts with estranged relatives.
    Overall in the US, でも, “we’re wedded to this more individualistic narrative of personal happiness,” Coleman said, “that if a relationship doesn’t make you feel good, or makes you feel bad in any way, then you should consider this person toxic and cut them out of your life.
    それ, in turn, might not actually make us very happy, Coleman said. “There’s enormous loneliness in our culture,” 彼は言った.
    Older adults tend to be especially isolated, a situation that has been aggravated by the pandemic. “Being part of a group — caring about what other people think, feel and need — is important.

    How estranged families can find healing

    Some estranged families make their way to Coleman’s Oakland, カリフォルニア, therapy practice, where the psychologist works with parents hoping to reconcile with their children. It’s a predicament he can relate to, なぜならば彼が, あまりにも, has experienced such loss firsthand.
    I had an estrangement with my daughter, which has made this kind of a mission,” said Coleman, who has since reconciled with his child. “The parents I work with are heartbroken, they’re miserable.
    Reconciliation is possible for many families, Coleman said, but it’s not easy. In most cases of successful reconciliations between parent and child, he said parents initiate the process.
    Parents mustshow empathy for the adult’s child’s perspective, they have to take responsibility.Coleman often invites parents to write their children a letter that does just that, acknowledging why the child felt they needed to cut off the relationship.
    It’s not all about making amends, 彼は言った. It’s also important to signal that you’re ready for a relationship that respects your family member’s ideas of what a healthy connection looks like, even if that differs from your own expectations.
    Not all parents, 率直に言って, are capable of doing that,” Coleman said. “And sometimes parents may do all of these things and the child is still not willing to reconcile.
    Coleman underscores empathy when he’s talking to adult children, あまりにも. If they were open to reconciliation, “I would pursue with them a different way of looking at their parent, one that’s borne more of compassion and empathy,” 彼は言った.
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      Such a shift in perspective can be difficult for people on each side of a rift. 多くの家族のために, でも, he said the benefits of reconciliation means it’s worth the hard emotional work.
      People sometimes say, ‘How successful are you?'” Coleman said. “We’re very successful when both people are willing to come to the bargaining table and are open to change. But both people have to be willing.

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