A. How would you ask estranged family why they dislike you? (via Quora)

B. First, I would consider whether or not it’s worth asking. You mention that the family is estranged. Family only becomes estranged because of hardship. What struggles led to the estrangement in the first place? If you’re dealing with toxic or abusive people, then you need to consider whether or not confronting them will result in any positives at all.

Are they capable of having civil, rational conversations? If you ask them why they don’t like you — are you going to get the truth? Weigh the potential pros and cons honestly, and make sure you consider the bigger picture. You may not like the answers that you get (even if they’re honest). Will this confrontation cause more harm than good?

If you’re determined to address the issues with them, do so in a neutral place where you can protect yourself from any emotional attacks. Email and text are a great way to start casual conversations. If needed, find a public place where you can speak uninterrupted (while being discouraged from major shows of reaction). Be civil. Avoid blaming language. Keep it frank and keep it short.

The minute things get explosive or toxic, allow yourself to walk away. Know that asking for resolution doesn’t guarantee you one, either. Your family doesn’t have to respond to you. They don’t have to give you anything…just like you don’t have to give them any more power over you.

Author and Certified Coach. I help you unlearn your suffering. Sort your relationships with SORTED: https://amzn.to/3gIrrwS

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