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Family member in the middle: Being stuck between two family members who aren't talking to each other

Every adult family relationship dynamic is different. For me, our difficulty is that my older brother, who I am very close to, will not talk to our dad. My brother knows I will not cut contact with our dad, even though he feels I should. He has respect for my desire for a relationship with my dad. Still, being trapped in the middle is difficult. Here's how navigate this tricky "family member in the middle" situation…

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Trading a scar for an open wound: Being estranged from my mother

For years, my mother accused me of testing people and trying to see how far I could push them before they left me. She was right about that much, but she never saw the why. And neither did I. Because I was too afraid to admit that terrible truth and to give up the pleasant fiction I had created about my mother. But, like all realities, it was true whether I admitted it or not. And, eventually, even I could no longer pretend and my house of cards crumpled to the ground, leaving me alone, naked of all pretense, and cast out by my mother.

Palliative care, cross-country moves, and whiskey in a Mason jar: Ariel Gore's "The End of Eve"

Ariel Gore's memoir, The End of Eve, describes the complicated role of caretaker thrust upon her when her mother Eve is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Their relationship has been fraught with emotional manipulation and abuse since Ariel's childhood. Now that she's dying, Ariel has to confront their relationship whether she's ready to or not — and she has to move across the country to do it.

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Of mothers and daughters and loudmouths

I look mostly like my father, but I got my mother's mouth.

The second oldest of four girls, my mother was always one of the loud ones. She talked loud. She sang loud. At her Catholic boarding school, she was always popular among her peers, known for being outgoing and gregarious. She became a hippy and strummed the loudest campfire guitar. She became a midwife and founded a national organization and spoke loudly at international women's health conferences. For her 50th birthday, she produced an entire CD of her songs, and threw a big party for herself. She started the night by announcing into the microphone, "Everyone, please be quiet and stop talking. It's time for me to sing."