How To Deal With Family Feuds

by Elizabeth


Hi Adam,

I don't know if you can help me, it's quite a longish story, I will try and shorten it as much as possible…

Firstly, I lost my mum 18 months ago to cancer (I had a difficult relationship with her, both me and my sister did). During this time when all this was happening, I had another sister (half-sister) that was traveling down a road of drug addiction with these types of boyfriends that were in and out of the jail. I was of course worried about her safety and tried everything I could to advise her the best way I could. She never listened to me though. Now, I knew so much about her double life and at the time my father didn't. As my mum passed, I was soon suffering panic attacks and anxiety on a daily basis. I knew I was imagining the worst when it came to my half sister, I realized (not at the time) I was being over dramatic about her situation and couldn't help what I did, was then inform my dad of the very life she was leading. Since then, with now everything out in the open, my anxiety seems less, but now I am no longer in contact with my half sister. In a way I am glad as her negative energy drained me and the worry I felt for her kept me awake at nights. Even though I told her this, she would put over she didn't care and it was her life. I know this, but I can't seem to get over what has happened. I now carry this anger, bitterness of what has happened. I feel like I have became a mug and was used. And I feel hurt that I was going through so much myself at the time.... I don't know if it's the realization of the toxic relationship has made me angry or it was always there. 

I have read so much of your blogs and articles and try to take on board your advice but I can't seem to move on. I want to. I want to be able to sit with it, but as I watch these stories and memories run in my head I get so took by them, I get wound up again...and before I know it, I become aware and then I am back to suffering again. I think I know what you will say, is to watch it, sit with it, be aware of it, let these feelings become my friend, have more acceptance. I try, but it feels exhausting at times, and then I can be okay, they rise all on their own again. I feel I am going around in circles. 

I am sorry for the novel Adam. I hope you can help and I look forward to your reply.



Indeed, all that you are speaking of no longer exists. It only appears to exist in imagination, but in reality, the events have disappeared. Notice this, that the reality, what exists, is not what is causing trouble, the trouble is now a fabrication of the mind, which seeks to preserve itself. Notice that the energy of the past loves to be taken seriously, it loves to sustain itself, to take on a huge charge of identity and hostility. See how it is somehow enjoyed.

If you notice that the past events have actually disappeared from existence, then when the mind replays them, you will naturally not take them to be so real.

Don’t try to stop it, don’t try to stop anything. Even if it feels you are being dragged into the stories, allow this as well. You are the awareness that can notice even the sense of “me” becoming dragged in to the thought streams. Be indifferent as to whether the stories come up or not, be indifferent as to whether or not they take over or subside. 

The most exhausting thing is the effort to not get involved with the stories, and the desire to be free of them. Give up your efforts and preferences. If the stories drag you along, if they really take charge - surrender, don’t try to break free, just completely let go of trying to manipulate or in any way control what happens inside. So if the thoughts are followed and you seem to become lost in them, let this happen. Relinquish all efforts to try to feel differently, or efforts to try to observe.

Without effort, you are aware of the feeling of “being okay”, and also of the rush of feelings of the past. You still exist while both these two varying experiences play out. Neither are your responsibility. Don’t take it on yourself to try to be free or try to be aware. Without trying, without effort, you are naturally aware of your inner state. The only mistake we make is the search or expectation of reaching or attaining a clear, calm, free inner state. The search or expectation for this peace, and the aversion to all of the mental stories, is what creates stress. Imagine you had never been told anything about how you should feel. There is no other possible experience other than the one that is here, at his moment. The present experience has already arisen. Therefore, see that arguing with it is pointless. The experience, or stories, or sense of being ok, already is as it is. Notice this. Notice that you don’t actually have any control over how you feel, since as you wisely say, the inner emotions arise all by themselves.

Voluntarily giving up resistance or control can seem challenging. If we can see that actually these things are futile and only make things worse, that we can not manipulate our thoughts and feelings, then it makes complete sense to no longer fight the inevitable experience at this moment. Don’t bother interfering, leave your mind alone, whatever it does.

The energy of the past wants to stay alive. So let it stay alive. Let it cause as much trouble as it wants. It is not your responsibility to change the experience. All change arises spontaneously and unexpectedly, so don’t bear the burden yourself.

Of course resistance and desire for the inner disturbances to be vanquished will also arise by themselves. They are also spontaneous appearances. Don’t identify yourself with these either.

The goal to be free of this inner trouble is the real agony. The mind creates another ideal for the future, and says that this present experience should not be happening. The mind also feels that it should be able to bring about a more peaceful state, yet at the same time feels absolutely powerless in doing this. Give up all striving to feel better. Don’t label or judge what is felt. Notice that for all this experience to exist, there is a greater emptiness, or awareness, which has already allowed and accepted the experience, as it is.

You say you want to move on. Give this up, just to see how it feels. Don’t try to get anywhere. Give up the idea of progress in this area. There is nowhere to go, nothing to be free of, in reality. The discomfort will not last, and the less you label it as discomfort, the less you try to be free of it, the quicker it will dissolve. 

It is a huge paradox. Once you stop trying to be free of something, you are free of it.

Often we try to use awareness, acceptance etc. as more tools to try to feel better, to have a more pleasant experience. So at the root there is still a resistance, an aversion to feeling a certain way. If the initial aversion, or argument with experience is seen as self-harming (which it is, since the aversion itself is suffering), then it is dropped, and the rest is much easier.

Hopefully that has helped in some way, and may relieve the exhaustion of trying to be free.

An additional article can be found here, some words from Osho that you may find helpful, on leaving the monster of the mind alone.

In terms of the actual situation, it seems that losing contact with your sister has brought greater freedom for you. Your efforts to influence her Life have failed, so you need no longer bear any burden for her. You are not in control. You tried your best, now time to let go. You can put down your baggage. 

When the past shows up inside you, let it hold you, but don’t hold it back. All the stuff that seems to trouble you so much now need not be taken so seriously. Don’t trust the mind. No need to fight it, but no need to trust it either, since it creates complete fictions.

If you have any follow-up queries, feel free to ask,


Comments for Family Feuds 

(from previous website)

Jun 22, 2014
by: Elizabeth

Thank you Adam for your reply. I have become the witness to the minds story telling of the past, which has also made me aware of how much my mind enjoys re-living the past! 
I also realize what you mean that wanting to move on is part of the suffering. I even asked myself that very question - move on from what? The mind? The past? I realize I was like an animal chasing after it's own tail.
When I feel okay about everything, I am aware of this, another thought will creep up and question why I do feel okay? The trick of the mind, which follows the emotion of discomfort. Making me question the validity of my own thinking... and obviously this is where my confusion starts because I have become unaware that I was sucked into the thought process all over again. Just, sometimes my mind is so clever in tricking me into be bothered about the past. 
Anyway, thank you Adam. I am not sure if I was looking for validation or confirmation that I was doing the right thing. Because when I have felt okay about everything, I wonder if I am being heartless and was so ready or easy to give up. I wonder if I did the right thing, etc. (I know this is all more mind made up stories, I can't help it!) So, I will watch it, let it happen. Though it does bring new emotions to me, which are now unsure, uncertainty. I am going with them too. Just watching them. 
I do wonder why us humans never seem to understand what the mind is actually for, instead of it becoming a habit of making us worry. I wonder why we all got so addicted to thinking in the first place! 
Thank you again Adam for your reply. I appreciate it very much.

Jun 22, 2014
Extra Comment NEW
by: Adam -

Sure. 2 more things I feel I could say: 

1 - there is the feeling of "me", thoughts emotions, sensations, etc. Around them, already allowing them to be, is an untouched space - one with stillness, or being. Feel this space, be this space, notice that it does not suffer what appears in it. The energetic feeling of "me" as a dense object is just another appearance arising in the space. This space is the same as the intuitive feeling of existence, the sense "I AM". It is not personal. Notice how this feeling of existence remains the same no matter what appears within it. Give less importance to the content of the space, don't be fascinated by any of it, and simply BE this space of being - like the sky, and all else is merely clouds. 

2 - the other thing I was going to say has completely left me, I can't remember what it was, but if it comes back, I will post another comment