Eight Tips For Dealing With Difficult Family Members
What’s the best way of dealing with difficult family members? Are you experiencing these kinds of problems right now? As you know, they say that you choose your friends but not your family. Indeed, you’re stuck with them, for better or worse. As a matter of fact, it’s highly probable that you won’t get along with all of your family members. You only need to do the math to find out how likely it is.
Therefore, how should you deal with this kind of situation? In this article, we give you eight tips for dealing with difficult family members. The most important thing is that you find the best way, for you, of managing this kind of situation.
1. Identify the triggers
The first step in dealing with difficult family members is to identify the sparks or triggers for your disagreements. What is it that makes you argue or means the relationship is strained? Is it the way you are? The way they are? Do you simply both see things in a different way?
You need to work out what’s at the root of your dysfunctional dynamics. Once identified, you’ll be aware of it and be able to look at the problem a little more objectively.
It’s also important to prioritize yourself. Accept the fact that you don’t get on with that one particular relative and don’t put up with things you don’t like. Therefore, prioritize yourself. Take care of yourself, put yourself first. Ask yourself at every moment what it is that you need.
Do you really want to have a conversation with them or do you want to walk away? Whatever you need, listen to yourself and prioritize yourself, for the sake of your mental health.
“Be true to what exists within you.”
3. Be flexible
In the same way that we recommend prioritizing yourself, we also recommend that you practice flexibility.
Therefore, when conflicts arise with that person, try to see things in a flexible manner. Sometimes, you’ll need to change your point of view in order to adapt to the situation so that it doesn’t harm you.
4. Don’t try to change them
Another key to dealing with difficult family members is to not try and change them. Because doing so can cause you a lot of anguish and frustration. Firstly, because people don’t change just because you want them to, or ask them to. Secondly, because it’s not your job to change anyone.
If you feel that the dynamic with the person is really toxic, choose to move away. Modify your own patterns of behavior, if that benefits you.
5. Practice assertiveness
Assertiveness is the ability to say the things you feel and to think clearly and honestly without hurting others. It involves setting boundaries and defending your rights. This skill can be extremely useful when dealing with difficult family members. It’ll help you to be faithful to what you feel and need while making others respect you.
Therefore, set boundaries with that person, mark your distance, and identify what you need. Do you need that person to not intrude so much in your life? Do you want them to stop judging you? Do you want them to stop criticizing you? Tell them, assertively and clearly. Set boundaries. Protect yourself.
6. Don’t feel guilty
Sometimes you tend to blame yourself for situations that not only have little to do with you but aren’t even within your control. Things that you simply shouldn’t feel bad about. Again, this means you must prioritize yourself.
You must change those feelings of guilt to those of responsibility. That’s because the latter invites you to change the situation, and not to become a victim.
7. Keep your distance
Sometimes, when you’re faced with problematic or complicated people, it’s best to simply walk away, to distance yourself. You must take care of yourself, and protect yourself from people who make you uncomfortable. Even if they’re family. Because if you don’t distance yourself, the situation will hurt you even more.
Therefore, if you don’t really want to go to a family meal because that person will be there, and you feel that the situation’s completely unresolvable, don’t go. Find another day to visit your other relatives.
8. Adjust your expectations
Another tip to help you deal with difficult family members is adjusting your own expectations. In other words, consider what it is that you really expect from that person. Are you expecting them to change or adapt to you? Perhaps it’s time to review your expectations and accept that maybe there are things you shouldn’t expect from them.
This is because those kinds of expectations often make you feel even more frustrated.
Analyze your worries about the relationship
Take a look at exactly what it is that’s concerning you regarding this particular relationship. Furthermore, if you feel that the efforts you’ve made to change the harmful dynamics aren’t benefiting you, then reconsider. Above all, think about what you need and go for it. It’s time to prioritize!It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Asen, K.E. y Tomson, P. (1997) Intervención Familiar. Guía práctica para los profesionales de la salud. Barcelona, España: Paidós.
- Gaeta, L. (2009). Asertividad: un análisis teórico-empírico. Enseñanza e Investigación en Psicología, 14(2): 403-425.