We choose our friends but we don’t choose our family.
No, we don’t but sometimes we need to deal with behaviour from our family that is making us unhappy.
This post is for any of you ‘Positive Spinners’ out there who have problems with family members who cast a shadow over your life.
Please remember, this is only my view. You may disagree. I’m expecting that! If you do, please add to the comments. Discussion is what we want.
Imagine the scenario -
Someone in your family upsets you.
Perhaps they criticise you.
Perhaps they’re rude.
They know which buttons to press!
And why do they do it?
Because it makes them feel powerful.
They enjoy winding you up.
They know you won’t say anything because you never do.
You let them get away with it, time after time.
And why do you put up with it?
Because no-one likes confrontation, especially in the family.
You say to yourself - ’I can’t say that! They won’t listen!‘
In short – you expect trouble, so you avoid saying anything.
It happens again.
You seethe with annoyance, but you decide you’ll ‘leave it’.
Because it’s easier…
Here are my 10 Steps To De-clutter Your Relatives And Feel Positive About It.
1. Decide you want to take action.
The line is drawn.
You’ve had enough.
Your mind is made up.
You’ve had enough.
2. Decide exactly what you will/will not put up with.
It might be,
‘I won’t put up with her constantly criticising me. She thinks she can say what she likes to me because she’s my aunt/sister/gran.’
Perhaps they say things like, ’Why do you spend so much money on unnecessary things?’
Or ’It’s about time you had more control over your children’s behaviour.’
You want this to stop.
3. Decide what you want to happen as a result of facing the problem.
For example -
‘I want the criticism to stop.’
‘I want to make my own decisions, whether they agree with them or not.’
4. Calm down
Before you tackle them, think about what you’ll say, even write it down and practise, if it helps.
Don’t act when you’re feeling angry, it won’t come out right.
5. Plan your action.
Decide on a suitable time in advance when you’ll discuss it. Don’t broach the subject when the person isn’t prepared.
6. Make the first move, unemotionally.
Explain, calmly, that you’d like to sit down and discuss the issue and try to resolve it.
Make it clear that you’re not looking for an argument or a row, just a discussion.
7. Tell the person what you want to happen.
You could say something like this -
‘There’s something I need to talk to you about. I find it /annoying/irritating/unacceptable when you ….’
‘I want you to stop… ‘ (whatever it is)
‘I feel uncomfortable when you…. as I’m sure you would, if you were in my shoes.’
‘Let’s try to sort this out or it’s going to be impossible for us to stay in touch and I think that would be a pity.’
If they won’t discuss it, or start trying to lay blame or make excuses, repeat what you want to happen.
If they’re not willing to change their behaviour then you have to decide whether to continue seeing them or not.
8. Listen to your instincts.
Don’t stay friendly with them if they’re not prepared to try.
You might have to adjust your behaviour too. You are both responsible for the situation. You have allowed it to continue so perhaps they think you don’t mind or are used to it.
Sometimes you have to meet in the middle, or simply agree to disagree and gradually distance yourself.
9. Don’t pretend
that it’s all OK when it’s not.
If their behaviour is unacceptable to you, that’s all that matters.
10. Last but certainly not least -
Never mind what other family members have to say about it.
You’re the one who’s upset, not them.
Don’t just ‘avoid’ and hope it will resolve itself – it won’t.
Dr Phil says, ‘We teach people how to treat us.’ (in his book ‘Life Strategies’)
Another good book to help you - ‘Difficult Conversations’ by Anne Dickson, published by Piatkus.
Tell us in the comments,
Have you had problems with family members?
How did you resolve them?
What’s your advice to someone who has a family problem like this?
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