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Mental Mondays: 5 Ways To Deal With Difficult Family Members

Mental Mondays: 5 Ways To Deal With Difficult Family Members

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t’s true that home is where the heart is but for some individuals, home is where the drama sits. This is because, in many occasions, we tend to feel more deeply the impact of a loved-one’s sting, as opposed to that of a stranger. This sting can be anything from a nosy sibling trying to eavesdrop on all your conversations, to a petty parent using your predicament against you, or worse still an ungrateful and entitled family member taking the piss. Whatever the case may be, it hurts and we know.

When it comes to family, everything is intense – the love, the laughter, and the fights. In the case of the latter, squabbles with family members usually gets squashed in no time, but in the event that it happens occasionally with the same person doing the same thing, some have asked the questions, where do I draw the line, and how can I deal with a difficult family member?

Dealing with family is always tricky as they are blood and you can’t just cut them off as you would another person, but that doesn’t mean there is no way to navigate the murky waters. It is for this particular reason I have written this article: to enlighten you on ways you can deal with difficult family members.

Here are 5 helpful ways to deal with difficult family members

#1. Step back

Photo: RF._.Studio / Pexels

Familiarity is one of the main reasons for constant confrontation among family members. If you’re always available and accessible, maybe it’s time to take a step back as familiarity breeds contempt.

It’s a lifelong principle that scarcity breeds value and the same goes for relationships. While this doesn’t mean avoiding your family completely or holding back on ways you could help, it means choosing your mental health above any other element by keeping conversations light, stepping out of a toxic situation before it escalates, and refusing to participate in any back and forth bickering.

#2. Filter the information you share

Photo: Ono Kusuki / Pexels

When exploring ways to deal with difficult family members, a sure-fire way is choosing what to share and what you shouldn’t. Truth is, there’s no obligation to share your information with a family member, especially one with a reputation of slander, pettiness and/or gossip. Protect your mental health and the already struggling relationship by keeping things light.

#3. Set clear cut boundaries

Photo: Liza Summer/ Pexels

You probably don’t need to repeat yourself to Jessica at the office when you tell her not to eat on your desk, but your wonderful family members don’t seem to remember to knock before entering your room. One of the ways to deal with difficult family members is to set clear boundaries and to keep reinforcing them until they finally get it. Don’t allow anyone to talk you down or invade your privacy, learn to say NO and stick to it. It’s hard but once it’s established, life gets easier.

#4. Look within

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Photo: Edson de Assis / Pexels

There could be a family member everyone agrees is difficult and automatically, they get blamed for any and every altercations. However, have you also considered that you could be in the wrong? Maybe you’re persistently confrontational even when that method has proven futile. One of the ways to deal with difficult family members is to acknowledge your own wrong doings and adjust accordingly. Hopefully, this approach would allow for calmer conversations and adjustments.

#5. Acceptance

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Photo: Cottonbro / Pexels

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr.

You may have been on this issue for many years, but that person has refused to change. Rather than fight to keep up the cycle, why not throw in the towel and accept the obvious truth – this is who they are and they won’t change. Being able to acknowledge this is maturity on your path and your ability to accept this and move on is bliss.

Whatever the outcome might be – a flourishing relationship or the realization that you might never have a deep connection with that individual – your mental health should be priority. This realization shouldn’t breed bitterness but rather, a resolute acceptance stemming from love and well wishes. 


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