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5 Tips For Handling Stressful Family Members

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Stressful family members can create a lot of tension and anxiety in your life. 

This is especially true if you live with those family members. 

However, even if you don’t necessarily live with them, they can still cause you a lot of stress. 

For example, holidays can be tense affairs when the family included in these holidays has a flair for drama or is known to cause arguments or fights. 

We all generally have a tendency to want to be close to our family. 

And overall, this is a great thing. 

Your family is your flesh and blood.

In old days, your family would have been your clan or your tribe.

They would have been the people who you survived with, thrived with, and built community with. 

However, nowadays, it’s not so clear how to handle these relationships when they become dramatic and stressful. 

Here are five tips that you can use to help you navigate this delicate but challenging issue. 

1. Create Distance

Just because someone is a member of your family doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of time around that person. 

Sometimes, limiting your exposure can solve a lot of issues. 

2. Forgive Often 

Just because a person is a family member doesn’t automatically mean that they’re going to understand how to be a good friend or loved one. 

They’ll probably make mistakes. 

So forgive often, and try to move on. 

3. Stand Up For Yourself

Sometimes you may need to stand up for yourself if someone is being rude to you or treating you badly. 

Of course, the best way to handle this is with kindness and respect.

Having simple, direct, respectful conversations about hurtful behavior can sometimes really help to solve the issue—both now and moving forward. 

4. Don’t Let Yourself Be Mistreated

There’s a big difference between forgiving and moving on and continuing to allow yourself to be treated badly.

As a general rule, you shouldn’t tolerate people treating you in hurtful ways. 

It’s always better to address the behavior, even if doing so is difficult in the short term. 

This will at least give your family a chance to fix their behavior before you walk away.  

5. Know When To Walk Away

Unfortunately, even when it comes to family, there are some situations that are just too extreme and negative to be healthy. 

If somebody continues to treat you badly, continues to act in an abusive manner, and/or continues to treat you in any sort of toxic fashion—especially after you’ve tried to kindly and respectfully establish boundaries—you’re left with little recourse but to walk away from the relationship. 

This can be painful and difficult. 

But here’s the thing. 

It’s really important that we learn to stand up for ourselves and to get away from the influence of negative people. 

And if your family is just too negative to be good for you, it might mean that you either need to seriously limit your exposure to them—or that you may need to walk away from those relationships for good. 

Talking to a therapist can sometimes help you to arrive at a concrete answer to whether or not it may be time to take this step. 

It’s not easy, but you deserve to be happy, healthy, and treated well.

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