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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Family Intervention

The time has come to share news with a certain family member about some personal matters.  But some relatives just don't know what to say or do.  From secrets to personal feelings about the person, how do we handle such matters?  Well the question we all might want to ask ourselves first is, "What is it that I don't want to do?"  Because if you can get the negative issues out the way first, you might be able to reach some solutions faster.  The goal is to communicate certain information effectively that will eventually result in positive change, deliverance, assistance, or whatever else you and others in your family might be after from your loved one.

Let's say that you need to discuss money issues with a relative, but you don't know how to do it in a way that isn't going to cause a relative to accuse you of being a no-good, sneaky, downright, selfish gold-digger.  Consider the following: you don't want to talk about your needs, you don't want to tell the person right from the beginning what he/she should be doing with his/her wealth, and you definitely don't want to be standing in front of this person like a sniffling idiot who has a history of being foolish with his or her own money either.  Instead of doing any of these things,  you would talk about the recent string of events and what you were thinking when all those things were going on maybe the relative overspent and came up short with rent or gave someone money that he or she knows they can't afford.  Notice, you would focus on your relatives needs--the kinds of things that would most benefit him or her.  "Mom that money that was taken from you, could have been best used to pay your bills...I can't afford to help you..."  You would encourage others to share their observations.  You would also include how the relatives actions or inactions are making you feel.  For example, "I was hurt when you called me up about Johnny asking you for money yet again!  I wanted to beat Johnny up and you know that had I did that your son would have been in jail!  Would you want that?" 

Stay away from name-calling, accusatory statements, and belittling when confronting relatives on wrongs.  Never brag about how you or others that you know  have their lives together or what someone else has done in a smiliar situation.  You are not the one on the hot seat and no one really cares about who you know either.  Instead of focusing on getting your loved one some help, you have made their issue somewhat about you.  Other family members will turn on you when they see this sort of behavior occuring.  If I am that angry, bitter old relative, I don't want to be reminded about something I already know especially if your purpose for talking to me is to get me to handle my finances better, manage my household or treat others better.

Now for some family members they aren't going to take too kindly to any intervention where they are on the hot seat.  You most likely will have to be that one who acts strictly--you know the bad guy, who is really the good guy, for putting sickly mom away in a nursing home, taking her credit cards away because she can't pay her bills, or permitting any and everyone to take advantage of her.  If other family members are not willing to step up to the plate, you have no choice but to go do things alone without the support of others.

One thing you never want to do during a family intervention is show your full hand.  What I mean is, you don't want to expose everything you might be considering concerning your loved one.  A card player would never show his hand while a game is in play unless he has won.  You don't want to do that either.  For some family members who might have  prematurely spoken up about everything that is wrong about this person and that one, they usually are the last to know about things and the least liked.  Then there are those who if they know everything that you are doing or are going to do, they would block you from getting things done.  The worse mistake you can make, especially if you are the one who has the voice, power, money, etc. in the family, is to show your hand and you haven't even won the game yet!  Family members that cannot or refuse to help really have no say so during a family intervention although their opinions are welcomed.  Remember, don't act disrespectful toward them.  Sure, they may have some ideas, but you don't have to use them.

You also will want to get some boundaries established on what you will and will not accept prior to the family intervention.  You don't want to invest time or money on someone or something that simply isn't going to work.

Do take the time out to do further research on how to handle your specific family dilemma and what might be the best possible solutions.

Nicholl McGuire

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