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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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Family Fights with Troubled Relatives - How to Avoid

When I was a child I had no choice but to witness relatives arguing and physically fighting about any number of issues. I felt afraid, worried, and saddened sometimes for days after their emotional outbursts. It was hard to concentrate on studies and listen to adults’ requests when the concern was always there, “What if I do this wrong…say that…will I get hurt too?” Sometimes I got it wrong and before long I was being yelled at or threatened.  By the time I got older and stronger I stopped being afraid and I stood up to the bullies in the family.

I learned that you can avoid family fights very easily if you are willing to make some changes and not be a part of the action from the start. So the following is a list of true and tried things I did over the years and I hope that what I share helps others.

1) Don’t visit anyone’s home that has a long history of drinking, drug use, and emotional highs and lows. Simply put, you are asking for trouble when you do. Cast aside the endearing titles and look at the person for who he or she is, “Is my ________ really acting like a friend to this family or a foe?” Then make arrangements not to keep going around this person especially with watchful children in tote.

2) Avoid arguing by walking away. Don’t turn your back on the argumentative individual, but do get out of the setting where he or she feels like it is okay to go off on you as well as others. When you turn your back, you are also putting yourself at risk of being blindsided by one’s hits or a flying object.

3) Don’t expect to be heard. No matter how much you say things like, “I am just telling you this because I love you…I want what is best for you…Will you just listen to me?” Difficult people will not hear anything good under stress. You can talk until you are blue in the face and they will still see things in the way they want. Save your breath.

4)  The Know-It-Alls in the family feed off of confusion so as to appear all-knowing, peacemakers, and anything that makes them look and feel good. When in the presence of know-it-all family members, don’t say too much. This way there is nothing that they can use to debate about. Sometimes a head nod is all you can do with some of these folks even a “How are you?” in what sounds like the wrong tone to them will be taken to mean something else.

5) Find the time to be around the family members and friends you do enjoy. Sometimes the only way you are going to have the kind of fun you want with your favorites is making arrangements with them only. Skip the family holiday events and invite them when you get ready. Sure, the naysayers will talk, so what! You are welcome to connect with whoever you want when you want--that is the benefit of being an adult, so act like it.

6) Lastly, know your limits. You can establish boundaries by telling a relative or family friend upfront what you don’t want to talk about and if the matter is brought up you will shorten your visit. When you feel the heat rising up in your chest and you feel like you are ready to explode because your request was violated, excuse yourself, count to 10. Alert your partner, “It’s time to go,” pack up the children, and head on out the door. Why make yourself stay in a setting that is obviously making your blood boil?

I have two books I would like for readers of this blog to purchase if you find yourself having to deal with family related issues involving a matriarch or patriarch. See Say Goodbye to Dad and Tell Me Mother You’re Sorry by Nicholl McGuire. These books were written for those who are either thinking of going no contact, low contact, or have memory of a difficult parent and find yourself doing similar things. These books are great reads for those who have challenging in-laws as well. Get both books today! 

Nicholl McGuire is the owner and manager of this blog.

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