Friday, September 22, 2017

Coping with Difficult People in the Family

by DrJudy on

Coping with difficult people in the family is always a very challenging experience. After the last post we received lots of emails from members asking more questions. One of those members was Susan who put her thoughts in the comments section. In case you missed what Susan wrote here it is…

WHAT SUSAN HAD TO SAY ABOUT DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE

This is about hurtful brick walls being built amongst family members today.

I sure appreciate the pointers you have here on dealing with these difficult people. The thing I have noticed though is while in work and acquaintance type relationships this goes a lot smoother than with family. I am finding that the more I try to retrain my family and change my role – the more difficult and insistent they become that they be allowed to be rude or inconsiderate.

In fact 5 months ago I started setting a limit with a sister. I told her how I felt when she insisted on nosing into my personal affairs (money), I told her what I wanted and even repeated my boundary when she ignored me and tried to make like I had committed some sin by telling her “no”.

It has been 5 months and at this point I feel relieved that I don’t have to fend off her inquisitions but very sad that she has chosen to cut me off this way. Do you have any suggestions how to apply these skills when family just refuses to respect these efforts without it ending like this?

THANKS FOR SHARING YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Thanks Susan for sharing your thoughts. Dealing with difficult people who are family members is often much more complex than dealing with difficult people at work. This is often because family members know the behavior of each other so well. There has been years and years of dysfunctional communication patterns happening in the family system.

When one family member attempts to change the way they communicate, the reaction of others – such as Susan’s sister can often be ‘way over the top’. Family members often react with a greater degree of resistance to these long held communication patterns. Going to extremes of becoming even more negative in their communication or breaking off all communication.

WHAT ABOUT DIFFICULT PEOPLE WHO ARE FAMILY?

There are many responses you can have when a family member stops all communication when reacting to changes you have made. We’ll look at some of these ideas in future posts but let’s start with one very important point to understand.

YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DIFFICULT PERSON

Here it is. Ultimately other family members have to be responsible for their own behavior. They must take responsibility for how angry, upset and stressed they are about your communication changes. You can be understanding and empathetic. You can try and keep the communication channels open when handling difficult people in your family. You can try and work through their issues and concerns with them. But in the end, it is their decision and responsibility if they decide to cut off communication with you.

DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE AND LETTING GO

You have to be aware that no matter how you attempt to handle the situation, sometimes family members decide to ‘cut all ties’ and no longer communicate with you. So have you tried to work through it all and reconcile with these frustrating family members but your efforts have been unsuccessful? Then recognize that in the end it is their decision to behave in this way. You have to actually respect their decision and let go in dealing with difficult people in your family system. Let go, give them the space they have demanded and get on with living your life.

MORE IDEAS ON DEALING WITH PEOPLE IN YOUR FAMILY

In future posts we will look at other ways of dealing with people in your family system who are being very difficult and may have also cut of communication with you. But stop feeling guilty about everything. Simply understand that in the end the decisions other adult family members make are their choice. Dealing with difficult people in your family system means recognizing as you would in dealing with difficult people at work, that everyone makes their own choices about their own lives.

DO YOU NEED ADVANCED IDEAS ON DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE?

So what are your thoughts on dealing with these demanding, aggravating and difficult people? Do you need further assistance on dealing with difficult people? Then it is time to try our DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE PACKAGES right now. Or contact our team on Dealing with Difficult People.

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