Family gatherings can be painful or uncomfortable when there is conflict between family members. If you have a family event approaching and are not looking forward to seeing a certain someone, check out these helpful tips for dealing with family discord.
Whether you want to admit it or not, it takes two people to fight. Take a step back from the situation and see if there is anything about your own behavior that you can work on before attending your family event. Try to think about the situation from the other person’s perspective. What do they need or what are they getting out of it? Is it possible they had good intentions? Was there a miscommunication that needs clarification?
Agree to Disagree
Sometimes two good people, even those raised in the same home environment, end up having very different personalities, experiences, and beliefs. Family discord often stems from situations where “right” and “wrong” are subjective. If you are convinced that preparing a strong argument for your side, or against theirs, will solve the problem, you may need to think again. Be careful not to mock or belittle things that are important to a family member. In cases like this, it is best to accept that you feel differently about a subject and let it go.
Try to Leave Emotions Out of It
Because we are deeply connected to our family members, it is difficult to recognize when our emotions are getting too intense. We feel that our reactions are justified, and we feel more deeply hurt than we might if the same thing happened with a friend or coworker. Try to take a step back and look at the situation as if you were a third party observer and try to separate the problem from the people involved. If you were asked to mediate, what would you suggest the two participants do differently? Is it possible you overreacted? Is there a compromise that can be reached?
Practice breathing techniques ahead of time or hide a stress ball in your pocket to squeeze when you start to get upset. Rehearse possible scenarios in your mind before you get there and prepare calm responses. If a family member tries to push your buttons, walk away and don’t say anything to encourage or escalate the conversation.
Enlist a Mediator
Sometimes the best option for dealing with family discord is to get help. Involve someone who is not emotionally attached to the situation who can guide you through it. Chicago Lakeshore Hospital offers resources and mental health programs that can help you with conflict resolution.
If a family member is struggling with depression or with alcohol or substance abuse, it can affect the whole family. Find out how Chicago Lakeshore Hospital helps make a difference.
Chicago Lakeshore Hospital wants to help. Contact us today for an appointment or for more information about our programs.