Conflict can be especially painful when it involves family. My clients often ask me what to do about a family member who they can’t get along with. It can be tricky to deal with family because there are often rules we are expected to follow in our families.
We feel a sense of duty toward family but that doesn’t give people some free pass to hurt each other. Ideally we treat everyone with the same dignity and respect whether they are family or not.
Here’s a couple of things to think about:
1. Respect your needs and beliefs first.
2. Inform your family about what you want. Set limits and boundaries.
3. Inform your family you are available to work things out.
4. Work with them to resolve the conflict.
5. Set the example for how you want to be treated.
6. Take some time away if things get heated.
7. Expect resistance.
You are your own unique person regardless of what your family says. It’s ultimately healthiest to pay attention to the things that bring you joy and happiness than to try to mold yourself into someone else’s vision. Trust yourself and teach your family who you are. Do it with kindness and patience and eventually they will understand who you are.