Family & Motherhood TLC Thursday Watch

How to Deal with a Difficult Family Member

Every year, most families get together from all over the country, sometimes the world, family members that you usually go without seeing each other the whole year.

I mean… we all know life keeps us busy and unable to truly catch up with the ones we love as much as we’d like to so THANK GOODNESS for family reunions, special occasions and holidays!! That solves all our problems right? Well, the truth is … it absolutely DOESN’T if there’s someone in your family you wouldn’t necessarily like to see.

We all have that one person that just finds a way to get under our skin. One that, no matter how much time has passed, will instantly find the right buttons to push to turn a very “beautiful” family holiday into full-fledged reality show.

They come in all forms don’t they? Whether it is a sister, a brother, a mother, a father, an uncle, an aunt, in-laws, long time family friends… GRRRR! (They have the nerve to be SO damn ANNOYING!)

Identify who this person is for you, because I am going to give you some tips on how to manage this difficult relationship that will leave you becoming a MASTER of managing dysfunction in your life…. Which could be useful later because lets face it, dysfunctional people don’t just live in our families, even though… they may be the craziest!

1. Give up the story!

First, you need to understand that the feeling you get when you think about that person is caused from a “story” you are not letting go of. A story that (in some cases not all) isn’t even true! It’s just something you decided about them and a particular situation.

Suuuuure, maybe the problem you had with this person was because of something they did that felt VERY personal to you and may have caused some havoc in your life, but the truth is, they aren’t relevant in your life now, EXCEPT for this dinner. So why hold this energy in your body and spoil the beautiful taste of homemade cooking?

Letting go of the story doesn’t mean you are forgetting what happened it just means it allows you to free your energy so you can truly feel the gratitude of this holiday and who knows, maybe it gives this person the opportunity to shine a new light of their character.

2. Create “invisible” conversation boundaries

I believe it’s CRUCIAL to have conversation boundaries so the topics remain neutral and loving at the dinner table. However, I say “invisible” because these boundaries aren’t meant to be announced, they are just there for you to know when its time to STOP engaging.

If someone happens to hit your conversation boundary, first, I encourage you to BREATH, and then politely change the subject. In no way shape or form can anyone force you to be sucked into an never-ending story of past hurts, pains, or faults and it certainly doesn’t need to go there at a time where pumpkin and apples pies are flourishing!
Come on now! It’s all about the desserts obviously!

3. STOP exposing your BUTTONS!!!

The truth is no one can “push” your buttons if you don’t ALLOW them to. You have a choice! Stop giving away the power!

“Easy for you to say Christal, you don’t know my mother-in-law!” **Or insert annoying family member**

I get it. But listen, whoever this person is to you, they don’t have power over your emotions so STOP giving it to them. Their attacks are only reflections of their emotional hurts, most of the time its not about you, and when you attack or defend yourself, you are only restricting your energy and giving them fuel to light a fire inside of you that will ultimately make for a great Jerry Springer episode which is NOT what we are aiming for!

4. Act out of LOVE!

WHAAAAT?!

Yes, I said it, doesn’t matter who this person is, what they have done, or how much they annoy the living hell out of you, YOU can be a powerhouse of love. There is no gratitude without love. Pure and simple. And thanksgiving is ALL about gratitude.

You can do this, at least through dinner for goodness sakes RIGHT?!

Also, here’s a FACT, when you pick and choose where your love goes, you restrict your energy and put a huge burden on your soul! Deep huh? But it’s the truth. This is definitely a practice, but what perfect time than to start with family, at a time that celebrates Gratitude and Love!

Be grateful. Let love in. and raise yourself HIGHER than the problems you have with family.

I love you all and I’m sure you may have specific questions regarding this article so feel free to comment below and start the conversation. Also, we’d love to learn from you!

How do you manage conflict with family members?

About the author

Christal Fuentes

Christal Fuentes

Christal is the Founder of The Ladies Coach. She lives and BREATHES her belief which is that you can’t find fulfillment in life WITHOUT mastering the art of relationships!

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4 Comments

  • Thank you for this article 🙂 I WILL be RE READING this! Question though…What if you try to make small talk with this person and still is like talking to a wall? What next?

  • It seems like I give my power away when I’m on the receiving end of questions. So, I’m going to try asking the questions this year. It’ll give my family time to talk about themselves (who doesn’t like that?!) and it takes the spotlight off of me.
    Great article, Christal. I enjoy your content!

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