HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFICULT FAMILY MEMBERS

Do you have strained relationships?

We all do - to some extent...oh the joys!


Are you the pillar of stability for your tribe? Maybe your mom relies on you to pay her bills because she doesn't prioritize her spending. Perhaps your brother only calls when he needs to be bailed out...again...or your daughter expects you to shell out the dough so she can keep up her expensive taste? 


Do you have a good friend...who you've known since grade one and you love dearly, but she drags you down? An ex-boyfriend who you run into regularly because he is your next door neighbour's best friend or a colleague who you enjoy working with but she gossips?


Maybe just the thought of sitting down to dinner with your in-laws stresses you out because your mother-in-law lacks compassion and often says something to throw you off....


Whatever the case may be, you feel the deep discomfort...even just thinking about it.


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Here's the good news - a little preparation goes a LONG way.


It's time to hi-jack your habitual reactions (that tend to perpetuate the problem and cause you more pain) and have your mental, emotional and physical responses planned ahead of time.


You've got this.


If it's financial inquiries - you know when the ask is likely coming so beat your beloved to the punch. When your brother tells you he's planning an expensive party for his 30th, let him know how excited you are to attend and that you're happy to contribute by baking the cake (leaving things on a clear, but positive note). Mention to your mom that your daughter is starting skating lessons this winter and that you'll have to keep your expenses under wraps (before she asks for cash around the 25th of the month!) or explain to your daughter that you are doing her a disservice by supporting her spending habits and that you believe in her ability to get on track. EMPOWER others before they show up, that way you don't have to say no or leave a conversation feeling bad.


If you are left feeling depleted after spending time in certain relationships, prepare yourself prior to the visit by setting boundaries on the length of time you'll be spending together. If the conversation turns negative - redirect, redirect, redirect. They'll pick up the hint eventually! Do not be a joiner - don't feed in to the negativity, complaining or gossip. There is a strong pull but stay strong, sister...it takes SO MUCH practice. Once your friend realizes that you're interested in talking more about ideas and less about problems or people, she'll follow suit. Once she realizes that you won't jump in to "fix" her problem (because your no longer offering solutions that fall on deaf ears but rather stating back to her - that must be difficult, I hear you speak about it often), she'll stop fishing. 


Basically, you can't go wrong when you act with love and compassion. You can't be disappointed when you surrender to the outcome. You can't be triggered when you choose a pre-determined response rather than reacting.


It's hard work...but it's worth it. 



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