I think it fair to say that we all have had to deal with drama in our family at one time or another.
Recurring issues and explosions can keep you stuck in a pattern that doesn’t help anyone, especially you.
Family relations are perhaps the most challenging relationships, and they, therefore, offer the most significant benefit to our personal growth as conscious human beings.
Here is some advice on working through those family conflicts and how you can rise above it all.
First; Step Back from Family Conflict, as needed.
Step back from the drama for a moment. Or a while. This is better than an argument getting worse and causing damage to your loved ones.
Your family can be your best guide to learning who you are. You learn who you are by identifying what ‘triggers’ you, what sets you off, what caused the issue.
Family dynamics open you up to your beliefs, fears, expectations, and so much more. They will also show you your shadow side, your pain points and bring them right out in the open.
This is all good because when you see your pain points in relationships, you can actually deal with them. So. family conflict is perhaps the best vehicle we have for showing us areas we need to work on in our own life.
Such a treasure trove of blessing comes at an equally challenging cost. The lessons can be hard, and often we lack the staying power or the maturity to get the most out of the experiences that are presenting themselves to us through our family dynamics.
What it takes to Deal with Family Conflict
Managing family relations authentically requires skill, humility and a lot of spiritual maturities. Higher-order divine understanding is needed, and that type of knowledge doesn’t just fall into your lap. You work on it.
IF you can work through family conflict without making things worse, you will be able to handle just about anything in life.
So, what is the best way to handle these types of very close and personal relationships? Well, read on, my friend, because here it is; how to rise above all that family drama AND disconnect from it authentically AND be a better person for it!
1. Issues are More About You, Than Them!
You won’t solve anything without first seeing YOUR role in a family conflict. And it is a central role. You are why there is an issue. They triggered something in you, something that needs to be healed in you.
They are allowing you to deal with it. Remember, you can’t change other people; you can only change yourself. This means you have to take responsibility for your own healing. No one else can heal you deeply enough for you to change – NO ONE! You have to do that for yourself.
If, as you may genuinely believe, the issue in your family conflict has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them, then why are you not merely dropping it? Why are you picking it up again and again? Why do you feel you have to prove your innocence or anything for that matter?
Stop blaming other people for the discontent YOU have in YOUR life. Free your family from any wrongdoing and free yourself from a lifetime of misery. It is up to you now to make the most of the hand that destiny has dealt you.
Don’t want to? Then keep doing what you are doing and never solve anything and continue to feel sorry for yourself. That is the best way to stay stuck in a poor me mentality and never grow spiritually.
2. You are not Special
Your life experience as a human is unique, but you are one of an endless number of humans living on planet earth.
You are not an extraordinary human being! Although you can make your experience as a human being extraordinary.
Feeling that people should ‘treat you’ a certain way is at its core an opinion or an expectation have. Unless someone is seriously abusing you physically or mentally, in which case you must remove yourself from the situation immediately and get professional help. Anything less than this is in your power to handle.
Honestly – you are no more special than the flower that blooms in the spring, than the black bear that births its young in the diminishing forest, than the lone older man who sits by his window watching the last reflections of life pass by.
Stop feeling special!! And start feeling your connection to EVERYTHING around you, in the most humbling of ways. This is your time to humble up and see your role in your own drama.
3. Expectations can be Dangerous
When you bring your expectations down, life immediately becomes much more manageable. If you find yourself saying, “I deserve to be treated better or differently,” that can indicate that your expectations are too high for the people you are dealing with.
Bring your expectations down. Stop judging! Change the rhetoric, change your story, say things in a more empowering way. Stop playing the victim. It would be best if you shifted your energy to a different place. For example, you could say, “I’m not getting what I want, I wonder why?” or better yet, “I want to work out why I expect so much from this person who clearly can’t give me what I need.”
If you feel you deserve or are entitled to extra benefits from your family, simply because they have it, you are setting yourself up as a victim again. If left unchecked, this victimhood can distort your life, cause mental health issues, and you may even resort to sabotaging your own life to get their attention.
Let me tell you something if you are complaining about how your family is or isn’t has become a recurring long-standing complaint, time for YOU to change.
5. Humble Up
Living your life as a humble person is an art that comes from spiritual maturity.
Expect everything from and of yourself, but no one else! As mentioned above, expectations will get you into trouble.
Get real, be honest, don’t take anything for granted, be an adult, stop expecting anything from other people, live your life the best way you can and take it all day by day. See this issue you have as a chance to improve your relationship with yourself.
6. Stop Asking Silly Questions
Stop asking yourself questions such as, Why me? Why am I the one with shitty parents or a shitty family? Those kinds of questions will get you nowhere fast.
I’ll answer them for you if you really MUST have an answer. “Because.” “Because it had to happen this way.” There is your answer, now get on with your life and live it authentically and stop blaming everyone around you for your inability to grow up.
Instead, ask better questions such as, “Why do I feel I deserve this or that?” “What am I failing to recognize or learn about myself by constantly blaming others for annoying me?”
Ask better questions, not poor, my questions.
6. Be Grateful for Every Little Thing
Stop focusing on the drama around you; focus instead on all the things that are working in your life. Suppose you have some home to go to tonight and a warm, dry bed for sleeping. Be grateful. More than half the world doesn’t have the basics in life to survive or be safe.
7. Honour Yourself and Set Healthy Boundaries
By disengaging from ranting and being a victim, you are respecting yourself and those around you.
You can be part of a family or a tribe and not have to give up everything you feel you stand for. The family will often push your boundaries and may, at times, expect more of you than you can ever offer or be. They can have expectations of you that you can’t give to them. If THEY csn;t accept your limitations, you need to communicate this to them and set a healthy boundary.
Identifying your own limitations and then communicsting this to your loved ones is an act of love for self and maturity. If no one in the family is making an issue better, then let it be you. Change your story, change your expectations, and the situation will change.
You have to know yourself well enough to understand what your limits are and what your boundaries are. Your family can’t intuitively read your mind all of the time. It would be best if you got to know yourself deeply, know your weaknesses, embrace your ugly shadows, and celebrate all your significant aspects.
BE kind to yourself and expect great things from yourself.
If you don’t like how your family treats you, identify the issue, and then communicate that into a healthy boundary that will keep you safe during family discussions or meetings. For example, you might say, “If you continue to scream at me, I will end the conversation. It upsets me terribly when you talk to me that way.”
8. Give yourself space and distance
Some families are demanding and may expect too much from you, or they may do the other extreme and ignore or not care about you at all. In this case, you may need to back away from the relationship either momentarily or for a length of time.
An authentic way to deal with demanding family situations is to say to a family member, I love and respect you, but I don’t approve or agree with what you are doing or saying.
Sometimes a family member may be truly impossible to deal with; they might have serious mental issues that impair their better judgements. You may have to walk away and let it be. Or you may have to not expect so much from them if they are struggling with their issues.
Walk away, not in anger, though. If possible, walk away consciously, knowing that this is better for both of you. This way is so much more empowering than fighting, complaining, engaging in an ongoing drama, sabotaging yourself to prove a point.
9. Unconditional Love
Are you someone who ‘expects’ unconditional love from your family or loved one/s? If so, think again; you need to soften your expectations.
I do not know ANY human being, dead or alive, who truly is the embodiment of unconditional love. It is very difficult (perhaps even impossible) to love your children or anyone else for that matter – unconditionally.
For parents, yes, they may often love their children unconditionally. At the same time, they are young and dependent on them, but what happens when they decide to get a tattoo, wreck your car, burn down the family home, marry a different kind of person. That love can easily turn conditional in a second.
Love is often conditional. That is the human way. If you can accept this, you understand the complexity of unconditional love. So be gentle and rethink expecting this kind of love from others. Every person has a point that will break them if you cross it, no matter how much they love you.
Unless you are a saint on the scale of Jesus, the Dalai Lama or your pet dog, most of us don’t have an unconditional bone in our body!
10. Being an Outsider in your Family
It happens. You feel like an outsider in your own family.
You don’t get along with anyone, and you wonder if you were switched at birth accidentally because nothing resonates well with you and other family members.
If this is you, then be authentic in who you are, with or without your family or their approval. Your journey might be a bit more challenging, but honestly, many of us come to this point at one time or another within our families. Eventually, we all leave our tribe behind.
As we evolve on our journey through life, many of us will break away from our families’ traditions and redefine who we are outside of the tribe.
Embrace your journey, no matter how different it may be or feel, embrace it. And just because you are an outsider doesn’t have to mean that it is a bad thing. Believe me; if you have ever experienced the smothering effects of a family, you will appreciate just how blessed you are to be set free and find your way. It is all a matter of what you will do with your situation and what spin you will put on it.
How to deal with family conflict in a nutshell;
- issues in the family are about YOU, not them;
- triggers (upsets) are signs of healing YOU need to do
- stop blaming and complaining; take responsibility for your own healing
- you are not special
- deal with your expectations
- humble up!
- Stop asking, Why me?
- be grateful for everything, even the crap in your life
- set healthy boundaries
- give yourself space and distance when you feel you are struggling
- it is ok to feel like an outsider in your family
Living life is no small task or journey, not when you are ready to take responsibility for everything in your life. But you can shift family issues from a place of conflict to a place of healing.
Be sure to love yourself through the process, do not beat yourself up, and always honour how you feel, so you know what to work through.