Dealing with Family Fall-Outs: A Guide

Sometimes the people closest in our lives are those who go against us, and while you may feel as though you’re the only person going through a family fall-out, you certainly aren’t alone. Many family break-ups can be more traumatic than others, however, dealing with difficult individuals can stand you in good stead and allow you to come to terms with valuable life lessons.

Whether you see difficult family members on a rare occurrence or have completely cut ties, here are 6 tips on how to deal with these difficult circumstances and the steps you should take as a method of coping:

1. It may not be your fault

It is easy to analyze the situation as being solely your fault, however, you should never solely take the blame. It is also fairly common to take things personally. Though, you should always remember that it takes two sides for a fallout to occur. Always try and focus on your own wellbeing within any situation. Also, try not to allow yourself to feel too much of an impact from thoughtless negative comments which can be thrown around in volatile situations.  

2. Get straight to the point

If you feel you have something to get off your chest to a family member, be sure to keep your argument direct and to the point. Arguments may get extremely heated in the moment and comments can be extremely throwaway, therefore ensure you keep a level head. In this instance, be sure to stick to the facts rather than adding opinions. Don’t allow yourself to be undermined as to the way you feel; therefore, always state the evidence rather personal thoughts.

3.  Be the good example

Instead of getting caught up in the height of the drama, aim to remain true to yourself. After all, you can’t control other people’s behavior apart from your own, therefore monitor your own behavioral choices and ensure you will have nothing to regret. Always think before you speak, by understanding what sort of response you expect to get from what you’re about to say. Try and showcase a sense of empathy of stepping into a family member’s shoes and understand the situation from their perspective.

4.  Try different strategies

There is no single way to deal with family problems, therefore you may find it useful to change up your strategies if you are forced to come into contact with them.  One very useful method would be to read a wide selection of phycology books in order to develop sensible and effective strategies of coping with these own difficult and awkward situations. You may also wish to participate in workshops or see a counselor if the circumstances are really affecting you; in which you are able to gain further advice.

5. Protect your assets

If you believe you’re never going to resolve family issues, it may be a good idea to draw up a will to ensure your possessions are handed over to closest members of the family once you pass away. Although the idea may seem a little premature considering your age, it is never too early to consider meeting up with a will attorney to make sure your wishes are followed and that there is legal proof of your decisions.

6. Distance yourself

Once you have made changes to your will, it may be a good solution to distance yourself away from family members you are having difficulty with, so you don’t feel a sense of guilt towards changing your will again. You need to understand that in most cases, family members won’t change their ways and neither will problems resolve – dependent on the severity. In order to shed light on how you feel, aim to keep a distance over a period of time to collect your thoughts. You can’t change the situation, but you do have control over how often you visit family members, the length of the visit and the surroundings on where you see them.

Evaluating when to cut ties

If you feel that there is simply no going back, when should you cut all ties with family members? Here are some key points to look out for:

1.  Understand the effects on other family members

Before you decide to call it a day on talking to a family member, consider how it will impact other people in your family. Sometimes cutting all ties can cause major rifts within families which may cause upset if the dynamics are spoiled, but on other occasions, it can be the best solution for all involved.

2.  Mental health

If the negative energy is causing your mental health to suffer, then trying to make amends really isn’t worth it. Essentially, your family is blood, however, this shouldn’t mean you are forced to be in their company if it is going to cause any sort of stress or anxious feeling. It’s also best consider that your spouse and children are now your main concern and not original family members who are causing you a great deal of grief.

In fact, arguing in front of your children can have severe impacts on their own mental health in which they can suffer impacts such as low self-esteem, insecurity and behavioral problems. While the rare argument in front of children may not affect them in the long term, a continuous negative environment will soon start to take its toll.

3. Closeness

Before you decide on whether not to cut ties, understand the closeness of the relationship of the family member and essentially, whether or not it is worth salvaging. If the person you are having problems with lives relatively far away and you don’t see them all too often, then you don’t need to worry about cutting off contact, however, if you are seeing them every day and have a close personal connection, then it may be worth trying to make amends.

4. Is there a resolution?

If you believe there is no solution to the problem, then don’t feel obliged to rekindle what you once had as a family. Sometimes walking away is the only option if you are powerless in aiding the situation; however, remember that any decision can be temporary and sometimes takes time.


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