10 Ways To Deal With A Difficult Family Member




There is always “one” in the family who differs from the rest of the clan, they say, this person is the instigator of the family rows or the person who does not want to get their act together. Chances are this is quite familiar especially if you have a large extended family like myself (a joke that runs in my mum’s side of the family is that they make up 1% of the world population and someone will marry their cousin) but learning how to cope because the old saying of just ignore them is not helpful.

From the experience of many family gatherings, weddings, little nieces, and nephew’s birthdays, I have found many strategies to help me cope and not lose my cool.


Understand their behavioural patterns.

This by no means is to sympathize with them, but I can assure you that understanding their behavioral patterns will allow you to choose an approach that fits you best. If you have a family member who has a repeated behavior pattern, you can predict their approach to confrontation. But taking the time to observe them and really understand their behavior and personality trait can enable you to have a well-thought-out plan in communication to get to the root of the problem!


Accept that not every family member will have the same approach and attitude.

I know you might think I am contradicting my first point but suppose you have become impatient with this person’s behavior. It is important to acknowledge that other family members have a different relationship with this person. For instance, if this is a younger sibling you are having issues with, understand that if you also have another sibling who is junior to the troubled, their approach to handling it may differ from yours. Due to the age difference, communication method, and respect boundaries, they may have for the person, compared to yourself who is senior in age. This also applies in reverse, of course, as respect comes in both ways.


Keep confrontation to a minimum in large crowds or public.

Aim to avoid this as much as possible because the individual’s chances of opening up to the issues will be minimal. They may close up rather than open to problems due to their environment. Other than that, family issues are not for the public. I know that emotions can sometimes heighten in the most unexpected ways and places but do you ever cringe or get 2nd hand embarrassment when watching public arguments?

Yes, don’t let that be you.


Also, take into consideration the end goal you are trying to achieve.

Never give up. I say this lightly unless it’s something truly unforgivable, extremely unethical, and immoral, you get the idea. People who have difficult behavior and show repetitive issues have a lot under layer that has caused them to be the way they are. So always ensure your approach is coming from a place of patience, love, compassion, and all other positive traits. Providing this to the person is essential for their improvement as you want them to change and open up to you to rebuild.


Change your attitude towards them.

This counteracts to 4 advice, however showing them that you do not codon their behavior. If the family creates distance or show avoidance, they will allow the person to reflect on the negative impacts they are creating and the burden it is having on the family.

Having a difficult member of the family is something people will not understand, even people who will tell you that they can relate to your problems, in reality, they cannot because every family is different, every situation is different, and every person connected to that individual will have a different relationship with the person in regards to approach and tolerance.


Find inner peace.

This is extremely important if you have attempted to help the person and find different strategies; however, with no signs of improvement or healing, it may be linked to the fact that you are constantly on their case; acknowledge that it can come across as arrogant from a different perspective, you can appear as someone who feels they have too much authority to change a person. Learn to step away and find your inner peace because you cannot change them.


Mind your business.

Once you start doing so, you will be surprised by how freeing you to feel and concentrate on what you can control. You will find it eye-opening how, by enabling this attitude, you will gain emotional stability.

In the current moment, you may not necessarily feel this way; it may take more or less time than expected. From my experience, I gained the most growth in my attitudes towards others learning have this mindset.


Treat them how you would want to be treated.

As someone who needed a reminder recently of this, it a quote we hear so many times, yet we often can forget, but doing so will allow you to feel less guilty about your actions and remind yourself that you are trying. You will also feel that your actions are more sincere, and they are not led by emotional vehemence.


Be kind to yourself.

I am an extreme empath and often want to fix and help people, and I have learned that I cannot do so and do not have the power to be this influential at all times. Allow yourself time to process the issue and distance yourself from the person to avoid any drastic upheavals.


See the positives.

As crazy as it sounds, to handle this, tell yourself that you can have a thicker skin and behave more in control of your emotions for handling the work environment and other life obstacles. I find that our relationships with our family, which for the most time are people in our lives we can’t get away from, helps with character building. Whatever type of relationship you have with people who are supposedly the closest to you helps create and shape chosen relationships outside your family circle.


I have learned to use all 10 of these approaches for different people, varying from the closeness to the person to the circumstance, and for very few, I have used all 10. Most importantly, I have learned not to allow my inner peace to be impacted as that is the catalyst of how I will project myself towards them.

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