How is it possible to be compatible with relatives who are impossible, unreasonable people? What's the secret?
By Trudy from in the Woods, PA
You just avoid certain topics. I have two sisters that we can't discuss politics or religion together, because I'm not conservative enough to suit them. When our parents were alive it was different, because my mother acted as moderater and my dad sat in the other room laughing. Maybe they think you are the one that is impossible to get along with. It is a two way street. When I was married I had a sister-in-law that thought she was better than everybody else, and it helped a great deal after my husband told me she wouldn't be happy in the middle of gold platter.
Gosh, Trudy, I seem to remember you've had several posts about difficult relatives in the past year or so. I'm sorry to hear that you're still having such troubles with them (assuming that they're still the problem & that this is an ongoing issue). I think you've been given pretty good advice in the past. Have you considered going to a therapist/counselor? My sister-in-law was seeing a therapist when going through a divorce (the marriage was bad, but she was willing to keep trying to honor her vows; she found out he had been cheating when he got remarried a couple months later). And a good friend took her family to therapy when her brother committed suicide about a year ago. It really helped all of them. You cannot control your relatives' behavior, but maybe a counselor could help you learn how to tolerate them.
I hope you find a solution that works for you soon. Best of luck!
I know it is not ideal, but I cannot tolerate my sister's very close minded views on things so I find it is easier not to talk to her at all. I wish it were not that way but it is. I can't offer much advice.
Some families are "chaoticlly emeshed". They are so emeshed that the people they marry cannot penetrait the inner circle. If that is the case here try to avoid them. Sometimes these kind of families have a matriot who wants to control all her children. Avoid them if you can, you probably will never win. It isn't you.
If you're talking about inlaws it must be really difficult. I, like someone else can't give you any advise but I will tell you that I had to sever my relationship with my sister and I haven't seen or talked to her in several years. It was so bad for my health that I felt like I had no choice. She continually put me down, borrowed money she never repayed and she sided with my former husband during our divorce even though he verbally abused me for years. Just dealing with her was also just a drama and so draining. My Brother also had to sever his relationship with her too. Sad situation but I'm a much happier person. It' not that I hold a grudge but it was a situation I chose not to be in.
I used to get very hurt by the actions of my relatives. Two things helped. One was that I realized that I wanted them to be the way that I behaved. It dawned on me that we are all different. Secondly, I stopped thinking of the annoying people as "relatives" but just acquaintances. We all have the "Hallmark" concept of a family. We want everyone to be a certain way. But family get-togethers can bring out the worst in people. Try to look at your reactions objectively and see if there is a pattern to their attitude. You may just have to avoid certain situations and topics to get along.
I would suggest, try to lower your expectations. Do not expect to be 'compatible' with them. When you think of them, instead of focusing on how crazy they make you, catch yourself, stop those thoughts, and turn your thoughts to something else, anything else, that you know will make you smile and will get your mind off of them. Above all, don't try to make them come around to your way of thinking, which they probably never will. Don't try to convince them of anything if you think they are wrong. And finally, when you are with them, or are thinking of them, it may help to say the Serenity Prayer over and over to yourself in your mind as a kind of a calming mantra: (God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.)
Is it possible that you might be the person who is being unreasonable and that the secret is within you? Not trying to be mean but maybe, after other questions you've asked here in the past, that it might be time to look within yourself and not point fingers at others for the troubles?
Try reading this book "In Sheep's Clothing" available from Amazon. Not all the good advice in the world or therapy either can help when the standpoint you start from is flawed. This book addresses that, and shows how the point of view needs to be changed. Much psychology today starts from the premiss that people are willing to change if only they can understand how. Not so. Some people are determined to have their own way, no matter what, and need to be confronted, challenged or even just manipulated back.(I can hear the howls of protest already!)
This is not a good synopsis of the book; do try it for yourself. It was a life-saver for me. It gives you solid ground to stand on when dealing with difficult people, and I can readily believe your family is like this - such traits run in families and are self-perpetuating. You need to protect yourself, and the fact that you have posted often before shows that you didn't have the right feedback. You're not the crazy one here, and don't let anyone put you down. Just buy the book and study it, it will revolutionise you life.
Trudy, you're definitely in my prayers - especially because I have impossible, obnoxious family, too. Distance works for me. In other words, I make myself available when they want contact, but I don't pursue them. Several of us are Facebook friends, so we know what's going on in each other's lives even if we don't comment. Last but not least, I've done a lot of praying about the situation between my family and me. I'm discovering that God may or may not change them, maybe it's me He's changing. I know I'm the only one I can change, nothing but God can change someone else, no matter how much I may want them to change!
It isn't possible to be compatible with people that you clearly AREN'T compatible with. Just because people are in the same family doesn't mean they have anything in common. The best you can hope for is to be polite.
Something that helps me is to realize that most things people say have no power behind them. An opinion, no matter how dreadful, is only an opinion and won't actually cause something to happen in the real world.
When I can't avoid conversation with people I disagree with, for instance on politics, I ask questions to fully draw out their views and keep silent about my own views. They feel heard (which is what people mostly want) and I offer no opening to be attacked.
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