First off, yes it’s a very common problem.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. It’s exhausting, frustrating, painful, and DEFINITELY takes a toll on your relationship.
Sometimes we scream.
Sometimes we cry.
Sometimes we ignore it and just grit our teeth until the vacation or holiday or visit is over. Other times, it eats away at the bond we have with our partner because we feel disrespected, unsupported, and hurt.
Here’s what you’ll want to do…
First, get a deeper understanding of WHY your partner and your family dislike each other. This can make a huge difference BOTH in how much the conflict affects you emotionally and in what you can do (or not do) about it.
For instance, if your family dislikes your partner because they feel his or her words or actions hurt you, could their frustration stem from trying to protect you from further harm? Or, if your partner dislikes your family because they feel misunderstood or disrespected by your family, could their frustration comes from a feeling of not being accepted? What is their underlying intent? (Hint: It’s rarely just because they’re trying to be an a**hole.)
What about that family member who is genius at giving you THE GUILT TRIP?
The best way to deal with guilt is consistently acting and speaking with respect, not just respect for others, but for YOURSELF. If you’re acting with integrity and well-meaning, it’s easier NOT to get pulled into a guilt trip.
Check-in with an outside friend or therapist who can act as a sounding board on whether a guilt trip legit or complete B.S.
We hear about “boundaries” all the time now, right? But what the heck does that truly mean? And, HOW do you really create boundaries?
First, it’s not a one-and-done activity. Oh, I bought a kit of emotional boundaries on Amazon so we’re all good now, right?!
I WISH it were that simple.
Relationships evolve, people grow and change, life circumstances change. Regularly checking in on your emotional state and separating what are THEIR issues versus what are YOUR issues can be very helpful.
I recommend my clients actually write “their issues” and “my issues” on a blank sheet of paper, with a line drawn down the center vertically. Often, a visual reminder like this allows you to see more clearly that it’s NOT your responsibility to make everyone else feel happy and safe at all times.
How you decide to deal with partner V. family conflicts depends on a few variables:
- the amount and degree of interaction you have with them
- the degree of emotional or financial dependence you have on them
- the difference between your expectations of them and what they’re actually capable of doing and being.
Notice that all of these steps are about you first. We all know that changing someone else’s behavior is almost never successful. Instead, focus on shifting YOUR mindset, YOUR words, and YOUR actions… and those around you will begin to respond differently because now YOU my friend, are different.
Head over HERE for a practical self-care tactic to help you survive a challenging family visit.
Listen to THIS podcast for inspiration on communication, movement and SAILING.
Check out THIS article from Fatherly on How to Create a Self-Care Plan.
Wishing you wealth, health, and self-worth.