Staying Sane during Family Squabbles

When family tensions run high, all the different personalities come out big time. Like control. If you are a person that likes control, then you’ll understand what I’m about to say. If you have someone in your family who thrives on control, how do you stay sane around that?

Give up control.

My sister likes to be in control. She absolutely starts to panic if she feels she’s not in control or her position is being threatened. While it drives me kinda crazy, the only way for me to survive is back out. Don’t engage in her struggle. Just let her do it.

That’s not meant to sound cold. If you know someone or you are someone who likes to be in control, telling them to let it go doesn’t work. The more you tell someone who likes control to let go of the control, the more they grasp for it. The more they panic. Just the mere thought of losing control is anxiety producing for them.

Vicious Cycles

Then the vicious cycle starts. They fear losing control so they panic. The more they panic, the more control they lose. The only way out is to get out. Get out of the cycle by letting it go. Control freaks have a very hard time letting go because it threatens their need for control.

As I said, to keep my sanity I bow out. There’s no use in telling her to let go because I know she won’t. She’ll take it a step further by denying she’s trying to stay in control. That’s classic denial: you can’t see that you’re doing what you’re being informed that you’re doing.  It can be maddening to deal with that, so don’t.

You know the saying: people only hear what they want to hear. They don’t want to be told they’re being too controlling. Anything you say to that effect will fall on deaf ears. Therefore, don’t fall into the trap of another famous saying: don’t beat your head against the wall. If they don’t want to hear it and clearly are not open to suggestions, it’s not worth your efforts.

Exit Stage Left

That’s why I bow out. To save my sanity. I know my sister is being too controlling, my other siblings see it too but she doesn’t. To continue to point it out to her only stresses me out. I can’t change her and she won’t change her, so what’s the point?

Exactly. There is no point.

“Just don’t think about it” as we know is much easier said than done. When I hear her getting controlling again or worry about it the thoughts are now in my mind. I don’t want to think them. But just not thinking them isn’t easy.

So, what do I do instead?

How to Cope: 3 Strategies

The same things we’ve talked about before. It takes practice to “just let it go” but I am getting pretty darn good at that. Any time a pesky thought about her comes into my mind I see it and let it go. Like erasing an unwanted word off of a white board.

The other technique I use: Distraction. Think about or do something else to get my mind off of it. Think about something that makes you happy, what you want to eat for dinner tonight, anything that keeps you off of the pesky thoughts.

If all else fails there’s always relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, listening to music, take a walk etc.

The key to staying sane in family squabbles or telling someone how they’re acting is stay out of it. While you may have to be involved to some extent, you don’t have to stress yourself out over it. Some people will never change and that’s the way it is. Trying to make them change is a lot of wasted effort on your part. Just don’t.

It’s like the classic example of a married couple. A woman marries a man knowing full well he has some behaviors she doesn’t care for. She’s so in love and such a romantic that she figures she can change him. If she loves him more, treats him really special, he’ll change, right? Not.

People Only Change When….

People don’t change no matter what we say to them, no matter how much love and attention we give them, no matter what fancy gifts we buy them. They change because they want to. The reason they want to is because there’s some sort of pay-off for them.

Alcoholics change because they hit rock bottom and go to AA or therapy or something that helps them make a big turn-around. Same thing with other addicts. What about the rest of us that aren’t addicts? We change because there’s some type of benefit for us.

Let’s say you have a fear of commitment so you either don’t get into relationships or your sabotage them so that you don’t have to stick around. That works until you decide you really would like a relationship. Now what? You have to change so that you can stomach the thought of staying with someone. The bigger question is why would you all of the sudden decide you want a relationship when so often you blow them off?

Because there’s a benefit for you.

You’re lonely and want companionship. You realize your life isn’t fulfilling without someone special in your life. Whatever the case may be, there has to be a benefit for you. Otherwise, you’ll continue to run away like in the movie, “Runaway Bride.”

Fairy Tales Don’t Always Come True

That was a movie and we know fairy tales don’t always come true. Not unless we’re willing to do the work to stay with the next best person that comes along for us. The real test of “Runaway Bride” would be a sequel where she settles down and does live happily ever after. The part no one wants to see, though, is the inner work she’d have to do to get over her commitment issues. Not movie material. But it’s real life.

Bottom line for family squabbles is to know that more than likely they won’t change. They’re still the people they always were. It’s when a stressful situation emerges that their personality quirks come out full force. That can present a challenge for you, the aware one, who wants to stay sane. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying your family is insane or that your family won’t change. People can change, it’s just that most people don’t, especially when they’re under stress unless it’s life or death.

Give up trying to correct them or point out behaviors. Do your best to let it go whether it’s distraction, relaxation or actually letting the thoughts go. It will make your life easier I promise.

How do you know if you’re being too controlling or any other type of maladaptive behavior?

Ask your intuition. It’s like your best friend and it won’t steer you wrong. A friend may tell you what you want to hear or spare your feelings. Your intuition will tell you straight up!

If you want to learn how to listen to it, how to talk to it and how to trust it by CLICKING

Once you start listening to your intuition, you’ll be amazed how much your life clicks into place. Then you can truly start enjoying yourself. CLICK HERE to find out more!