How to Keep Family Members From Stealing Your Joy
You’re not responsible for someone else’s behavior.
That was an eye opening revelation for me 20 years ago.
In the past I would think that I could control someone else feelings and behaviors (yes, very codependent of me, I know)
But what took me a little longer to learn was that they can’t control my feelings and behaviors either.
What a game changer.
To think, that my reaction to them was just that ; MINE. Made me take the responsibility off of them and put it where it belongs, on me.
In my Christian Coaching and Counseling practice, many of my clients battle between wanting to follow scripture and feeling abused.
They struggle with feeling manipulated into ‘honoring their mother and father’ and wanting to be Christ like.
This often leads to extended periods of repressed emotions that lead to uncontrolled outbursts. These outbursts lead to intense guilt and the cycle continues.
As you head into this holiday season, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can arm yourself against the attacks of people that ‘know not what they do’
Own your own feelings:
I have news that will change your life, if you let it. No one can “make’ you feel anything. I’ll let that sink in a moment. As much as others can ‘trigger’ us, they can’t ‘make’ us feel. The best way to get your joy back is to stop blaming others for ‘making’ you feel a certain way. Once you realize that you have to own your own feelings, you can now process them properly. If you need help processing old wounds and emotions, please consider getting professional help. It could be the very breakthrough that sets you free.
Keep a safe distance
Boundaries are important to protect our properties as well as our emotions. If you feel it is your job to let someone do or say what they want to you, than I hope that you will get help, as this is not what relationships are meant to look like. But it’s the other person’s job to put up boundaries for you, you must do that yourself. If you need help in learning how to set boundaries and be strong in keeping them, getting with a good counselor could be the guidance you need.
Don’t get sucked in.
You might be tempted to defend yourself or get pulled into a toxic conversation. Resist! It may be uncomfortable at first but it they will likely move on to someone else if you don’t engage. This doesn’t mean agreement either. Your responses are best left ‘neutral’ (think of business like responses)
Don’t think you can change them
Too many people think that they can smother negative, toxic people with positivity and expect them to change. Big mistake. If your family members are negative, toxic or even abusive, it’s likely behavior and thinking that has been ingrained in them for a long, long, long time. A few positive statements aren’t going to change them. And once you let go of the expectation that they will change, you enter into the reality of the situation. Remember, you can love someone without feeling the need to have to change them. Only God can change people and if he’s been trying with no success, what makes you think you can?
Family time can be fun time filled with wonderful memories both old and new, but for some families, it’s a cross to bear. You would do well to arm yourself with these tactics so that you can truly honor people the way God calls us to be.
If you’re struggling with difficult people in your life, family or otherwise, grab your FREE Toxic People Survival Guide to learn how to identify and deal with difficult people.