Dr. Romance: Help! I Can't Stop Fighting My Family

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cat fight
You're a grown up, but you still fight with your mom like a teen. This has to end.

(To see the accompanying video, click here.)

Often, the same quirks, reactions and behaviors that create problems between you and the female members of your famiy wouldn't be a problem if they was someone else's family. If your best friend's mom or sister did the same thing, you'd probably let it go, gloss over it and focus on what you like about her. The same techniques will work with your own sisters and mom. Try pretending they're someone else's family and see if that puts things is perspective.


Use the following guidelines to let go of small things that might get in the way of enjoying the day.

To let go of small things:

1. Perspective—put them in perspective—will it be important an hour from now or fifteen minutes from now? Most of them won't be.
2. Self-understanding: If someone or something upsets you, don't exacerbate the problem by getting on your own case for reacting. Reactions are normal -- it's what we do with them that counts.
3. Rise above: If someone frightened you (a driver who cut you off) then give a little prayer of thanks that you survived, bless the other driver (who probably needs it) and you'll feel better.
4. Benefit of the doubt: If someone hurt your feelings, acknowledge that your feelings are hurt, then consider that the other person is probably more clumsy than intentionally hurtful. The world is full of emotional klutzes who don't realize the impact of their words and actions, and they create more problems for themselves than for you.
5. Consider the source: A neighbor or associate who is truly nasty may repeatedly hurt your feelings. Consider what must be going on inside that person's head, and be grateful that you're not hearing that. Even the meanest people are far nastier to themselves than they are to others. That person is tryin to relieve his or her pain by inflicting some on you.
6. Adult time out: If someone repeatedly hurts, abuses or disrespects you, the best way to handle it is with an adult time out.

Handling difficult personalities takes skill and know-how. Here's a technique anyone can learn to use that works every time.

Adult Time Out

If someone behaves badly in your presence, giving that adult a “time out” is a powerful and subtle way of fixing the problem. All you need to do is become very distant and polite around the person who is not treating you well. No personal talk and interaction, no joking, no emotion. Be very polite, so the person cannot accuse you of being unpleasant, mean or rude. There is no need to explain what you are doing: the problem person will get the message from your behavior -which is much more effective. Most people will change, but even if the person's behavior doesn't change, you can leave him or her in "time out" and you won’t have to be anxious about his or her behavior.

(From It Ends with You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction)

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.

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