Wise advice: 7 tips for dealing with difficult relatives

Listening is the number one step in dealing with “unreasonable” people. Everyone wants to be heard, and progress is unlikely to take place until everyone feels acknowledged.

1. Stay calm and don’t judge. When a situation is emotionally charged, it’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment. Take some slow, deep breaths and realize that the other person may be feeling vulnerable or afraid.

2. Don’t return anger with anger.

3. Is there a hidden need? What is this person really trying to gain or avoid?

4. Don’t act defensively or take things personally. You naturally won’t enjoy a person saying nasty things or things that you know aren’t true, but this  is not about you.  (I know, easier said than done!)

5.  Set limits and boundaries. You have the right to be assertive and say “Please don’t talk to  me like that.” If your instincts tell you you’re no longer safe, look for an exit strategy.

6. Remain flexible and be ready to discharge your own stress by talking to someone about what has happened.

7. Give yourself credit for getting through an uncomfortable situation. It takes a lot of energy to be calm and kind when someone else is behaving badly. Don’t skip this step!

Source: Psychology Today

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