Have you been verbally abused repeatedly by a family member…
and you’re an adult…
living away from them?
Do you wish they’d stop?
Have you decided that the best thing to do would be to forgive them and continue doing the same things you’ve always done with them, since there’s no alternative?
Where did you get this notion that if they won’t change you have to put up with their negativity?
Does it say somewhere that you owe it to them? Do they tell you that you owe it to them?
Why do you believe them?
Have you been guilted into thinking that it is your place in the family dynamic to tough it out?
I want you to take a long, hard look at yourself and your patterns of behavior with your family.
Does this pattern show up anywhere else? In other relationships? Do you act out in another relationship with someone not as strong? Do you have your anger or frustration leak out at work? Do you bully yourself for not standing up for yourself?
They say the insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
There’s good news. It doesn’t always have to be like that.
But you must, yes, you must take responsibility for yourself and your actions.
No more whining about your parent. If you don’t like their behavior stand up to them and make different choices.
Look at your excuses – they’re familiar – you’ve probably been using them for years.
“I have to put up with it because she/he has no one else.”
“I have to put up with the behavior and go visit again because that’s how it’s always been and mom will be so disappointed in me.”
Hard question: Is it more important for your health for your mom to be disappointed in you or for you to continue to be disappointed in yourself because you haven’t found the courage to stand up for yourself?
An aside: If someone is violent and you are afraid to stand up to them because of this – get help or get out. You deserve more!
Okay, let me give you some direct tips so you can change your behavior.
First thing to do:
You have to let go of any payoff you’re getting for letting them treat you as they do. Yes, you’re getting a payoff from it.
Ex. You might unconsciously feel comfortable being treated disrespectfully because you were raised that way. Or you may like being ‘needed.’ That oftentimes is the unconscious motive behind someone who is often taken advantage of. It is time to get real.
1. What is your payoff?
If it is fitting in – find other ways that you can experience that feeling.
Ex. Join a group in your local community or online with people who share similar interests.
2. Claim your voice.
Are you afraid to tell the person who is constantly negative that you don’t appreciate it and won’t be around them or call them if they continue?
If so- I’m giving you permission to speak up for yourself.
I’ve had several coaching clients over the years do this and it was like a light bulb went off and they got what they needed. Because of the established family dynamic –they didn’t know they had that right. I say, go for it!
Asking for what you need and not getting it is a clear sign that you either haven’t been heard or the person hearing doesn’t care about your needs. That doesn’t make them bad. But it is a clear sign that it’s time for you to make some powerful new choices.
I advised one client to tell his sibling at the next meeting that he didn’t want to hear her cursing and if she continued to talk that way he would leave after ten minutes. It’s important to note-that you must leave if the person doesn’t agree. You might miss a family dinner or there may be some other consequence, but you are teaching people how to treat you. If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will?
If you need help setting healthy boundaries check out my ebook, Forgive and Be Free: A Pathway to Personal Happiness. In addition to two chapters on Setting Boundaries, for a limited time it includes a 60 minute downloadable MP3 on How to Set a Healthy Boundary. Available at http://www.forgiveandbefreebook.com
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