Why do some families become distant or remain in persistent conflict? I’m referring to the arguments that may have long lost sight of the initial disagreement topic.
Poor communication, selfishness and envy or competition instantly come to mind. After some reflection, I’ve come to conclusion that the former variables are influential but not the root of the issue. The core of family disputes by means of denomination tends to be perception. This has been increasing accurate for families whom are able to resolve the issue but repeatedly revisit the stages prior to or after consideration of the option to disown a relative (or plural). Yes, I am talking about the families that I know.
Was it the tone, look or actions that offended you? If you answered yes to one of these choices ask yourself did I take the time to ask them about their intent, their reasoning or did I just launch into attack mode?
Your relatives whether immediate or extended are individuals too. However, just because you may spend more time with them or have known them longer than your average stranger you make an habitual error. You grossly overestimate and expect them to know more about you than they actually have mental capacity for and still live their own lives.
Yes, you’re special and all that good stuff but so are they. Just as you have pet peeves and hang ups they too may have their own quirks or baggage (depending on perception). Now I’m not going to say you misinterpreted a dirty look because I don’t sell dreams and I wouldn’t insult your social intelligence but it is possible you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Is it possible that their… unfavourable tone was an aftermath of their own issues that you failed to notice until your conversation took a tragic turn. Left. No, I’m not saying you deserved it or should show extraordinary empathy and not seek an apology.
Also, how do you react to offensive words or behaviour from relatives are you confrontational, nonchalant or curious? The latter is probably your best bet, if you can’t completely stop caring about the disagreement. I think the most profound quote I use when making decisions on a daily basis (thanks mum) is make sure you can live with it. Regardless of how fiery, embarrassed or upset you are it’s worth taking the time to reflect on your overall priorities. Whether you will regret your hasty decision later like some people you know.
Prior to that heated discussion or physical fight (if you got that far), have yourself and the relative or relatives you think of support each other in general or through tough times. Take the time to assess whether the effort used in prolonging the feud is really worth the hassle. Can you clear the air without it creating a battlefield? Often in your most trying times if you’ve ever been there for one another you will find a way to show up when it’s crucial. Full circle.
Stop judging people by your standards, especially if they don’t know them. ‘In my day’, ‘When I was younger’, ‘It’s not like that anymore’ or ‘Nowadays’ should be banned as opening statements. They are counterproductive and readily suggest resistance to compromise or change. Focus on the immediate context and pull only from that. The past should remain in the past and other people your age or other demographic are irrelevant. All that matters are the people actually involved.
Be more fluid in thought; will it benefit your health or wellbeing to let go of some issues? Can you truthfully agree to disagree or try to be mindful of not repeating the incidents that triggered the issue.
Do your life a favour and discuss your perceptions that way there’s little room for misunderstandings. If it takes seemingly all day with no genuine progress then maybe you’re not communicating effectively. If it leads to other conversations though keep it going if it feels right.
Lastly, if all else fails simply respond another day. Walk away or ignore their contact until you’re calmer. That way you’ll be a better participant in the conversation and working towards resolution, instead of the last word, points or the win. All the best.