Spring is here and along with the warmth of a new season will be opportunities for family reunions and holiday gatherings. While these events are often joyful and fun, we can sometimes experience underlying tension stemming from issues that have gone unresolved for years.
Sari is troubled that her older brother has teased her since they were kids – and still does – only now they’re both adults and it’s grating and not cute anymore.
Naomi believes that her sister-in-law has always second-guessed her choices. She acts as though she’s ‘helping,’ but for Naomi it feels like she’s being judged.
Do you and a family member have an old pattern of relating that creates tension for you that you’ve never brought up?
If you feel like you’re ready to clear the air, here are some pointers to get you started:
- Invite the person to a conversation, say that something’s on your mind and you want to share it.
- Set a time and place to talk.
- Begin by saying how important they are to you and how much you value your relationship.
- You might want to share that you were nervous to reach out, and you’re hoping that honesty will be good for the two of you.
- Share the one specific thing that bothers you, without making big generalizations.
- Say how it makes you feel when they do that one thing, and that you believe they don’t mean to hurt you.
- Allow time for a response, or be prepared that they may not have a response.
- Say again how much you appreciate them and this conversation.
Raising old issues with a family member is never easy.
If this seems too big for you, consider a few sessions of Relationship Coaching. I’ll help you clarify the scenario, articulate your feelings, and explore ways to approach the situation.