Ending a family feud
If you want to end a family feud it is important to acknowledge the situation. The next step is to clear your mind of resentment and attempt to talk things through.
It's never really a row about the will or who's having dad for Christmas that causes a family fall-out. These are just flashpoints sparked by years of resentment that make you zoom back to when you were six.
Refusing to move on and collecting instances of bad behaviour creates breaches that are not easily repaired
Says therapist Mark Sichel, author of Healing from Family Rifts.But breaking the links with your family can be as painful as divorce, so if you think it’s time to call a truce he advises:
- Acknowledging the hurt it’s caused.
- Looking at your family myths and the role you were assigned—the helper, the clever one, the problem child.
- Clearing your mind of resentment and being emotionally generous.
- Making the first move to reconciliation.
If that means getting together over Christmas (not ideal because we’re too stressed to deal with tricky family issues), concentrate on diffusing tension, says psychotherapist Gael Lindenfield, author of The Emotional Healing Strategy. “Play ‘happy families’ for the day and stick to small talk if you must. At the end, say something that acknowledges the problem is yet to be resolved and suggests a time when this can be done. Try, ‘It has been great spending time with you in a relaxed and happy way. I think it was great for (mum/dad/the children) too. I’d love to meet up and see if we can sort out our differences over a coffee. When would be a good time for you?’
You might plant the seed, you might be stonewalled. But at least you’ll have done the right thing.
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