Relationships: When Family (or Any Relationship) Hurts

Relationships: When Family Hurts

Family. Love them or love them not, there’s often a limit to what you can do with the difficult ones. You can’t live with them and you can’t make them join the circus. When there’s a lifetime of emotional investment involved, it’s likely that any response will hurt and will require a huge push, whether it’s walking away or fighting for the relationship.

Even if you decide that the price of being in the relationship is too high, it’s not always easy to leave. Sometimes it’s just not an option. Whether you’re on your way out or bracing for more, here are some ways to protect yourself from the ones who scrape you:

  1. Don’t let anyone else’s behaviour change who you are.

    Be dignified. Be brilliant. Be kind. Don’t let anyone reduce the best of you. 

  2. Make it clear this isn’t personal.

    Insecurity is at the heart of a lot of broken relationships. Insecure people will feel attacked even when no attack is made. If this is a relationship you care about, do whatever you can to help the other person feel safe and secure. Insecurity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. People who are insecure will often respond to the world as though it’s going to hurt them. They’ll be cold, they’ll judge, they’ll take the first strike – all to protect themselves. In response, the world walks away, confirming the insecure person’s view that the world just isn’t safe.  

    Show them you’re different. Let them know that you don’t mean anything personally, that you appreciate their point of view and that you want to understand how they feel. (You might need to say it a few times!) Whatever you do, don’t blame. If you need to point out something they’re doing wrong, end it by letting them know that the relationship is important to you and you want to work on it. The more positive you can be the better:  ‘Every time I see you, you’re pointing out something else you don’t like about me. I really want to have a good relationship with you but it’s really hard when I feel like everything I do is judged harshly by you. Can we try and do things a little differently?’

  3. Now remind yourself not to take it personally.

    People will judge you, hurt you, put you down and try to break you – and most often, this will have nothing at all to do with you. 

    You don’t have to stay around and you don’t have to invest, but if leaving the relationship isn’t an option, seeing someone’s behaviour for what it is – a defence against a world that has hurt them once too many times – will help to protect you from the pain that comes from taking things personally.

  4. Find compassion

     Difficult people weren’t born that way. Generally the way they are responding to you is the way they have learned to respond to the world to keep themselves safe. It might be an ‘adversarial’ ‘I’ll get you before you get me,’ response. It might stem from having to control everything in their environment because they’ve learnt (somehow) that unpredictability  isn’t safe. Perhaps they have no idea of their impact on people and all they know is that relationships seem to fall like broken toy soldiers around them. Just because it’s painfully clear to you what they do, doesn’t mean it is to them.  

    There may be little you can do to change the relationship, but you might just be able to change the way it affects you. Feeling compassion is important because of the way it changes things for you. Compassion is an empowering choice you can make when you feel like you don’t have any choice at all.

  5. Hold the space. For them and for you.

    Sometimes the best thing you can do for a relationship you care about is to hold steady and give the other person time and space to work out whatever it is they’re going through – while you stand still beside them. This is different to the space people give when they stay away for a while. 

    Let the person know that you’re not going anywhere, if that’s what they want, and that there doesn’t need to be any resolution for the moment. Do this without judging or criticising. It’s so difficult to be in an uncertain relationship but sometimes that’s exactly what the relationship needs – time to work through the uncertainty without fear of losing the relationship. There’s no need to hurry a relationship worth fighting for.

  6. Accept what is.

    One of the greatest sources of unhappiness is the chasm between what we want and what we have. The gap left behind by a family member who hurts you can be immense. What makes it worse is that the pain is often recurring, hitting you every time you’re with them. Who knows why some people have amazing families and some have families that drain them, but not everything makes sense. You don’t deserve a difficult relationship, but don’t allow yourself to be ruined by that. Acknowledge what it is, let go of what it isn’t, and flourish despite it.

  7. You don’t need to convince anyone. 

    You are not here to win anyone’s approval. None of us are. Run the race you want to run. You don’t need to convince anyone of your reasons, your direction, or why you’re telling some people get out of your way. Just go around them – it’s much easier.  That you are silent, still and choose not to engage does not mean they’re right. It means you just don’t have to prove anything anymore. Because you don’t. 

  8. It’s okay not to be with them. 

    They may be your family, but you don’t have to have a relationship with anyone you don’t want to. If it feels too painful, explore what you’re getting out of the relationship by staying. If you choose to have a relationship anyway, let that be a testament to the capacity you have to make your own decisions and act accordingly. Change the way you look at it. If you have to maintain contact, let this be your decision made in strength, not in defeat. Own the decision because it was the best thing to do for you, not because someone else decided it was the decision that needed to be made.

  9. Acknowledge their feelings, but don’t buy into them.

    Acknowledging how somebody feels doesn’t mean you agree with them. Saying something as simple as, ‘I understand you’re really angry but I  see things differently to you,’ or, ‘I know that’s how you see it and I have no interest in changing that. I have a different view,’ is a way to show that you’ve heard. Letting people know you’ve seen them and heard them is so powerful. Doing it and standing your ground without getting upset is even more so.

  10. Set your boundaries. And protect them fiercely.

    We teach people how to treat us. Imagine a visual boundary around yourself. You’ll feel when it’s being stepped over. Your skin might bristle, your chest might ache – it’s different for everyone but get to know what it feels like for you. When it happens, let the other person know. They might not care at all, or they might have no idea they’ve had that impact. If your boundary isn’t respected, walk away until it feels as though it’s been reset. Explain what you’ll tolerate and what you’ll do when that doesn’t happen. ‘I really want us to talk about this but if you’re going to scream at me, I’m going to walk away until you’re ready o stop,’ or, ‘I really want us to work through this but if you just keep telling me that I’m not good enough, I’m going to hang up the phone.’

  11. Is there anything you can do differently?

    You might be dealing with the most difficult person in the world, but that doesn’t have to stop you from being open to the things you might be able to change about yourself. Is there any truth at all in what that person is saying? Is there anything you’re doing that’s contributing to the problem? This isn’t about winning or losing but about honesty, learning and growth. Nobody is perfect – thankfully – and the best people to be around are the ones who are constantly open to their impact and their contribution to relationships, good or bad. That doesn’t mean you have to take the blame for the mess, but this might be an opportunity for your own wisdom to flourish. What can you learn from the situation? What can you learn from them? Nobody is all bad or all good. Take advantage of the opportunity. Focus on what you can learn. Ditch the rest.

  12. Leave with love

    This is important. If you walk away from family don’t let the final words be angry ones. You never know what the future holds. However angry or hurt you are, death has a way of bringing up guilt and regret in the cleanest of relationships and forever is a long time not to have resolution. Anger is the one emotion that’s never pure. It’s always protecting another, more vulnerable one. Some common ones are fear, grief, insecurity, confusion. Tap into that and speak from there. That way, when you walk away, you’re much more likely to feel as though nothing has been left unsaid. Just because a relationship is ending, doesn’t mean it has to end angry. You don’t want to leave room for regret. Leave it with strength, dignity and love because that’s who you are. Trust me on this.

There will always be those whose love and approval comes abundantly and easily. They’re the keepers. As for the others, if the fight leaves you bruised, you’d have to question whether the relationship is worth it.

There will always be people who try to dim you. Sometimes this will be intentional and sometimes they will have no idea. You can’t change what people do but you can keep yourself safe and strong, just as you deserve to be.



I’ve been hurt by my fathers side of the family because they enable him and allow me to be collateral damage. I won’t enable people I love so I won’t be around him by choice only as a courtesy to take my nieces and nephews to see him and his new wife that’s a few years older than me and is the main reason why I wont associate with my father. They both go after what they want no matter how they choose to get it even if they lie, steal, are verbally abusive. My fathers side of the family wants me to let things go back to normal. Be a Daddy Girl and go back to enabling him and her. I can’t associate with his side of the family because they keep trying to push me. I just want space and for them to stop expecting so much from me. They miss me. I don’t want them to. I only feel like a benefit to them and it’s clear they don’t respect me. They both know how I feel and they don’t see a problem.


My mom has been hurt by our family, her mom, and half-siblings. She was hurt bad emotionally and has felt like they used her. I have a good relationship with my grandmother but I love my mom. I tried to stay away from it. I understand my mom is hurt and is lashing out at people because, as the article said, she is trying to prevent getting hurt and is seeing everyone as an enemy. But is kind of exhausting to being treated like shit because other people treated her like shit. I cannot say one thing that contradicts her because right away I am the enemy. I am against her or I am being in control by my grandmother. For example, we got back home from the trip where everything went down. Before I left to pick her up (she was in another country and I went to that country to pick her up), I left the house cleaned and my brothers stayed taking care of the house. When we came back, she started saying how dirty the house was and why I did not clean it well or that I did not clean it. (I was gone for four days to pick her up and traveled back with her. My brother’s made that mess in those 4 days but it was my fault). I felt hurt and told her I cleaned before I left but she just shut down and said I was against her. Then, in another instance she tells me I need to clean the bathroom and we need to buy Clorox and I should buy it the next day to clean the bathroom. Then I find her the next day cleaning the bathroom and she said that I don’t take the initiative to clean and she has to do everything herself. (but she told me I need to buy Clorox and that we will do it the next day.) When I mentioned what we agreed on previously, she told me I was being contradictory and that I am always against her and that “we are not the same” meaning she is the mother and I am the daughter so I should not talk back to her even when she is wrong. She keeps saying one thing, doing another, and then blaming me for me not doing things as she want. I know she is hurt, but she hurt me because of it. I have tried to be empathetic, to shut up and not talk back when she is wrong, but what about my feelings? I am good when I am on her side, but I am bad when I don’t think like her or agree with her. I have been thinking of moving out but if I do I know I’ll be painted as the bad child, that I abandoned her. When my brothers do something to her, she takes the anger on everyone even if they have not done anything to her, which ends up being me. I love my mom, but she is withering that love and making me hate her sometimes. I don’t want to be her punching bag, but I also don’t want her to feel alone when she has excommunicated with basically half of the family the last month. Her wound is new and I want to be there for her, but I cannot blindly be there for her either. I wish I could just leave the house and not care.


Hi beautiful! First and foremost you have no idea how beautiful your heart is. You have no clue at all. Your emotions sentiments are so genuine. I could relate to it so much. I want to tell you it’s just a phase. It’ll pass. Bt as long as it’s there. I want you to find your piece of mind! That you can do by figuring out what makes you happy and if the situation doesn’t gets better, you can just think about yourself and move out becoz eventually you did Ur best and remember we need more kindness in the world and that requires people like you. You are beautiful inside out . Keep this up.


I have problems dealing with my family members (uncles and aunts). I have taken a life decision against their wishes. I am in love with someone and want to marry them but family members are against love marriages. They think I have made a wrong decision and that I betrayed them. Some people have stopped talking to me altogether. It’s difficult for me because they have been very supportive and kind to me always. Some of them have gone out of their ways to help me in other difficult situations. So I want their support and blessings in my marriage as well. I am confused as to what to do now


My younger brothers do not respect me and they say hurtful things and at times feel they don’t think there is any effect to anything they do. We have the same hobbies and I do love them.they just hurt me too much. The other day was the last straw but I feel I have no spine for anything I do to mean anything. I don’t want things to be weird and change but I don’t want it to be like this anymore.


My brother & I clash when around each other. It’s more like he has to have this “controlling attitude'” over me. This has been going on for many years towards me & my nieces. I do feel some resentment from some things that have happened in our past that could be causing this resentment. To make matters worse he has an alcohol addiction. I can’t really talk to him when he is drunk since he is not in the right state of mind. I back off easily from him when he is like this to possibly talk to him when he is sober. He has been thru a program for this & had been sober for a little over a year but ended up going right back to drinking. I do feel that there is an “underlying” issue between us from the past that may trigger him to drink. Recently he received a good amount of money & did not share any of it with me. Over the years I have been trying to be the best brother I can be to him but I know he is holding something against me that he doesn’t want to talk about or maybe he is waiting on me to bring it up? Is it because I have a good bond with my father that he never had with his? His father was never there for him. I’m hoping one day we can talk face to face about “The ISSUE that has been straining our relationship.” I truly love him so I hope we can get past whatever it IS.

Kelly L

At age 43, I am finally giving up. Let’s truly hope this is it, I think it is. My whole life I have been grasping and trying to create closer relationships with many of my family members . I always wanted to feel I was more of a priority to them and I yearned for emotional bonds in which I could be myself and share my feelings. After all these years, I am humiliated at how much I kept pushing, pulling, grasping at them. Disappointment and arguments over and over anytime I shared I was hurt was turned back on me. You see, deep down I knew they weren’t available for me for whatever reason and I can’t figure out why I kept trying. It has been agony. Recently, I brought two baby girls into the world and then here I go attaching expectations of much more involvement than any of them are interested in.

I realize now that all the blame and anger had to be acknowledged, but I could have let it go much much quicker. If we remember to try not take things personally and look within for love and beauty and strength, it is there for us. All the love in the world is within us, at our fingertips, and we don’t need our family to supply it.

I like the saying that if your too much for some people, they aren’t your people. Sums up my whole family life. They aren’t my people, the ones that I truly need for an enriched life. Sure they’ll be around, but now I can focus on my own family, my girls, and creating a community of people in my life to share in the joys of life with mutual respect and love.


What if you just want to escape a mesirable life having to take care of your sick uncle who’s going through hemodialysis? Which you just met only twice. What should I do?


Assist him with getting case management services to coordinate his medical care which often includes transportation services. Start with his insurance and see if they have care coordinators who can help get him various services for the type of services he needs.


My mom and dad divoiced when I was 6 years old. My mom remarried when I was 11 years old to a man with twin boys and a adopted daughter. My dad remarried and they had a son.

My dad died in 2001. My step – father died in 2020.
My step – mother lives in NZ with a new husband. My half brother lives in ON. He is divoiced but has two daughters

My one step – brother lives in Vancouver. He is married with three adult children in their 20s. They give me the silent treatment and have no idea why. It hurts me.

The other step brother lives with his wife in ON and he thinks he is better than me

My step – father ‘a adoptive daughter got herself in trouble in Hawaii. Drugs and been in jail. She was bought to Vancouver She is working the same type of work as me , home health care. She gets welfare. And she believes she is better than me.

I am married and my so called family doesn’t like him

My in – laws are all lovely

My mom has cancer on top of all this

I feel like SHIT around them.

Toni m

This article really spoke to me.
Emotional stress, depression, skipping meals, alcohol, changes in sleep patterns, and taking too much medication. It can also trigger a Headache.


My marriage is having a big problem because his family doesn’t love me at all and they manipulating my husband and he believes that I hate his family and he always take his family side and see me as a bad person, above all when ever I give my mother in law foods she will bring back the plate that you gave her food dirty, I’m so confused now what can I do


I am not married, but here is advice. Find a time when your in laws or his family is not their there, and explain what is happening. Try to remain calm and mature. Sometimes it can get overwhelming for someone to be given too many things at once. If they do try to make you look bad, try to act maturely and calmly. You married for love (hopefully) and his family should not get in the way of that. Sometimes people will be rude, maybe they are sad or jealous of the attention he gives you or are having a hard time seeing him grow up. Try to–if possible, safely without making the situation worse (add more tension or them adding lies) (don’t worry, some people are just going to be like that) talking to them about it. Try to talk it out to see what is the “issue” they have with you.
If it is simply them, do not worry. Do not try to make yourself to her liking or let yourself get bothered with this. Your husband married you for a reason.
I hope this helps, and I am not a professional, but I hope this helps a bit.
You be you and let others be them.
Stay safe!


hey am hurt cause i mastrubate and my cosin saw it by mistake and told everyone that she is feeling insecure in home with me i was so hurt cause i dont have any intension about her in that way. further more i cant think she thinks of me to rape her. i respect her how should i tell her and the matter is worse now my parents and her parents knew this and the bond in between us is now fragile. the thing is not even my dreams i would do such an awful thing. and now i have to live with it for my whole life.


This is a delicate situation. The fact that you are aware of the effect of an idea of a behavior has on others is very insightful. It sounds like your situation is a matter of miscommunication or lack of communication. What could you do or say to either your parents or cousin that would clear the air or allow things to settle down. An apology? Speaking your truth? That you thought you had privacy and now you know you didn’t and apologize for the feelings that triggered? These are just some ideas. Sounds like a small incident may have been blown out of proportion or the situation calls for a change in the way you deal with privacy in your environment. Good luck and speak your truth. Either they accept it or agree to disagree. All will be well.


I found this article when searching for ways to think about my experience traveling with my niece (age 25) and a young college friend of mine (age 28). I am age 57. I traveled with these young ladies. I covered my niece’s expensive airfare/train fare with bonuses from my job. The friend paid all of her own expenses. The friend & I covered the hotels and there was a cot or sleep sofa for my niece. Long story short, my niece was unkind many times towards me. She walked ahead, refused to help me when I was struggling with luggage, threw objects at me when she was sassing and complaining. Yelled at me on a bus in front of other passengers, and more.I was so frustrated with her, but did not want to lash out or scold her in front of my friend, who basically was her peer. The entire time, my niece was reporting back to parents about how poorly I was treating her. Even though I was the one who made it possible for her to travel, she did not offer to buy my dinner at any of the nice places we ate. On one occasion when she owed me 10. DMs, she bought a 20. DM sandwich which we split. She walked away with a beer, but never offered me a beverage. On the last day, I was very sick from food poisoning but did not want to spoil their night out. I took medication and only ordered a small bowl of soup. When we stood up to pay, she made a big deal out of “buying my dinner”, when she had already treated me so badly the whole trip. And of all the meals to buy…the one where I ordered a 5.Dm bowl of soup. I was sick and I had it with her and I just glared and ignored her. I was not kind. I was sick & I was angry. At the train station she did not look for me to say goodbye. I had to find her. When I spoke to her parents after the trip they were angry with me for “how I treated her”. Yet they could not, and my niece has not identified what exactly I did except for the last day at dinner when I was upset and sick. By all appearances and by my nieces report to her parents, she enjoyed my friend. There was not one time where my friend & I did not include her. In fact, there were a few times when the two young ladies had extended conversations and went in a different direction than I did in museums, leaving me on my own. Which I was perfectly OK with. There was a time when we did not want to go for a morning coffee, but that was it. It turns out the coffee shop was closed before we had to catch a train. Based on her parent’s recommendation, I attempted to have a conversation but she would only e-mail or text. I offered to go to counseling with her to repair our relationship. She was offended by my suggestion of counseling. I left it with we will start over and rebuild our relationship. I have communicated with her via e-mails on several occasions asking how she was doing, talking about a book I have read, or some clothes I saw. She answers briefly and with a terminal statement, not extending the conversation at all. In family texts, she ignores anything I say or my husband says. In Skype conversations with families, she does not address us at all. She did not acknowledge a birthday gift I sent her. I should say we live in different cities, hours apart by train and a plane ride. It would be an extraordinary circumstance when I would see her so the texts, phone calls & e-mails are the only method. I told her I would apologize if I knew what it was I did incorrectly, but she won’t articulate it. I believe she was jealous of my young friend. What is next? I am very hurt that I used my travel resources to go with her and she did not appreciate the trip. I am hurt that she can not tell mer what I did wrong, leaving it with me as the bad guy. I feel sad that I am trying to rebuild our relationship only to have her ignore the attempts. She explicitly said she doesn’t want to talk, only texts…yet doesn’t engage. A psychologist friend told me to ignore her from this point and to not reinforce the behavior or let her get away with it. I have sent holiday packages to all my nieces & nephews, & their families including her. She is the only one who did not say whether the gift arrived. Her birthday is in January…do I ignore her birthday as my friend suggested? Just text as all my nieces & nephews do? Send a card as I have always done? Try again to repair?


It was truly a kind heart that prompted you to include and pay for your niece on the trip. Your description of events reminded me of similar trips with my adult daughter.
Being left behind, unkind words hurled at me, not offering to help with luggage, not offering to pay for meals, etc.
The hurt I would feel started to build after internalizing it to prevent a scene but I was able to contain it. But there was a price to pay..I was harming myself…my blood pressure increased, depression started and I found myself isolating more and more.
The entitlement my daughter had was unbelievable! As with your niece reporting to her. Parents that you mistreated her, I also heard from relatives how “ toxic and mean” I was to my daughter. I could not believe what I heard. I continued to try and have communication with her only to be met with additional verbal attacks and jabs that were unfounded.
If she didn’t like a gift I bought she would say something like” if this is what you think of me, you can throw it away” never even an acknowledgment of the gift or thanks. We have not spoken in nearly 6 months and believe it or not, I’m ok with it. My love for her is allowing me to heal myself and give her the distance she desires. That means no more gifts or text or emails, they were always met with sarcasm. That also means no visitation or calls. As much as it pains me to do this, I had to finally say enough!
If she desires a relationship with me it will have to be respectful and civil. I will not allow myself to be pulled back in the unhealthy space again.

If you feel like sending something for your niece’s birthday, do it out of love not obligation. Stand up for yourself, create your boundaries and live your life. Either she will respect the difference or not, either way you protect yourself from future pain.


Thank you for the reply Destini!

I can imagine that my own sister has put up with some garbage from her daughter (my niece). I also think (correct me if I am wrong) that nuclear families (mother/father/offspring) are more likely to have harsh moments and overcome them. I will keep a good thought that this is the case for your daughter and you.

You gave really good advice about gifts etc. I did send a Xmas gift…as I did to all my nieces & nephews. She was the only person who did not acknowledge the gift. I have texted her and her mother in the last year and she used to respond only when I texted her mother & her. Now she does not respond at all when it is both.

I’ll try a few more congenial vollies of communication before thebirthday and if they are ignored, I will follow your advice.

Thank you for answering.


My neice got married 6 months ago & we were real close buy she gets married & I never hear anything from her unless I reach out I feel so hurt.
I don’t feel like having anything to do with her now.
Very disappointing


This has been going on for years with my sibling, mother, and daughter. They’re constantly focusing on my assets and what I do in my life. Pride gets in the way of their feelings for me. I went over for Thanksgiving and the 1st thing that my sibling tells me is I can’t have any Turkey until my daughter arrives but all of them had already ate. My sibling was informing me that I should wait got my daughter to arrive with her food. I didn’t listen to her, so I ate anyways. Then, after my daughter arrives, my daughter and sibling start getting in to my personal life. Discussing my weight and offering big clothes to me when zi didn’t ask for her opinion. Trying to guess my size. I informed them that Thsnk you gor the offer, but my my doctor and I are handling it. I have a health condition and it’s not for them to worry about.

Smita K

hi ,i am stuck in love with husband who is now determined to set me as mentally sick along with his family to support his widow sister …she has already dominated humiliated her husband to such an extent that he died out of stroke,,,,No one was ready to help that poor fellow and was crushed under huge family pressure of his own son daughter and his wife..he was severed from his family tooo…. same is being played with me … very wicked … they spell against me to my daughter…. even after doing everything they talk bad about me on my back….they have framed me as a person who dont have responsibity….
I dont want to leave Him but the family wants him to leave him so that he can support the daughter …. not concerned for my daughter…


#13 show people enough respect to communicate in person. Especially you care .I’m asking please let me be if not. Would anyone think this is appropriate. It’s hard to go around or ignore negativity when it’s put everywhere. I understand y’all hate me, but I can’t do anything about that. As u see I’m really trying to be a different person than I used to be. I’m sincerely sorry, immaturity mixed with drugs and the person I was at the time. I have more regrets in my past than I care to mention. All I can do is go forward now though living differently. What more is there.


I have tried so hard to have communication during our separation with my 2 Sons and their Father, I really did try


God bless you. I pray your healing journey is full of miracles, joyful surprises, and wonderment revealing the life and love God has for you to abundantly live.


I keep hurting my family. I don’t do it intentionally, I never do. I just get worked up and say things I don’t mean, which always ends with my mother crying on the couch. I don’t know if I feel sympathetic. I’m only 13 and it’s not like I can just move away from home. I don’t know what to do. I think it’s because of all the worked up feelings I have, and taking my anger out on my family is how I release it without really releasing any of my secrets? I’m unsure if that makes sense, but if I could get some help that’d be great.


Hi Nadia,

For being 13 and recognizing what you are doing is awesome!

I would recommend a few things, such as maybe writing a letter to your mom and leave it somewhere where she will find it.

Unless you’re able to communicate everything you feel verbally, that would work also.

But when it comes to close loved ones I tend to write it all down, so I get everything out and express how I feel, because seeing someone starting to cry in the beginning or half way through what we want to say, or it goes south and arguments flare then we tend just to shut down and leave it as is.

I hope all goes well!


My biggest regret in my life – at age 62 now – is that I initiated re contact with my equally cruel and severely abusive parents after being horribly spoken to as an adult on 3 different occasions. They even borrowed 75,000 dollars they will never repay though my mother is 89 and has plenty of money. My father died a few years ago. As a child they were cold snd neglegent and emotionally, verbally and physically abusive. I have PTSD and panic attacks thathas only gotten worse with time. I wish I had not tried to have a relationship with them. They never contacted me even though they were clearly by any standards, the one or ones who attacked and jest personally destroyed me. I even purchased the “Narcissistic Recovery Program’ by Melanie Tonia Evans. I recommend it for people who have experienced the kind of abuse I have. I am not saying your abusers were narcissists – google it and see if they fit. Don’t do to yourself what I did. It ruined my life. It change who I am. It limited my potential. I have done very well for myself from an outside perspective but inside i am devestated and don’ trust anyone. I am so afraid of being vulnerable and I can’t survive any more attacks and cruelty. Listen to your intuition. I have always deeply regreted by passing it when it was screaming’STOP’ – get away from this person. Once abusers get away with it it gets worse and worse. And it all sets you up for future abusers. As I said walk away before it ruins you. At a point you will be changed irreparably for life if you don’t ge away fro the negativity. I am so mad at myself – but I was raised from birth with it so I was conditioned and we all want love, acceptance and respect I got NONE – just cruelty, disrespect and abuse and certainly I was never even accepted.They did not care about me and all their actions and inactions proved it. I just did not want to believe it because I was so afraid and hurt.


I really like your wanting love, respect, & acceptance. I believe there is no barrier because of age. I hear what your saying and I am 81 yrs. young! As hard as I try it’s like these hurts are burned into my memory never to be forgotten.I believe I have tried everything I know how. You sound like the type person who would listen and share, at the same time knowing your safe with anything to talk about. I wish you all good things to come. I think you deserve it.
Thanks for listening to me!

Rae-Ann Mackay

Jewel: This was my situation exactly. I had to cut myself off from my mother to save my sanity. Don’t blame yourself for going back – it sounds as if you are a forgiving person and you certainly did your best. Think of yourself right now.


No matter the age, you are correct that we just want to feel like we belong. Of course you want to feel like you belong to your family. Your vulnerability in sharing your life experiences is quite moving. I hope that you will find ways to release that shame and guilt for wanting what is so innate in each of us. you deserve to be wanted, to love, to be loved. Go to that little girl in your meditations or in your journal and let her know how very much she is loved. That the adults in her life are hurt children themselves. They know now what they do. Even at 62, find another family of souls that are looking to be nurtured or want a purpose in life. You sound healthy – you probably have more years ahead of you. Bring joy to someone else. Stay connected with a group of children or teenagers that would love to have someone like you listen to them. That giving back will heal you and offer solace for someone else. Thank you for taking the time to write.


Your upbringing sounds much like mine. I had a very abusive mother. After many years of estrangement, I let her back into my life two years ago. I did this because she was 82, and I knew she didn’t have long. Often, I regretted it as she continued to be abusive and everything was her, her, her. She knew little about my life and accomplishments, nothing about her grandchildren, and she didn’t seem to care.

Then she took ill at Christmas. She fell and wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t get out of bed. She refused treatment, and I had to get social workers involved to force her to the hospital. After she was admitted, she continued to refuse to eat, and there was nothing I could do about it legally. Her ankle was severely broken from the fall and couldn’t be repaired. An MRI revealed that she’d had two strokes. I was going to get legal control and force medical treatment on her, but I decided to let her go and honor her wishes.

She lived for four more weeks, starving herself to death. I was at her side every day. Though this was a terrible time, it was also a very healing for me. I understood that I’d made the right decision in letting her back into my life as she needed me. I was the only one there for her. Her favorite son didn’t even bother to come up and see her.

Finally, I was accepting and dealing with many issues of pain. I realized that though she’d never be the mother I wanted her to be, that I could be the daughter that I’d always wanted to be. I treated her with love and kindness, and her last words to me were, “I love you,” something I’d always needed to hear.

I also came to forgive her as I understood that life had been very hard for her and that she was mentally ill and couldn’t help some of the things she had done.

I would be so much worse off if I hadn’t been for her in the end.


I hve a very abusive sistr always brings me down from young,adults nw,she has had pda prelationships in her Marige tuk not much h interest in her children,takes her frustration on me,gave up her kids to her husband,an cont c me in a Marige of 16 yrs,always cont communicate without hurting me ,an I hv e den nthn to her,I am 60 me an is rest than it Eva was,I hv e told her the way it is,an gen her my blessings an finally said gudbye


God bless you. I pray your healing journey is full of miracles, joyful surprises, and wonderment revealing the life and love God has for you to abundantly live.

Nicole B

My serious situation

I have a brother who has been abusing his sisters for years. He has inherited two flats signed to him and a trust. When he was down out he always came to his sisters. He has a terrible fork tongue so you never know what to believe. He has got involved with my stepdaughter and her husband and forcing their way so they can claim everything from him. How can I handle my brother in a nice way. These people are false.

Michelle N

I an a girl aged 21 and i am about to make a very hard decision. I have a son who stays with mu father and i dont want to lose him because i am not going back to my fathers house i am moving in with my fiancé and his brother in southAfrica where i had visited my Aunt and i have decided to settle here and look for a job here. My family is saying i must come back but i feel like i should take the risk and start a life here and look for a job. I’m afraid i will never be able to see my son again because I’m going against my parents and family wish but i feel its a necessary move to make. What should i do so i get to see my son again?


Don’t leave your son. I remarried when my older son was 15 . He stayed with his dad and I took my 12 year old with me. I’m married for 17 years now to a great man . Unfortunately I lost my son. His father and my sisters turned him against me. I cry every day . My heart is broken.


I feel really miserable I don’t have anyone to talk to or lean on so I just decided to write it down and let it off my chest. I feel like am a foreigner in my family . You see I have an elder sister who is like someone everyone loves my dad, my mom, my friends, my sibling don’t get me wrong I don’t feel jealous. But the problem is my mom and dad and everyone also takes her side even when she’s the wrong anytime we had a fight they never take my side instead they tell me “you’ve grown really rude to your sister she is not your mate no matter what she does to you even if she beats and insult u hold it in and don’t talk back to her”it’s really really painful for but I’ve endured this for years and Everytime I think of it I felt like dying I would think of a lot of ways to die but u see I really love my family a lot and I can’t stand to see them in pain so I just put on a fake smile and pretend every thing is ok. I like my family but I could never love my dad no matter how what he does. He favors my sister a lot he tells me Everytime to behave like her I really feels like a useless ugly old rag been thrown away but I always manage to hold it in. I feel like my heart is pierced with thousand axes.


my parents begged me to move into their home 3 years after they kicked me out in 2015 i was only 18 .i am their second child only daughter, when i moved into their home in july 2018 i was21 it was pure hell and in the following september they literally threw all my clothes and belongings out the house and called the police in front of all the neighbours A year has already passed but im still hurting i feel really ashamed and abandoned and two weeks ago my dad came at my job acting like nothing has happened asking me for money i just feel really sad and worth less …..because when i needed them to be my family they didnt want that and its like they always try to use me for money and through out the years it has gotten worse because they always call for money not to check up on me or even wish me happy birthday ……i feel really broken .all i wanted was to feel loved


Wife has denied access to both families for both of my children for five years. Berates me in front of the kids. We’re both professional people but something is horribly wrong. Kids started shunning me this past summer. I work two jobs and miss my wife and kids. And both sets of grandparents are heartbroken. One set, her folks live just blocks away. She takes Christmas gifts away from those left on the porch and throws them away. My kids can are under 10. They’ve stopped asking about Grandma and Grandpa. I’m heartbroken. My wife won’t let my kids talk on the phone with my parents on the west coast. If I disagree with her she takes the kids into a different room and says leave them alone. When I disagree with her but she blows up and my daughter cries. She hasn’t spoken to me since June. It’s almost Thanksgiving. We live in a small apartment. My son is 5. He turns to me punches and kicks me. She never once has taught him or her NOT to treat their dad (me) that way. I’m alone in my own house. During a cleaning before leaving too expensive a house rental…I could not keep up on payment alone, she threw out some of my irreplaceable keepsakes like a carving from my uncle who died years ago and a hundred CD s of mine. My kids now are indifferent to both sides of their families because they think both sides don’t want anything to do with them. My spouse is preventing contact. I disagree. I talk to my own parents but my kids would run back to their mom And tell. My family lives in effect”tattle tale” state. She won’t go to counseling. I’m dying. I’m now close to completely losing my kids. I love them all, but fear I’ve lost all of my family. Lost in Long Island…


I’m so sad right now…. I feel really horrible, I think I just lost my relationship with my family. I don’t feel like doing anything but dieing, but I know I shouldn’t, but at the same time, it’s all I can think of. I feel worthless, I used to be an amazing girl, who was shy, kind, and really kind to others, but now I’m a snobby brat because I’m a teenager. I know, this happens to all of us, and it sucks. I’m also 15 in 8th grade, and I feel really old. I can’t find anyone my age. My relationship with my parents was great, then I ruined in my assuming and talking trash about them behind their backs, I’m such a horrible person! and there is absolutely no hope, and I can’t fix anything. I wish i could take back my words, I wish. but it’s not possible…everything just feels……hopeless.


You are not worthless. Is very common for teenagers to act the way you have towards your parents. Most teenagers say they hate their parents. You have the sense to know that you have acted wrongly towards them. You can make amends. It may take some time but don’t give up on them coming back around to you. They are hurt and maybe even resentful right now. Maybe they want you to learn a good lesson. In any event, don’t give up. Your remorse shows me that you are worth everything!!!!?


hi, someone help, i feel worthless…. i think i just ruined my relatioship with my parents. im crying through this…i wanted to spend the night at a friends house….and unfortanly that wasnt the case because my mom goes to college, and she had to go that day. I felt sad because i really wanted to go, but i did something bad. I took it out on one of my friends. She wasnt mad, she understood that i was upset, but she just let it go. My parents looked through my phone and found out that i had been talking trash about them and i regret it. i wish i could fix all of this. but there is no hope…its almost like i just need to give up…i regret ALL of it. Now, i feel like a dumb person because i probally just lost my family, and trust. Now, my father thinks i hate him, and my mother? Well, ses very mad too. They both are. I wouldnt blame them. Someone…..please make me feel like i belong….and that i am a good person….please..


I know you probably don’t realize it at 15 years old but, everyone makes mistakes and do wrong things in life. I will say a prayer about your situation. I feel sure that if you have loving reasonable parents you can make a heartfelt apology with a promise to do your best to not make the mistake again they will receive it and forgive you. Please find a School Counselor talk to. You are definitely not a worthless person because you made some mistakes.. Jesus loves you and I am sure your parents love you. I am a parent and if my child come to me and sincerely asked forgiveness I would gladly forgive.


You are not worthless. Is very common for teenagers to act the way you have towards your parents. Most teenagers say they hate their parents. You have the sense to know that you have acted wrongly towards them. You can make amends. It may take some time but don’t give up on them coming back around to you. They are hurt and maybe even resentful right now. Maybe they want you to learn a good lesson. In any event, don’t give up. Your remorse shows me that you are worth everything!!!!?

Nidhi S

Hello this is NIDHI
I know that when i was 10yrs old i did some thing by which some relations were broked with my parents..sometimes i think that Im a headache to my parents n my day my mother said that im an irritating person to them…n now I’m just 17yrs old..pls advise me how to get separated from my family..this is the only option I have

Karen Young

Nidhi, I’m not sure what happened, but at 10 you are a child. You are meant to make mistakes. I’m so sorry you feel as though you are an irritating person to your parents. You deserve to feel loved by the important people in your world.


I have a son who has an older sister and brother who are lovely. He (my younger son) has always had a wild streak but was always very sporty, loved maths but was difficult to control. When me and my wife went away on our honeymoon (we got married after the children were born) my friends looking after my youngest son fell out with him, withdrew him from the school play and would never baby sit again. He was 2 (nearly 3). However I (his father) have always saw this wild side as the fun side – we would go cycling every weekend and whilst I did get angry when all of the children were naughty (using the naughty step) I did not treat him differently. However, with each year he has got worse – he turned 12 in January and despite the fact he constantly steals snacks from the kitchen and money from our purse/wallet, I took him skiing in February to Andorra. However, things didn’t improve – he continued to steal more and just before the summer he stole my wife’s debit card and withdrew £500. We got the police in to have a talk but did not press charges as we do not want to hurt his future. However a couple of weeks ago he started regularly swearing at us (we never swore in the house – except occasionally when I got angry at his worsening behaviour), I now try to remain calm as fear is clearly not the answer and he now regularly calls me C*** 1 and my wife C***2. Tells us to F*** off and that his grandma is a B****. He steals any money or snacks (I am now unable to eat unhealthily) and is on a second school where he is about to bit ejected. I feel like unleashing my own temper and can understand how crimes are committed at home in these circumstances (but I will remain patient, as I have nothing left). We are now looking to send him to boarding school – there is absolutely no help out there and I fear that if I do not send him away I may end up doing something far more serious. This is a terrible miserable life I find myself in with my wife crying and having to only draw cash provided she spends it before she gets home, him being constantly expelled from school and around the house making our life miserable. Is there any help out there? I try to talk to him, setting out my options and asking him to understand but the minute I see him he closes doors in my face, swears at me tells me to shut. Conversation isn’t an option. We went to a counsellor and tried to talk it through several times but he would not engaged and just left. He is very intelligent, got 60-70% at school but did not complete 30% of the paper and leaves school whenever he likes (without the bell or the teacher giving permission). I was a naughty child arguably doing worse things but not being disrespectful or disobedient. How can I make him listen? This has been going on since he was a toddler, gradually getting worse.
We have not allowed him a mobile until a certain age (as with the others – 14) and this has become a particular point of contention but we refuse to budge on this as we do not agree with electrical items when they are very young. For the other two it was fine but this has been particularly difficult from his point of view. We are all well educated – I am a partner of a law firm, although working away from home 3 days per week (since he was about 5) and I live in South Wales. Is there any help or is he doomed?


Reading about Stephen’s son is like reading about my own son who is now an adult but continues to make my life very miserable. He has also shown a wild side since he was a toddler.From about 6 years of age, he then got into the habit of stealing money from the house and he would buy ice-cream for all his friends. He would lie that his deaf twin brother had stolen the money knowing fully well that the brother could not hear what he was saying. Eventually, I found out that it was him since the stealing became more frequent and occurred even in the absence of the twin brother. Initially I just thought well, he was just a kid and he would grow out of it. But as he grew older the stealing increased and he would catch my pin number for my bank card from more than a meter away as I made a transaction. He would then steal the card and withdraw money, at one point up to 300 dollars. By then he was in his late teens and he would show no remorse when I confronted him after having visited the bank where I was shown that the cameras had caught him while using the ATM to withdraw the money. They wanted me to press charges but I did not because i felt that I needed to try and talk to him again and maybe see if he could get help. He also got into the habit of shouting me down and being violent and that scenario has persisted. Many times he stole goods and even groceries from the house and sold them. At one point he then shoplifted despite the fact that he had money to purchase the items he needed for his retail job. He bought one load and went back to steal the other load and was caught by the security officer. I had to visit him in jail and my niece helped a lot visiting him with food and giving him moral support. But as soon as his jail time was up, he came home behaving like a monster and got into a fight with me because I caught him trying to steal from the house and reprimanded him. He then stole from the niece who had helped him so much and she was so hurt that she cried for hours but he was not remorseful and went to spend the money. He then stole groceries and I chased him from home.

He was 26 by then.He would sometimes work at stopping and would apologize especially after he turned 26. He would even cry very bitterly and ask me why he was incapable of stopping what he was doing even when he tried. He could spend a good month but just go back to it again and seemed to have no control at all. Today he is a fully grown men with a son and he is still stealing only now, I have learnt to secure all my staff. The violence level has increased and he drinks a lot . Now he also steals from the people who are closest to him, like friends and colleagues, even his clubbing buddies. All the time they come to harass me about him and he doesn’t care. I have now disengaged from him but sometimes I feel that he has a mental illness or a demon (for those who are spiritually inclined) and needs my help. But I too need to help myself and be safe since I have a chronic illness and he is an adult. Today, the police are looking for him and i am still being harassed by people he has taken from. Yet I don’t know where he is. He only called once on an unknown phone to say I am so sorry for everything.

Just imagine, it started when he was just a child, right when we expect these young ones to be innocent and it has grown out of proportion with age, the cursing, the drinking, the theft. He cant even take care of himself and yet he is such an intelligent young men who never needed to put much effort to get good grades in school. The dilemma for a parent is that one feels that maybe they must help the child even if he is an adult or is super rude and yet one also feels thatwith such a child, there is always a dark cloud hovering over one’s head even when he is not in the house. Even when you lough or are trying to move on and be happy with your life, you still cant be fully happy as you expect to hear something negative from his side. I have such a dark shadow following me everyday and even when i go to bed I fear the waking hours of brooding over the darkness in my life, the harassment from people stolen from and the negative expectations.

Stephen, you need to seek help NOW because these negatives that catch them young may suck the life and happiness out of the whole family because they become worse the older the child gets and prison isn’t even a solution. I sympathize and empathize with you. I too still hope that my adult son will meet God and get help. I am currently torn between watching him get arrested and eventually die since prison in Africa is a horrible experience. People are crammed together in hundreds and those who die, do so among the living and are removed in the morning and there is no food let alone medical care. The prisons are lice infested. I don’t see myself ever visiting him if he ever gets arrested again because it will be torture to me as his mother. My big question is how does it happen to them when they as young as 3 and so innocent? Is it biological and if so, how do we help them? Is there an online support group for parents like us? I am breaking apart right now, it is still my son I am talking about!


Well my dad abondon me at a very younge age and my mom and I don’t have a good relationship even though its something I wish to change. She always say that I will not become anything good and that’s something that affect my life until now. I have no dad and my mom only likes us when we can give her times. I am so hurt, I dont trust people and I am afraid to talk anyone because I don’t want to have any feelings for them. I tried to commit sucicide but later on I tried therapist but it didn’t turn out good. But am just hoping that someday that happiness will comes my way. Am just really struggling with my toxics family members.


Tonya, I understand your pain, because I too had a parent who would tell me awful things growing up. My father would tell me things like, you’re a loser and you’re never going to amount to anything. I will admit, this has made me quite insecure in a lot of areas of my life and has led me down some very dark, roads. One of the biggest struggles for me was trusting anybody. Over the years I have learned that one of the biggest things it boils down to is, forgiving someone who has hurt you, even when they may have not asked for forgiveness. The power in truly forgiving someone and choosing to move forward in life is incredible. Once I chose to let those hurtful words spoken over me fall to the ground and no longer produce ugly, rotten fruit in my life, I was able to flourish in areas in my life that I didn’t even know were possible. I realized that a lot of things in my life that hurt me, were only hurting me because I chose to hold onto them. I allowed them to linger around and hold power over my life, only to hurt me more in the end. Once I came to the long, overdue realization that, I am not defined by those ugly, lies that were said. I came to know the Lord Jesus and what he says about me. He has shown me that I am so much more than I even realize. Once you tap into those positive things and let go of the negative, all while trusting that the Lord has your back. Everything else will fall into place. Even when things feel rocky and like you’re going to feel as though you’ll never be able to trust anyone. The only one you need to trust in is the Lord. He Loves us so immensely, we will never be able to quite grasp it. Any time any of those negative words try to hold reign over my life, I choose to believe that it’s not truth. It’s only meant to destroy me and who I truly am on the inside. I know my heart and my worth because of what the Lord says about me. So, on that note I will end with these words. You are loved and you are worthy of great things. ❤️


What great advice and counsel you have given to Tanya.
When we know what Jesus says about us we can make the changes we need to make to be healthier and happier people.
Thank you and look how Jesus is using you to help others.



J Ellen

This article really spoke to me. My dad was previously married and had 3 daughters – we were never close or really knew each other growing up. I could count on one hand the number of times I saw them as a kid. They weren’t nice to my mom and my dad was keeping a lot of secrets. When I turned 40 I decided to reach out to them so we could get to know each other. We spent a week getting to know each other and figuring out all the lies my dad told to keep us apart. Things went fine but it was tense and negative but we all became closer . . for a while.

I am now 52 and this has been the most drama filled 12 years of my life! What was I thinking?? None of the girls have seen my father for over 20 years. I care for him since my mom died. I became really close to one of the sisters and that’s only because she needed me because she had a falling out with the other 2. But when she made amends with them (after nearly 3 years) she turned on me after coming out for a visit and she spent the entire visit making me feel bad about how I care for dad. I was never so happy to see someone get on a plane. I will admit that I blew up at her while she was here – telling her I am doing the best I can for dad (which is A LOT) and considering NONE of them offer any help or assistance of any kind, she really needs to be quiet. But I apologized over and over again – basically begged for her to forgive me for blowing up. But instead she used this against me, told the other sisters how mean I was to her.
I really just want to be done – I don’t have time for this crap and honestly, if I were meeting her or any of them on the street, I wouldn’t want to be their friends. My dad is a drama queen and they are just like him. Once he is gone, I will have no reason to ever be in contact with them. They live in Florida and I live in Oregon – our paths will never cross.
But in the end, it hurts to have invested in this relationship with her – with any of them – only to be made the bad guy. And now I get these random text messages “Will you still be contacting me if something happens to dad or am I on the do not contact list?” Really passive aggressive crap like that. Good grief! I just want to be done!


How does a person take “You will never be able to take care of yourself” coming from a relative whom you looked up highly and trusted. My grandmother said this about me/to me recently and it has honestly shaken my whole world to the core. I have not spoken to her since and do not see a reason to anymore. I have not done anything outlandish nor terrible for her to say these things to me and she has yet to apologize nor reached out to me to reiterate. Though she has been using my mother as the middle man for conversations/questions and wont contact me since either. Am I reading too much into this or am I hitting the nail on the head when I say she was being rude/judgmental and she knows it yet she can not bring herself to apologize? This is not the first time she has shown narcissistic behaviors but this is the deepest hurt she has caused me verbally. I am lost for words on her…


Just about what your GM said to you. Im so sorry you have been through all if this. But just because someone says something doesn’t make it true. As you say she is narcisistic and clearly she is also very rude and selfish for putting her point of view on you, with no regard for your feelings. She should know your would value her opinion and she is highly irresponsible for saying that to you. In addition to me saying just because someone says something doesn’t make it true, she may be projecting her own interpreration of the world onto you. Ie. in her generation people had a a job for life, less fun, less freedom etc. Therefore, she cant compare her experience to yours. I would just think of her as being highly negative and not seeing the best in you. You know who you are and I think you should do your own thing I’m life and not worry about her – maybe you will prove her wrong in the end but not intentionally. Because you are living your life for yourself with no guilt or no self blame or self shame attached. Also think about all your good qualities and focus on those. No one is perfect but we owe it to ourselves to focus on the best of us. Lastly, if it was me i would reduce contact and when I see her show her just how happy and confident I am – that is the best revenge. Wishing you the best.


Latrece, your grandmothers words were rude and mean and your feelings are valid. My dad is similar and i used to look up to him as a child but i have hate and disgust for his personality now. Distance yourself from her and dont let her words or whatever she tells other people stop you from being successful and dont doubt yourself. Be strong, courageous and take care of your mental health 🙂


Your grandmother is a completely miserable b*+ch. I’m sure your mother can agree, just ask about her childhood.


I am trying to deal with and let go of the fact that I just lost my relationship with my mom and my cousin. I was very close with my mom but she drinks a lot and I would get random messages in the middle of the night saying that I am a bad mom and telling me what I’m doing wrong. So about 7 months ago I told her I can’t have a relationship anymore I’m still grieving everyday and trying to figure out how to get over this hurt feeling. With my cousin we were very close growing up and it was in the last year she seemed to cut me out of her life and I am still questioning why and it hurts me so bad. I see pictures on Facebook of her hanging out with everyone we all used to hang out with except for me. I just want to figure out how to get past this.


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We humans feel safest when we know where the edges are. Without boundaries it can feel like walking along the edge of a mountain without guard rails.

Boundaries must come with two things - love and leadership. They shouldn’t feel hollow, and they don’t need to feel like brick walls. They can be held firmly and lovingly.

Boundaries without the ‘loving’ will feel shaming, lonely, harsh. Understandably children will want to shield from this. This ‘shielding’ looks like keeping their messes from us. We drive them into the secretive and the forbidden because we squander precious opportunities to guide them.

Harsh consequences don’t teach them to avoid bad decisions. They teach them to avoid us.

They need both: boundaries, held lovingly.

First, decide on the boundary. Boundaries aren’t about what we want them to do. We can’t control that. Boundaries are about what we’ll do when the rules are broken.

If the rule is, ‘Be respectful’ - they’re in charge of what they do, you’re in charge of the boundary.

Attend to boundaries AND relationship. ‘It’s okay to be angry at me. (Rel’ship) No, I won’t let you speak to me like that. (Boundary). I want to hear what you have to say. (R). I won’t listen while you’re speaking like that. (B). I’m  going to wait until you can speak in a way I can hear. I’m right here. (R).

If the ‘leadership’ part is hard, think about what boundaries meant for you when you were young. If they felt cruel or shaming, it’s understandable that that’s how boundaries feel for you now. You don’t have to do boundaries the way your parents did. Don’t get rid of the boundary. Add in a loving way to hold them.

If the ‘loving’ part is hard, and if their behaviour enrages you, what was it like for you when you had big feelings as a child? If nobody supported you through feelings or behaviour, it’s understandable that their big feelings and behaviour will drive anger in you.

Anger exists as a shield for other more vulnerable feelings. What might your anger be shielding - loneliness? Anxiety? Feeling unseen? See through the behaviour to the need or feeling behind it: This is a great kid who is struggling right now. Reject the behaviour, support the child.♥️
Can’t wait to see you Brisbane! Saturday 20 May had bounded up to us with its arms open - and we’re so ready.

If you don’t have a ticket and would give your very last lamington for one, don’t worry - tickets are still available from ‘Resilient Kids Conference’ (on google). Here are the details:
Date and Time: Sat 20th May

Time: 9.30am – 3:00pm (Doors open at 9.00am for a 9.30am start)

Location: Main Auditorium, iSee Church, 8 Ellen Street, Carina Qld 4152

Parking: Free parking onsite

Cost: $85.00 AUD 

We’d love you to join us.♥️
Our nervous systems are designed to receive their distress. Fight or flight in them raises fight or flight in us - to get our bodies ready to fight for them or flee with them.

When they’re in actual danger, it’s a brilliant response, but ‘danger’ is about what the brain perceives. 

Big feelings and behaviour are a sign of a brain that has registered ‘threat’. A felt sense of relational threat and emotional threat all count as ‘threat’.

This can happen any time there is any chance at all of humiliation, judgement, missing out on something important, felt disconnection, not feeling seen, heard, validated, not having the resources for the immediate demands (stress).

Think of this in terms of interruption, transition times, sibling arguments, coming home after a big day at school.

When the threat isn’t a true physical danger, there is nothing to fight with or flee from (except maybe siblings and instructions).

This is when the fight or flight that’s been raised in us can move us to fight with them (we might get irritated, frustrated, angry, annoyed, raise our voices) or flee from them.

These are really valid feelings and signs of things working as they should, but it’s what we do in response that matters.

Think of it this way. Brains don’t care for the difference between actual danger and things that are safe, but annoying or upsetting. They all count as ‘danger’. 

Pause for a moment, and see that this is a young person with a brain that doesn’t feel ‘safe’ right now. Whether it’s emotionally safe, relationally safe, physically safe - they all matter.

First, they need to be brought back to safety. We’ll do this most powerfully through relationship - co-regulation, validation, touch. 

In practice this looks like breathe (to calm your nervous system so you can recalibrate theirs), be with (validate with or without words - let them feel you believing them and not needing anything from them in that moment), and wait.

If you need to hold a boundary, add that in (‘I won’t let you …’) but don’t take relationship away.

Then, when they are calm, have the chat - ‘What happened?’ ‘What can we do to put things right?’ ‘What might next time look like?’♥️
Brisbane - not long to go! We’d love you to join us at The Resilient Kids Conference. The feedback from Launceston has been incredible, and we can’t wait to do it again with you Brisbane.

All the details...
Date: Sat 20th May,
Time: 9.30am – 3:30pm 
Doors open at 8.30am for a 9.30am start
Location: Main Auditorium, iSee Church, 8 Ellen Street, Carina Qld 4152
Parking: Free parking onsite
Cost: $85.00 AUD

👍 What to Bring: Print your e-ticket or show your ticket on your phone at the main entrance for easy scanning and entry.

👍 Resources:  A big aim of RKC is to resource communities. For that reason, we offer a range of stalls filled with helpful resources, and of course the speakers books. Eftpos will be available on the day for all purchases.

👍 Food on the day:  We strive to keep our ticket prices low, to make it possible for anyone to experience RKC. To help, the ticket price does not include food or drinks. While a cafe and other food options nearby will be available at each event, we hope this low-price gesture enables you to be with us!

Grab some friends and let's make this a day to remember. It won't be complete without you....🧡
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