Posts Tagged ‘dealingwithdifficultfamily’

10 QUICK TIPS TO RESOLVE FAMILY FEUDS

Families can be our greatest source of joy as well as a never ending cause of stress. Comprised of a diverse blend of personalities, families are a mixture of quirky behaviors, opposing viewpoints, various needs, beliefs, and values, along with opposing methods of how members perform certain tasks. Being unskilled at even the most basic aspects of resolving conflicts, as most of us are, can result in minor differences escalating our stress levels and causing tempers to flare. Keep in mind that every member, regardless of how easy-going, intelligent or advanced in age, contributes to the dynamics of the family unit. Some may overtly create drama while others do so in a more discreet manner. Recognizing the subtleties of each person’s actions along with understanding the motives behind them can better enable individuals to address the underlying (or real) issues and find reasonable solutions.

It is critical, however, that each party recognize their own contributions to the so-called problems of the family while vowing to become part of the solution instead. Therefore, before engaging in the process, ask yourself the following questions: What has my role in this situation been? How have I contributed to the breakdown of our family unit? Is it my attitude, actions, words, or lack thereof? On every level, we are either part of the problem or part of the solution. I must first take inventory of my destructive contributions before I can expect to achieve any degree of success with other members. Assuming I have successfully completely this task and corrected any transgressions , I can now proceed using the following 10 strategies to resolve family feuds:

1. As respectfully as possible (it is always possible), and without making accusations, clearly and succinctly identify the area that needs attention. State facts only, not opinions.
“We need to address the imbalance of chores in our family to make certain each person is doing their fair share.” I need not go into a lengthy dissertation about how I do the bulk of the work and specifically what chores I’m burdened with while pointing out that my lazy good-for-nothing brother spends all of his time with his friends and never lifts a finger around the house. Name calling, blame, and exaggerations never fair well in resolving family disputes.

2. Remove all distractions such as all technology, small children or any projects you may be working on. This enables all parties to be fully engaged with one another.
Expect that for the next 15 or 30 minutes or so, everyone involved will focus their full attention on discussing the issue at hand. If necessary, write down the subject matter on a piece of paper that can easily serve as a visual reminder of what issue is being addressed. Refer to it whenever necessary.

3. Allow each party ample time to state what is on their mind without interruption. In this way, each individual will relax knowing they will have adequate time to express their thoughts and concerns.
Assign a facilitator who will direct and manage the course of the discussion. The use of an egg timer (or watch) can be a valuable asset. Initially each person is given 2-3 minutes to state their concerns or position. When everyone has had the opportunity to speak, the discussion can be opened to random comments. Provide the “speaker” with a small device to hold, such as a pencil. No one may interrupt whomever holds the pencil. The facilitator will ensure each person is granted equal time speaking by passing the pencil on to the next family member.

4. Validate their perspective. Consider their feelings, needs, desires, and such as valid as your own, even if you vehemently disagree with them. Listen with your heart, not simply your ears. This is compassion.
Remember that for each individual their feelings, perception, desires, etc are as valuable and real to them as yours are to you. You need not share them in order to understand this concept. Be gracious and thoughtful.

5. Ask questions to gain deeper insight into what they are saying.
Typically, people will make statements, form judgments, or argue with their opposing family member. True resolution is attained by each person’s willingness to better understand the others. Rather than state, “You only think about yourself”, ask “How did you come to this decision? Have you considered how it would impact those around you?”

6. Avoid criticizing or making fun of them. Be respectful at all times.
Contrary to popular belief, respect does not need to be earned. It is a God-given right of all human beings. The word itself means “to value”. To respect someone simply means that you recognize their worth as equal to yours and all of humanity. Their opinions, beliefs, and behaviors may be questionable but we are none of those. Attack the problem, not the person; comment on the actions, never belittle the individual. Be certain you understand the difference – it’s critical.

7. Avoid blame or accusations. Both are destructive and will sabotage any progress from occurring.
When something goes awry, we need a target to direct our anger at. Blame reveals a lack of introspection and self-accountability. It is self-defeating and robs us of our personal power. Accusations are assumptions based on supposition rather than fact. Dealing with fact-based information is significantly more productive.

8. Inquire as to what they need from you for this issue to be resolved. Listen open mindedly and non-defensively. Discuss whether or not you will be able to accommodate their needs. Make any necessary adjustments.
Expressing concern for the other party’s happiness, safety, success, etc is the beginning of building trust. This is the foundation for all healthy relationships and a critical component for effectively resolving disagreements. People are more inclined to cooperate with those they trust as they know the other person has their best interest at heart as well as their own. Be generous in this area. You will be well rewarded.

9. State your position, needs, feelings, wants, etc. Express what you need from them in order to put this issue to rest. Make certain your requests are fair and reasonable.
Generally speaking, your needs are as important as the other party’s. I say generally because there are instances where an issue matters more to one person than it does to the other. In situations such as these, one can concede and allow the other to obtain what they need. However, if you feel strongly about your position, put forth a reasonable request and be certain that on some level yours are being fulfilled as well.

10. Compromise. A “winner takes all” mentality is never a solution. All parties must feel satisfied in some way in order for the issue to truly be resolved once and for all. Thank them for taking the time to work through this issue.
Finding the middle ground is a sign of truly caring about the other person. Again, this is a building block of trust and trust fosters healthy, sustainable relationships. Respect and trust convert to cooperation, a necessary component to comprehensive conflict resolution. Put your ego aside and consider the other person as you would want them to consider you.

Families will always disagree on things but our differences needn’t escalate into full blown family feuds. Each member plays a vital role in the wholeness and integrity of the unit. When we learn to embrace the uniqueness and giftedness of each individual, we can utilize those qualities to strengthen and enrich the whole. And we can finally live in harmony with and enjoy our families, free from fighting and drama.

Q: “The only way to peaceful coexistence is through compassionate understanding and support. Allow each family member to be who they are, always encouraging them to be the joyful people they were created to be.”

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

WHEN LYING IS THE BETTER OPTION

Currently there is a commercial on TV where a cheerful woman visits her new neighbor with a homemade pie. She states that she has actually come by not to simply welcome the woman into the neighborhood but to see if in fact she might be weird in some way. The smiling neighbor inquires as to whether she would like to come in and snoop around to see what her new house looks like. The narrator poses the questions, “Wouldn’t it be great if we all said exactly what was on our mind?” While many would agree that honesty is the best policy sometimes lying can be a better alternative.
I am a true believer in honesty and truth. I try to always live my life by these tenets although I’m certain that there are times when I fall horribly short. Like most wives (and husbands), there are times when I want to spare my husband’s feelings and have not always been completely honest with him. When he puts his heart into purchasing a gift for me that he’s excited about or when he builds me something or makes an upgrade to our home, I don’t have the heart to tell him that what he did was not exactly what I was hoping for because I know it would hurt him. And his feelings matter more to me in that moment than honesty. I know he does the same for me as well.

Let me add, too, that in cases of wanting to preserve someone’s feelings, I have mixed thoughts about that. By not being truthful (in a polite and respectful way, of course) we deny the other party the opportunity to grow. When we are able to listen objectively to what others have to say to or about us, we can learn a lot about ourselves that allow for personal improvement. In circumstances such as these, one needs to evaluate each one individually and discern which approach would be most beneficial to the other party.

A child who is too young to fully embrace the severity of their actions may need to be shielded from the blatant truth. Years ago, a friend confided in me that her young child had inadvertently given their family pet a toxic substance to eat, causing the eventual death of the pet. There was no malice on the part of the child, who was very attached to the pet, and due to his highly sensitive personality, the parents decided to spare the child any more angst and possible guilt. In this instance, not being truthful was an act of love and protection.

There are other times when honesty can hurt. People are often blunt and callous in presenting their version of the truth or in making comments showing no regard for the feelings of the other person. And while none of us actually has the ability to hurt another person’s feelings (all feelings are a personal choice derived from our thought process), there are times when even the most prepared are damaged by another person’s comments. Telling someone that they are obnoxious and that no one, including yourself, likes them may be liberating for you to express but is highly insensitive and offensive as well. Rewording it using more thoughtful vernacular or refraining from offering any commentary at all can be an act of consideration for the other person’s feelings.

When you know that in stating truthfully what’s on your mind that it will only agitate the other party who in turn will to seek to retaliate against you, wisdom dictates that silence may be a safer option. Sometimes, keeping the peace in matters that have little significance has far greater benefits than candor.

When a police officer pulls you over for a broken tail light and writes you a ticket, you may become irate but it does not behoove you to speak your mind by telling him/her that they ought to be out catching real criminals rather than wasting your tax dollars stopping law abiding citizens such as yourself. Remaining silent or polite can prevent you from causing further distress to yourself in challenging the officer.
If someone points a gun at you with the intent to cause you bodily harm, that is not be the optimum time to call them a punk. In extreme cases, voicing your truthful opinion could cost you your life. Sometimes silence saves.

I also don’t need to tell my husband every time I’m angry with him or those times when I feel disappointed or disillusioned in our relationship. Many of these issues are based on my own perceptions or expectations and most can be resolved within myself to the extent that they are no longer a problem for me. In other cases, I can make the necessary changes in our interactions that alleviate the unhappiness and improve the quality of our marriage. This is a smart strategy that long-term married couples have mastered.

If I’m angry with my boss, a verbal commentary can not only damage our relationship but can create an uncomfortable work environment as well. In some cases, people are spiteful and expressing the truth can exacerbate the situation making matters worse. Perhaps one is willing to take that chance; in other circumstances the stakes may be too high and the individual is not willing to potentially risk losing their job.

Remember when you were a child and your grandmother gave you that awful gift that you absolutely hated? Mom taught you to be polite and thank her. She never encouraged you to be truthful and tell her you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing such an ugly sweater. The intent was to be grateful and appreciative of the loving act of an elderly woman and to preserve her feelings. This is compassion and respect at its finest.

Being bluntly honest with another can oftentimes cause them great distress or worry. A husband who faces being laid off from work does not want to add any unnecessary stress to his family so he bends the truth. A child, off to college for the first time, rarely tells their parents everything that occurs on campus. Wanting to ease their parents concerns, they downplay or omit certain events knowing that the parents would only worry and feel helpless in protecting their child. (I’m not recommending this practice in issues of a serious nature.)
When you want to threaten to cause harm to someone or to their property, even if there is no intent to follow through or as a ploy to get them to comply to your demands (manipulation) this can be considered a terroristic threat and possible cause for legal action. It might be best to rethink your comments.

We all have family members who say or do things we do not like. Being angry with them is a normal part of being a family yet it is not imperative that I mention every infraction to them. Making comments when you are angry or upset is a recipe for disaster. Hurtful words cannot be retracted and the damage they cause can last a long time. Sometimes venting with a friend or other family member helps us to release the anger in a safe environment. Once able to process and heal it, the issue has been resolved and the relationship preserved. (Refer to the SWaT Strategy in The Secret Side of Anger)
When my dad developed Alzheimer’s, he often spoke in nonsensical terms. He would recall things that never happened or insist that he wanted things to be done a certain way that were either not possible or not for his own good. Many times, in order to keep him calm, we placated him by agreeing to his demands. Since his disease prevented him from recalling his own requests, we could easily proceed with the necessary actions that benefited him the most. Being honest with those who are not capable of fully comprehending can be frustrating, futile, and distressing for all parties. Appeasement with good intent for all can be a better alternative for everyone.

Keep in mind that I am in favor of being honest with others and expressing my concerns so that issues can be resolved whenever necessary. And that is the key: whenever necessary. It is not always imperative to be truthful with others and in some instances can cause more harm or distress or may simply be unfair to the innocent party. Is it acceptable to express your anger towards telemarketers who disrupt your privacy? Are they not simply trying to earn a living as are you? Yet I know of no one who does not find their practices intrusive and would welcome the opportunity to tell them how they really feel.

Imagine a teacher, frustrated with a student, who wants to shout “What in the world is wrong with you? Are you stupid?” They know that it is not only unprofessional but it may severely hurt or embarrass the child. So they refrain their question, “Are you having difficulty understanding what I’m saying? Is there a better way for me to present this to you?” Swallowing their true feelings protects not only the child but the integrity of their reputation and job.

Consider a father who leaves his young children because he has no interest in being a parent to them. How would it benefit the children to be told the truth? At that age, and perhaps even when they are older, the pain of feeling not wanted or not worthy is excruciating. This can cause severe emotional damage as well as damage to their self-esteem, causing unforeseen and long term consequences that ripple throughout their lives. A kinder more protective approach would be a distorted version of the truth. “You father had some personal issues that prevent him from being in your life at this time” or perhaps “Right now he’s not prepared to be a parent.” On some level, this can protect the child to a certain degree from unnecessary and damaging pain. Remember, one of the functions of love is that it protects.

There is also another form of lying that is acceptable and that is playful lying. Telling children that Santa Clause is real, that the tooth fairy exists, and that the Easter bunny is the one delivering colored eggs on Easter are all harmless and endearing beliefs that add enjoyment and a sense of whimsy to a child’s life. Discovering the truth as they get older has not shown to prove detrimental to any child. For many, their realization of the truth evolves naturally with maturity and while there might be some disappointment, most seem ready to release the myth and embrace reality.
Remember, too, that silence can be a lie of omission. One need not directly relay a falsehood but in their silence there can be an absence of truth.

When lying may be the better option:

When it protects the feelings of the other person or prevents them from unnecessary worry; to keep oneself safe in a dangerous situation; to prevent causing any unnecessary duress that could have unexpected consequences for yourself or others; when you need time to reword your version of truth to be more respectful; if silence will preserve an important relationship without causing unforeseen damage at a later date for you or the other party; when remaining silent allows you to work through the issue and resolve it within yourself so that it is not longer a problem for you; when you are at risk for the other person seeking to retaliate against you causing you harm or hardship; when your very life is at risk (remember, in some cases, silence saves); when your statements are threats; when you’re angry and blowing off steam; when lying is whimsical and playful and adds an element of childlike joy.

When it’s not smart to lie:

First and foremost, it is never beneficial to lie to yourself. Total honesty is absolutely essential for your well-being, personal growth, healthy relationships, success, and overall happiness in life. “Denial is not a river in Egypt. It is a black abyss of fear that keeps us imprisoned in false truths and obstructs our chances of achieving personal greatness.” ~Janet Pfeiffer ,United Nations, Oct. 2004 One must be brutally honest in order to be the best version of themselves possible.

Never lie to avoid taking responsibility for your actions and the consequences that accompany it. Grow up and face up.
Never lie to blame another, to get them in trouble, to damage their reputation, or to cause them any kind of harm.
Never relay false information to make yourself look good, to build status, or deceive others about who you really are and/or what you have accomplished or concerning your motive and intent behind an action.
Never lie or exaggerate in order to manipulate others so that they will comply with what you want.
As for lies of omission, remember that silence can indicate an absence of truth. Not coming forth with information that can clear an innocent person unjustly accused or convicted of committing a crime is a lie of omission – allowing a deception to continue as truth. This is morally reprehensible.

Again, let me reiterate that I am a seeker and practitioner of truth yet I do recognize the value in withholding complete honesty in certain situations. Each individual must follow their moral guidelines and assess each situation independently in order to make the best possible decision. Remember, that it is not only the actions that hold merit but also the motive and intent behind them that matters. Keep your heart pure and let kindness be your guide. In that regard you will make righteous choices.

Q “Just because you have a thought does not mean you need to express it nor does it mean you have a right to as well.”
Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

GOOD L~U~C DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE

Last week, I spoke before a group of business professionals about dealing with difficult people. It seems that no matter where we are in life, whether at home with our families, in social settings, at work, or just out and about, we encounter challenging and obnoxious people. The first issue we must identify, however, is who the insufferable person is. Look in the mirror. Is the reflection one that others would label demanding, obstinate, stubborn, unmanageable or irritable? While it is not always easy to recognize our own imperfections, it is absolutely critical that we do so first. For if in fact, we are the one who is creating the difficulty, then a simple adjustment on our part can alleviate the problem and enable greater ease and cooperation with others. Remember Ghandi’s words: “I must first be the change I want to see in others.” If you are uncertain as to whether or not the issue is you, ask others for their assessment and input. Then listen open-mindedly to their response.

Having established that you are indeed the thoughtful and cooperative person, you realize that you seem to be a magnet for problematic people. Argumentative, stubborn, demanding, arrogant – whatever the nature of their behaviors – sometimes we are obliged to interact with them and do not have the option of disengaging. In such cases, is there a way we can collaborate with them that will make matters easier for all parties? Absolutely. It just takes a bit of Good L~U~C.

1. Listen. Very often, those who test our limits do so because they feel unimportant and are seeking recognition. Every human being desires to be heard, to have someone willing to listen to what they have to say. Whether it’s an opinion, feelings, sharing a dream or goal, discussing a regret from the past, or any other matter, genuine, undivided, from-the-heart listening sends a powerful message to the other party that they matter.

Time is one of our greatest commodities; it is one of the ways we measure what matters most to us. We make time for the people and activities that hold the greatest importance to us. Taking precious time away from a task, another person or even ourselves in order to hear what someone has to say lets them know that in that instant nothing matters more to us than they do. Being heard validates their worth. (Time is money; time is valuable. Therefore, if I give you my time it’s because you are important to me.) This simple act has unlimited benefits to all parties. It can boost a person’s self-esteem, bond both parties long after the experience is complete, offer an opportunity to practice selfless giving and concern, fosters mutual respect, alleviates stress, depression, anger, frustration, loneliness, feelings of isolation, and more. It hones our communication skills, promotes compassion and empathy, builds healthy relationships, and overall makes both parties feel good.
Listen with the intent to understand, not to respond.

2. Understand. In addition to being heard, all humans crave being understood. Listening to learn the facts about a person or issues is a far cry from fully understanding the nature of the matter or how it impacts the other party. Too often, we only listen half-heartedly. Our minds are divided between the person speaking and another interest. We hear their words and may understand intellectually what they are saying. But true understanding goes far beyond that – it also involves empathy, the ability to feel what the other person is experiencing.

In my “15 Minute Conflict Resolution Solution” training that I provide to corporations, I spend a significant amount of time on communication strategies. One of the most profound is something I call “Heart/Brain Communication”. It goes beyond the intellectual understanding of facts and figures and introduces the element of compassion, the ability to feel the feelings of the speaker along with a strong desire to alleviate any suffering they may be experiencing. This brings communication and understanding to a much deeper more personal level. This is what all of us seek.

Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying: understanding facts is critically important as well. So often, when people discuss an issue there is clearly a lack of knowing the specifics of what is being said. Misunderstandings, miscommunication, being vague or ambiguous leads to frustration, increased levels of stress, arguing, possible accusations and false judgments, aggravation, yelling, hurt feelings, and ultimately a breakdown in the relationship. Each of these elements leads to a distrust based not on a person’s deceitfulness but on a lack of clear communication masquerading as dishonesty or lies. Listen to understand on a factual level as well as an emotional one.

3. Cooperate and Compromise. When a lack of trust is not forthcoming in a relationship, whether warranted or imagined, people oftentimes become stubborn, arrogant, or difficult as a means of self-protection. Whether protecting their integrity, their feelings, needs, desires or wishes, their opinions or actions, people do so when they don’t feel safe in the other person’s company. By that I mean, they must know unequivocally and believe fully that they will not be ridiculed or criticized, that their well-being is of great importance to the other one, and that they will not be cheated or betrayed but rather treated fairly and with respect. Once a trust is established, they will naturally become more relaxed and cooperative.

One of the easiest and quickest ways of building trust is by being accommodating from the get go. Search for ways of working with them in a supportive role. Offer to be helpful whenever possible. Be willing to peacefully and respectfully negotiate whatever issue is before you agreeing to make whatever adjustments are possible in order to accommodate their needs and desires. Express your concern for their happiness and well-being verbally and follow through in your actions. Remember, too, that trust is built on integrity and promises kept. One indiscretion or broken promise can completely destroy that trust and it can take a long time to rebuild.

Compromise is another important component of cooperation. Again, people can be difficult due to latent fears they harbor that dictate they will not be treated fairly, that somehow their needs will be considered less important than others or hold no value at all. Making sure that their needs are addressed and fulfilled early on alleviates their concerns and the need to resist or to be defensive. “It is in giving that you shall receive.” Give a little upfront and you will receive their respect, trust, and support in return.

Depending on the nature of the relationship and the issues at hand, on some occasions it is perfectly acceptable to simply walk away from the difficult party and let things work themselves out. In other circumstances one must address the individual and find a way of getting along as best as possible. Don’t necessarily take the easy way out but know when it’s best to stay and when it’s best to walk away.

Remember, “The only way to defeat your adversary is by making him your ally. And you can do so with a little Good L~U~C: Listen, Understand, Cooperate and Compromise.” So Good L~U~C to all of you!

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+