If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a family member that can’t mind their damn business!
These are the people in your life, whether blood related or not, that find it absolutely necessary to tell you what they think about your life and your choices without you even asking for their input.
Some years ago, I made the choice to cut my stepmom out of my life. After years of mental and emotional abuse I decided to do what was best for my well-being.
Now you’d think that doing something positive for myself would’ve been supported.
But sadly my choice wasn’t. And instead of support, I got an earful of ill-informed opinions and harsh judgements.
If you’ve ever received flak from your family because of the choices you’ve made then today’s post is for you.
You’ll not only learn how to set up effective boundaries when it comes to protecting your choices but I’m also sharing a few life saving bits of wisdom I’ve learned through the years as I’ve dealt with my family.
After reading through today’s post, you’ll have the tools you need to feel confident about your choices. Regardless of what the peanut gallery says:)
Once you’re done reading, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section.
How do you deal with family members that can’t seem to mind their business? Have you ever second guessed a choice you’ve made out of fear of your family’s reaction?
Your experiences, insights and opinions matter. And this community needs your voice!
As always, thanks for commenting, reading and sharing.
Until Next Tuesday.
#1 Remember It’s Not About You
I was at my grandmother’s funeral when my aunt insisted that I get my picture taken with my stepmom.
She knew that my stepmom and I were not on speaking terms. So, the idea caught me far off guard.
When I told her no, my aunt got really upset. And I felt like I’d done something terribly wrong.
When I got home later that night and had some space to think I realized that her request and reaction had nothing to do with me.
Her tears, the mini temper tantrum and her obvious disapproval had everything to do with her. Maybe it was her own guilt that got triggered. Or maybe her emotions were jacked up because of the funeral.
I don’t know what came over her that day but the experience taught me a valuable lesson. When someone reacts that strongly to a choice or decision you’ve made, it more than likely has squat to do with you.
Or as a great therapist of mine used to say, “If they’re hysterical, you can bet your butt it’s historical.”
#2 Do They Want To Know Your Why
If a family member wants to judge your choice but they have no interest in understanding the why behind your choice then you can go ahead and file their feedback in the trash.
I have another aunt who loves to pass judgement on my relationship with my stepmom. She cornered me at a family gathering once and said,
“You know, you should really think about your relationship with your stepmom.”
I responded by asking her, “Do you have any interest at all in understanding why I feel the way I do?”
And I kid you not. My aunt looked right at me and said, “No.”
It was then that I realized this truth. If someone has no interest in understanding or even hearing your why then their opinion has little to no value. How can it when they don’t have the whole story?
Let’s face it, everyone has opinions. But that doesn’t mean you have to take every single one of them seriously. And opinions from family are no exception.
#3 Set Them Strait
Even with family members that express genuine care and concern for you, it’s still okay to to set them strait when necessary.
And by setting them strait what I’m really talking about is asserting your boundaries and feeling correct about doing so.
So for example, take this Facebook message I got from a family member not too long ago.
It would mean a lot to me if you and your stepmom could mend fences. She is very sad these days and I know it wouldn’t be easy for you but you are far past child bullsh*t. Please. Please. Please.
Now. I’m fairly certain that he had good intentions. And at the same time I know he knows little about my relationship with my stepmom. In other words, he does not know my why. And he’s never asked.
So, instead of just ignoring him or letting his concern overwhelm me with guilt, I sent back this,
I really do appreciate your concern and I know it comes from a good place but it’s really not something you need to worry about. I hope you can respect/understand that.
Notice that my response wasn’t about justifying my life choices to him. It was strictly about asserting my boundaries.
I sent a very clear message that he respected. And even if he didn’t that wouldn’t have changed my response.
Whether it’s your aunt at a family funeral throwing a temper tantrum or a relative sending you messages on Facebook, you have the right to assert your boundaries and set them strait.
#4 Know That It’s Okay To Stay The Hell Away
This isn’t true for every family but sometimes it’s best to just keep your distance.
Know that it’s okay to stay the hell away from people that completely disrespect your boundaries and make no attempt to mind their damn business.
I have an uncle who is borderline abusive with his intrusiveness. Whenever he’s around, he’s bound to make a comment or say something completely inappropriate.
And he holds nothing back when it comes to commenting on my relationship with my stepmom.
He’ll say things like, “Are you really sure you don’t like your stepmom?” Or, “Do you two really not get along?”
Again, this uncle does not know my why and he doesn’t want to know. And my relationship with my stepmom is well beyond just not getting along or liking each other.
But it’s not my job to make him understand. Or justify my choice. The only responsibility I have is for myself and that’s why I choose to just stay the hell away.
Now. I know that keeping a family member at a distance isn’t the only option available. But it is an option.
Personally, I don’t buy into the idea that we have some life long obligation to a family member just because they’re blood related.
But that’s just me. And it’s totally understandable that my approach may not work for you and your situation. Relationships are never black and white. There’s always a bit of gray in the middle.
Figure out what works for you and just know that it’s okay to stay the hell away.