Difficult family relationships

Everyone's family brings it's own unique challenges, but sometimes the negative emotional charges can become so difficult that they can cripple the family. It doesn't have to be this way.

Family… if you have the kind of relationship with a member of your family like some people do, just the word is enough to bring on that heavy, stressed feeling.

It could be mum, dad, brothers or sisters, or maybe even someone in the extended family, but sometimes that one relationship can create a feeling of dread. There is often a mix of feelings such as guilt, obligation, tension and fear.

We spend so much time with our families, initially growing up in the family home, where our own parents are dealing with their issues while we are only learning about the world around us. During these times we may have memories of being scared, being angry, being rejected, or sometimes being abused in some way. Even if now being older you can rationalise them and make it make sense, the experiences from those times could still be having a significant impact on your choices and behaviours.

Then as we grow up this relationship changes and evolves, until it reaches the stage where we are needed to help care for them. You may perceive them as being angry, cold, demanding or a whole range of other traits, yet there is that heavy pull of obligation that means you keep turning up and that internal tension builds and grows.

Whatever the family dynamic, these experiences have an impact on how you think and feel. When you are involved in these types of experiences, because of the level of emotion (if we think family is at many stages crucial for survival) our mind stores information about the events. Your mind stores these fragments of memories and also all of the emotion that came with it, and these accumulate in your subconscious mind. As time goes on, you accumulate more and more of these memories and before you know it you are now acting and responding automatically. You lose your ability to stay calm, think clearly and make wise decisions, and you become more responsive and act through reflexes, which leads to you saying things and doing things you later regret.

Working through these stored up emotions will help you to clear and neutralise the negative feelings you have around your family. Helping you to get back in control of how you think and feel, and to build your resilience so that you are no longer triggered into feelings of intense emotions. This process doesn’t require you to talk through the past events, and you can keep any personal stories you want private, yet the impact it has on your mental health can be profound.

If you are currently struggling with one or more difficult family relationships and would like to explore how you could overcome these, then please fill out the form below.

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