By Vladimir Marchenko
- When the crisis begins
- Why the closest ones become strangers
- The signs of a deteriorating relationship
- What stops you from improving relationships with your loved ones
- How to restore harmony in the relationships with your family
When the crisis begins
Family alienation can show at different ages and for any reason, be short or long-term, or not manifest at all. Typically, the first crisis is called "fathers and sons" and occurs between 12-15 year olds and their parents. At this time, children begin to feel like individuals with their own needs and outlook on life. Parents are just entering the phase of maturity (40-45 years), which makes family relationships quite tense. The generation gap becomes more tangible, and interests cease to coincide. For example, a teenager prefers hanging out with friends to family trips or to dinner parties.
Sometimes this is not due to the wrong parenting line. Adolescents tend to overestimate their own importance and, being unable to tell the difference between socially acceptable and destructive behavior, they break bad. In other words, they stroll down the lane of self-destruction, permissiveness and life "as I want." In this case, it can and should be pointed out that there’s more to life than the personality of a particular individual, although it is best to do this in childhood. In the future, such "rebels" will certainly have problems with socialization, teamwork and other areas. Another thing is that parents can unfairly criticize a child who, in general, is a good self-motivated student, is interested in many things and has good friends.
The next major crisis occurs at the age of majority (18-21 years), when a person receives their legal right to autonomy. Usually at this time people leave their parental home (and often forever). Accordingly, the format of communication with relatives is changing, and can vary from completely ignoring any contacts to very rare meetings.
Finally, another major crisis can happen when children create their own family. In this case, parents can overprotect, bother with questions about their grandchildren or too often ask to babysit them, be overly interested in relationships within the young family and give unsolicited advice. Such behavior provokes conflicts between members of a newly formed family and relatives on both sides.
Some psychologists believe that such disagreements are inevitable and are associated with the peculiarities of growing up and the formation of a new personality, which goes through different stages. The common signs are distance and loss of affection within the same family.
Why the closest ones become strangers
There can be many reasons. Everything can start with overreaction, severity, punishment in childhood, or, on the contrary, overprotection, when the child is not allowed to do almost anything, and the rest they can do only under the supervision of their parents. In this case, the child holds a grudge and waits for the age of majority or at least adolescence in order to have autonomy over their life. Or they initially take a position of confrontation under the influence of others and follow it until they grow up.
For teenagers, conflicts most often arise due to the generation gap and rebellion. For example, a teenager enjoys suicidal music or pays less attention to school, which is rightly disliked by the parents. Then disagreements arise, children may leave home and express dissatisfaction in other ways. This often leads to serious misunderstandings even later, as the teenager grows up. Teenagers may not understand this, but at this time the role of upbringing is extremely important, although not in the same way as in childhood, and parents, with their advice, wish them only the best.
However, most often friction occurs gradually and it is impossible even to establish the specific moment when everything fell apart. In part, this process is natural and predictable - people change with age and often not for the better. This is followed by changes in preferences, some character traits, perception of the world and their place in it, etc. In toxic relationships, both abusive parents and, say, manipulative brothers or narcissistic sisters can appear.
The signs of a deteriorating relationship
The understanding that relations with relatives have gotten worse comes gradually. As a rule, as a result of thinking and analyzing them and their actions and reactions.
Key features of toxic relationships
1. After communicating with relatives, you feel discomfort. Usually self-esteem becomes lower or there is a feeling of "squeezed lemon", tension and anxiety. The negative effect disappears after the termination of contacts and some time alone.
2. They always point out your flaws. You are doing everything wrong, the work is low-paid, the hobbies are stupid, the partner is infantile, and the rented dwelling could have been bigger. They also don't respect your values and choices.
3. "The daughter of my mother's friend." You are constantly being compared to other people and not in your favor. Their achievements are positioned as an absolute and universal ideal. At the same time, it is not noticed that all people are different, nor that the initial conditions are not equal.
4. Impose their opinion, convincing you that, due to age and life experience, they know what’s best for you. In this case, no arguments apply, and any dispute ends in a difficult conflict.
5. Seek only for help. That is, they contact you only when necessary, and the rest of the time they either do not answer, or do not support you either in word or deed.
6. Demonstrate passive aggressive behavior. Boycott and resentment, gossip behind your back, termination of support, constant provocation to conflict, pointing out gifts or good deeds done earlier.
7. Bring your problems for public discussion. Neighbors, casual acquaintances and shop assistants from the store around the corner soon find out about something personal. This may be the result of sincerity and naivety, but does not bring anything good.
8. Manipulate. They do not explain to you why you are wrong, but start to feign offense, get upset, appeal to conscience (“I raised you and spent so much energy”), imitate attacks of illness, threaten suicide and accuse you of inadequacy and aggressive behavior.
9. They spoil relationships with friends, spouses, children. They criticize your environment, from friends-"mischievous", ending with your partner and your children.
10. Lead an antisocial lifestyle. You should communicate with such relatives only in the context of providing assistance (for alcoholism, drug addiction), otherwise you should not encourage destructive behavior.
What stops you from improving relationships with your loved ones
Relations with parents are influenced by several serious psychological factors and feelings that interfere with rationally building a model of behavior. In particular:
- an instilled sense of guilt. It implies that, by default, you need to love your parents and other relatives, spend a lot of time with them, take care of them when they get old, accept all their opinions, etc. Any attempts to go against them cause the feeling of guilt. There is nothing wrong with parental support and approval as long as it is done sincerely. However, in a toxic relationship, this is rather destructive;
- blind devotion. As a child, you might have been taught that family is everything. It is not so bad, but only if the rule works both ways and is based on mutual feelings. It is much worse if it is aimed at subordination and control of family "rebels";
- true love. You cannot object or take offense at your parents for a long time, because pleasant memories and gratitude immediately overtake you. But this does not imply indulgence in everything, but leaves the right to distance and having your own views;
- fear. The fear of meeting misunderstanding or outright aggression also stops anyone from trying to change something. True, no one can guarantee that tomorrow will be better, but life by inertia is unlikely to lead to a good result.
How to restore harmony in the relationships with your family
It will take time and endurance to normalize relations with close relatives, but it will get easier when following several recommendations.
1. Don't make excuses for other people. If relatives make hostile statements about you or behave unacceptably, you should not justify them. Point out the limits and discourage toxic attitudes.
2. Increase distance and communication interval. Perhaps there are too many of your relatives in your life. This is a reason to gradually reduce meetings and the number of calls until they reach an optimal and non-negative frequency.
3. Fill your day with pleasant experiences. Walking, reading, meeting friends, meditating, watching movies.
4. Set personal boundaries and protect them. It is very important to avoid resentment and stress. If relatives become too intrusive, you need to directly declare your privacy rights.
5. Enter stop phrases into circulation. They prevent invasion of personal space and, as a rule, sound like “I myself will decide what to spend my money on,” “I want to go on a trip on my own,” etc.
6. Sometimes relatives simply do not have enough attention. That is why they are trying to artificially increase their presence in your life. Of course, you are constantly busy at work, and then with household chores, but it is very important to tell those closest to you about a few funny news from your life.
7. Be emphatically polite, without subservience. You should not show emotions in front of relatives that characterize you as a weak person. You must be confident, indulgent, cheerful, "impenetrable".
8. Know how to switch, both during communication with relatives, and after. If certain topics (politics, other relatives, work) inevitably lead to conflicts, try to minimize conversations about them. If you can't do this, indulge yourself with something after communication to distract yourself.
9. Give up the status of "emotional trash". If more than half of the time with your relatives you are listening to their complaints about life, feel free to stop such conversations. Refer to being busy, ask how you can help specifically, talk about how you have your own life.
10. Use the techniques of psychological self-help. For example, listening to affirmations. The Hypnopedia app has a set of thematic motivating statements, including those related to building relationships. An important feature is that they are played during the user's sleep, but do not wake him or her up. With regular use, mental health is strengthened and some psychophysiological characteristics are improved. Relaxing sounds for falling asleep are an excellent stress reliever, and you can generate more than 600 combinations from them. They allow you to smoothly plunge into sleep, leaving the worries of the past day behind.Ссылка App Store
It can take a very long time to restore a broken relationship. It's worth it, however, because the reward is freedom of choice, emotional independence, and self-confidence. In addition, there is an opportunity to terminate the negative experience that is passed on to future generations and bring up your children in love.