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Seeing my family is a huge stressor, what can I do to decrease the tension?

20 Answers
Last Updated: 01/29/2018 at 5:04am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
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Graham Barrone, Adip ICHP, MCBT


If you've found that your quality of life has reduced because of anxiety, fear or some kind of mental hurdle that you just can't get over then lets chat.

Top Rated Answers
November 7th, 2014 7:08am
It is very essential to understand that certain things are not within our control. Even though its immediate family there could be certain things affecting you badly and you wouldn't be in a position to do anything. Hence giving the remote control of your emotions to situations like this will add on to your stress. You must therefore avoid being dependent on the situation and create moments of joy for yourself.
June 17th, 2015 12:57am
I completely understand and have the same problem. For me, I had to exam the following inside myself: 1) What control to I have? The answer is none, the ONLY thing in life you can control is yourself... period. You can not control they're action, comments, criticisms, expectations of you (how you succeeded or failed), and just the simple day to day way they talk to you and make you feel (in some families it's very supportive, in other's it's always tearing down, and other's it's somewhere in between). 2) Since you can't control them, you have to be honest with yourself and ask how much of them can I take and live a very happy, successful, satisfying life? Your first priority is YOU!!!!! You are of no help or comfort to your family (or anybody else), if you're wreck. So.... that leaves you with the following 4 options which depend totally on the depth of discomfort, meanness, care they really have for you, etc... essentially you have to gauge their intentions based on everything you know, have gone through, and gut feeling about them for the future. Options: 1) In a phone call, be 100% honest. Start the conversation by saying "I'm having a real problem and need to know if you're willing to calmly discuss it with me, even though it may be very upsetting to you." If they are willing to talk, be completely honest, tell them you can hardly bare to be with them because it's so stressful, and above all tell them EXACTLY why it's so stressful.... pull no punches, because at this point there's no going back to the way it was... it'll end however it ends. 2) Depending on you, do the exactly same thing as above, except in person. This is tough (generally better in the long run), but not for everyone... you'll have to gauge for youself. 3) Tell them you're having some problems and was wondering if they'd be will to help you by coming to a therapist/counselor with you. In this case you'll have to decide on whether or not to tell them what's it's really about... in other words, you may need to sort of white-lie, or maybe you tell them straight out what it's about. 4) The final option is pretty simple. If none of the above seem viable for your situation and family... just don't talk to them or see them. Depending on your past situation with your family, and your personality that may mean calling them, telling them you want nothing to do with anymore, or maybe it's gentler like making up excuses that your busy, etc. Anyway, in real life I believe those are all the options, and the correct options depending on the persons ENTIRE, life long experience with their family and they're own personality and ability to face things head on or not.
October 26th, 2014 11:53am
It may be difficult to avoid seeing your family, but perhaps consider minimising your visits to them or setting aside certain days. That's of course very difficult, and only a short term solution. You may find it helpful to approach some of your family members individually and mention some of your worries and stresses to them, if you feel you are able to, as they may be willing to help. Perhaps also try gaining strength from other relationships in your life, perhaps by bringing a friend or partner along when visiting your family.
September 24th, 2014 7:18pm
have a sit down with them and explain how you fill about this situation and if that doesn't help seek out future help with a therapist with family issues or some of our forums
January 2nd, 2015 9:17pm
If they expect you to see them often, go as much as you like but keep visits brief. Also, if you have any "allies" in the family -- people who support and care, who don't stress you -- try to talk with them about your feelings ahead of time in private. Perhaps they can help you spend less time with the most stressful relatives or situations. Respect others, but do what's best for yourself too.
October 29th, 2014 5:11pm
Figure out the reason that seeing your family is a huge stressor and try to prevent the problem. Family is supposed to be fun!
December 16th, 2014 5:03pm
If possible, divide and conquer... try and break it up so you don't have to see everyone all at once in the one hit.
December 26th, 2014 6:48am
Communication is probably the most important part of any relationship. Finding the root causes of the the tension and working together to reduce it is a great first step forward.
April 23rd, 2015 7:26pm
Perhaps you could try and look at the positive side of things, when you have to see them,instead of focusing on the negative thoughts/feelings associated with them, you could try and remind yourself of why you're grateful to have them in your life anyway. You could also try and spend more time with your friends or loved ones whom you feel more positive around so you'd get that support you need. Probably being in your room, spending some good time with yourself and doing things that you enjoy doing and those that make you smile could help.
October 27th, 2015 6:23pm
Hey, personally when I feel bad I practice sports, or I write all my feelings in a paper and then I throw it. I feel so good after doing that ;)
August 22nd, 2016 2:13am
Sometimes the space is better then the closeness. So spent time with your family whenever you can but also create a distance so that you have space to breath and relax.
November 4th, 2014 12:22am
Family is a huge stressor for most people-- the best thing you can do is identify what about seeing them stresses you out. Try to address the issue with them. If it's something they're doing, maybe they can correct the behavior. If it has more to do with you, perhaps they can help point that out to you.
November 17th, 2014 8:33pm
Maybe have a family meeting and talk about it...and if it's still too much pressure set some boundaries
November 18th, 2014 4:34pm
I often found it that it's easier to deal with family members one on one, and build more relaxed relationships one at a time. That way, seeing everyone together is easier, and when things get extra stressful you will have someone to fall back on. Also, if you have to meet them and are feeling very anxious about it, having an "escape plan" can be very useful, even f you don't use it. (For example, arrange a friend to call you with an "emergency"--it doesn't work if you take advantage of it all the time, but it's nice to have as a back up option)
December 30th, 2014 11:22pm
Talk to your family about what is causing this tension. There might be certain people who agree with you. But, don`t be surprised if some others don`t exactly agree.
August 24th, 2015 1:02pm
Trace what the actual issue is? Being misunderstood? Family conflict? What exactly is causing stress ... and then after decide how much time you wish you spend with your family depending on proximity and the reasons you feel stressed from the interactiion
August 8th, 2016 7:36pm
Remember that family is a source of warmth and compassion, even if it doesn't seem like it, your family will be there for you when no one else will.
November 15th, 2016 12:07am
It can be helpful to limit the amount of time spent with those who are known stressors. Some also pay particular attention to maintaining strict boundaries as well as bringing a supportive friend to ensure you don't feel alone. If appropriate, family can be who we choose to be involved in our lives. Only you can determine if you wish to maintain the relationship. Be kind to yourself above all.
March 27th, 2017 7:50am
It always helps to talk to them, and explain that you feel stressed. Try to figure out why specifically you feel stressed when seeing them, and work it out from there.
January 29th, 2018 5:04am
Anytime you feel stressed try taking a big breathe or go outside for some fresh air. All families have tensions that makes us feel stressed and coming to 7 cups and having someone listen is a good first step.