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What do you do when one family member wants to angrily vent to you about another family member?

22 Answers
Last Updated: 04/13/2020 at 5:33am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Andrea Tuck, LCPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I tackle and discuss a multitude of social and emotional health issues. I have a belief that through empowerment and non-judgmental support clients' can thrive.

Top Rated Answers
February 23rd, 2016 7:33am
Run. I'm only half-joking here. But if you are in a positive state of mind, full of energy, another person's negativity will simply hold you down.
November 9th, 2015 3:15am
It's really a matter of personal opinion. Maybe you agree and want to vent with them, maybe you like that person and feel hurt/offended/obligation to tell that family member. You should do what you feel most comfortable with, whether it be telling them that you'd rather not discuss it, suggest another form of venting, engaging with them, or just sitting there and nodding, the choice is yours.
November 10th, 2015 12:44am
If I feel like I can handle a person talking negatively I will listen to what the angry family member has to say, but stay objective and not do much more than listen, because I do not feel comfortable with picking sides in a situation like that.
April 24th, 2015 8:20am
first i will let him vent and then explain him the situation if he is wrong or right. because to explain him when he is wrong is not helpful
April 30th, 2015 5:06am
Sometimes you just have to let them vent. That could be the only way that they can get over the frustration. So just try to be there for them.
June 18th, 2015 2:48am
Listen to what they have to say, but don't insert yourself into the equation. Be non-partial and non-judgemental, but also be there for the person venting. It's hard not to take sides but with practice it's possible.
January 11th, 2015 3:59am
I usually tell them that I am here to listen but I will not take sides on the matter. Especially if it is between family members, that is a tricky situation.
May 1st, 2015 2:17am
Listen and remain neutral. My mom does this about my sister all the time. Don't take sides, just let them vent.
May 31st, 2015 9:29pm
You let them vent everything and listen, don't talk or say stupid things like 'I understand' because we all know there's a 99% chance you don't. To put it simple, just listen and don't interrupt.
December 15th, 2015 5:00pm
If it makes you feel uncomfortable, tell them. I think being honest is always the best way to handle this kind of situation, and then suggesting they have a conversation with the family member they are having problems with.
June 13th, 2016 7:16am
I have had to deal with this situation so many times in my life. Try to allow the other family member to vent out their anger, and when they are calm speak with them about other ways to solve family issues. Both family members should be able to talk things out together at some point and resolve these issues. As family you shouldn't be putting each other down behind each other's backs, which can happen if one family member is angry and says things they may not mean.
July 11th, 2016 5:43pm
Hmmm, I think. Allow and defuse. You don't need to get too involved in the emotions, but providing an ear to the family member might help quite a lot.
January 9th, 2017 1:29am
Listen to what they have to say, but if they're being unreasonable or rude, stand up to them. No need to accept cruel comments against loved ones, even from family members.
March 28th, 2017 9:38am
We all need someone to talk about our feelings, within family or out of family, if some family member wants to angrily vent to you about another family member, just listen to it with patience and calm, it doesn't mean you have to agree , if the speaking tone seems too uncomfortable to you to bear , make it clear to that member,...a person after few minutes of vent out, get calm down on its own,and begin to think about the issue more rationally.
April 17th, 2017 6:20pm
Be there as an ear and listen to whatever they have to say, even if you dont agree with it, sometimes you just have to be there to listen to people
August 7th, 2017 2:46am
If you are uncomfortable with what they are saying maybe its best you tell them that you are. Being in the middle of things can sometimes get you into trouble also. So you have to be careful of that.
January 8th, 2018 2:57am
The response is in your question. If it were me, I would just hear him/her out ... not agree or disagree with what he/she has to say but just to be fully present, listen to them and provide him/her the space to ventilate. If you're worried to be dragged into these family feuds, perhaps, let him/her know that you don't want to get involved but will just take out the time to listen.
January 8th, 2018 5:34am
When one family member talks angrily about another I would say let them steam a little. Just because they think something about a family member doesn't mean you have to. We will always have our own opinions.
January 23rd, 2018 9:21am
Remember that it's just a vent. Let their opinion not affect your view of the other family member. Practice controlled emotional involvement, if that's difficult, remind them that you cannot be involved in the conversation without actually being involved, so politely excuse yourself
May 29th, 2018 4:46pm
I listen to them until they are finished. The least that they need is a set of ears that are willing to hear them out rather than a string if advices that's more likely to be judgemental rather than helpful
August 14th, 2018 2:20am
I would allow this family member to vent to me. I would know my opinion of each party and wouldn't allow another family member to change my mind. But allowing this person to vent may be beneficial to them in helping them cope with whatever issues they are having.
April 13th, 2020 5:33am
First and foremost, one should not join the cause and fight for either side. Ask the venting family member what has happened, how they feel about the situation, and why the feel angry or hurt. When they have calmed down, suggest there to be a mediation and a conflict-resolution session with the other family member. If they say no, ask them in what way they would feel more calm or better about the situation. Ask if they are able to forgive the other family member. Convince them from acting immediately. Let them know that you care about them and support them but that does not mean that you want to join their campaign.