Many people dread the holidays because of the jealousy that gets acted out among siblings, between parents and children, or even among the relatives.
Too often, the fights are even more vicious than they were when you were a kid. You dread going to see the whole family when your sisters and brothers will criticize, harass and bully you openly or, even harder to deal with, when they do it sneakily, making cutting remarks with a smile or bringing up old wounds and abuses you’d rather not talk about. Or your parents compare who’s the best or most successful, loving or worthy child.
What can you do when you’re the target? Choices depend on the situation and on you. Common ones are:
- Just take it and try to ignore it. They’re jerks but you’re going to rise above because they’re “family.” And nothing will change.
- Try to love them into changing.
- Speak up calmly. Point out the nastiness; shine a light on it. Tell them to grow up.
- Fight back with words that will hurt them.
- Leave. Tell them off in the process. Become the most difficult person because, often, the most difficult person is the one the family gives in to.
- Don’t even go. You can make excuses or tell the truth.
Many other choices are possible.
I’m raising these possibilities because you’re free to do what you want. There is no “One-Right-Answer.”
- You’re not required to submit to beatings, verbal or otherwise, in the name of some idealized but painful relationship called “family.”
- You don’t have to wait until they admit they’re doing something wrong. Follow your own pain and standards: Act because you won’t allow anyone to treat you that way, whether or not they “mean it.”
Many people put up with jealousy-based bullying and abuse until their children are old enough to notice. Then they’re motivated to act. Whether your children are abused also or, even harder, when your children are treated wonderfully while you’re put down, you must stop the jealous behavior or make distance. By setting boundaries you may be able to change them family bullies. But the real goal is to make a bully-free environment, not to change them. They have free will.
Your children must see you model how to deal with bullies, no matter what the relationship.
The best way to learn how to create a bully-free life is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:
- Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
- Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the bully-free life your spirit has always hungered for.