Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.
Last update: 15 November 2022
Sometimes, the family gets stressed. There are times when the roots of our family tree grab us by the feet without leaving us a way out, disturbing us with their toxic behaviors, their questions, phobias and emotional bonds supported by a marked narcissism. Managing stress in the family is essential to protect our dignity and, in turn, improve our relational fabric.
Some say that being born is a bit like falling down the chimney. We are not given to know which dwelling will happen to us, what will be the first socio-affective scenario that will determine a large part of our psychic structure or what kind of loving kindness we will learn from our parents. We do not even know if that family will give us happiness, if we will be raised in neglect or we will witness an environment where there is reproach, attack and contempt among its members.
“We come from ourselves and go towards ourselves. As much as the family and society try to prevent it, be yourself! "
If, at times, falling into a positive family is almost like winning the lottery, it is also surviving it, getting out of certain frustrations unscathed, from certain tensions that we are not always able to resolve. It is easy for some shortcomings to persist, that even in adulthood we continue to clash with the values of our parents, to have differences with our uncles or to compete with our brothers for this or that.
Coexistence is not always easy. However, if respect exists, these apparently antagonistic processes can flow with a certain naturalness, allowing us to count on them, on that family which, as the popular saying goes well, should be present in good times and bad times. But what happens when that doesn't come true? What should we do when respect is lacking and our mood is undermined and compromised? How to act when we feel that the family is stressing and oppressing us?
Stress in the family: when the family stresses and oppresses us
Sometimes we tell ourselves that we will never make the same mistakes again. We convince ourselves not to attend those meetings or celebrations that always end badly. We seek a compromise with ourselves that gives us firmness and allows us not to give in to certain blackmail, to those requests that often cause our self-esteem to sink. Despite everything, we always fall into the same trap.
So how can you avoid it? They are our family members and, like all heritage based on blood and genetics, we try to honor and respect them every day, without pauses; although the price of our stoic devotion is always higher. We fight against situations that we do not know how to manage, we allow ourselves to be blackmailed, we lower our heads to contain our emotions and we bite our tongues so as not to lose lifelong relationships within a second.
When the stress in the family is high, we think many things. Maybe the time has come to formalize a definitive exit or do we want to continue to sink for life into that blood bond? We must not fall into these extremes, as well as not being healthy, it should not be allowed. Let's take a look at what strategies we can use.
When the family is stressed, it is advisable not to make extreme decisions and to observe everything starting from a state of calm.
How to manage stress in the family
The attrition as a result of family conflict can be very great, due to the large amount of feelings and attitudes involved. This emotional erosion can be so profound that every word or gesture, in that suffocating family context, is metabolized in an intense, sometimes exaggerated way.
So, a first step we should work on is relaxation, inner calm. When a person has swallowed many things over the course of an entire life cycle, it accumulates immense frustration, an anger that has created armor and taken root. It is necessary to channel everything to alleviate it. After having ventilated those tension-laden emotional rooms, it is time to work on the next aspect.
Define your ego, strengthen your identity
When people do not develop a strong sense of identity, defined and separated from the family context, their emotional well-being is in constant danger. We need to cut that umbilical cord and treat ourselves as independent entities, based on our own principles, values and needs.
When identity and notion of self are solid, there is no doubt, we know what is good, what is allowed and what is not. Furthermore, not only do we see toxic behaviors or narcissistic acts more clearly, we have less scruples when we have to set limits: we know that they are necessary to improve coexistence.
There is no reason to always agree with the family
Stress in the family has its roots in the lack of harmony, it occurs when the members act as opponents and not as mediators. A very common fact in these scenarios is the need we sometimes have to always receive the approval of our family members, not to go out of those tracks that some trace and into which others must enter almost necessarily, in order not to disappoint.
This is not being a family. The authentic family is a singular microcosm where the most diverse elements coexist in perfect harmony. It is a precious stone where the most varied minerals are set, with their unique colors, their fantastic properties and peculiarities. It is the diversity that outlines the beauty of that joy where everyone recognizes themselves as different, but at the same time exceptional. It is therefore understood that a family, a good family, respects and extends a hand, neither oppresses nor represents an obstacle to growth.