Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Handling Mother-Daughter Conflict

posted by Linda Mintle

If I asked you today, how you feel about your mom, would you be conflicted?

Does that question raise anxiety in you, or make you feel upset, or do you just want to avoid the answer? The powerful mother-daughter bond is a hotbed for all kinds of emotions. And it doesn’t much matter what age we are, or if our mother is alive or deceased. When emotions run positive, the mother-daughter bond is like no other. But when negative emotions rear their ugly heads, poor reactions and coping lead to depression, anxiety, anger and a host of bad feelings.

So how do we handle the strong negative emotions we sometimes feel towards our moms? For example, have you ever visited the home you grew up in and felt like you were ten years old again. That happens when you don’t have a strong sense of who you are apart from your mother. The way we listen without becoming defensive is to first figure out what we think and feel. When we have a handle on our own ideas,  it si easier to listen to her thoughts without becoming angry or deeply hurt.

So when your mom says something that upsets you, take a deep breath and think about what she is saying. Is there any truth to it? If so, listen and take it to heart. If not, don’t lash out just because you feel wounded. Instead, tell her how the hurtful remark made you feel and ask her to be more careful with her words. Here’s an example, “Mom I felt hurt when you criticized my outfit.” If she continues, repeat your statement and ask her to stop. If she still continues, excuse yourself from the conversation. This is called setting appropriate limits.

The important point is to practice staying calm by knowing what you think and believe apart from your mother. Yes, her opinion matters, but it doesn’t have to run your life or your emotions.

How To Get Out of a Relationship Triangle

posted by Linda Mintle

 

Reader Question: I am in the middle of a big argument with my mom and sister. The issue is between me and my mom but my sister sides with mom and the two of them gang up on me. I am always the outsider. We haven’t talked for 6 months and now my mom wants to bury the hatchet and talk to me again. Nothing ever gets resolved or talked about and I am tired of this. I’m sure something else will come up and she and my sister will gang up on me again. How do I change this?  No one ever says they are sorry but me. 

The question is about a mother, daughter, sister problem, but the principle of getting out of the middle applies to all relationships.

A. You are in something called a relationship triangle. Triangles involve 3 people. When two people have difficulty communicating or dealing with conflict with each other, a third person is brought in to deflect the difficulty. Your sister is that person for your mom. Instead of dealing directly with you, she gets your sister to side with her and justify her position. This is an unhealthy triangle because the two people who need to address the conflict, don’t.

In terms of forgiveness, Christ told us to forgive 70 times 70–in another words, to keep on forgiving. So choose to forgive your mom and sister. But in the future, you need to respond differently. Make sure that you ONLY communicate with the person involved in a conflict. When your mom pulls in your sister, refuse to deal with her and say, “This is between you and me. I’d like to solve this. When you are ready to talk to me and not my sister about this, I am ready.”

You break up triangles by  dealing directly with the person involved in the conflict. This often create tension because people don’t like changing familiar patterns even when those patterns are dysfunctional.

Finally, you can’t control what other people do. If your mom and sister gang up on you, you confront it and they stop talking to you, that’s their choice.

But leave the door open for their re-entry. Repeat your position to only deal with the person involved, not the third party.

VOTE TODAY

posted by Linda Mintle

 GET OUT THERE AND VOTE TODAY!

It’s important! No excuses! Just do it!

3 Needed Tips for Dealing With Family Stress

posted by Linda Mintle

Reader Question: 

When mom and dad are so stressed from kids and work, what kind of strain does that put on marriages? And what about temptation?

Stress either pushes you closer together as a couple or moves you father apart. It also taps your resources and can wear you down if you don’t have the right kind of support.

Couples who support each during a crisis and remain intimate with God, do best. When stress hits, too many couples allow the stress to pull them apart versus band together. Unhealthy couples take out their stress on each other versus come together to get through a difficult time.

Looking outside the marriage for emotional support and distancing yourself from God, both put you in a position for an affair, addictions and other negative coping methods. It’s tempting to medicate or escape your problems with another person, food, alcohol, pornography, etc. rather than deal with stress.

So anytime stress hits hard, consider your resources.

1) People of faith always have God as a resource. He is the number one resource to prevent stress from taking a toll. Scriptures tell us to cry out to God, to cast our cares on Him and He will relieve the burden and bring peace. We can’t always prevent stress from happening and we don’t always have good outcomes to every problem, but God promises His presence and that He will walk us through a stressful time.

2) Turn towards your spouse when stress gets high and use each other to buffer stress, not create more stress. Couples who can do this weather storms much better than those who take out their frustrations on each other and turn away from the emotional support they could build in their relationship. This is how temptation begins to take hold–you feel someone else is a better listener, understands your issues and gives you attention. You allow negative thoughts about your partner–He is preoccupied, she doesn’t care, someone else is a better listener, etc.

3) Practice ways to calm each other down. For example, pray together, problem-solve, enlist the support of others when needed, take a few deep breaths, encourage each other, escape through a good book or funny movie to relieve a little pressure, etc.

 

 

For practical tips to break free from stress, click on Dr. Linda’s book, Breaking Free from Stress

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