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How To Have Nonviolent Communication With Stubborn Family Members

How To Have Nonviolent Communication With Stubborn Family Members

The funny thing about family is, one minute it seems impossible to coexist peacefully, but in the next, we couldn’t imagine life without them! Sibling rivalry can get particularly intense, even to the point of communication breakdowns. Ironically, these emotion fueled conflicts are usually waged out of genuine care for one another!

Often there’s a particularly stubborn family member who always finds themselves at the point of conflict. Even with your best efforts, every approach seems to end in an argument with them. In these cases, you need to call upon these smart communication strategies for dealing with stubborn people.

1. Don’t Escalate Situations By Trying to Prove Your Point

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    Don’t fall into the trap of proving your point against all odds. You’ll find yourself getting completely sucked in and slugging it out until they appreciate your point. This simply isn’t effective with stubborn people because they are often reacting through emotion instead of logic.

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    Even if what you’re presenting is a logical case, their emotions can blind them to seeing the reason. As a result, the argument goes nowhere and builds frustration. This isn’t good for either of you, especially if one of you reaches boiling point!

    With this fact in mind, you should adopt a smarter communication strategy. Bury your ego and focus on soothing their emotions first. Once you’ve calmed them down, they’ll be far more receptive, possibly even coming around without much persuasion.

    2. Find Common Ground to Relieve Rising Tension

    Studies have shown that our stubborn tendencies are brought to the surface, the more people disagree with us. So when you start to feel that uneasy feeling and communication is about to take a turn for the worst, employ this next strategy.

    Striking common ground is the fastest way to diffuse the situation, preventing the full force of stubborn behavior from taking hold. You don’t necessarily have to bend against your own will. Just switching the focus point or activity to something you can both appreciate. You’ll soon notice the tension in the air evaporating.

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    3. Don’t Get Locked Into a Power Struggle

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      If we have to deal with stubborn people, getting caught in a power struggle makes the whole situation worse. Especially when it comes to family members, hierarchy and position can often add fuel to the fire. Continued escalation just becomes a tug of war, the harder you pull, the harder they pull too!

      Typically, stubborn people are more aware of the hierarchy and they will use it to bolster their side of the argument. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself in an “I’m the parent/oldest so I’m right” kind of situation. This is very counterproductive, you should aim to diffuse situations before reaching this.

      4. Be Completely Honest, Don’t Attack or Blame

      If an argument ensues, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion and use tactics such as blame or attacks on character. At this point, constructive communications will become impossible! Instead, you should stick with honesty by expressing your true feelings (using “I”). Speaking from a genuine place is going to be the most effective way to bypass their stubborn nature.

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      Let’s say your brother smokes and you desperately want him to stop. Remaining calm and speaking sincerely will get you the furthest. Explain exactly why you want him to stop and how it makes you feel, as opposed to simply stating it’s terrible and dirty!

      5. Speak, Stop and Listen, Ask Questions

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        It’s easier said than done, but this is the best way to deal with stubborn people. After honestly stated your qualm, sit back and listen while taking mental note of all their points. The mere act of showing your willingness to listen and understand may even dissolve their stubborn behavior.

        What’s more, you can then carefully address each point in a calm logical manner. Once you’ve shown that you have taken their side of the argument onboard, they will be more receptive to hearing yours.

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        6. If All Else Fails, Let Them Cool Off

        Sometimes we reach a certain point, then the best thing we can do is to give stubborn people time and space to cool off. If we continue to harp on, it falls upon deaf ears as they continue to build their resistance.

        If you have employed these strategies correctly, this provides a chance for them to mull it over. Most of the time, they will come back to you, sometimes they even apologize for their stubborn behavior. If you notice this as a regular cycle, you may just have to accept that’s just how they are!

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        Last Updated on April 14, 2021

        How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

        How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

        We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

        Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

        Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

        Expressing Anger

        Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

        Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

        Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

        Being Passive-Aggressive

        This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

        Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

        This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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        Poorly-Timed

        Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

        An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

        Ongoing Anger

        Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

        Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

        Healthy Ways to Express Anger

        What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

        Being Honest

        Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

        Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

        Being Direct

        Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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        Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

        Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

        Being Timely

        When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

        Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

        Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

        How to Deal With Anger

        If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

        1. Slow Down

        From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

        In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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        When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

        2. Focus on the “I”

        Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

        When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

        3. Work out

        When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

        Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

        Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

        If you’re not sure where to start with an exercise routine, check out Lifehack’s free Simple Cardio Home Workout Plan.

        4. Seek Help When Needed

        There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

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        5. Practice Relaxation

        We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

        That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

        Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

        6. Laugh

        Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

        7. Be Grateful

        It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

        Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

        Final Thoughts

        Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

        During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

        Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

        More Resources on Anger Management

        Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

        Reference

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