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Lockdown Tension? The Keys To Building A Bridge With Your Family Again



By Features Desk



Tuesday, June 23, 2020.


It's safe to say that we're all experiencing some form of lockdown tension. While there's plenty of aspects of society that are returning to some sort of normality it's at this point where we have to start rebuilding relationships. But there have been many relationships that have suffered as a result of what has happened. Perhaps there have been wars of words because people have been ignoring the rules or people have stayed apart and this has caused relationships to dwindle. But it's one of those almost universal struggles. When we have issues with our family, building bridges can be one of the most difficult things to get our heads around. But what does it really take to heal rifts with relatives and build bridges again?



Offering The Olive Branch

This is one of the most obvious, yet most difficult, ways to build a bridge. When we have issues with family members this throws up many conflicts in our minds. When someone suggests that we offer the olive branch reaction, our knee-jerk reaction could be to revolt from this because we are hurt. And while offering the olive branch can be the first stepping stone, sometimes there are people that when we offer the olive branch to them, they don't take this as a peace offering but are ignorant that you've taken the time to try and heal the rift. Those people always show themselves up as ignorant in the end but when you offer the olive branch because you finally processed everything that you need in order to come around to this point, this means the ball is in their court. 


You have to remember that when it comes to offering the olive branch you don't do it because you have been told to. You offer the olive branch because you have decided this is the best option. It doesn't have to be a grand gesture. You could very easily do something little as a starting point. After all, there are so many unlimited data plans out there that you can just send a text message or just a quick phone call to say hello without wasting anything. This could very well be the most anxiety-inducing conversation you'll ever have, but reaching out is something that they'll be grateful for even though they may not admit it. Even if it amounts to nothing, you tried. And when you try the best you can, that is good enough.


     

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The Importance Of Looking At Yourself


One of the big problems, when we try to heal rifts in families, is that we always look at it from the perspective of what they've done to us. They've hurt us and we feel terrible. But when we look at ourselves we have to realise certain dynamics come up in families because our buttons are being pushed or we are pushing someone else's buttons. 


It is just as important for us to look at our own behaviour and see if we've impacted others by what we have done. We might be someone who is different in the family setup. We could be the rebel and the big problem that we can cause in terms of family relationships is when we try to rally against this label. And if they are constantly jabbing at you with this label, why are they doing this? It could very well be jealousy that you went off and did your own thing. 


It's always essential to be yourself and if people aren't able to accept the fact that you are just being you, healing the rifts may take a long time or it may be a futile effort. When there are disagreements in families you have to remember that it's naive to change someone. If there's a disagreement in terms of opinions, it's more important to exercise your willpower to keep your mouth shut. We spend a lot of time deflecting when we are hurt but if we can take the opportunity to look at ourselves in the grand scheme of things, this may throw up some clarity. 



Understanding It From Their Point Of View


When there is a disparity between you and your parents, one of the best things to do is exercise some empathy or sympathy. When we’re young, we don't want to look at it from their perspective, and it doesn't even enter our minds. But also as we get older and we have children of our own the same thing can arise. As parents, we could be hypocritical and say that our children can't do things even though we did them at their age. Of course, we have learnt through the benefit of hindsight but the lesson is all about seeing it from both sides.


Parents act out of protectiveness and we may not see our parents do this. It's more a case of them telling us that we can't do something. One of the most important things that we can all do is ask why they are treating us this way. Perhaps our parents had trouble with their family members growing up which can mean they struggle to show their feelings. And while this may not excuse the fact that we feel they are treating us a certain way when we start to see it from their perspective it can help us to extend the olive branch further or to find ways to navigate the relationship in healthier ways.



Don't Ever Demand Perfection


You're not perfect and neither are they. But when you feel like the hurt party, one of the best things to do is to remind yourself of things you have said or done in the past that you have come to regret. Because if you demand perfect behaviour from family members, this is unrealistic, but if you demand this from others they may come to resent these high standards. 


Not only this, but if you don't meet the standards yourself, this will cause more resentment. Nobody is perfect and this means that we must hold a mirror up to ourselves in terms of the behaviour we want from others.



Coming Clean


Sharing your feelings may be the best way to start all over again. Wiping the slate clean can give both sides the opportunity to get things out into the open. The one drawback of this approach is that it could become a slanging match. When we are hurt these old wounds can come to the surface and stand in the way of our relationship. If things start to heat up, the best approach is to agree to disagree. When you come to the realisation that you both want to have a relationship despite these war wounds, you are both on the same level.


One of the big problems we can have in this situation is that we will try to prove that we were right. Being right or wrong is an incredibly exhausting fight to go through. When people feel they need to be right all the time, sometimes we have to let the baby have their bottle. But if we feel that we've got to be right all of the time this is exhausting because we are always going to be on the defensive. Now is the time to stop thinking you are right about everything because it doesn't help anybody.



Be Who You Are


When we have to build bridges with family members we can tend to regress back to the way we used to be. If you've grown and changed and you feel this is for the better you have to be proud of who you are. Sometimes we can slip back into old behavioural habits, especially if we've been away from family members for a long time. Your family remembered you as something different and they may not be able to come to terms with who you are now. But hold your ground and be you. After a while, you may feel that you can't be around these people because they remind you of who used to be. And whether you like this or not it's crucial when it comes to building bridges with your family that you put the pass into perspective. You can't change other people's feelings but you can put it into perspective for your benefits. Ultimately, this is how you can move on. 



Make no mistake, it's not the easiest thing in the world to do. But learning to build bridges with family members again isn't about making it perfect. For many, it will be far from perfect. You've changed or they've changed, and this requires a huge amount of perspective. Of course, the overriding emotion is hurt. When we get hurt, the wound cuts very deep. And we spend a lot of time thinking about the problems in the past. But the longer we cling onto these things, the more they will continue to bring up thoughts and emotions that aren't healthy. It is not easy but when we've gone through problems with our family there can be a way to retrieve some sort of harmony again, you may just have to alter what you think “harmony” is.









Lockdown Tension? The Keys To Building A Bridge With Your Family Again

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