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When Family Causes Stress

There's all kinds of things that can cause us stress on a daily. Why is it that family is one of the biggest causes of stress?

Let's face it. Sometimes families can be a source of joy and sometimes family members, well, you just want to throttle them. It seems at times that anything a family member says causes us to "flip out." Could the stress be coming from you? Because when we are stressed out, when we are tired, when we're suffering burnout, we tend not to have the best reactions to things. So number one, in dealing with family, police your reactions and pay attention. If you're super stressed out, might it be best to beg out of the family function? Communicate, tell them what's going on. The biggest thing that you can do for yourself is pay attention. Become intentional with focusing on your stress every single day and make adjustments and add self-care. Sit with yourself. Ask yourself, how am I feeling? What's on my docket for today? Am I feeling stressed? What can I do?

So let's say you are with your family and something is said and all of a sudden your stress goes through the roof. You are jacked up. Detach...Can you just excuse yourself? If you can't, can you sit quietly and actually detach at the table or wherever you are, in the car or on a boat and just breathe?

If you focus on your breathing, I promise you the negative reaction you were about to have, is more likely not to happen or be seriously minimized. Sometimes, you may find it helpful to set some boundaries. Again, explain what's going on with you, not how they're causing you stress, but what's going on with you. I made a huge mistake in the midst of my post-traumatic stress journey and I didn't do that. I simply self isolated and pushed people away and they didn't understand and it created a big rift. Later on, I had to come back to the table, apologize and rebuild. It's important that you to talk with your family. If you can't do it on your own grab some support from somebody, maybe have a friend present with you. The whole point is communicate. Let them know that right now you're going through some stuff and tell them what that stuff is. I've seen families where the person will tell another family member, "hey, this is what's going on with me." And the family member is like, "Oh my gosh, thank you so much for telling me and letting me in to your world." So it's super helpful to open those lines of communication with your family as a whole and with particularly the family member that's causing you stress. And sometimes it's not going to matter what you do, there just needs to be space between you and that family member.

I've been at that point. That person happened to be my father. During my navigation through post-traumatic stress, I found that I could not be around him much because he would push all of my buttons. Despite me communicating as much, it didn't seem to matter. Every conversation ended in a fight, so I had to put up barriers so that I could function. There is nothing wrong with putting up boundaries to protect yourself.

Remember, your family is your family. The relationship doesn't have to be perfect, but it should be one that's free from stress, not stress inducing. You always have control over you. Create boundaries if necessary. And remember to communicate.

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