Healing Family Relationships: 5 Learnings To Help You – Vol. 394, Dec. 29, 2016
I come from a family not too different from yours perhaps, where misquoted statements from others, judgments lead from never speaking directly about past hurtful events, and general misunderstandings have over taken any sense of trust, resulting in a loss of relations.
Because my business is being forced to evolve to a new level of existence, I have had the need to heal some old fractures in the relationships that I have with some of my family relationships. To be honest with you, this falls under the “need to do” more then the “desire to do” knowing that without this healing, there will never be a way for me to deliver my best service to my clients. It is a simple fact of life that acting in integrity and in congruence makes the difference between a client being willing to act on the guidance given, or not. As a health care provider it is my duty to those who trust me enough to employ my services, to heal the rifts in my own life, before asking those who come to me for healing, to do the same.
However, there is one exception to that rule. That is for those people with whom you find are toxic to you, making you feel worse for having spent your time in their company. It may because they use judgmental language and attitude, perhaps they bring up past events that you have moved past, or maybe it is because they are argumentative or sarcastic, making you the butt of their sarcastic “funny to them” while being “hurtful” to you joke.
So, it’s Thanksgiving day, and I make the decision to call one of my sisters, a sister I basically threw out of my life four years ago. Over the past couple of weeks we exchanged some positive emails, so I felt it was time to talk to her directly to “clear the air” if I could.
From my perspective, I didn’t want to have another fight with her as the outcome of the call. Yet, I also knew that one has to go through what they must to better understand another’s point of view. In the past, I have been the butt of her sarcasm, without her ever realizing how much she hurt me, or perhaps at times not really caring, wanting to get ‘even’ with me in the one way she knew how. Because, the truth of the matter here is that there were some things in her past that I didn’t know, relative to a similar situation we both found ourselves in regarding a couple of people in our family. Those duplicated situations caused horrific pain to many others in the larger extended family, some of whom were too young to understand what or why things were as they were.
Suffice to say, though the conversation started out lightly enough speaking about the musical endeavors my sister and her husband are involved in, as their greatly loved side gig, the conversation went into deeper more sensitive areas as needed, for the emotional clearings we both needed to occur.
Here are a 5 learning I can share with you from this experience in handling sensitive situations regarding your relations. I so want to make it clear that I am not claiming that all if perfect in my and my sister’s relationship. However, what I am saying, is that we have dealt with the proverbial “skeletons in the closet” both known to one another, all these years, yet never spoken about till now – while making some rules in communication going forward to which we both agreed to do the best we can – because that is really all anyone can ask of another.
So her Here go:
First, my sister has issues with the fact that I had a different “treatment” than she, from our father in regards to this situation. She never knew that till we spoke Thanksgiving Day. However, what she did know was that I was unwilling to take responsibility for events where I was the minor, to be protected by all the adults in the situation, where she carried guilt and shame all these years. I never had any guilt or shame about any of it, because I was the one victimized, as I saw the situation. Any court in the land would agree with my point of view.
So, the teaching here would be as far as I am concerned, is instead of being angry that another had a better relationship with someone who you did not, be happy that they did not have to under go the same sort of negative experience as you. Look, we all of different personalities and those personalities are going to be affected in different ways by the people with whom we interact. In this case, I was very strong and stood my ground regardless of my family’s desire to make me “wrong.” It wasn’t an easy thing to do, however I do know that given the circumstances, I was the one to be protected as was my younger sister. Any other reading of these affairs is misguided and speaks to the reason that those who are abused fail to come forward to claim their “rights.”
Second, when one gets into an area that another is very sensitive about, a judgmental and accusatory tone of voice brings up defensiveness in the other. This is especially important when one is speaking to someone who has an expertise that you don’t. There is no point in pushing your agenda when you haven’t a clue what you are speaking of just because you read a few articles or spoke to some professionals years ago.
The learning here is that “humility” is an asset in interpersonal relations, because we really don’t know, what we don’t know, we don’t know. In other words, as the late great psychiatrist and hypnotist, Milton Erickson has said, “Stop the mind reading.” By that he meant, for example, that even though a person may “look” depressed, perhaps that person is merely tired. Teaching us that we never can know what is in the mind of another. We are not they, and therefore, have no business believing we know more than we can about a another person’s situation, especially when you haven’t taken the time to hear them out.
Third, tone of voice is so important in communication. We all have feelings and as such we need to respect the feelings of those with whom we are communicating.
The learning here is: if the person with whom you are speaking is getting upset, take a breath and ask that person why they are getting upset (or angry) so that it can be worked through, without escalating the whole situation. This takes empathy for one another to accomplish, instead of the all too easy to fall into trap of being defensive, and therefore putting the other person on the defensive as well.
Fourth, listening is at the center of ALL communication, while choosing your words well before speaking in this sort of interaction. I would have to say that there were times during the conversation when each of us felt the other wasn’t hearing what we were saying, meaning not understanding the context of what was being said, taking for granted that each ‘knew” what the other was saying. Well, once again that was a misguided manner of approaching this sensitive conversation.
Learning: Be willing to really listen to what the other person is saying. Make sure that you got the context of understanding correct before moving on to the next point.
Lastly, I really don’t know what the outcome of this conversation will be, though I can say, that as a result of getting my sister’s perspective on this 35 year old history (yes, it does go back that far), I have a much better understanding of the ordeal she went through during that time, and perhaps she has gained a better understanding of my point of view, even if we disagree in terms of how we perceive these past events.
Kabbalist teach us that it is the hard conversations that need to be had, bringing up those difficult situations or concerns where we demonstrate our true caring for another person. I am not going to say that I went this far in having this conversation, because from my perspective it was indeed more selfish then that. What I needed and wanted was to clear the air to get on with my own life without having this stench from so long ago, stinking up my present and future. That was accomplished and for that I give thanks this Thanksgiving season.
Trusting that you will take in these learnings, hard won as they were for me, help you to clear up any ill feelings that you may have with those in your family or even old friends, so that you can receive your own well deserved healing.
Learnings From My Journey: Suzannisms For the Mind and Soul
Learnings From My Journey: Suzannisms for the Mind and Soul is a book of essays based on the wisdom gained through those who have touched me through my own journey in life. Purchase an inspiring copy today from the Dawning Visions Hypnosis Store.Learnings From My Journey: Suzannisms For the Mind and Soul
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