When you are trying to make a change in your life, it can be hard to deal with the people who do not support what you’re doing. Whether they are unsure of why you want to change or if they genuinely believe that what you’re doing is not the right thing for your life, there are things that you can do in order to minimize their impact on your progress and success. In this article, I am going to share 6 ways to help you deal with an unsupportive family.
“When someone says ‘You’ve changed’ it simply means you’ve stopped living your life their way.”
1. Talk To Them About How It Makes You Feel
Communication should always be your first tactic when dealing with an unsupportive family. Sometimes our families just need to be enlightened on how their actions and words affect us. Do not assume they should “just know better”. Give them a chance to course-correct and make things right with you.
Communicating clearly and directly falls on you. You have to put aside fear, and possible hurt feelings you may cause and spell it out for your family. “When you do X I feel X and I would like X to happen.” Be clear on 1) what they do or don’t do 2) how it makes you feel and 3) what you would like to happen or a solution.” If you beat around the bush, or say things in an accusatory manner, things probably won’t go in your favor. They could even get worse. Be clear and direct in your communication to family members who do not support you.
Here are some things to keep in mind when communicating with an unsupportive family:
- Have a Plan. Know what you are going to say ahead of time as well as when a good time would be to talk to them.
- Avoid Confrontation. This is just an opportunity for you to communicate and evaluate how they respond.
- Respect Their Feedback. Respecting their feedback doesn’t mean you agree with it. Just understand that even though you are trying to communicate your feelings, doesn’t mean they have to go along with your request or agree with you. Be prepared for this possibility.
2. Evaluate Your Expectations of an Unsupportive Family
People have always said, “family is the only thing that matters,” or “family is all we have,” or “family always stick together.” This is B.S. Yes, family is important and you should give them respect, love, and support… BUT… the same respect, love, and support should be extended to you as well. This is tough for a lot of people to hear and goes against the grain of most things you hear, but families can be toxic. Your happiness and success should not be negatively affected by your family, they should be supported by your family.
With that said, you should evaluate the expectations you have of your family. Are your expectations unfair? Maybe your family has so much going on that they, unfortunately, do not have the time, or resources to give you the support you are asking for. For example, perhaps they would like to be more supportive financially, but just do not have the means to do so. Or maybe the expectation of your family is one that suggests that they should have your back 100% no matter what. For some toxic families, that may not happen.
If you find that your expectations are reasonable, then you can properly evaluate the support that your family gives you. It may be unfair, and it may hurt if they do not support you even though you are being reasonable, but at least you know you looked honestly at your own expectations.
3. Set Boundaries
Having boundaries is healthy. It’s mutual respect between you and others in your life. Boundaries set the standard for how people are going to be treated in families. Unfortunately, most people and families do not establish boundaries until it’s too late. Most often the damage has already been done and healing needs to occur before boundaries are spelled out.
Right now, think about boundaries you could have that would prevent the issues caused by having an unsupportive family. Do they say things that hurt your feelings? Do they do things that hinder your success? Whatever it is, create clear boundaries. Decide that there are just some things you will not tolerate. Once you do, be crystal clear and direct to your unsupportive family about your boundaries.
4. Find Your Own Support
Seek out your own support. There are people and groups out there who will support your goals and choices in life. Support doesn’t just have to come from family. There are causes, religious groups, hobby groups, events, and numerous other outlets for you to get the support that you need.
Many times groups specific to your goals are much better at meeting your needs than family. There are others out there with similar experiences who can lend their expertise and advice that will catapult you to success much faster than a family member. Get online and search for groups and organizations that can help you. Find and attend local events that will attract the type of people who could be supportive. They are out there. You just have to find them.
5. Deal With Unsupportive Family by Keeping it To Yourself
If your family has always pulled you down or held you back, especially when you have had goals or issues, then it may be best to keep it to yourself. Many times toxic families and individuals will try to sabotage your efforts. Whether it’s due to jealousy, fear, or self-esteem issues, many have a crab bucket mentality and pull you down instead of giving you their support.
By keeping it to yourself, you avoid other’s sabotaging efforts and their negative energy. It’s already hard enough to accomplish things without someone else rooting against you. Keep it to yourself for the time being, then show your accomplishments later.
6. Realize You Can Do it Without Your Family’s Support
Now is the time to believe in yourself. If you can’t believe in yourself, then no one else will. Of course, it would be nice to have the support of loved ones, but there is no rule that says you need it in order to succeed. You can accomplish anything and overcome anything despite your unsupportive family.
Remember how far you have come without your family’s support. Remember all of your accomplishments despite being held back. You have the strength in you to succeed.
Having an unsupportive family can weigh heavily on anyone. Sometimes, however, you must move forward if you want to experience success. To help you with this, you should consider talking to your family about how you feel. You should also evaluate your expectations, set boundaries, find your own support, keep it to yourself, and realize you can do it without their support.
How has not having your family’s support affected you in your life? Let me know in the comments below.