To help you go from “have to” to “don’t have to” to “don’t want to” or “really want to!” we offer you a pre-obligation checklist. While you don’t have to use it, you may want to give it a try.
Viewing entries in
Everyone has family that is sometimes difﬁcult to deal with. But if you’ve had it with the criticism and rudeness, if you’re fed up with interference, tired of taking orders, unwilling to be taken advantage of, or frustrated with egotism,don’t despair. Remember, you always have a choice. In fact, you have ﬁve choices:
An association is a trigger like the song or smell that suddenly transports you back through time. When it comes to family both the people and the environment are powerful triggers.
DEALING WITH RELATIVES - Tip Du Jour "Dealing with Criticism"
When being criticized the first thing to always keep in mind is that when people criticize, they are the ones with the problem not you. They have an issue with something and are projecting it on you.
The second thing to do is not engage in the content of the communication. Keep the focus on them, not you. You do this by speaking to "intent" and not "content". Intent is the purpose behind a communication. Content is the communication itself.
So if someone makes a rude comment about how you look, instead of defending yourself you can just say, "Well I didn't realize how fashion conscious you were." You are making a statement about her, not you.
Even better is to project positive intent. That means you act like she has good intentions even if she doesn't. An example of this would be, "Why thank you for caring about how I look. That is so sweet of you."
You have now accomplished a two fold purpose. One, if she is out to get you and you can't be gotten, it messes it up for her. Second you have trapped them into the positive intent. It is unlikely they will say, "No you stupid #^&*# I'm trying to cut you down.” Instead they will not deny your positive projection and will be forced to go along with the positive direction you set.
What if the criticizer is a parent? With parents, projecting positive intent is absolutely, positively the way to go. If they say you are fat, thank them for caring about your health and well being. If they want to know when you are getting married, appreciate them for caring about your relationship happiness.
These kinds of positive projections will melt a parent. Parents in general feel under appreciated by their children. Usually when you positive project on a parent they roll over and start kicking their leg like a dog getting it's stomach rubbed. They will forget all about what they were criticizing you about and bask in your appreciation. Then you can just change the subject.
Prepare yourself! What positive projections will you say, when they say, what you know they will say. ;-)
FIND SOMETHING SPECIAL This is one of my favorite story / strategies told to me while doing interviews for the Dealing With Relatives book. It’s about going to a family gathering with the attitude of finding something special.
"Attitude is so important, you have to look for the good. When I was a little girl my dad used to play a game with me. We would go out for long walks, and in order to get me to walk another few minutes with him, he’d say pick a number between 50 and 200. Then we would walk that many steps, stop and look for treasure. And the neat thing was, when we looked, we always found something to treasure. Whether it was a pretty rock, a bug, or a leaf, branch, or flower, there was always something to appreciate as special.
So now when I go to a family gathering, I look for something to treasure, and sure enough, I always find something. It could be a three minute conversation with an uncle, or with a cousin I haven’t talked to before. One time I was chatting with the 24-year-old son of my cousin and his girlfriend, people I didn’t really know at all. They were fascinating people who were cool natural-food types and did interesting things in their lives. We had fun talking for an hour.
And the only reason this conversation happened was that I had decided ahead of time to look for a treasure. I saw people I didn’t know, and I sat down with them to see what treasure was there."
What's your special attitude going to be?
Over the next couple of weeks I'll be posting my favorite stories and strategies I've heard for dealing successfully with relatives. Here's the first:
Have a Mantra. There's a couple I know, who before leaving the house for an event, will look each other in the eyes and simultaneously say, “Just visiting.”
When they arrive, but before they ring the bell they look at each other and say, “ Just visiting.“
During the event if things start getting stressful they just give each other the look and silently say to themselves, “Just visiting.”
A pair of adult sisters use with their mother, “She's just making conversation.” That prevents them from getting caught up or taking too seriously their mother’s wild tangents or illogic. Instead they remind themselves, “She’s just making conversation,” and that gives them permission to not engage, but just simply change the subject.
What's your mantra?
Dr. Rick Brinkman and his grad assistant Neelix, explain why when people do communication training together, they reinforce each other into positive behaviors and the results are exponential. They also talk about the December training opportunity. (1 min) http://vimeo.com/79059269
Dr. Rick Brinkman gives you the secret strategy to get people out of whining and into problem solving. http://vimeo.com/73667665
A study found that by reacting to a person, rather than ignoring them, causes more stress and distraction that lasts far longer than the actual event. I was honored to be a communication expert in this article at Woman's Health where the theme is "when to hold'em, when to fold 'em" or when do you do something about a behavior and when do you let it go. In this article I answer the age old questions of what to do if:
The situation: A woman cuts you in line at Starbucks
The situation: Your boyfriend / husband leaves his dirty clothes strewn over the floor for the hundredth time
The situation: Someone keeps texting in the middle of a movie
The situation: While you’re walking down the street, a dude hollers, “Hey baby, lookin’ good!”
The situation: Your slacker coworker asks you to help him finish his quarterly report
The situation: A close friend shows up an hour late to your birthday dinner
The situation: During holiday dinner, Uncle Marvin says, “You look really tired.”
[hana-flv-player video="http://rickbrinkman.com/blog_videos/AMNW.flv"width="480" height="360" description="" player="4" autoload="true" autoplay="false" loop="false" autorewind="false" /]
Dr. Rick Brinkman, co-author of the international best selling McGraw-Hill book, Dealing With People You Can't Stand, How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst, appears on Portland, Oregon's AM Northwest to talk about dealing with relatives.
JUST RELEASED: The Chinese long form translation of the third version of Dealing with People You Can't Stand, How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst.
Here is the Lens of Understanding.
Forbes Features Our Book, Dealing with People You Can't Stand, How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst