Who knows better how to push our buttons than family members? Family members encompass our family of origin and our spouse’ extended family. I just recalled Cathy’s blog entry, Portrait of Marriage which talked about LEAVING – leaving your parents physically, emotionally, financially, is crucial to every marriage. This doesn’t mean not wanting to associate with parents. Families that stay together are an incredible blessing. One needs a good balance between having a healthy relationship with parents, family and friends, but not letting those relationships interfere with your personal relationship with each other.
A family member really pushed my buttons the past months because I refused to get sucked in to their manipulative control. Worse, I found out another family member blames me solely for the death of my son. True, I feel the guilt but to be blamed blatantly is just so irritating. This latest blow left me in an emotional tailspin for a few hours. An honest discussion with my husband over this family member helped a lot because he gave me total support and love. I used to hide my feelings from my husband just to preserve family peace but what about my peace of mind? The “new me” is more assertive and communicative with my feelings. I know that I shouldn’t give these family member the power to annoy me. I know I cannot control what they do or try to do but I can gain some sense of control on how I choose to react.
Their behavioral patterns with me are their issues. How I react or allow these patterns to influence me is my issue. How I take care of myself is my issue. I can love my family and still refuse to buy into their issues. I can love my family but refuse their efforts to manipulate, control or produce guilt in me. I can learn to be assertive with family members without being aggressive. I can set the boundaries I need with family members without being disloyal to the family.
I can learn to love my family without forfeiting love and respect for myself.