How to keep daily family friction from escalating into end of the world drama daily?
posted by chocolatemilkshakes to Human Relations (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I live in a house with a lot of people (all one immediate family) most notably for this issue case of friction, 3 older teens/young adults. I moved back home for my final year of college and neither of the others are off at college yet. There plenty of attitude flying around, people trying to decide what to do with their lives, parents trying to give sound advice, etc. Normal life with a family with young adults.
We get along pretty well most of the time, and honestly are all friends. My parents are cool and do lots of stuff to make our lives fun and stuff like that. But as I learned living with some awesome roomates in college, who were my best friends. No matter how much you like or love someone, they're going to get on your nerves sometimes when you are together day in and day out. And that's what I want to learn how to deal with better. Specifically in the dynamics of my family.
I'd love a better way for dealing with how friction, tension, fighting and arguing escalate. Especially when one of us is fighting with my mom, things get really emotional, and kind of a big deal. I understand things are a big deal to people's feelings. But sometimes it's stuff that isn't full of a lot of meaning.
For example, sometimes I'm just in a bad mood that day and am acting bitchy, I know I'm being a jerk, and my mom should be upset. But it gets turned into such a big picture thing. Like if I'm crabby about what she wants me to do, her response will be something like: I'm so sorry I'm a terrible mother and force you to do things you hate and never give you any freedom. I'm sorry you weren't born to a nicer mother. You know, stuff like that. Then me or one of my siblings, whoever is fighting will escalate it in much the same why. Why do you always fill in the blank. I never said that. All about the extremes, and long term language.
I'd love to know if there's a way to tone stuff down, so that when she's mad about how I'm acting today, or I'm mad at her about how she's acting today - it can stay in today. And not turn into some hurt feelings acting like the issue is spanning our past and future. What can I do in the way I deal with these conflicts to tone things down and keep it in perspective? I'd also love to know if there's anything I can do to influence the way my siblings and parents argue with each other too. I know that's probably going out of my range of influence. But hey maybe if I put some calming incense scents around the house...IDK, I'm open to your ideas.
Hopefully you get the gist of the issue I'm having from that explanation. When I was more naive, when I'd be frustrated with this kind of thing I'd think, I just need to stop doing the things that upset people that I didn't want to have fights with. Now I've grown up a little. That's a joke. I am a human being, I can be a jerk sometimes, as can everyone else. Not intentionally, but it's just a fact. I'm not so naive to think I'm going to perfect myself and make everyone happy by being nice all the time. Now I know that, as I said before, living with anyone is going to mean having some tension and disagreements with them, I just want to keep small disagreements small.
So I'd love ideas or tips, great if they are from experience, on how to keep issues small that are small.
A few extra details that might help:
I've come to realize, that instead of giving a punishment - whether grounding, losing privileges, etc. that rarely happens - things are all emotional with my mom. As far as, what I call "being in trouble" means she is crying or her feelings are hurt or shouting back and forth about something I've done. And usually the same issues keep coming up in a certain season, like back when I was learning to drive it would often be stuff about that- for example.
Like I mentioned there are three of us who are the most in an argument or whatever with the parents. Between the three of us, frequency of someone being in a fight goes up to, maybe every two days or every other day.
A lot of times at least two of us get tangled into being in trouble together. Sometimes someone will set things off but the other person ends up lumped in. Like if my parents had asked my sister to get his room cleaned for the last 3 months and he hasn't, and my mom gets mad at him, she may also be mad at the other two for not taking care of our stuff either.
Last extra detail is I feel like me and my siblings act like control freaks most of the time, it;s like we have to be sure things are completely smoothed out before we're satisfied so we drag arguments out instead of just letting someone be mad at us and moving on.
I guess that is about it. Lately I have just been caring a lot less, realizing things will blow over soon. I try not to escalate things from my side as much. Say I'm sorry, explain sometimes then go off and be alone and watch a movie or something, instead of feeling real mad or guilty or anything. But sometimes I'm swept up with wanting to be right, or explain how I'm misunderstood, etc.
That works pretty good for me when I can let things drop, but I feel real bad when things hurt my moms feelings so much. I think maybe sometimes she's not as upset as I think, that I take it to heart that she's real mad or hurt, but maybe it passes soon for her too.... But I feel bad to totally ignore her feelings etc. and go on my merry way. She's my friend, and I'd love to make things better for her in our relationship and in our home in general. Anyone who watches Gilmore Girls, I feel like our disagreements are a lot like blow ups that Lorelei and Rory have.