Ways to Cope With a 'Difficult' Family Member

by Emma L. Business consultant

Living with a family member who has behavioral issues can be heartbreaking. Not only difficult or not tiring, but truly heartbreaking. Whether it’s substance abuse or mental illness, trying to help a loved one can be a long process because sometimes, a person in the question, can’t acknowledge they need to get better. So, if you happen to find yourself in a similar situation, here are the ways to cope with a difficult family member without ruining the relationship:

1. Don’t scold them 

Lashing out and badgering them is the easiest way to get things off your chest, but remember that it can have terrible consequences. You may temporarily feel better, but your loved one will definitely take it the wrong way. How many times you’ve had this situation that ended with them storming out and slamming the door? If you’ve had this, chances are you didn’t feel good after the quarrel. When you’re dealing with someone like that, being berating and pointing out their obvious flaws will just create an opposite effect. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should bury your head and pretend everything’s fine. Finding a way to talk to them will prove more beneficial in the long run. It might feel like walking on eggshells, and that’s not something you should endure for a long time, but similarly, yelling at them and being angry will only push them further away from you.

2. Instead, stage an intervention

This approach can have a much more desired outcome than regular berating and showing your frustration. When you’re constantly criticizing without actually doing anything, you’re sending a message that you don’t care. Just because you casually complain, it doesn’t mean it truly matters to you. On the other hand, staging an intervention in an important step. So, next time, sit down with your family member and have a serious conversation. Be firm and show them that their well-being matters to you. It’s important to stand your ground. Sometimes, we’re used to being manipulated by our loved ones that we forget to be firm and defend our viewpoints. A bit of tough love can go a long way. Show them what they’re doing wrong, but also make sure to point out how that affects everyone in the family. And urge them to talk to a mental health professional, and assure them that you’re going to be supporting during each and every step of their recovery.

3. Consider asking for legal aid

Asking for legal aid can be a final step in resolving family disputes, but sometimes things get so out of hand that there’s no other way. No matter how difficult it is, there comes a moment where you need to make a decision and do what’s necessary, especially if the family member is being violent or harassing you and others. Even in developed countries, domestic violence is still prevalent, so for example in Australia, 17% of women and 6% of men have experienced family violence since the age of 15. Back in the day, it was considered a bit of a taboo to ask for legal help, but nowadays it’s not so uncommon to find specialist family lawyers in Sydney that deal with family dispute resolution. It might be difficult to make that step, but if someone isn’t accepting your help and continuing to behave irrationally, you’re perfectly entitled to legally prevent them from causing you more grief.

4. Be patient

In case your family member is undergoing therapy and trying their best to recover, the optimal thing you should do is be patient and supportive. Making an effort to change for better isn’t easy, and the last thing they need is someone telling them that they’re not doing enough. For a lot of people, recovery can be a slow process, and it’s crucial to create a positive and nurturing environment that’ll help them feel good about themselves. When it comes to coping with a difficult family member, patience indeed is a virtue, but only if that person is making an effort to improve their ways. 


Dealing with a loved one who has mental and/or behavioral issues can be daunting, so if you feel like you’re at your wits’ end, don’t hesitate to reach out for help yourself. In case that family member is causing you personal and even financial problems, asking for legal aid is something you should definitely consider, no matter how difficult it is to do so. But most importantly, if you really want to help them, be supportive, kind and patient because often, that’s the best thing you can do.

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About Emma L. Advanced Pro  Business consultant

3 connections, 0 recommendations, 154 honor points.
Joined APSense since, February 18th, 2016, From Sydney, Australia.

Created on Jul 11th 2019 05:47. Viewed 401 times.


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