Dealing with Family Interference
7/25/2012 11:15:00 AM
Watching the ratchedness of “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta”, I noticed Lil Scrappy’s mama is way too much in his relationship! Sheesh! I know that’s your son but when you call meetings with the mother of his child/sometime girlfriend, I’m like, “He’s grown! He can’t handle it?” But she’s not the only one.
I know people in my own family who have so much interference from family members they can’t keep a mate! While I know we want our family members to be happy, we can’t be so much into their business that we in turn make them miserable! Shoot, the bible says a man leaves his mother and father to cleave to his wife. If that’s the expectation, how do you allow outsiders to have so much say so in your relationship? It’s ideal if you can keep both family and your intimate relationship but when things get out of hand, you may have to choose: my mate or family? Or do you? Jason Rothan wrote a piece, “Dealing with Family Interference”, for destinyman.com. This piece aims to help you balance the love of your blood family and the love of your life. Peep it below:
What to do if your families are trying to interfere
Antoinette Lortan, a professional life and executive coach, says that the first thing you should do if your family is trying to come in between you and your partner is "connect or re-connect to your vision that defines your relationship or marriage. You also need to commit or re-commit as a team to that vision as well as to the values and actions supporting that daily. Explore and agree on what the word ‘interfere' means to you in the above context, set boundaries and communicate them to the family as a team. It takes emotional intelligence, self-awareness and self-management to do this."
Should you confront them?
Nic King, a relationship coach for Core Life Coaching, says that couples should confront their families if they're trying to interfere in their relationship. "It's essential that the couple and the interfering family discuss boundaries and levels of respect for each other." Lortan agrees and puts in the fact that you will only achieve success if your message is received as a win-win, if you speak assertively and if you stand firm on your rights and express your wishes for the future.
Ensure they don't come in the way
Lortan suggests that you take the following steps in order to ensure that your family doesn't come in the way of your relationship:
- Be pro-active and anticipate problems before they arise.
- Ensure that the boundaries are discussed in the context of love and agreed on before it becomes a problem.
- Couples should listen to each other and always put themselves in the other's shoes. You are involved with someone with their own cultural and childhood conditioning. Understanding someone's roots breeds tolerance, empathy, acknowledgment and understanding.
- Focus on the positives wherever possible; give an example of right behaviour.
- Always stay in action through taking responsibility of improving the situation.
- Connect regularly with your vision for your marriage and make this a conscious commitment every day. Laminate it and put it on your fridge if you need to. Couples need to agree where their families fit into this picture and speak to the family or family member from there.
Engage in clear communication
Johnson advises that the best way to deal with family interference is through clear communication:
- Clear communication is about stating what specific behaviour or situation is causing upset.
- It's about how you are feeling about such behaviour or in such a situation.
- It's also about you offering a solution into the behaviour or situation.
Ask yourself why they're trying to interfere
King says that you should ask yourself:
- What is your family seeing in your chosen partner that you are not seeing?
- What is your family's intensions for trying to break up your relationship?
- Is it for protection?
- Is it for selfishness?
- Is their chosen partner not good enough in your family's eyes?
Yes, sometimes your family may discern something you don’t. In that case, you still make the choice to take a chance on love. Other times, our families may have selfish motive for why they interfere. You must determine if your relationship is worth the risk of alienating your family or simply man or woman-up to say, “I love you as my family, but I love this person. If you cannot respect that, I have to step back.” Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that. But you have the authority to set personal boundaries for what you will not allow in your choice for love. “No, you can’t call my mate out of their name.” “No, mama you will not call my boo and give her a piece of your mind!” “No, sis, you will not roll your eyes and mutter when my husband speaks to you!” Stop the action before it becomes an accepted habit. And your family has the right to disagree with your choice, but should do so respectfully. Agree to disagree if need be, but find a way to love your mate and make peace with your kinfolk. A challenge? YES! Impossible? No. At the end of the day, you deserve peace of mind and real love. If you find it, great. If it turns out not to be so, fine. But you call it – not the family.