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  • Julie Kuhn

Ideas for Dealing with Difficult Family

Getting together with Family members at any time of year can be difficult and challenging especially if you feel that they push your buttons and/or feed your emotions or insecurities.

Perhaps now is the time for you to put some practical ideas and strategies into place so that you have something that you can call on in times of need.

You can practice these in readiness to use when you are with your family, your friends or when you are faced with difficult situations.

So here are a few tips/ideas that you might take with you when you meet up with your family.

Plan ahead

Think about the bigger picture. Who or what pushes your buttons? Have a think in advance about how you might go about dealing with them/it. Try thinking about the person who irritates you and create a list of their good points and what you might like about them. If it’s a situation that is the problem try thinking about how you can inject some positivity into it.

You might also plan a head how to share the responsibilities for the time you spend together.

Inner Strength

In the days leading up to your get-together you can begin to draw on your inner strength and envision yourself as being in control and strong, perhaps like a lion 🦁 or a tiger 🐯 or someone you aspire to.

Imagine your strength growing as you build yourself a tough hide or skin to protect yourself. You might repeat to yourself “I am strong like a tiger” or “I have the strength of a lion”. Do this each day and notice your confidence growing. You are strong and in control.

Learn to say ‘No’

Sometimes when we try to keep the peace and say yes this can lead to problems in the future. So, it’s probably best to get practising the ways in which you can say no.

So grab yourself some assertiveness and in a calm voice you might try using some phrases like...

Thanks for including/asking me but I’m not up for that

right now

Thanks but I’m going to pass on that

Keep it simple and perhaps say that you are not the best person to ask but that it was nice to be asked.

Sometimes a stronger message is needed and for that perhaps you might say something like…

I have definitely decided not to do that

And, again, you can practice the phrases in advance.


Use some simple breathing techniques. You can either do these in situ or take yourself off to another room or even the bathroom. Your breath is always with you and often others don’t even notice when you are using it as a tool.

So fill up your toolbox with breathing techniques that suit you such as...

1. The 7/11 approach

2. The triangle method

3. The 4 7 8 breathing technique

4. Box breathing

5. With each breath you can simply say the words “I

breathe in calm and I breathe out tension.”

Each of these methods/techniques can easily be found via the internet.

Take a step back

Take some time out and remove yourself from whatever/whoever is triggering your emotions. You might take a short walk, taking in what you see, hear and smell.

If that’s not possible you might pop to the bathroom (again!) to take a few moments to think of something which you might be grateful for or that you can feel positive about.

And there you have it! I hope there are a few tips or ideas here that you think might be able to help and I suppose something that might be worth remembering is that it’s just for a short time, it’s not forever!

If you are struggling with your emotions and want help DONT STRUGGLE ALONE!

Call me to make an appointment for counselling on



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