Dealing with micromanaging family members

 

Ask L.K. – Because life can get a little messy

By L.K. ELLIOTT, Connect Columnist

DEAR L.K.,

How do you stop being a doormat and letting people walk all over you? How can you say: “NO,” without feeling guilty afterwards? We seem to allow certain family members to “micromanage” things and I am at my wits end. Then, my husband stands up to them and I feel “sick” because it will be a huge fight!
 – Family Feud

DEAR FAMILY FEUD:

The answer, to almost all of life’s questions, is self-love. Self-love can fix anything and everything, even nagging family members. Remember that no one can bother us without our permission, and while we cannot control how other people act, we can certainly control our reactions to their actions.

Family members get away with too much in life. We often hear: “But, they are family” and somehow that gives people free-reign to act like jerks. Make the conscious decision to raise your standards, and cultivate relationships based on respect and mutual support.

Give up the notion that you can please everyone, and begin to ask yourself what you need to be happy. You must give yourself permission to say: “No,” unapologetically, without excuses or back stories.

You are not being selfish in asking for what you need; you are being authentic and honest with the people in your life.

You are not being selfish in asking for what you need; you are being authentic and honest with the people in your life.

You must insist on empowering relationships, rather than settling with disempowering ones. You will need to become comfortable with discomfort to start, because being authentic is not the “easy way”. It is uncertain and scary at the beginning. You need to communicate and exercise vulnerability as you express how you feel to others. This requires courage.

This is not the time to blame people, it’s a time to share your feelings and your new path to taking better care of yourself.

Explain that you need space when it comes to whatever issues they are micromanaging. Tell them that you know they are just trying to help, but the best way for them to help you right now is to allow you to figure it out on your own. And promise that if you ever really need help, that they will be the first ones you call.

You cannot control how others will react to your demands. If these people truly love you and are planning on staying in your life for the long-haul, they will get over their own emotions and will eventually respect your needs.
And if requesting respect is too much for them, then you’ll need to reassess that relationship all together. Remind yourself that you don’t need to attend every argument you’re invited to. Focus less on the “fight” and more on the freedom this situation offers.

You have a great opportunity here to create some fantastic changes in your life. This temporary feeling of discomfort could open up a lifetime of healthier relationships down the road.

So, talk to your husband regarding a new approach to deal with these family members and work together on creating boundaries that work for you both.

Sincerely, L.K.

L.K. Elliott is a local fitness guru turned self-help author. Send questions to L.K. on Twitter: @lkelliott_

 – Connect Weekly –