13 Tips For Resolving Family Feuds - aifc

Do you miss out on family birthdays? Do you turn away and cringe when you see that family member on the other side of the room or do you avoid being where they are altogether? Is your family split in two because of disagreements? Or are you simply just not talking to someone in your family or a few of them over an offence?

Disagreements and heated arguments happen within our families. In some cases family members taking sides can worsen the situation by causing further division within the family. These fights can escalate leading to all out family feuds where those holding grudges refuse to see or talk to one another.

13 things we can do to resolve family feuds

  1. INVESTIGATE – Get to the bottom of the situation. If it’s about money you may need to talk to someone about this. Ask yourself if that’s the real issue or if it’s something that you’re holding against the person. Whatever it may be, examine your true feelings about the family member and get to the bottom of it. Know the true source of your anger.
  2. FORGIVE – Grudges cause family rifts and not speaking to a family member is worse than speaking to them. Holding onto unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping that it will affect the other person. Forgiveness is for you – not the other person. It helps free you from the emotional pain stemming from the situation. Read about forgiveness in ‘Forgiveness –The Cure For Bitterness.’
  3. BE THE HERO – . Be the bigger person and extend your hand out in friendship. Family relationships are a network of support and a reason to mend broken relationships. You can choose friends but not family. Consider the consequences of not fixing the problem.
  4. THINK OF OTHERS – How is this feud affecting the rest of the family? Who is caught in the middle?
  5. WALK A MILE – Step into the other person’s shoes. There are two sides to a story. Try to understand why they did what they did. Try not to judge them. Weigh up and consider all points in fairness.
  6. CONSIDER – What will it mean to you if that family member you’re feuding with suddenly died? You can make amends while there’s still time. Leaving it for later may be too late.
  7. REACH OUT – Start with an apology and take responsibility for your part. Let them know why you value the relationship and let them know that you love them.
  8. FINANCIAL ISSUES – If the feud is caused over money and you can’t see eye to eye perhaps a mediator or counsellor can come up with a plan that will offer a solution.
  9. CREATE BOUNDARIES – discuss the relationship moving forward from the point of forgiveness. Do not bring up the past or the source of the feud. Find some middle ground and state your boundaries.
  10. CONSIDER COUNSELLING – Counselling can help you voice your concerns, your hurts and your fears to an unbiased and non-judgemental mental health professional.
  11. APOLOGISE – If your actions are the reason for the family rift then own it and apologise. Take responsibility for your actions and create peace by doing so.
  12. TURN IT OVER TO GOD – Seeking God’s divine help in prayer provides hope in areas where things have become too complex to fix on our own.
  13. CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK – Renew your mind. Read Romans 12

The biggest biggest hurdles we have to get over are our own unforgiveness and poor communication in conflict resolution.  Learning to do those two things well can also help us to weed out any obstacle preventing us from mending broken relationships and then we can express ourselves well to effectively reconcile with others.

Sandra Ciminelli
Cred. Dip. Couns. (Christian)

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