Stress is never good. Not to your body, not your psyche, not to your family and people around you.
You may have noticed that at times you get stressed about a family issue that does not necessarily stress the other family members. How’s that possible? It has to do with your own past experiences, your temperament, and the biases you carry.
Below are a few common stressors that show up in a family environment and how to try overcoming them.
- A happy spouse is a helping spouse – The fewer stressors your spouse has, the happier you will be. So, it is important to show up in your relationship and realize what YOU can do so your spouse has an easier time at home. Don’t think your spouse will try to make your life easier if he/she is feeling taken for granted or is unhappy with your behaviors. Positive behaviors need to start from one of you – the one who is making the decision to have a better life.
- Understand and embrace children’s development stages – If you are very familiar with children’s development stages beyond the “terrible two’s” or “terrifying teens”, try to google it. Understanding what your child is going through helps you have a better connection with them. Their brain goes through different stages and at times they are not really equipped to understand consequences, or they become very impulsive (teens!).
- Recognize and understand “perpetual issues” – Gottman & Gottman researched on couples’ issues and found that 69% of all couple’s conflicts will never be resolved satisfactorily. What makes a good relationship is how you deal with issues that will not be resolved at your satisfaction. You can either “let it go”, or use humor, or just have an understanding of your partners’ temperament, personality, or traumas/vulnerabilities of the past.
- Make peace with your in-laws – Provide you only have experience living in your own family, it is unfair comparing your in-law’s ways of being as “wrong”. Each family has a set of values and biases they develop. Try to understand where they come from and accept that is part of how your partner also brings with them. Sometimes being in peace is better than being right.
- Move towards a future goal – It is important that each partner has a personal goal and also a goal for their relationship. That way each partner can be held accountable when they behave in a way that is prejudicial to their goals.
Overall, to feel less stress in a family setting, try to understand differences, find ways to communicate better, and move towards a life goal with intention.
If you are having a relationship issue with a spouse or family member, try to seek help from a psychologist.
Dr. Rosana Marzullo-Dove