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Coping with Difficult People in Your Family that Stop Talking to You


Coping with difficult people is hard and challenging work. This is even more stressful when it is members of your family that stop communicating with you. But how can you deal with difficult people like this in your family system?

COPING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE WHO ARE FAMILY MEMBERS

You do have begin by understanding that when you change your communication patterns with others, particularly family members there is enormous emotional resistance. These communication habits have been long-held patterns of communication and difficult people will go overboard trying to avoid any change at all. When someone in the family system changes their abscribed roles and the way they communicate, many times family members just stop communicating with them. But what if you want to keep in contact with them? What can you do when they won't even contact you.

TWO IMPORTANT POINTS ON THE COMMUNICATION CUT-OFF

Here are two important points to consider. First, you must be very clear on this. When you are dealing with difficult people in the family system, ultimately every person is responsible for their own behavior. If they decide to no longer communicate with you, then that is their decision. You cannot make them speak to you. You cannot force them to respond to you. Sometimes you just have to accept that this is the way it is, at least for now.

DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE AT WORK OR HOME STRATEGY

Second, if you do want to try to open the communication channels here is a strategy that might just work for you.  In truth, it can't hurt and can be tried when dealing with people in general who stop communicating. So here it is. It might be time to send this person a letter. Yes that's right - an old fashioned handwritten letter.  Not an email, not a text message but a handwritten letter. Why send the written word as a letter? Because it is as personal as you can get without actually meeting in person.

YOU HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO WRITE

It is in your own handwriting. You have put pen to paper. Of course, a meeting in person would be better but this cannot occur if they will not talk to you. So the letter is an important attempt to open that communication.

THE LETTER IN COPING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE

But let us get clear. This is a very special letter with a very special purpose.  The purpose is not to abuse, demand or insult the other person. This will get you absolutely nowhere.  The real purpose of the letter is an attempt to re-open the positive communication channels between you and that person.

YOU MUST KEEP YOUR AIM IN MIND

Therefore, you must truly write this letter with this as your aim. This means any hateful, angry or insulting words must not appear in your letter.  It must talk about how important they are to you and how you really would like to be able to talk to them again.

UNDERSTANDING THE RELATIONSHIP HAS CHANGED

Although you and they have changed, their relationship with you is important and you would like to see how you can both come together and communicate again. This is the purpose of your letter to this person. No matter how angry, hurt and upset you feel, remember your goal with this letter is have the chance to start talking again.

WILL THIS LETTER WORK IN DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE?

So will this letter work and this family member will start talking to you again?  Who knows?  You cannot necessarily predict the result as there are so many emotional factors involved. But here is a fact. If you write a letter of hate and anger the communication channels will only open for return hate and anger.

A LETTER ABOUT COMING TOGETHER

But if you write a letter of reconciliation then the chances of starting to communicate again is one step closer. So get out the pen and paper and write that letter of reconcilation now.  Always keeping in mind your ultimate goal is to start talking once again.

More information

You have more resources waiting for you and a free copy of my Dealing with Difficult People Guide at our website. Dr Judy is an international expert and is amongst a handful of 'leading lights' whose advice is constantly sought on all issues relating to employee retention, stress and coping with difficult people.