5 things you can do to handle hard conversations.

So here we are again dear readers, another blog post. This one was not simple to compose because I had to consider so many factors. In the end, after I spent a long time thinking about what to write I said “F*#k it” and I realized I was over thinking the subject. Hard conversations are not the norm. Of course, “hard” is subjective but I am talking about the conversations that lead to conflict or change relationships.

Divorce, coming out to loved ones, political debates, anger…. You get the picture here. All of us are going to have to have hard conversations in our life. I am closing in on 54 and I really thought about how many hard conversations I have really had. I am around a dozen myself. I’ve had conversations with siblings about getting them out of my life, to a serious girlfriend years ago cheating to a brother-in-law’s suicide to subduing a drunkard physically. The ones I have had with my children were hard but straight forward, being a parent has its advantages.

So, reflecting on all of that I came up with 5 things you can do to help you handle hard conversations:

  1. Say as little as possible: Listen and hold your tongue. Let the other person get emotional, overcome, and vocal.
  2. Mean it: When you do speak, you better mean what you say. No B.S. no vacillation. This is a hard conversation you can’t flip flop here. It’s likely there will be yelling, ultimatums, hurt feelings. If you are going down this rabbit hole mean what you say.
  3. Stand up and create space: Hard conversations can become physical. Be aware of what’s around you. Be aware of where you are, where the door is and most importantly awareness of the other person’s ability and propensity to become physical.
  4. Follow the eyes: This works both ways. Eye contact is important but can lead to hostile outcomes. If you are firm, and prepared, you look the person in the eye. This lets them know you are prepared to “have it out.” Looking at the ground and looking away creates the demeanor that you are aloof and or want to get away.
  5. Don’t engage: There are times when the best course of action is to say “No” firmly and exit the situation. It’s essentially picking your moment. You might not be ready for this. Have the conversation on your terms if you can.
If every conversation becomes a war, it’s likely you have the wrong people in your life.

Now none of this is an exact science. Things happen and hard conversations can pop up at any time. Chances are in your life you are going to have a dozen to twenty. If you have more it’s likely that you are around the wrong kind of people. You have hard conversations, generally, with people you care about or love. Something has happened and someone has been harmed emotionally, this is when hard conversations happen.

The random person on the street starting shit? That’s random. Your spouse yelling about the house not being clean? That’s a festering long standing issue that has now presented itself into a hard conversation. These things are going to happen and how you handle them could make or break some of your most important relationships.

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Why you have to deal with resentment ASAP

Most of us at some point in our life have had resentment or have had someone who resents us. Resentment is a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury. Resentment usually manifests itself in your most intimate relationships. You care what these people think, what they say, how they behave.

Further, this resentment is often harbored for long periods of time because we maintain these relationships for years. After all, these are often the people we care most about or whom we have as part of our lives. In-laws, Ex-spouses, Siblings these are all prime candidates for resentment. As individuals with anxiety, resentment is like a fertilizer for our condition. It’s paramount that we deal with resentment if for nothing else our personal mental health, but ideally to nurture our close relationships.

We resent the people we care about the most for that very reason, WE CARE ABOUT THEM. So when they hurt us it festers, and this grows to resentment. Not allowing hurts to grow to resentment is an important skill that is extremely hard to master. It requires a high level of communication ability that many of us with Anxiety issues simply don’t possess.

Communicate with the most important people in your life.

Resentment not addressed, over time poisons you, poisons your relationships and eventually kills positive outcomes. Future events are flavored by past hurts and in the end it’s really you who lose. So how do you deal with resentment? Here are 3 ways to get a handle on your resentment issues.

  1. Talk to a therapist
  2. Communicate with the party who offended
  3. Embrace forgiveness

All three can work singularly or in tandem. None of them are simple, but lets be very candid here, resentment issues are very complex. It’s hard to address or in many cases even understand why you are carrying this baggage around. As people with anxiety we have to work on so many things to survive mentally it can be exhausting. Resentments are one of the key emotional states that’s are sabotaging your most important relationships.

You have to work on it. Be honest why you might resent those in your life. What was the past hurt? Why didn’t you let it go? What wrong was not apologized for? If you don’t ask these questions and give honest answers you will continue to feed your anxiety and undermine your happiness. This is a worthy investment, not only for you but for those whom you have deep personal relationships. The people you care about the most are the ones who can hurt you the most profoundly.

Identify it, address it, be honest about it, own your part of it, get better, and find harmony.

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Surviving 2020 & covid

Anxiety Sucks Vol XIV. – How you are not supposed to feel on your Birthday

Yes I recently had a birthday, a big one 50. So for all my Gen X friends out there welcome to the silver years I guess, LOL. The event in of itself was good, my immediate family and in laws kept it low key which is what I wanted. Still that day I began to feel very anxious. The number doesn’t really throw me, 50 is a number. Some days I feel it, some days I feel older honestly. The worst part for me was I didn’t hear from anyone from my side of the family.

Upon reflection that was the source of my anxiety, I was anticipating a call or something which normally evolves into some rehash of a past event that I have no desire revisiting. We all realize that 1995 is was 25 years ago? MOVE ON. But I digress…

I won’t illuminate everything about my family, let’s just say that my childhood was less than stellar. It was a melding of so many factors that its hard to pin point one singular event or individual that contributed to the negative impact it had on me and many others. My siblings move out when each one turned 18 to escape, I was the youngest I was 8 years behind my sister so when I was 10, I was essentially alone in this abyss.

I survived, I got over it but there were a lot of things that happened along the way as I became an adult that made things, at various points go extremely sour. Silence, physical altercations, cops. Ya you name it we had it. I look back now and I realize that most of this was from an event that happened before I was born. I have a half-sister, who was given up by my mother at the behest of my father. Now this sounds complicated and it is, but the short story is she got pregnant right before they got married.

The family story is booze was involved, a mistake was made etc. Now what that did was, it created a foundation of mistrust and resent that over decades manifested itself in to all sorts of bullshit. My siblings and I were participants and outlets for this constant struggle between my parents. Honestly my brother got it the worst, the 70’s were not good for him I was too little to know what was going on.

Oh, right so my 50th birthday… What does all this have to do with it? I didn’t receive a card, a call, not even a text from anyone on my side of my family. I didn’t expect much, but a call would have been nice. I would have liked to hear from them, but it wasn’t to be. I was upset about it but got through the event. Now that I am a few days removed I can reflect back on it and it makes me a little sad.

Please folks, if you have issues with your family don’t let it fester. Before you know it, you’ll be 50 and your time is getting shorter and shorter. You can’t make up for lost time, be the bigger person and reach out. I wish I had, and I didn’t and that makes me a blatant hypocrite for giving this advice I realize that. It just sucks, and the longer it goes on the harder it is to fix.