In addition to my complicated family set up, over the years I have had numerous relationships with people that have made me miserable. Friends, lovers, in-laws, bosses, work colleagues. I’m a very passionate person – a true Leo – and pre-kids would throw myself head first into the deep end of any precarious situation going. Sometimes these experiences would be great and result in happiness. Often however, they would result in misery and heart ache. I was a carefree spirit back then and would bounce back remarkably fast. I’m a pragmatist and feel that each and every knock to my confidence then means that I’m stronger and more capable in my day to day life now. I believe that everything happens for a very good reason, even the horrendous stuff.
The way I see it is this: when you’re in the midst of a bad relationship you have two options available. You can try and change the other person, or you can change the way you interact with them. For family members and close friends, it can be as simple as distancing yourself a little and redefining the rules of your relationship. This can be extremely beneficial in the long run, because by you laying out the new rules and changing your interaction, the change will inevitably have a positive knock on effect and prompt a change in their own behaviour. Win win.
Some people are lucky enough to come from loving, happy families. They don’t harbour resentment towards their upbringing and they love their parents and siblings unconditionally. For those that aren’t as fortunate it can be like navigating a minefield every time you have a family gathering – with Christmas often being the worst time of year. It’s a nightmare having to tread on eggshells, and ending up feeling that you are responsible for the other person’s happiness. If you have one or two people that cause you pain then redefining the rules can work. If the hurt and resentment run too deep, then you may need to consider other options.
If you feel you’ve done your best, nothing is working, and your mental-health wellbeing is suffering because the others are not willing to pitch in and help sort things out, then I would suggest taking a huge step back. Time can often be the only true healer, and an extended break from the other party can be exactly what you both need to realise that your relationship is (or isn’t) worth fighting for. What I personally had to learn the hardest way is that above all else self preservation must come first. There is absolutely no point in being a martyr, you will not thank yourself in the long run.