Many people have relatives with whom it is difficult to communicate. When you meet them, they throw unsolicited advice, criticize without reason, and are not stingy with insults disguised as jokes. This causes a lot of stress - and because of the emotions you can not always respond in an appropriate way. Here are simple but effective phrases to help protect personal boundaries.
⛔️ "I don't want to discuss it."
When to use. A relative asks a question on a sensitive subject for you. Say, asking if you're seeing someone or if you want to go on a diet
How it works. You have every right not to answer an insensitive question. A clear refusal to do so will allow you to stop an unpleasant conversation right away and set boundaries for the future - showing the person what topics you are willing to talk to them about and what topics you are not
😏 "Thanks for telling me what you think about it."
When to use. The relative begins to criticize your decisions, behavior, plans, appearance, ways of spending and earning money
How it works. If you haven't asked the person what they think of you and your life, unsolicited criticism is a violation of your personal boundaries. A formal show of gratitude can help cut off the flow of criticism toward you and avoid conflict
🤬 "If you talk to me like that, I'll stop our communication."
When to use. During a conflict, a relative behaves aggressively and rudely - insults you or yells
How it works. Verbal aggression is considered a type of emotional abuse - and it can and should be resisted. Firmly state that you do not intend to tolerate such an attitude. This phrase should only be used if you are really willing to carry out your threat
🧐 "I'll take care of it myself.
When to use. Relatives throw you unnecessary advice: about how to dress, raise children, cook borscht, communicate with the opposite sex
How it works. Giving out advice, relatives subconsciously try to lead you, because they still think you're a child. There is evidence that women are more likely to receive unsolicited advice than men. Tell your relatives directly that their advice is no longer needed. This way you assert your right to make decisions and regain your sense of control.
When to use. Every time someone tries to use you or gives you an assignment that you don't have to and don't want to do
How it works. Many people hesitate to say no to their relatives because they are afraid they will be offended and reject them. But it is worth overcoming this fear if you understand exactly that by saying "yes" to the requests of relatives, you will hurt yourself or find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. To mitigate the refusal, you can explain your reasons
😉 "You must be worried about me?"
When to use. Relatives ask too intrusively how you're doing. Giving unsolicited advice and criticism
How it works. Another way to quickly but politely end a conversation that is making you uncomfortable. The question will help shift the focus of the conversation from you to the relatives themselves, and after they answer, reassure them that there is nothing to worry about. And so end the conversation.
⏳ "I have a lot to do. I can only talk for ten minutes."
When to use. Someone unpleasant to you relatives once again call to chat out of boredom, share gossip, complain about life and other family members
How it works. You don't have to, if you don't feel like it, constantly entertain others, pity them and support them. Especially if it takes up emotional energy and you don't get anything in return. By setting a specific time frame, you'll take care of yourself: you'll save time and energy
🥺 "It hurts me that you make fun of me."
When to use. Someone in your family frequently - and publicly - makes fun of your shortcomings. Or regularly brings up supposedly funny stories about your mistakes and failures
How it works. This is toxic behavior: it insults and belittles you. To defend yourself, you need to talk to your abuser and voice your protest. Psychologists advise using "self-talk" in such conversations: telling the source of the toxicity how you feel, but not blaming them directly or attacking them
😤 "You can criticize me on a case. But don't get personal."
When to use. Every time you make a mistake or get in trouble and your relatives call you a fool, a slacker, and other insulting words
How it works. Name-calling is another type of emotional abuse, and it's important to stop it as soon as possible. Tell them that you are willing to listen to constructive criticism and advice, especially if it is relevant, but in no way do you agree to listen to insults
☹️ "I'm sorry."
When to use. When a relative tries to make you feel guilty about something you didn't do. For example, blaming you for your problems.
How it works. Wanting to make the other person feel guilty is manipulation. This is how the other person is trying to bind you to themselves, to make you care about yourself. Ask yourself if you really feel guilty about something. If not, tell the person that you are sorry that he feels bad. But don't apologize, even out of politeness.