Every family has a few of these types, those who stake their right to every bit of information!
They are the eager beavers or the frequent busybodies present almost in every family. Many a times these intrusive individuals are not overly concerned because they are altruistic or want to see harmony in the family; it is usually because they are meddlers.
Define and verbalize your boundaries: You set the boundaries in your relationships. If those boundaries are crossed and the other person can’t seem to take the hint, you have to assert yourself to restore balance. If you have relatives who fail to respect your boundaries and behave as if the purpose of your relationship is for you to bend over backwards to satisfy all of their needs, you certainly aren’t alone. I’m talking about boundaries that you consider to be bottom lines that should not be crossed, ones that make you feel violated when they are.
Often people make the mistake of succumbing to the outwardly friendly approach of these busy bodies and succumb to their wily ways for the purpose of being liked. By the time they realize, it is too late as they may have established habits and practices that are not only irritating, but also interfering. It’s a fact in most extended families’, relatives feel they have a right to all information and assume an active central role. The thought is that since you are related, you should share every intimate detail of your life with each other, and give commentary and suggestions. In large families, this takes the form of gossip about other family members providing entertainment value.
One must set limits with them and its never too late to do this, because the longer they are allowed to interfere, the greater the influence these meddling types will have on your relationships with others. It is important to speak up when asked to do or say something with which you do not agree.
Do not sacrifice your opinions or what you know to be right simply for the sake of getting along with your relatives. When they do something you do not like, tell them in a civilized manner what they did and why it upsets you.
Try and be conciliatory by explaining what is acceptable, but again, not at the expense of your beliefs or self-esteem. If you have reconnected with any of the family member, be on alert. Old patterns will most likely remain in waiting to thrust you into the same old position.
With this said keep in mind that you have to do what is best for yourself, regardless of how your family may respond.
The choice of making a change is something that you are doing for your benefit, and not for anyone else’s harm.
You should not feel guilty for doing what is right for you.
To prevent your relatives from meddling in your personal affairs here are a few tips you may want to try:
- Do not talk too much about your business.
- Keep your business out of the street.
- Just say nothing. If someone in your family comes to you meddling. Just tell them you don’t wish to talk about it.
- Tell your kids to keep their tongue. Sometimes conniving relatives will go so far as to ask your children questions about your life. If some of their relatives want to know about you, tell your children to say, “you have to ask my mother or father about that.”
- Change the conversation. If a family member wants to meddle in your affairs, try changing the subject.
- Flip the question around on them. Most times people like to meddle in your affairs, but they do not like for you to meddle in their’s.
- Another tactic is to answer their questions with one of your own. When the meddling relative begins to inquire about your personal life in a way that you aren’t comfortable with, here is your answer: “Why do you ask?”. The question makes them uncomfortable and forces them to assess their true motives, as well.
Lay new ground rules for your relationship, and stick by them, even when it hurts. It will pay off in the long run.
Eventually your family will get used to the new you, and learn how to relate to you.
Family is what you are born into, there is no choice about it. Do all that you can to keep these relationships healthy and intact. They are important, but always remember that you are in control of your life and how you choose to live it. Don’t allow yourself to be run over or exhausted by meddlesome relatives.
“You can put a stop to it, at best by questioning their intent and at worst by severing the relations.”