How to Handle Stressful Situations with Extended Family

Learn how to handle stressful situations with others!

How can people deal with extended family, stress, and set up boundaries?

It’s common for people to be afraid to set up boundaries because they think they are going to hurt the other person. Boundaries do not hurt other people. It’s important to know how to set boundaries properly, including using the template “I feel X when you do Y.”


Change the Way You Think About Boundaries


People glorify sucking it up or pretending something doesn’t bother them as though it’s a good thing. This is not a good thing. In fact, it’s dishonest and deceitful.

When you are learning how to handle stressful situations and set boundaries it’s a good thing for the other person! It’s helpful to the other person when you set up a boundary because it gives them a chance to take responsibility and change. Get it out of your head that not setting a boundary is nice and setting a boundary is mean.

Another reason people are hesitant to set boundaries is that they think it’ll cause awkwardness or that it is going to be too awkward to deal with. You can deal with awkward situations! If you set a boundary and suddenly there is an awkward silence, it’s okay to fill the silence.

Fill the silence by talking about something you really would like to talk about. Think about the last time you saw these people, what were they talking about that was interesting to you. Did someone get a new job, a new hobby, a new house, a new car? Have some of these questions ready for any awkward silences. People will be grateful you filled in the awkward silence and everyone will move along.


Don’t Become a Toxic Person


Do not become a toxic person when setting a boundary. Stick to owning your boundary. One way people become toxic is by sticking up for someone else. This can be glorified as the “right” thing to do but it is not. It’s condescending. For example, saying something like, “You know this is not a good topic for mom, you should change the topic.” Mom can take care of herself. Your job as an adult is to take care of you.

If it makes you uncomfortable that it’s an uncomfortable topic for your mom then own it and say that. Such as, “This topic is uncomfortable for me.”


How to Respond to Rude Responses to Your Boundaries


If the person on the other end says something inappropriate such as, “Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot talk about?” Simply say, “Okay.” Then put distance between you and that person by leaving the room during the conversation and returning once it’s over.

Set boundaries. They are not mean! Other people can handle them. Not only are you protecting yourself, you are also demonstrating how to set boundaries to others. This makes for a much happier family gathering!


When you are ready, I want to help you create healthy relationships. Healthy relationships lead to a more fulfilling life!


Here are 4 ways we can do this together:
  1. Find out the top 4 “get out now” red flags in relationships. Click Here.
  2. Learn how to read all of the red flags in your relationships! Recognizing the top behaviors leading to toxic relationships is important when pursuing healthy relationships. Click Here.
  3. Take matters into your own hands, with guidance from Dr. Dabney. The Intimacy Now Program will help you find more constructive ways to handle your relationship issues, learn how to achieve mutual understanding, and free yourself from bickering, walking on eggshells, or a sense of loss. Click Here. 
  4. All hands on deck! Work directly with Dr. Dabney through Video Coaching, or Email Coaching.



For more helpful info go to www.drldabney.com. Or for online programs to help you in your relationships, go to relationship-rx.com.


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1 Comment

  1. Wendy

    Interesting read with lots of good takeaways


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