If you want to be happier with your family, say goodbye to these 12 behaviors

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Everyone dreams of having a happy family. 

And no one wants to live in a broken, dysfunctional family—much be responsible for one!

But sometimes we nonetheless end up creating tensions and heartaches without realizing it.

So if you want to have a happier, healthier relationship with your family, look out for these 12 behaviors you need to get rid of.

1) Having high expectations

It’s perfectly normal to have high expectations. We all want to be surrounded by people who will never disappoint us and never give us grief.

But we’re usually bound to get disappointed.

Our families are, unfortunately, made up of people. And people are naturally flawed and imperfect. 

That’s why you should learn to manage your expectations. In fact, the way to be happy is to expect NOTHING from anyone.

Don’t expect them to rescue you.

Don’t expect them to give you anything.

Don’t expect them to love you 24/7.

That way, you’ll be grateful when they actually do…and you won’t be resentful when they don’t.

By not expecting anything, you’d start to see the things they do as acts of kindness instead of things you’re entitled to have.

2) Not showing up 

Are you always MIA during important events like Christmas and birthdays?

Do you not show up during emergencies? 

Do you dismiss their calls?

Well, it’s not like they can force you to come. Just don’t expect that they’ll like you very much if you act this way.

Look, in one year, you have 365 days. 

A trip to your parents home will only last 3-5 days. 

Attending your child’s event will only last a day.

Answering a phone call won’t last 30 minutes.

Don’t get lazy. Show up as much as you can!

It’s the best way to make you all feel like you actually have a family.

3) Holding grudges

Do you hate being around your brother because they refused to let you borrow some money when you were still struggling to make ends meet?

Do you secretly wish bad luck on your sister because she once betrayed your trust?

I get it. It’s not easy to forgive and forget…especially if none of you ever really tried to talk about it.

But if you keep holding grudges, you’ll eventually have resentment piling up until it gets to the point where you’d need therapy to shake it off.

So if you want to be happy, you’ll want to avoid bringing it to that point. 

Talk over it. Then once you’ve aired out your resentment, try to forgive and move on.

4) Thinking that the grass is greener in other families

Do you look at other families and think “I wish we’re more like them”? 

They’re just more fun, more supportive of each other, more present. They have a nicer house, and they’re not burdened by a toxic atmosphere.

It’s normal that when you look at others, they always have MORE, and you always have LESS. And here’s the thing—you could be right.

But what are you going to do about it? Just give up on your family because it’s not the “best”?

Forget other families. 

They’re never going to be yours. What you have is your family and you have to do the work so you’ll all be happier—and that starts with not comparing your family to others.

Learn to appreciate what makes your family unique instead.

5) Gossiping about each other

We talk about the people in our life. It’s normal.

But there’s a difference between talking about your family member and ATTACKING them with words.

Do you think it’s okay to discuss your sister’s miserable life because she made shitty choices? Well, you should stop that.

It doesn’t matter how much you think they “deserve” it. It will only serve to make them even more miserable and maybe even force the rest of your family to take “sides”.

Just talk directly to the people you have issues with, especially if those people are family.

6) Brushing issues under the rug

There are some issues that are so petty or minor that they’re not worth talking about.

But there are also those that are important enough that they MUST be discussed to maintain a healthy relationship.

It might be tempting to just sweep them under the rug and pretend they don’t exist, especially if they’re contentious.

But you must talk about important stuff or else they’ll blow up.

If you don’t know where to start, try starting with a simple “Hey, do you want to talk about it?”

Relationships need to be maintained, and the best way to do that is by talking about important things, especially those that involve matters of the heart.

7) Giving empty promises

Did your parents promise to give you shopping money for your birthday, only to forget all about it when the day actually came?

Did you tell your family you’re going home for the holidays, only for you to not show up when they were expecting you to?

While not being able to follow through is normal—we’re all human after all—it becomes a problem when it has become a habit.

I get it. You might think that it’s just a “plan” so it shouldn’t be a big deal!

But yeah, no. It’s a big deal and you shouldn’t give promises unless you can deliver.

Now if you really can’t help it, one solution  is to manage their expectations. 

Say “I can’t promise but…”, or “I’ll try my best, but..”. At least no one would be disappointed.

8) Overreliance

It’s not easy to be genuinely happy with your family if you rely too much on them or they rely too much on you.

You should be able to stand on your own two feet, assuming that you’re no longer a minor and you don’t have any disabilities.

Family is indeed about helping one another, but overreliance is still something you want to avoid.

So if you want to be happier with your family, do everything you can to become more independent. 

And I don’t mean just financially, I mean in all other areas in your life, too—from being able to wake up early to being able to handle your emotions.

9) Indifference

There are times when things get so bad it can be tempting to simply not give a damn.

Maybe your parents have been getting sucked into scams and get-rich-schemes over and over without learning from their mistakes.

Maybe your siblings have been spending the last ten years badmouthing one another, and it’s driving everyone insane.

But if you still want a happy relationship with your family, the last thing you want is to give up. 

So if you’re feeling a bit numb right now, if you feel like you really don’t give a damn…well, change that.

You have to care enough for you to be happy.

10) Being judgmental and critical

Be honest. Do you secretly dislike your family?

Maybe you think that your dad’s a bit too naïve, that your mom is way too tacky, and your siblings are straight up irresponsible.

And maybe you do have a reason for it. Maybe they ARE irresponsible, tacky, and naïve.

But you’ll never have a happy relationship with your family if you keep seeing them this way.

You might not realize it, but harboring these thoughts will make you slowly resent them until you end up forgetting why you even cared for them in the first place.

And the thing is that we are ALL flawed. You certainly are not without any shortcomings of your own.

That’s why you should just try to find a way to stop judging them so much. Or perhaps judge them a bit but don’t make it a big deal.

You can say “Sure, they’re tacky…but they’re MY tacky family and I love them”, and then try focusing on their good qualities instead.

11) Being controlling

If you’re at the point where you’re judging the members of your own family, it would also follow that you’ll want to change them.

This is especially true if you’re already somewhat successful in life with a good career. Or if you have a family of your own while the family you grew up with remains painfully dysfunctional.

But be careful of actually trying to “change” them — nobody wants to be controlled, and you’ll only end up adding more tension in the family.

So if you truly want to be happier with your family, stop yourself from trying to control how your family operates.

The best thing you can do is try to influence them, but change them? Nah, they’re adults!

12) Letting pride get in the way of love

It’s often said that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference.

And that’s something worth keeping in mind.

You see, if you hate your family right now, and if thinking of them has you pissed off and annoyed, it means that you still care about them deep down.

The problem might just be that there are differences between you and your family and everyone involved is just too hurt and proud to even begin mending the bridges.

It might be tempting to keep turning up your nose until THEY go down on their knees to beg you to love them again, but that’s nothing but pointless cruelty.

So how about this: Try to be the first one to reach out and try mending bridges. See if you can find a way to settle your differences instead of waiting till you’re all old and gray.

Final thoughts

There are a few families that are so dysfunctional that people are better off cutting all contact—but those families are few and far between.

Most of the time, the tensions we have with our families can be mended with enough effort from everyone involved.

You can start by looking at yourself and seeing what behaviors you have that might be getting in the way. 

Some of these you might have learned from your parents, while others are habits you’ve developed on your own.

Try to change what you can and I assure you, it will be impossible for your relationship to not get better.

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Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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