“Family: like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.” – Unknown


The Wise Guy

Family members in this area can be well read and versed in political, national and global affairs. Or maybe they are just strongly opinionated. Some have strong opinions and readily challenge anyone who does not have the same opinion. It seems as though they’re trying to provoke others. Actually, they are protecting a hidden source of misery. To prevent feeling their own misery, they project it to you. To fight them makes you look defensive. This is not a good position to be in. If your family is able to have stimulating and rational discussions on differences, all is well. If there is a family member who is offended by the discussion, they can express their feelings of being offended, or walk away. Getting sucked in and reacting to what feels like a provocation might further escalate the situation. Sadly, some are unable to see a different viewpoint and the opponent never wins.

One way to intervene is to throw their judgment back at them. Ask them “How are things on your job?” Where are you going on your next trip?” Express yourself through your qualities of joy and compassion.

Remember they speak the truth as they see it.

The Judge

Have you ever run across a person who makes a point to discredit you in some way? It could be about the job you have, the trip you take, the clothes you wear or the decisions you make. Such comments put you on the defensive creating conflict and disruption. You cannot win. The person usually is protecting their dissatisfaction from within. They are miserable and to avoid these feelings they turn against you.

To fight against this makes you look defensive against someone who usually does not see it your way. One way to intervene is to throw their judgment back at them. Ask them “And where are you going on your next trip?, or What kind of clothing do you like to wear? As you do this, reveal yourself through your qualities of joy and compassion, understanding and caring.

Remember they feel they have to be in charge

The Enabler

Is there someone in your tribe who hovers over everyone with intent to be helpful? A nice gesture, but somehow becomes suffocating, particularly when you don’t want or need the help. They may cover up for someone or even set themselves up to be used, i.e. giving someone all of their money. They teach you how to be dependent on them. You can either let them help or graciously let them know that you are able to manage it.

Remember they teach dependence

The Victim

You may want to call them lazy. They sit around waiting for you to serve them. This is especially irritating when you know they are capable of helping out. Give them a chore or a way to be helpful. Ignoring it only gives the message that they do not have to do it differently. Deep within is a “poor me” mentality

Remember they feel helpless

The Addict

That means alcohol, drugs prescription pills, gambling, overeating, or any uncontrollable mood-altering acts. If they are not recovering, they are usually in denial. This is probably not the time that they are going to see the light of their ways and make instant moves to turn into the person you would like them to be. Just make sure you are not enabling their behavior by covering up.

Remember their attachments are a way of life


This can entail uncontrollable children where parents don’t set limits, someone’s alcohol and/or drug use is out of hand, someone did not take their medication for the secret bipolar disorder disorder, the rolls just burned or the turkey just slipped to the floor. UGH! Unfortunately, there’s always the unexpected. This alone can agitate any of the above scenarios, creating drama beyond belief. What do you do amongst the tears and shouting during the unexpected? Acceptance of “It is what it is” can lighten the tragedies.

Remember that whatever happens can be a learning experience.

Don’t forget that you just might want to do a check to make sure you’re not the difficult one. And in summary on the day of GivingThanks, let’s look at the difficult family in review:



Turkey in the oven
My favorite cornbread stuffin
Competition with holiday dishes
Brings a feast to a tummy’s wishes.

The wise guy stresses the real way to cook a bird
The cook says, “Well that I’ve never heard”
She graciously returns to the kitchen
And asks for someone to come pitch in.

Uncle Bob complains that the weather isn’t fair
And little Susie didn’t comb her hair
She says “How would you like the weather to be?”
And you don’t have any hair that I can see.

Mother hovering over you
So close you can’t even move
She allows Uncle Joe’s politics
And young peoples’ constant phone clicks.

Cousin George just sits around
Telling stories of how others put him down
Feels entitled for all to take care of him
Just let him be the victim.

Grandpa tells the same jokes over and over
He is still not sober
Others look around and sneak a wink
Hoping he doesn’t continue to drink.

You never know the way things are going to be
It could be fun or with many apologies
Let’s remember to give respect.
And keep our emotions in check.

Now this Thanksgiving will come and go
Despite the dramatic show
It will come again next year
Lets just take time to give thanks and cheer.


We join with family and friends to express our gratitude and experience blessings and share love on his day of giving thanks. Wishing you a very happy day of GivingThanks.

Happy Thanksgiving

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