I don’t know about you, but for me this has been a very, very long year. Between Covid-19, the election, and the Black Lives Matter Movement there has been a lot of family tension. With the holidays coming up it makes it even harder to think of those family dynamics coming into play. While quarantine has given us the opportunity to have that distance this is also a time to come together and reconcile with family, if you so choose.
Whether you decide to continue a relationship with your family or whether it is time to cut it off – only you know what is right for you. Here are a few books that have been gathered to help make those important decisions.
When Difficult Relatives Happen to Good People: Surviving your Family and Keeping Your Sanity by Leonard Felder
This book is about accepting the fact that things are as they are and ways to cope and reframe how you view toxic relatives. Using that family time to create heartfelt connections, while being aware that there are difficult relatives and it is something we all experience.
There are a lot of different ways we can have issues with our families since there are so many dynamics involved. A few books that deal with specific issues are:
The Relationship Cure: A Five-step Guide for Building Better Connections With Family, Friends, and Lovers by John Mordechai Gottman
We are very lucky to have this local author and professor, Dr. John Gottman. Gottman is a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Washington and founder of The Gottman Institute. In his book, he offers exercises to direct your thoughts to help you find the weaknesses in your relationships so that you can make them stronger.
Mom Still Likes You Best: The Unfinished Business Between Siblings by Jane Isay
Ah, siblings! What can you say about them? Jane Isay uses real stories to help us understand that our relationships with our siblings are normal. She explores the idea that our childhood interactions with our siblings can play a large role as we move into adulthood.
Don’t Roll your Eyes: Making In-laws Into Family by Ruth E. Nemzoff
My own father-in-law has said this exact same thing to me. Learning how to accept someone new in your life can be difficult. This book gives you stories and examples of how to make your family relationships stronger. It even includes a section on different political beliefs, which could be very helpful right now.
If you are ready and open to forgiving your family members for things that have happened in the past then these books are great to get you started:
We Don’t Talk Anymore: Healing After Parents and Their Adult Children Become Estranged by Kathy McCoy
Estrangement is difficult. Kathy McCoy’s book shares why and how families can get to this point in their relationships. She also offers tips and strategies to help bring the family back together.
How to Forgive When You Can’t Forget: Healing Our Personal Relationships by Charles Klein
Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things to do in life. There is a reason why you feel hurt. Charles Klein helps you come to terms with those hurt feelings and leads you to forgive the people who have hurt you and open up your heart to them again.
Finally, if you just can’t do it anymore and have made the decision to walk away. Here are a few suggestions too:
Healing From Family Rifts: Ten Steps to Finding Peace After Being Cut Off From A Family Member by Mark Sichel
Mark Sichel has gone through his own family’s irreconcilable rift. He walks you through a 10-step process to come to terms with the family dynamics that led to the split and to move toward healing.
When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom From Toxic People by Gary Thomas
Pastor Gary Thomas helps you decide if your relationship with certain people is difficult or toxic. He uses scripture passages to show that you do not have to stay connected to toxic people. It will help you walk away if that is the best step for you.
I hope that one of these books will help you decide what the next steps are with your family and how you can emotionally cope with the decisions to be made.
~ posted by Pam H.