Archive for February 5th, 2006

February 5, 2006

Four sure-fire ways to increase family emotional health and deal with overly-sensitive people

by Rod Smith

I have received several very welcome and lengthy letters from readers who find themselves in very complicated family relationships. Here are four broad principles for all members of a family:

1. Get yourself out of “the middle” of other people’s relationships! Don’t carry messages for others, or think for others or feel for (on the behalf of) others. Allow other adults the joy or communicating their own messages, thinking their own thoughts and feeling their own feelings.

2. Regard all other adults as complete adults and your complete equals. If you’re “on eggshells” around anyone (a parent, boss, child, spouse or former spouse) this person has inappropriate power over you that I’d suggest you address. The “eggshells” means you are not seeing yourself as an equal with this person or these people.

3. Never allow yourself to be intimidated, dominated or manipulated. Persons who use intimidation, domination or manipulation (in other words, emotional bullies) to get their way must be confronted if you want any degree of healthy dialogue.

4. Despite age, rank or status, don’t “tread lightly” around other adults. While it is unnecessary to knowingly inflict hurt on others, some people are so inappropriately sensitive that their oversensitivity can restrict others from normal behavior. If your actions are not in themselves hurtful, but are interpreted as such by some sensitive soul, I’d suggest you be yourself and challenge Mr., Mrs., or Ms. Oversensitive to grow up.