Who Cares What Your Family Says!?


by Dr. Vicki Handfield~
Does the family approve? What about if they don’t?

Whether you’re getting involved, getting married, living together, fighting or getting divorced, your family’s opinions matter to you. We all continue to want our parents’ approval, our siblings’ support, all our lives.

However! As we mature, we get that it’s really our own choice, our own feelings, our own opinions that matter the most.

That often produces some conflict inside yourself, and perhaps some between you and the others.

When you’re facing a difficult relationship situation, your feelings will be powerful, intense. This is human. This also usually prevents a clear picture, a solid sense of how to proceed. You will often ask yourself: What the hell is going on? What should I do? What should I say? Who are these people to try to tell me what to do?

This is Your life. These are Your choices. It’s vital to look within and get in touch with your own, complicated internal reality. Other peoples’ opinions can be helpful, can be downright wrong and divisive; it’s very hard to tell the difference when you’re in the middle of major changes. Later, you’ll be able to see and feel what was going on and who was right, but that’s a little late.

Writing it all down, using a personal journal, can be very helpful. It’s a way to connect with your own inner self. It can take a lot of writing to get to your own real deal; we can fool ourselves easily. There can be several layers of wishful, hoped-for, semi-accurate and downright wrong pictures of what is really going on.

Talking with a really good friend can be a big help. If you have a good friend who has really been there for you, who has given their opinion when you’ve asked before, who has been a little tough on you in a loving way – this could be a good source. Take it in, but don’t take it as the whole decision-maker. YOU are in charge, YOU KNOW what’s best for you. You may need to experience break ups several times in order to either get it right or end it. It’s ok to do it, look for what you are learning.

Yes, look for what you are learning. That’s the key to it. Life is a series of meaningful relationship experiences from which we learn a lot. We learn more all the time about who we really are and relationships help us in ways that no other experiences can. When it comes to wanting to feel loved and cared for, we really closely evaluate what our true preferences and needs might be.

Life is often very surprising and wonderful, especially when it’s least expected! Painful endings, like breakups and divorces can lead to new beginnings and new growth. Picture how dead things look in the middle of winter and how beautiful spring will be; we can imagine it, but we can’t experience it unless we live it!

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About Dr. Vicki Handfield

Dr. Vicki provides personal development coaching in Health and Wellness and Business Behavior Modification; for more than 25 years, she has been a clinical psychologist in private practice. Dr. Vicki works with people individually, in relationships and families as well as groups, in her office or by phone/webinar/skype. Dr. Vicki deeply enjoys helping people to grow in naturally exciting ways; learning to live passionately and compassionately is a beautiful, challenging and constant process. She often will share her own struggles with clients, as an aid to working together and as a comfort – we all have struggles in life, which can be very difficult as well as very joyous. www.burlingtonclinicalpsychology.com

2 thoughts on “Who Cares What Your Family Says!?

  1. Paula Susan

    What a terrible struggle that is for so many. I remember making the decision to leave an emotionally, sexually abusive man and telling one of my closest friends in the world. Her response was, “Every marriage can be saved. Let me talk to him.” My moment of maturation came when I found the words from the core of my own experience and self respect, I garnered the courage and said, “I love you and care so much about your opinion. You do not live in the moments of my life. I hope this doesn’t damage our friendship.”

    When I look back at that telephone conversation, I mark it as when I became a grown up honoring me. Sometimes it takes many decades before we learn the importance of doing that.

    Thanks, Vicki

    Paula Susan

  2. Jackie Pantaliano

    What a wonderful article! As women we are raised to be “good girls,” and always listen to our parents, bosses and other authorities. As a result, many of us continue seeking outside approval, but really need to learn to trust our own instincts. Brava!


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