I’ve written about family issues before. I explored why we regress into a moody, irrational state around our relatives in “Why Being Around Your Family Turns You Into A 16-Year Old“, and gave an overview of how to stop negative family members from pulling you down into their pit of sewage in “How Can We Keep Our Family’s Vibration From Affecting Us?” Today, I’d like to explore the idea of keeping your vibration high when you’ve got a negative family member who is driving you crazy, a little further. I’ve received this question several times, but think the following illustrates it perfectly:
Super Awesome Reader Kim asks: “I have this sister in law, who just rubs me the wrong way and has so for many years. Now I know that Abraham* says that until I can make peace and go with the flow that this problem will continue and even if I should move away I would attract someone else to take their place. My question is, how? How do you make peace with the problem when it is constantly on your mind and your mind just keeps going over and over the past hurts? I know that I should be reaching for a better thought and not talking about it and looking for the good things in that person, but I can’t get there. How do you make peace with this person and go with the flow?”
Thank you for this excellent question Kim. I think it’s one that almost everyone can relate to. We all have that family member that we’re pretty sure would make Gandhi go postal. “Oh sure”, we think, “Gandhi was a pacifist. But he never met my Aunt Frieda!” And, although, Gandhi would probably have overflowed with love for your aunt, it wouldn’t have been nearly as easy for him to deal with his own nasty uncle Hindu Bob. That’s because no one mirrors our annoying crap back to us quite like our family does. Bless their hearts.
Technically, you know what to do. You just can’t do it.
Ok, so you know that what you’re feeling is about you. You have some belief that you have to release, and your relative is dancing around on it. And because you know this, because you’ve studied LOA and read tons of books and read Melody’s super awesome blog (he, he), it’s all the more irritating that you can’t seem to shift out of wanting to just slap your sister in law every time you see her. What gives?
Well, here’s the thing: Just because you know the technicalities of what you have to do, doesn’t mean the journey gets any easier for you (trust me on this. How I wish that wasn’t true!) That’s because this isn’t a logical journey; it’s an emotional one. You have to actually go through the whole “feelings” mess. And, you have to cut yourself some slack. The whole idea that this should be easier for you because you technically know what to do is bullshit. You don’t get to skip emotional steps just because you realize that they’re there. In fact, this tendency to beat up on yourself for not having shifted yet, this tendency to judge your progress against what you think you should’ve accomplished by now, will make the whole process harder.
Step 1: Get away from her
When someone in your family is triggering you to the point where the mere thought of them makes you fantasize about the Friday the 13th movies, where you are Michael and your sister in law is one of the only teenagers alive who has never seen a slasher movie and hence thinks it’s ok to go to the woods with her friends to get drunk and fool around, and decides to wander out into the woods alone, even after bodies start turning up, then you’re not going to be able to shift your vibration on that subject while you’re around them. I don’t care how strong you are, it’s just not going to happen. You can’t stare at something you hate and declare that you love it. And that’s essentially what you’re asking yourself to do. You’re trying to make way too big of a jump, while being triggered.
Get away from your sister in law. Make excuses not to see her. Stay as far away as you can, until you’ve had a chance to move your vibration to a better feeling place. If you do have to see her, don’t talk to her any more than necessary. Don’t get into discussions. Don’t allow yourself to be alone with her. Protect yourself at any cost.
Do all of the following steps while you’re nowhere near her.
Step 2: Hate the bitch
Yep, you heard me. Go on. Allow yourself to rant and rave about her. I’ll bet you haven’t really given yourself permission to do that, have you? Nope. You’re too enlightened for that. But guess what? If your vibration is stuck in powerlessness (she pushes your buttons and you can’t seem to be able to do anything about that…), then the next step is NOT to try and find a way to love her. The next step is ANGER. So, go on, hate her. List all the reasons that you’re entitled to be pissed off at her; I’m sure there are plenty. You’ve wanted to feel this way, admit it, but you’ve always shut it down. Well, now’s the time to go for it. I give you full permission. Have yourself a good old bitch session and DO NOT feel guilty about it (you don’t have to do this to her face. Let the anger out constructively).
How does that feel? I’ll bet money you’re feeling better already. Stay in this place as long as you need to. Basically, at some point, you’re going to run out of steam. You’re not going to want to hate her anymore, and ranting about her will be exhausting. Do not confuse not wanting to hate her with feeling like you shouldn’t hate her. You have to take the emotional journey, which means, you have to rail against her until all the nasty has left your system. Only then will you be ready for the next step, Grasshopper.
Step 3: She’s not completely evil…
During the anger step, you’ll have been really specific about what your sister in law did to piss you off. And that’s ok. But once you’ve got that out of your system, it’s time to back off a bit. It’s time to get general.
I know you’ve tried to make positive lists about your sister in law before, and I’m sure you came up with some reasons, but none of them shifted you. Why not? Because you weren’t anywhere near the vibration of positive thoughts about her. You couldn’t reach them. And guess what? You still can’t reach them. So, when you have the urge to make another such list of positive traits (and I know you will when I tell you this next step), stop yourself. It’s not going to work.
Think of your sister in law and try to find reasons for how she’s not COMPLETELY evil. She’s not ALL bad. This is NOT the same as a positive list, so don’t try to go there yet. In the ranting phase, you’ll have made statements such as “She always has to be right!” or “She never listens to me!” Notice the absolutes? Now, it’s time to replace words such as “always” and “never” with words such as “sometimes” or even “usually”. If you do these exercises in writing, this will be much easier. You can simply go over what you wrote before and soften the statements.
Is she really always negative, or just usually? Perhaps even just sometimes? Using words such as “often”, “sometimes”, “usually”, “kind of”, or “most of the time” will help to soften your negative statements a bit. You’re still not trying to see your sister in law through the eyes of love (give it up, you’re nowhere near that), but you’re backing off a bit. She may be evil, but she’s not COMPLETELY evil.
Step 4: She does have some redeeming qualities…
Ok, now that you’ve gotten to the place where you truly acknowledge that she’s not the devil (just maybe one of his minions), it’s time to move further up that emotional scale. It’s time to, gulp, get a bit positive. But it’s still not time to make that list of why you should love her and forgive her and why she’s an angel, that you’ve been trying to make. It’s time to acknowledge that your sister in law may, in fact, have some redeeming qualities. Perhaps she’s a good mother. Or maybe she’s got good hair. She volunteers at a soup kitchen, which means she can’t be all bad. If you’ve done Step 2 and 3, you should’ve let all the nasty out of your system, which means that you’ll be much less apt to follow these generally positive statements up with sarcastic comments (a la: “She volunteers at a soup kitchen…she’s probably doing it for community service.”) DO NOT try to focus on events or qualities that have anything to do with YOU. Look at her life in general – is she kind? Is she intelligent? What does she do well? Sit with this list until you truly feel better about her and can acknowledge, not grudgingly but truly, that yes, she actually is a really good mother. And she does have a nice singing voice. And she does have a big heart. This could take hours, days or weeks. Do not rush this step.
Step 5: It’s about you
Only now, once you’ve successfully shifted your thoughts about your sister in law to a better feeling place, can you begin to see how she may be mirroring your crap back to you. You have to take the emotional sting out of the situation before you can even begin to evaluate the relationship, especially if you’re doing this on your own. Only once you’ve done that, can you start to see how her behavior and the feelings it triggered in you may be serving you in some way. What are you feeling? What exactly did she do that triggered you? What did her behavior say about you? Why did it make you feel the way you did? If you’ve done Steps 1-4, you’re going to find that you have a MUCH easier time evaluating what’s actually going on here.
*= For those of you who are not familiar with Abraham, they are a group consciousness, translated into the physical by Esther Hicks (what some refer to as channeling, but without the trance or weird music.) I consider Abraham to be one of my most influential teachers.
Have you been able to “fix” a relationship with a relative by shifting your own vibration? Share your story or thoughts in the comments!