family, support, mental health, mental illness. counselling, family counselling, personalities, personality, connecting with others, belonging

I’ve often thought: How do we achieve world peace when families who share similar genes don’t even get along. Not all families mind you; some can weather the toughest crises and remain intact. Others, however, are completely disconnected. There are a few basic reasons why. Once we understand this, we can reconnect and move onto greater cohesion.

The reasons families don’t get along is very similar to why world peace is so difficult to achieve. These things include being exceptionally similar or total opposites, strong personalities, assumptions about people without actually knowing and understanding them or the possibility of mental illness.

Firstly, people who are similar often clash. People assume they should get along but sometimes this isn’t true. The easiest way to ease the conflict is for both people to acknowledge the similarity and understand why a person makes them feel uneasy. In many cases, this is easier said than done. People with similar characteristics can readily identify faults in others but are often unwilling to see these faults in themselves. If this is causing a lot of conflict for a family other members may intervene and act as mediators as they work through their issues. Alternately, family counsellors could be a useful resource to reduce the stress on the family unit.

Another common cause of issues between people is being complete opposites. Yes, opposites can attract but, generally, total opposites don’t understand each other. For example, introverts prefer to steer clear of attention, while extroverts seek it out. It is therefore understandable that polar opposites may find discomfort in each others company. Being tolerant of others differences is imperative to getting along.

Strong personalities breed strong personalties, so it’s no wonder tempers flair. Loggerheads usually occurs out of sheer determination and a strong will to get one’s own way. It’s very easy to say the best way to have a cohesive relationship is to compromise, however, there are people who just won’t budge. If this is the case, good luck!

There is no ideal solution to this because it takes two people to compromise. The best option you have is to choose which battle or war to win – and leave the rest. This will reduce the friction which occurs over small issues.

Not really knowing someone, or assuming you know them, can cause a great deal of heartache. No one appreciates being judged. If you have a problem with someone who you really don’t know or understand, you have two options. Either take some time to actually get to know them or reserve your judgement. They maybe nothing like what you imagine them to be and you are condemning them based on ignorance.

If you are feeling judged by others, confront them and tell them how you feel. If it continues, as a last resort, you may need to decide to save yourself the pain and surround yourself with people who understand and appreciate you.

Lastly, mental illness can put tremendous strain upon families. This is exacerbated when people don’t understand it or know how to help. Acquiring diagnosis, knowledge and support will reduce the impact of mental illness for all effected. Visiting a GP about mental illness is an recommended starting point.

“What can you do to promote world peace. Go home and love your family.” Mother Teresa

Image via waveofaction.org/file/pic/photo/2014/04/8a2f70d9b863e7449c7314dddca9f1aa_1024.jpg

By Kim Chartres