When you think of family discussions, do you think about gathering around the dinner table to tell stories? These talks may bring happy memories, but sometimes family discussions are called to address serious, even life-changing matters. When this type of discussion happens, you want to be a part of it, especially if the discussion is concerning you. However, it is sometimes the case that you find out about a family discussion after it has taken place.
As you age, your family may take it upon themselves to make certain decisions for you, such as selling the family home or having you move into a retirement community. It can be hurtful to learn that you were left out of a decision-making process, and you may start to feel confusion, sadness, or anger. What can you do when you’re left out of family discussions?
What to Do When You’re Left Out of Family Discussions
You can’t go back in time and change the fact that you were left out, so how do you move forward? Start with these tips for coping with the stress.
- Acknowledge (and talk about) your feelings. When we feel offended, sometimes it seems easiest to pretend nothing ever happened. But internalizing hurt feelings rarely allows them to go away. Instead, they breed resentment and anger. Before you let your feelings drag you down, talk to the family members who called the meeting. Express that you were hurt because you were left out. Be open and honest about your own feelings.
- Listen. When a decision has been made without you, it’s easy to be blinded by your own hurt. But if your family had a discussion and made decisions, it’s worth it to listen to their point of view. Listen to what they have to say; they may have thought they were doing the right thing by leaving you out of the discussion, and they may have good reasons for the decisions they made. Of course, you may not agree with their reasoning right away, but be sure to take some time to think about what they tell you. If you’re honest with yourself, you may start to see things their way. And even if you don’t, listening is a good first step to creating an open and honest dialogue.
- Pardon the omission. Once you have expressed your feelings in a way that addresses the situation, it is best to move on. You may never truly understand when you’re left out of family discussions, but holding on to grudges will not allow you to be happy. Do not allow others, or your own thinking, to shortchange you in your head. Learn to value yourself, let go of things that cause you anxiety, and mentally pardon others, even if they do not want to be pardoned.
- Move forward together. There are two sides to every story. Once you’ve had the chance to understand your family’s point of view and to explain yours, you can work together to make decisions. Remember to take your family’s concerns seriously and to acknowledge them. Make compromises when necessary and make sure your family understands your concerns.
Significant anxiety can arise when you’re left out of family discussions, but when you know how to take care of and address your feelings, it gets a little easier to move forward. Opening yourself to communication can help you look at situations from different perspectives. It can be difficult to get on board with a decision if you weren’t part of the process, especially if the decision is concerning your home. Has your family talked about the possibility of you moving into a retirement community? Let Briarwood be a part of the conversation. We invite you and your family members to come see our facility, learn about the Briarwood lifestyle, and have a meal in our dining room.