Nobody said it would be perfect: navigating family feuding

For millennia, humans have shared stories about life, family experiences and relationships. People pursue the idea of being happy ever after and compensate for inevitable family feuds through hoping for improved relations and experiences.

Our fantasies about ‘the good life’ generate expectations that can build over time and result in disappointment or disillusion. In reality, whilst family relationships can blossom through a sense of the good life, they do need ongoing work. It is in the day-to-day maintenance of ‘good enough’ bonds in intimate and close relationships that people can struggle to find a way through the challenges.

Relationships need constant attention and a relational toolkit to generate success. The ingredients for such a toolkit include: collaboration, compassion, care, and creativity. Importantly, a desire and ability to negotiate tensions and challenges is essential. York St John University’s counselling and mental health clinic offers a confidential, compassionate space in which you can explore relationship difficulties and identify how to move forward positively.

Through using the idea of a relational toolkit you can identify and develop ways to respond when things are challenging. In navigating complex family and partner relationships, building a shared understanding of what triggers issues and problems is core to creating a context where people can grow and build mutual love and respect. Learning how to respectfully feud and tolerate differences of opinion can bring rich relational rewards. Counselling offers a creative space in which you can do this and build better relationships with yourself and others.

At York St John’s community facing CMHC clinic you can access support to navigate the complex challenges of family relationships. For further information, please contact us: 01904 876072 or email cmhc@yorksj.ac.uk

Lynne Gabriel, Professor of Counselling and Mental Health at York St John University

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