Fixing Your Family Feud

If you're in the middle of a family feud — whether it involves money or not — ask yourself: Is it worth losing a loved one over?

  • Choose to forgive. Holding onto a grudge will only eat you up inside and cause huge family rifts. The only thing worse than not speaking to a family member for three years is not speaking to them for three years and one day.
  • Sometimes relationships need a hero. That means someone has to step up and be the bigger person to close the gap. Someone has to make the first move, the first compromise, to heal the relationship. Swallow your pride and be that person. Think about what the future holds if you do not mend this.
  • Think of how this feud is affecting the rest of the family. Are there other family members or children caught in the middle? Think of the unnecessary stress you may be putting on others. Dr. Phil tells two feuding siblings to consider their 84-year-old mother. "Let me tell you something. At 84 years old, she deserves the peace of knowing that her family is unified and intact," he says.
  • No matter how flat you make a pancake, it still has two sides. Step into the other person's shoes and try to see their side of the story. Try to understand the other person and why they acted in a hurtful way. Try not to judge them. Conversely, examine your role in the feud. Did you do or saying something hurtful? Did you promise something and then back out of your agreement? Keep in mind the other person probably has some valid points that you need to weigh and consider.
  • Ask yourself, if your family member died suddenly, what would be left unsaid? In a perfect world, if you could write the script of your life, what would your relationship with that person be like? Start creating that relationship now.
  • Reach out to your family member and ask them to talk to you. Start with an apology for whatever part you may have played in the feud. Take responsibility for your actions. Explain why this relationship is important to you and affirm your love for the other person.
  • Dig further into what may have caused this rift. If it's about money, ask yourself if that is the real issue. Examine your feelings about the person you're fighting with and get to the bottom of when it all began.
  • Consider hiring a financial expert if you and a loved one are at odds over finances. If you can't see eye to eye, perhaps a third party can help come up with a plan that will lead to a solution.
  • Create some boundaries where you can begin to heal the relationship, but you're not allowed to bring up the source of the feud. Take 90 days to focus on reconnecting, and rebuilding the relationship. If you're siblings, just be siblings for 90 days and keep the subject of the feud off the table. After 90 days, examine the issue. You'll have found some middle ground and the value of the relationship will be more important by then.
TELL DR. PHIL YOUR STORY: Huge family drama?

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