A family may include parent(s), sibling(s), partner, children, aunt(s), uncle(s), cousin(s), grandparent(s), grandchildren, step-parent, step brother(s) and sister(s), foster and adoptive families, and in-laws, to name a few. Whew, that's a lot of people to get along with!

Whether you have a large family or small one, there always seems to be that one person, and in some cases more than one, who can set you off one way or another.

Things were fairly good until they called, or you saw them, or were talking about them. Then you found yourself all riled.

Perhaps you feel they have wronged you somehow, or you don't like how they do, handle, or say things.

You may even be harbouring resentments and past hurts that you just can't let go. These may be interfering with your relationship, or have even led to you not seeing or talking to them anymore.

You can't control what others say or do, although you may want to, but you can handle the way you interact with others and even learn a few things about yourself along the way.

There are times in our lives when we have to distance ourselves from someone because they are harmful, or the decisions they are making are directly impacting our lives and there is no other way around it; but this is another topic for another day.

What I am referring to are the family members that seem to set you off, stress you out, or have you all fired up when you see or interact with them.

How do you handle difficult family members?

It always comes back to you. This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it really is up to you.

Yes, you can decide to never speak to them again, or to ignore them, brush them off, give them the cold shoulder, treat them poorly, argue, say things under your breath and so on, but is that really dealing with them in the best way?

How much is this person stressing you out? On a scale of 1-10, 10 being you feel your blood pressure rising at just the thought of them or what they do. If it's between 1-3, good for you. Anything above that, you may want to start handling things a little differently.

What is it you don't like about them? Form a sentence and write it down.

"I hate that ________ always complains and blames everyone for their problems".

"It really bugged or bugs me that ___________ only thinks of her/himself".

"I really get upset when __________ does or doesn't ___________".

"________ is always negative or ____________".

The list goes on about the things that people say or do that we resent or that make us angry or upset.

Once you have written it down, read it out loud.

Then ask yourself these questions:

Can I find a time when I acted the same way? Often what we don't like in another we have been or can be that way ourselves. Be honest.

What is really bothering me here? You may find that you expect people to be, or do things a certain way because that's what you would do. Or you may be trying to control how others are, or you may be taking it personally as it triggers something in you.
Why can't I be okay with how they are? It can be a real challenge to just allow someone to be how they are, especially if it makes you feel embarrassed, agitated, frustrated, angry, etc.

The key here is acceptance. You may not like it, but that's how they are and that's okay for them because if it wasn't, they would be different.

Is this something I need to talk to the person about? If you choose to discuss what is bothering you, make sure that you aren't coming from a place of attack, high emotions, or expectations. State what is going on for you, not placing the blame on them.

What are you learning about you and the other person? Maybe you recognize why the person is doing what they are doing or saying because you are aware of a time when you may have been that way. Perhaps you have decided to agree to disagree and that neither of you is right or wrong, but that you have different ways of doing things. That's okay.

What do you like about them? See if you can find one positive about the person, anything at all. Try to focus on what you admire rather than detest when you are talking or with them.

What do you like about you and the way you are handling things? Ahhh... you might see that you haven't been handling things in the best of ways which then may nudge you to be a better person and deal with things in a more positive or encouraging way.

Often when you let go of what's bothering you about the person, you are able to see them in a different light. What once used to send you around the bend now is now a passing thought since you aren't giving them power anymore. Instead you are being empowered by them.

When you acknowledge your own flaws and see that no one is perfect, and that people have different ways of being and doing things, then you will find it easier to be around them. You can look for the positive in you and others.

In time, you might even find you enjoy watching where you go when you are around them and see how you are growing because of them. What a gift!

Remember, the only qualities you can ever change are yours, and the only person you can ever control is you!

At the end of the day it's up to you how much you are letting the other person bother and affect your happiness and whether you are able to let things go or if you are holding onto them.

This goes not just for family members, but any person you are having difficulty with.

The Insight Technique assists not only how to handle stressful people but how you are growing because of them.

Author's Bio: 

Kimberley Cohen is the Founder, Facilitator and Personal Insight Coach of The Insight Technique™. She is certified in Body Mind Counselling, Process Oriented Body Work and Spiritual Psychotherapy. She founded the Insight Technique™ - Your Insight to genuine Happiness, Purpose and Prosperity to assist herself and others in uncovering and discovering their brilliance. To question and understand your thinking so you can transform what blocks and limits you from living the life you desire and deserve. Or "living your dreams".