We Are Not Happy Meeting Under The Same Roof

We are not happy any time we meet under one roof so what do we do?

Dear patrick,

It is hard when people are not happy meeting under the same roof. It makes it very difficult, especially when you really care about someone, love someone, and want things to be better. Sometimes even civility and polite behavior would be an improvement over the circumstances you are currently experiencing. But, then, there are times when seemingly kind behavior is only a mask that covers something even more devious and ugly beneath it and one can find themselves not only unhappy in the current environment, but days, weeks, months later, as they process possible negativity that they have experienced.

We don't want to start off assuming that it is anyone's fault, as all of us could use some improving, couldn't we? However, regardless of whose fault it is, or whose fault it is not, you need to examine what you need, can live with, and cannot live without.

Often times, when we think of issues relating to meeting under the same roof, it is family related. We are getting together with other family members possibly, to some extent, out of obligation. It may help to evaluate how much of the purpose for the meeting, for you personally, is obligatory. In other words, I am not questioning whether you love your family, but are you getting together with them out of 100% obligation, or 50-50 (50% love and desire and 50% obligation). Only you can decide what percentage you can live with. If you answer that with 100% obligation, then you need to evaluate this further for yourself. If you answer that with 50%, 75%, or maybe 90% love, as the reason, then we need to work on as much positivity as possible, within yourself, when meeting with these people, understanding that the unhappiness, or negativity is a less than 50%. But, can you live with that?

If you truly want to get together, and obligation is not the issue, you need to consider how you can shore yourself up for whatever unhappiness is coming your way. Learn to let some things slide off of you like "water off a duck's back," as much as possible. Practice techniques of creating enough of a buffer for your feelings and your inner self to be less affected by any toxicity. This is certainly easier said than done, but brings us back to my original point of identifying what you can live with and what you cannot live without (i.e. family interactions).

Let's step back a moment. Ideally, you sit down with the people involved and discuss your unhappiness and see if you can reach some sort of way to approach these visits in a way that helps everyone. Chances are, you have already tried this, or other parties may not be interested in approaching it. You may want to try to find an unbiased counselor that can help you approach this discussion. Again, this doesn't always work, but it is the most beneficial approach if everyone is agreeable to work through the issues together, keeping everyone's best interest in mind.

If the get-togethers are out of obligation or fear of retaliation if the obligation is not met, you need to evaluate the relationship. If you truly believe, in your heart, that "blood is thicker than water" and that you are obligated to get together because you are family and the other parties are not willing to negotiate a more fair and pleasant mutual experience, then sweetie, I'm afraid you are going to have to put up with the experience, because you have already made the decision that you have no choice in the matter, and therefore, no real reason to complain about the situation. All you can do is do your part to make it as positive and respectful as possible. Don't contribute to the negativity and don't retaliate.

If you have decided that this is not a necessary or required aspect of your life, and you truly have the freedom to be happy, then limit your visits and time under the same roof. Limit them to as much time as you can handle. Decide, before getting together, how long you will visit. If it is truly detrimental, then cut the visits out entirely, hopefully for a short time rather than the rest of your life. Who knows, you may get their attention and a desire to work at a more amicable relationship. But, realize that sometimes the pursuit of happiness and psychological well-being may be a lonely one because the people around you are more interested in power controls, manipulation, and having the "upper hand." That's ok. You need to remind yourself that you are loved and start surrounding yourself with like-minded, healthy people.

You decide how much the happiness means to you, and what the cost is to obtain that happiness.

Deborah E
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Deborah is a #1 Jazz Singer, as well as a lifelong musician, songwriter, and sound engineer. She is also a writer who pursues a love of positive psychology. She is a thesis short of having her doctorate in psychology.
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