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Conflict with step-father
Posted on: 01/12/2007
My step father and I don?t always get along. When we do its fine but when we don?t it can get really bad. He constantly feels the need to put me down in a way that I feel is wrong and I am not sure how to deal with his behavior when my mother doesn?t do anything about it. My character is such that I don?t back down when I feel threatened and I believe that young I may be but I do have an opinion. He believes otherwise. How do I avoid conflicts with him?
This is a great and insightful question. You seem to know your inclination is to not back down, and you value your own opinion and want it to be heard; you also don't want to be criticized and feel his interactions are hurtful. On the other hand, you sense it begets more conflict when you try to stand up for yourself, and you're seeking help in communicating during these problem times. Check the We're Talking website section on communication/emotions called "Life Skills", it has several short segments each dealing with a different piece of problem communication (anger, blame, etc.) and gives concrete suggestions; it is also downloadable so each family member can read and work on a point; these are tools to practice. You could tell your family that you're trying to work on your own reactions, and they may be motivated enough to look at (and try) the pointers themselves. Finally, there's nothing like taking a break from the usual roles you and your stepfather enact with each other, and decide to go out to a movie (don't have to talk a lot there) or activity for an hour or so, and agree ahead of time to make the usual problem topics/conversations off-limits--start getting to know each other in a different way. Good luck!