“How do I prevent upsetting my family and friends?”

Submitted Request..

This post is an answer to a submitted question. It aims to provide help and solutions to overcome the issue.

Podcast version: HERE

Quote:  “Nothing means anything, we create that through thought.” 

Adding to the quote:

Meaning doesn't come from people, places, things, situations, or circumstances or events themselves; instead, we give things meaning through our thoughts, beliefs, and interpretations. This process of making meaning is important for how we think and understand things. Our thoughts, feelings, experiences, and values all help us decide what things mean to us. By understanding how our thoughts create meaning, we see the power we have to shape how we see the world and our role in it. This also helps us understand how our feelings are generated. The meaning we find in life reflects our inner thoughts and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what's important to us.

Submitted Question:

“I've decided to stop talking about my life with people. The place I live now has me walking on eggshells 24/7. My family isn't the best and tends to get mad or brush me off when I express anything about being anxious or depressed. So I kind of just piled all my issues onto my friends and it made them all mad too. I recognized it's unhealthy and I hate making people upset (but it's all I seem to be able to do). I've even stopped talking about good stuff with them. Anytime they ask, I just go "fine," "ok," "don't worry about it," or I deflect back to them. So much has happened that they don't know about. I feel guilty about it, but at the same time, I don't want to upset people anymore.

My Response if we were in a coaching setting. Although without being able to ask questions, I may assume or use scenarios to fill in the gaps.

There’s a sense you’re feeling misunderstood, I am sorry that’s really hard to manage especially when those around you get upset when you’re seeking an outlet.

People tend to experience feelings of anger or frustration when they are faced with a situation that they do not fully comprehend, or understand. It sounds like your family and friends don’t understand how to help, or support you when you’re expressing your issues. So everyone is lost in translation. 

Venting, dumping, complaining is heavy and we are all dealing with our own issues and it's often too much to listen to someone else's problems especially if they don't know how to help you. Most people want to "fix" the issue so you can move on, and if they feel helpless that leads to frustration, and resentment. Creating a distance in the relationship and each person justifies their position and blames the other for the separation.

Certainly friends and family are well meaning, and care about you. 

There are people in this world that can handle being dumped on and those are well trained individuals like me or counselors or therapists. Friends and family typically want to fix and solve things for you and make it go away and move onto having fun and sharing time together that’s fun, exciting, and memorable. 

Family and friends often don't understand. They may think, or believe that you're seeking attention by venting and they are afraid to reinforce this type of cycle. They likely mean well and want to support you, they just don't know how.

If there’s something you deeply want help and support from someone who cares about you, they will understand and support you if you preface any conversation with what it is that you need. I like to use the 3 H’s. Heard, hugged, or helped.  

So for examples:

  • “Hey Sarah I want to get your help and support on a situation, could you please hear me out, no advice needed I just want someone to hold space for me to get it off my chest and mind”
    • This gives Sarah the instructions to simply listen deeply and reflect back a summary of what she hears in what you have to say. This offers a load of relief that she doesn’t have to do, fix, or rescue you in any way. Once this topic is aired there’s this anticipation that the day will pivot to doing something else. 
  • “Hey Sarah I want to get your help and support in a situation, could you please listen to my dilemma and give me a hug afterwards, that’s all I need right now?”
    • In this case she has the blueprint to the needful and she can prepare herself for comforting you. No need to offer advice, fix, or manage your emotions. 
  • Last “Hey Sarah I want to get your help and support in a situation. Could you please help me brainstorm some solutions to help me get over this dilemma?”
    • This is clear direct instructions that has Sarah focusing on ideas as you express the problem or challenge you’re having. And you’re also asking her to be prepared to come up with ideas, no idea is too big, or small, and the solution isn’t fully her responsibility, she is just holding space for you and helping you initiate some creative solutions. 

All of these are focused on solutions, vs commiserating in the sorry the pain and reinforcing victimhood. 

I am wondering if you’re depending on your friend and family to manage your emotions? Here’s the thing we all are working diligently attempting to manage our own emotions and to try and do that for someone else is entirely too impossible to do. If we are lucky enough to do it once, the chances of doing it again is pretty marginal. And if they are someone that’s gifted then you’re now dependent on them.  

Where do all your feelings come from? 

I get the sense you’re believing they come from your family, friends, and things externally, if that was true than teddy bears would be worth billions of dollars.  A teddy bear can’t inject feelings into you, nor can you family and friends, your thoughts, your stories, your beliefs certainly can make you feel and behave in accordance with what you believe to be true. 

Learning how your feelings are created will offer you so much more peace in your life, and you’ll get your power back. Not to mention your family and friends will see the version of you that they know you’re capable of being. They will be more inclined to want to spend time with you and include you in their conversations and events.

People that are in our lives are our teachers, what they tell us has at least 1% truth to it. We often don't see our own blind spots and those that are closest to us know us the most and can give us signals and information that can have a tremendous impact on our life if you're open, curious and willing to be a student and learn. If that seems like hogwash and not possible it's them not you, well that's ok, you're not ready to see it, learn and evolve over this pattern.

I wish you all the best. 

Please share this with anyone you believe would benefit from the insights. Post a comment, I read and reply to them all. Thank you in advance!

If you want to send a question, please send to hello@katherine-hood.com please include: 

  • A coachable question (something that addresses what's in your control, your thoughts, feelings or actions.)
  • And context, explain a situation in the past, currently going through, or worries/concerns of the future, giving me some details on your thoughts and feelings about it. 

Work with Katherine

Ready to become the best version of yourself? Partner with me as your life coach!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top