by Andy Bernstein
Maybe your kids or your parents are driving you crazy. Maybe your marriage is strained, or your extended family is engaged in a civil war. But someone you are related to is pushing your buttons, and you want it to stop.
You have three options:
1. Get them to change.
2. There is no #2. You just need them to change. Period.
3. Okay, maybe there is another option. But you’re not going to like this…
The other option is that you change first.
I know, that sounds wrong.They’re the one who needs to apologize, repair the damage, and promise that they will do better. But how likely is that to happen right now, in this moment, given the way things have been going so far?
Not how likely should it be. How likely is it in the real world, given their current state of defensiveness and reactivity, their level of emotional intelligence, and their overall willingness to seeing where you are right?
The reality is that they are not likely to say, “I was wrong. I’m so sorry. Let’s talk about how I can fix this.” But there is one thing that might change that.
And that thing is you.
You Can Help Them Change
And you can do it without giving up, giving in, or letting them off the hook. You can do it in a way that feels true to yourself, honoring your own boundaries and needs, while still giving them a way to increase accountability and make amends.
But there is a catch.
Current You can’t do this.
Current You — the person you are right now, reading these words — is also probably feeling defensive and reactive and not inclined to change.
(Just like Current Them.)
So Current You is only going to exacerbate the situation. Or at least stew in it a little longer.
But Future You — Future You can fundamentally shift things so that everyone benefits.
Future You can build a bridge.
Future You can deepen trust.
Future You can have an insight, so you see your situation with greater clarity, honesty, and understanding, and then say what needs to be said in a way that Current Them can hear.
Future You can help Current Them begin to realize that, if they care about the family, they need to work on their issues. That’s how Current Them slowly becomes Future Them. Future Them is who you want them to be.
But to give Current Them the best chance of becoming Future Them, you have to become Future You first, so you authentically show them the way.
This doesn’t take years of therapy or thousands of dollars of personal development. You can make real change happen by bedtime tonight, for free.
The Resilience Academy’s first course, Breaking the Stress Cycle, teaches you a new way to understand how stress works, why your family members aren’t stressors, and how to transform the conflict you’re experiencing right now — with no stigma or “touchy-feeliness.”
As part of the course, you’ll do a 7-step guided worksheet that turns resentful Current You into clear-headed Future You, or at least starts the journey. You don’t have to go anywhere. You don’t even speak. It may be the most convenient, least expensive transformational experience you’ve ever had.
If it helps — if you feel even a small sense of insight, relief, and transformation — you can join as a paying member and keep going, deepening your peace of mind and broadening your toolkit as an agent of change in your family. But there’s no obligation, and no cost to start, so you can break the cycle risk-free.
Current Them may not be ready to help the family get to a better place.