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Easy Ways To Deal With Dysfunctional Family Members

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Not everyone out there has a truly “dysfunctional family,” but for those who do, it can be a real challenge to deal with the fights, the grudges, and the silent treatment.   Fortunately, there are a few steps we can use to deal with dysfunctional family members so that we can maintain our relationships with our loved ones, without getting sucked into the toxicity.  This article seeks to help people who want to keep their family relationships alive, but with less drama and stress.

It can be very easy to point the finger at our family members who have hurt us and know how to push our buttons.  However, modifying our own behaviors is what will help us  deal with dysfunctional family members the best.

The key is to adjust our own actions, without expecting our family members to change.  We each have the power to improve any relationship, regardless of how the other person is acting.  Believing in your power to transform your relationships is the key to making real progress and alleviating much of the stress of family dysfunction in your life.

You can deal with dysfunctional family members by:

1. CENTERING YOURSELF BEFORE INTERACTIONS:

Before you call or visit a dysfunctional family member, take a few minutes to calm and center yourself.  Take some slow, deep breaths or even meditate for a few minutes.  Entering into a potentially hostile interaction when you are calm and centered is one of the most effective ways to guarantee the best possible outcome.

2. KEEPING THE CONVERSATION LIGHT:

To deal with dysfunctional family members effectively, it’s always a good idea to keep the conversation light and happy.  You can’t depend on toxic or negative people to respond to serious problems and issues in a positive, beneficial way, so why bother trying?

Instead, stick to conversation topics that you know both of you can enjoy and be happy discussing.  Some may call this “walking on eggshells,” but I look at it more as “letting sleeping dogs lie.”

Contrary to what many people think, “talking about our problems” doesn’t help anything. Positive conversations are generally a much better approach for strained relationships.

3. ABANDONING NEGATIVE CONVERSATIONS:

Does it annoy you when you’re talking to your aunt and she starts to pick on you about not being married yet, or making fun of your job? When this happens, it’s time to put the phone down.

When conversations take a turn for the negative, there’s no sense in taking the bait and getting wound into an argument.  Politely tell your aunt “well, look at the time, I really need to get going!” and excuse yourself from the conversation.

Don’t react to comments you don’t want to hear, and you will start to hear less of them.  If you refuse to give your family members an audience for their hurtful comments, they will start to speak to you differently in order to keep your attention.

4. EXPRESSING YOUR CONCERNS WITHOUT ACCUSATION:

There will likely be times that your dysfunctional family members do things that are very hurtful, and in times like these you might feel compelled to stand up for yourself.  If you feel that a confrontation is necessary, please tread lightly. Hashing things out must be done respectfully, so that the conversation helps to mend the relationship, rather than escalating into an even greater issue.

For example, when we are upset, many of us tend to say things like “Dad, you’re always talking about my weight and trying to embarrass me!” and while this might be true, you have just accused your father of intentionally trying to hurt you, and he will likely take offense to this accusation.

Instead of saying “I’m sorry,” you’re much more likely to hear your dad yell  “I’m not trying to embarrass you! It was just a joke, why are you so sensitive!?” Then, instead of a resolution, you have a whole new argument on your hands.

In order to be heard and supported more fully from your family members, it is better to stick to non-accusatory “I feel” statements.  For example, “Dad, when you talk about how much weight I’ve gained, I feel hurt and upset.”

By using an “I feel” statement, you express your feelings without accusing your family member of having bad intentions. People are much more likely to respond to an “I feel” statement with compassion and understanding.

5. RESISTING THE URGE TO PEOPLE PLEASE:

So often when we are in dysfunctional family relationships, we have been trained into becoming people pleasers, and our dysfunctional family members have learned how to push our buttons to get us to call more, visit more frequently, and provide favors we aren’t particularly interested in providing.

Don’t be afraid to say “no,” when you really don’t want to do something.  That “no” you feel is a sign from your intuition telling you that this request is a bad idea, so listen to it!

Many people are hesitant to tell their family members “no” because they are afraid of dealing with the reaction they will get.  However, if you can start doing this routinely, you will find that your family members will change how they interact with you.  If they know that you are unlikely to respond to manipulation and guilt tactics, they will eventually stop using them on you.

Be strong, and stick to your guns the first few times, and saying “no” will get easier and easier for you.

6. FOCUSING ON YOUR FAMILY MEMBER’S POSITIVE QUALITIES:

This one might seem a bit strange at first, but it’s a fantastic strategy.  So often, we notice and complain about our family members’ worst qualities, but this only brings us more of the things we don’t like.

According to the Law of Attraction, you get what you are thinking about, so the more you think and complain about behaviors you don’t like-the more of them you will see!  So, to start to turn things around, change how you look at your dysfunctional family members.

Instead of noticing that your mom talks down to you and compares you to your brother, reach for more pleasing observations of her.  Notice how clean she keeps her house, the nice gifts that she’s brought you or how well she plays with your kids.  By focusing on her positive qualities, you will start to see more of the good in your mom, and less of the bad.

Dealing with family dysfunction can be painful at times.  In strained relationships with our relatives, we often feel as if we are caught between a rock and a hard place.  On one end, we usually don’t want to lose our family members and we’d prefer to keep them in our lives.  On the other hand, we don’t want to feel abused or manipulated.  Thankfully, there are some easy ways to change how we deal with and react to dysfunction, and this can have a very positive effect on our family relationships.

Please realize that you have the power within yourself to have a good relationship with anyone you want.  While it’s generally a good idea to avoid toxic relationships with friends and acquaintances, you do not have to toss your family members out of your life in order to avoid fights, grudges or the silent treatment if you don’t want to.  By focusing on the positive, by initiating light and respectful conversations and by refusing to people please, anyone can change the dynamic of a dysfunctional relationship.

So, what do you think? Do you have any dysfunctional family relationships, and if so, are there any other tips that you would add that have worked for you? Please comment below to share your thoughts!

About the Author:

Andrea Schulman is a former high school psychology teacher and the creator of Raise Your Vibration Today, which provides free and easy Law of Attraction techniques. She will be available for group educational seminars and webinars starting in the summer of 2015.

Did you like this article? This article was sent into The Mind Unleashed as a contribution from Andrea Schulman, who is the creator of the website Raise Your Vibration Today. Find more like it on her blog or Facebook page! You can also find her on Twitter (@Vibration1111) or Instagram (@andrea.11.11).

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Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say

Elias Marat

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With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.

According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.

The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.

While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.

Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.

“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.

Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced

However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.

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Health

Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact

Elijah Cohen

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Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.

And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.

Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.

Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.

Death Toll, by Percent of Population

In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.

Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.

The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.

Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.

History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning

While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.

In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.

What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?

Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics

Republished from ZH with permission.

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California Bill Backed by PTSD War Veterans Groups Would Legalize Psychedelics Statewide

Elias Marat

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California could soon decriminalize psychedelics statewide if one legislator’s new bill is passed, marking another step by the Golden State to do away with laws seen by critics as antiquated vestiges of the failed U.S. war on drugs.

On Thursday, Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco introduced Bill 519, which would comprehensively decriminalize the use of and possession of psychedelics, following the lead of such places as Oakland, Santa Cruz, the District of Columbia, and Oregon, which have all decriminalized the drugs to varying degrees.

Under the proposed law, a range of psychedelic drugs including psilocybin – the hallucinogen in “magic” mushrooms – psilocyn, 3,4-MDMA (also known as molly or ecstasy), LSD, ketamine, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline would all be decriminalized. Like a previous law passed in 2018 that expunged cannabis-related convictions from the records of Californians, Bill 519 would also wipe clean prior convictions for the use or possession of drugs.

While the comprehensive decriminalization measure would open the door to any sort of use of the drugs, not limited to medical, it would also be tied to measures that endorse the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of psychedelics which have gained increased recognition from health experts and researchers in recent years.

Given the severity of our mental health crisis, we shouldn’t be criminalizing people for using drugs that have shown significant promise in treating mental health conditions,” Wiener said in a statement. “People should be able to seek alternative treatment for diseases like anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and we need to make science-based treatments available to those in need.”

The bill has also been heavily supported by two groups, the Heroic Hearts Project and VETS (Vets Exploring Treatment Solutions), both nonprofit organizations that assist veterans in addressing mental health challenges stemming from trauma, such as PTSD.

The strategy tout the medical benefits of the drugs is one that has been used with success in past efforts by drug policy reform advocates.

“That’s how it worked with cannabis,” Oregonian drug policy reform advocate Anthony Johnson told the Guardian. Johnson helped lead efforts in his state to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of basically all illicit drugs through Measure 110, which voters overwhelmingly approved in November.

“It’s definitely a way to help people that need it first and foremost, but also then to educate the public about these substances of how the drug war has been a failed policy and how there is a better approach,” Johnson added.

In the case of Oregon’s Measure 109, which cleared the way for the all-out legalization of psilocybin mushrooms, petitioners highlighted the need to end the prohibition of the substance as a means toward treating mental health challenges through alternative methods.

“Healthcare professionals, veterans, mothers, people struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction and end of life distress, community organizations, and so many others answered to call for a new option to help so many who are suffering,” a coalition of Oregon advocates said in a statement last November following voters’ overwhelming approval of the legal psilocybin therapy bill.

As has been the case in other states, however, the largest obstacle to decriminalization has been law enforcement, who cite concerns over public safety, and the private prison industry which enjoys generous profits from state contracts to incarcerate drug users. However, state Senator Wiener hopes that the testimony of veterans will help convince opponents of the need to shed their preconceptions and biases toward users of psychedelic drugs.

“There’s a stereotype of who’s using psychedelics, but it’s much broader than that and when you have veterans coming into the Capitol talking about how psychedelics help them with PTSD and help them get their lives back, that’s incredibly powerful for legislators,” Wiener explained.

Among those veterans is 38-year-old veteran Juliana Mercer, who spent 16 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including 10 years of active duty service over the course of one tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

As a four-year member of the wounded warriors unit, Mercer saw unspeakable horrors that left an indelible impression on her psyche – ultimately resulting in long-term trauma that she was largely unable to address.

“I lost quite a few friends and just saw a lot of a lot of damage and destruction along the way,” Mercer said. “I put all of that stuff away and kind of forgot about it for a while, and once I slowed down it was all just sitting there and I didn’t know what to do with it.”

While her first experience with psychedelics was recreational, she eventually gained a sense of connectedness that had been absent for years. She eventually reached out to the Heroic Hearts Project a year and a half ago to undergo ayahuasca therapy, which she said had completely exceeded expectations in allowing her to release “years of grief.”

“I kept hearing that when you do some of these plant medicines, you’ll be able to do 10 years worth of work in one session,” Mercer explained. “Just one of my sessions really brought out all of that pain and the grief that I didn’t even know was in there and allowed me to just completely release it and expel it, things that I had no idea were there.”

For licensed clinical social worker Lauren Taus, therapies involving plants such as ayahuasca and psilocybin are simply strong tools rather than cure-alls for mental health challenges. However, with the ongoing pandemic compounding a mental health crisis that has long been felt across the United States, Taus is adamant that such potent tools must be decriminalized.

“The causes of trauma are multiplying way faster than the solutions,” Taus said. “Current treatment is generally not very effective.”

“Psychedelic medicine has been engaged with globally for eons,” she added. “This stuff works and we deserve to have access to solutions that will be sustainable.”

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