While it may be impossible to try and change them, there are things you can do to help yourself when dealing with them.
Some of us may have that one person in our family that no matter what happens, or what the occasion is, they need to be the center of attention. This can cause feelings of anger, disappointment, or resentment when they are trying to take the attention or credit for something good that’s happening to you. So, what can be done to let go of these negative feelings without causing conflict?
Sometimes family members that fall into this category have narcissistic tendencies. Often we hear the word narcissist, and while we may have a general idea of what it means, there are a variety of traits that we sometimes forget. While I am not giving you this information to diagnose a family member (they would not like that, and there are more criteria that need to be met), here are some signs of narcissistic behaviour:
If you have a family member that regularly demonstrates a variety of these traits, you know how frustrating it can be. Instead of being happy or proud of you, they focus only on how this event affects them. Say you’re getting married and all that person can think and talk about is what they’re going to wear, having all of their ideas incorporated into the wedding, or how an outdoor ceremony will ruin their hair. Or if you’re graduating and they boast about everything they did to get you there. Even just dismissing the excitement of you getting a new job because it doesn’t pertain to them, and changing conversation topics to their life. Instead of feeling excited, validated, or accepted, you’re left feeling like what you did is their accomplishment, or like they don’t care about you or your life.
So, what can you do? While you can try explaining your feelings to them and hope that they change, people who have these traits ingrained in them for a long time will often not change easily, if at all. They may feel like you are attacking them, no matter how you bring up the conversation, which will cause them to become defensive. It is often difficult for a narcissist to see anybody else’s point of view, which leads them to believe they are always right. While it may be impossible to try and change them, there are things you can do to help yourself when dealing with them.
While they are still family and you may always love them, that does not mean that you have to put up with their behaviour or let it ruin your excitement. Focus on those around you who are happy for you. Try to limit your exposure to people with these behaviours when you want to celebrate an accomplishment, or just be happy with whatever may be happening in your life. Know that your happiness is deserved, and try not to let what someone says or how they act, take that away from you.
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